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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...
Symphony
THRILLING SANTA ROSA SYMPHONY PERFORMANCE IN AN EMPTY WEILL HALL
by Steve Osborn
Sunday, October 11, 2020
Viewers of the Santa Rosa Symphony’s inaugural socially distanced YouTube concert on Oct. 11 could be forgiven for thinking they had stumbled upon a performance of Verdi’s “Un Ballo in Maschera” (A Masked Ball), given that the string players in the opening shot all wore black masks. The sole excepti...
Symphony
BROWN VIDEO GALA LAUNCHES SANTA ROSA SYMPHONY SEASON
by Terry McNeill
Saturday, September 12, 2020
Similar to many North Coast musical organizations the Santa Rosa Symphony has scheduled a series of virtual concerts on video, spotlighting sections of the orchestra and the exuberant activities of its conductor Francesco Lecce-Chong. However, as an introduction to the season, a Sept. 12 gala vide...
SONGS AND ECHOES OF HOME IN AIZURI QUARTET CONCERT
by Abby Wasserman
Sunday, March 8, 2020
From the first richly layered harmonies of Dvořák’s Cypresses, the Aizuri Quartet held the March 8th audience at Mt. Tamalpais Methodist Church in thrall. The church was more than half full, a good crowd considering present anxiety about the spread of the coronavirus. Taking precautions, the M...
COLORFUL BORN BACH AT AGAVE BAROQUE'S SCHROEDER HALL CONCERT
by Sonia Morse Tubridy
Friday, February 28, 2020
Bach’s obituary records that “Johann Sebastian Bach belongs to a family that seems to have received a love and aptitude for music as a gift of Nature to all its members in common.” Agave Baroque presented their Feb. 28 concert, Born Bach, as a partial musical story of several generations in this rem...
ECLECTIC VIOLIN AND PIANO WORKS IN VIRTUOSIC MILL VALLEY RECITAL
by Abby Wasserman
Sunday, February 23, 2020
Blending virtuosity with sublime artistry, violinist Alexander Sitkovetsky and pianist Wu Qian gave the Mill Valley Chamber Music Society audience many thrills February 23, performing four muscular and soulful works by four composers from four countries: de Falla, Schumann, Stravinsky, and Grieg. T...
PREMIER OF KAIZEN AND DRAMATIC MOZART HIGHLIGHT ECHO CHAMBER CONCERT
by Abby Wasserman
Sunday, February 16, 2020
As concertgoers took their seats in San Anselmo’s First Presbyterian Church for ECHO Chamber Orchestra’s February 16 program, they were surprised to see at center stage two bass drums, a tom-tom, bongos, high hat and cymbals. It was the occasion of the world premiere of "Kaizen," composed and perf...
BEETHOVEN'S VALENTINE'S DAY GIFT IN RAC SEBASTOPOL RECITAL
by Terry McNeill
Friday, February 14, 2020
Continuing a season of Redwood Arts Council successes, the Kouzov Duo performed an eclectic Valentine’s Day concert in Sebastopol’s Community Church before an audience of 125. Beethoven’s charming Op. 66 Variations on Mozart’s “Ein Mädchen oder Weibchen” from the opera the Magic Flute was a bouncy ...
LUSH BACH PERFORMANCE IN DENK'S WEILL HALL RECITAL
by Terry McNeill
Thursday, February 13, 2020
Memorable artistic interpretations of musical masterpieces are often at extremes, and with the Bach’s Well-Tempered Clavier (WTC - Book I) that Jeremy Denk played in Weill Hall Feb. 13, the pianist was only sporadically at unique or ebullient musical ends. But his playing wasn’t exactly at opposite...
CHAMBER REVIEW
Zivian Tomkins Duo With Guests / Saturday, January 18, 2014
Eric Zivian, piano; Tania Tomkins,cello; Joseph Moile, violin; Pei-Ling Lin, viola

Maile, Zivian, Tomkins and Lin Jan. 18 in Occidental

WEIGHTY ROMANTICISM IN REDWOOD ARTS COUNCIL CONCERT

by Terry McNeill
Saturday, January 18, 2014

Pungent Romantic music dominated the Redwood Arts Council chamber music concert Jan. 18 in the Occidental Community Center, with an aesthetic pianistic introduction of two Bach Preludes and Fugues.

Pianist Eric Zivian brought heavy legato and a full tone to the Bach pieces in E-flat Minor (Book I, BWV 853) and C-Sharp Minor (Book II, BWV 872), taking a judicious tempo in both works and providing careful articulation and repose in the C-Sharp’s fugue. It was not Bach for those used to a pointillist sound, but led well into the thick textures of Schumann and Brahms.

Joined by cellist Tanya Tomkins and violinist Joseph Maile, Mr. Zivian led a passionate reading of Schumann’s D Minor Trio, Op. 63. A clue to the approach was a sweeping ritard by Mr. Zivian, leading to the second theme in the long and tumultuous first movement. The acoustics of the Community Center are full and direct, emphasizing the richness of the cello line, but also Mr. Maile’s thin tone and difficulties with taking notes cleanly, especially in fast ascending scale passages.

This anguished dynamism carried forward into a vigorous Scherzo, the violin and piano trading phrases, and then a slow section with haunting recitatives, sensitively played. The finale was appropriately joyous with ample instrumental virtuosity. The ensemble was not always a smooth blend, as the parched violin line and the muted sonority from the sub-professional house piano could be jarring.

Keyboard sonority was a needed component of the night’s final work, the muscular Brahms Piano Quartet in A, Op. 26. Violist Pei-Ling Lin joined the mix. The playing in the opening Allegro had fervor and underscored the composer’s mastery of counterpoint and majestic thematic material. The serene melodies of the second movement, shortly to characterize Brahms’ first piano concerto in 1867, were played lovingly and with a deep foundation of Ms. Tomkins’ rich cello line and patrician phrasing.

A fine climax was built in the dramatic finale with Mr. Zivian enjoying playing off-beat accents and small dissonances (for Brahms in 1862) in chords of seconds and thirds. The pianist's potent playing occasionally covered his colleagues, but it was of little consequence in the headlong drive to a thrilling ending.

A full house gave the four musicians a standing ovation, but no encore was offered.