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Symphony
ZUILL PLAYS ZWILICH WITH SANTA ROSA SYMPHONY
by Steve Osborn
Sunday, March 28, 2021
The Santa Rosa Symphony took a cautious step toward the return of live music in their March 28 virtual concert by sharing the stage with an actual live soloist rather than an apparition. Star cellist Zuill Bailey was still masked, and his back was toward the equally masked and plexiglassed orchestra...
Chamber
ECLECTIC CELLO PIANO VIRTUAL RECITAL FROM TOMKINS ZIVIAN DUO
by Terry McNeill
Sunday, March 28, 2021
The venerable 41-year Redwood Arts Council Series in Occidental has joined the virtual recital world with low budget but artistically satisfying programs, mostly using videos filmed in the performer’s residences. March 28 saw the Tanya Tomkins-Eric Zivian duo present an eclectic program from their ...
Symphony
SANTA ROSA SYMPHONY HITS THE SWEET SPOT
by Steve Osborn
Sunday, February 28, 2021
Small orchestras can inhabit a sweet spot between chamber ensembles and full orchestras, but how well they hit that spot depends on the composer's orchestration and the players' ability to project. That dependence was on full display in the Santa Rosa Symphony's Feb. 28 concert, which featured three...
Chamber
NOVEL OBOE-HARPSICHORD RECITAL FROM AIKEN DUO IN UKIAH
by Terry McNeill
Sunday, February 21, 2021
Oboe and harpsichord recitals are a rare North Bay event, even in a pandemic environment where a formal hall setting isn’t available. So it was a delight Feb. 21 to experience on the Ukiah Symphony’s website a recital by Symphony oboist Beth Aiken and harpsichordist husband Tom. The Aiken home vis...
Symphony
A HEALTHY MIX OF TRANSCRIPTIONS AND ORIGINALS FROM THE SR SYMPHONY
by Steve Osborn
Sunday, January 24, 2021
Transcriptions and ascending arpeggios were the order of the day on Jan. 24, as the Santa Rosa Symphony performed uplifting works by Bach/Webern, Ellen Taaffe Zwilich, Marianna Martínes and Mozart. The concert video was made in Weill Hall on Jan. 9. The first transcription was Webern’s 1935 renderi...
Symphony
HEROIC EFFORT FROM THE SANTA ROSA SYMPHONY
by Steve Osborn
Sunday, December 13, 2020
December 13 was a rainy day, perfect for huddling indoors and watching a prerecorded “live” performance by the Santa Rosa Symphony. The program was expansive, with music from the 18th through 21st centuries, and the mood was festive, in keeping with the holiday season. There was something in the fea...
Symphony
MASKED SANTA ROSA SYMPHONY CARRIES ON BRILLIANTLY
by Steve Osborn
Sunday, November 15, 2020
In some ways the Santa Rosa Symphony’s Nov. 15 concert on YouTube resembled a Conceptual Art performance from the 1970s. On display were about 30 masked orchestral musicians playing six feet apart from each other on stage, some of them separated by plexiglass barriers. In the 1970s, the concept behi...
Chamber
SPLENDID STRINGS IN A SUNLIT GARDEN
by Abby Wasserman
Sunday, November 1, 2020
A sun-drenched autumn afternoon, a Marin County garden and six superb string players from the Santa Rosa Symphony were manna from heaven to a pandemic-weary audience starved for live music. The sextet of Santa Rosa Symphony musicians performed to a small group of 20 Nov. 1, the day after Halloween....
Chamber
EXAMPLARY QUARTET PLAYING IN MARIN GARDEN CONCERT
by Terry McNeill
Thursday, October 22, 2020
Taped video concerts have pretty much dominated the recent fare for classical music fans, but sporadic live music making can still be found in the North Bay with outdoor chamber music. Of course with the obligatory social distancing and often decorative facial masks. Four San Francisco Opera Orc...
Chamber
VIDEO CHAMBER MUSIC FROM LINCOLN CENTER IN GREEN'S BROADCAST
by Terry McNeill
Saturday, October 17, 2020
Along with hosting its resident the Santa Rosa Symphony, Weill Hall has contracted to produce sporadic virtual programs of classical music, and began Oct. 17 with a charming three-part concert from the Chamber Music Society of Lincoln Center in New York. Hosted with comely introductions by CMSLC di...
CHAMBER REVIEW

Boreal Trio

BOREAL AURORA RISES OVER OAKMONT

by Terry McNeill
Thursday, January 9, 2014

Opening the new year Jan. 9 at Music at Oakmont the Boreal Trio played a program of two diverse and distinct parts, the emphasis on charm rather than drama.

The bucolic first half had lyrical and low-volume works by Schumann and Mozart, the latter's "Kegelstatt" Trio in E-Flat Major (K. 498) setting a tranquil tone. This trio doesn't have a menacing note throughout, but in past performances I have heard the piano and clarinet lines covering the viola. Here Juan-Miguel Hernandez' viola line was always audible, often in fetching duos with clarinetist Uriel Vanchestein. Occasionally Mr. Vanchestein sounded a bit reserved, but in many ways that approach served the serene music well.

The quiet ambiance continued in Schumann's Op. 132 "Fairy Tales," the four short sections brimming with romantic yearning. Pianist Wonny Song played the day's first real forte in the dramatic Lebhaft und sehr markiert movement, the most Brahms-like part of the 1853 composition. The Boreal's playing reached a peak in the sweet third section, a love song with unison instrumental lines and a sublime and tender ending.

Ensemble playing in the concluding Lebhaft, sehr markiert was excellent, tying together a rarely-played work of elegance and nostalgia.

Five of Bruch's eight Op. 83 Pieces were played after intermission and the rich Romanticism again recalled Brahms' autumnal works and harmonic language. The orchestral and relentless Allegro Agitato opened the set with flair, moving to a Nachtgesang (night song) where nearing the end the viola handed off the melodic line to the clarinet, with Mr. Vanchestein playing a deft descending and ascending chromatic scale in perfect legato. These were more substantial pieces than those of the first half, clearly so in the adventuresome harmonies of the Moderato that looked back to both Brahms and Schumann, and the bouncy and effervescent Allegro Vivace finale. Mr. Song was had a greater role here, sewing together the string and wind lines with bouncy rhythms.

Though the Bruch was for me the day's highlight, Alfred Uhl's neoclassical Trio "Kleines Konzert" from 1938 came close. It was a bit of a cold shower after the previous works with a bigger piano part, many off-beat accents and a snazzy viola and clarinet duet in the spooky Allegro con Brio's cadenza. It was café music played with grace. A slow march morphed into a lament, with Mr. Song sounding chimes with his left hand and Mr. Hernandez playing uniquely with the tip of his bow on the viola's C and G strings. In the concluding Vivo, the Boreal took a fast tempo and played the virtuosic and showy movement with aplomb. A sudden forte chord closed an exciting performance.

The encore, Mr. Vanchestein's "Moment Musical," was announced as a study in the style of Rachmaninoff and Scriabin, but I could find neither Russian composer's music in the short romantic study of swirling clarinet phrases. It was a bon-bon to a light and pleasurably non-traditional musical meal.