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Recital
SLAM BANG SONORITY IN HAOCHEN ZHANG'S SCHROEDER RECITAL
by Terry McNeill
Sunday, March 19, 2017
Piano Competition winners are in ample supply, and it’s often a hit and miss proposition as to their sterling interpretative qualities. However, the quadrennial Van Cliburn Competition in Ft. Worth has continually produced top-level artists, and the 2009 winner Haochen Zhang proved a formidable per...
Symphony
FOREIGN AFFAIRS CHARACTERS OF THE BAROQUE
by Sonia Morse Tubridy
Sunday, March 12, 2017
Akademie für Alte Musik Berlin, known as Akamus, played a Weill Hall concert March 12 in a program called "Foreign Affairs -Characters of the Baroque.” The ensemble, that began in 1984, has 15 musicians led by concert master Bernhard Forck. Attired in elegant black with red accents, ranging from tie...
Recital
MUSCULAR PIANISM DOMINATES MILL VALLEY CHAMBER SOCIETY RECITAL
by Terry McNeill
Sunday, March 12, 2017
Piano recitals since the beginning of the genre open with finger pieces - Scarlatti or Soler Sonatas, Bach, a Mendelssohn Prelude and Fugue or perhaps Mozart or Haydn. Sarah Daneshpour’s March 12 opening work at the Mill Valley Chamber Music Society series abruptly avoided the norm with the 10-minut...
Recital
NOVEL HAYDN AND SCHUMANN IN YARDEN'S OAKMONT RECITAL
by Terry McNeill
Thursday, March 09, 2017
Israeli pianist Einav Yarden has been a frequent Sonoma County visitor, playing private recitals for Spring Lake Village and Concerts Grand, and twice performing for Music at Oakmont. The Berlin-based artist returned to Oakmont’s Berger Auditorium March 9 with a program that was neither for connois...
Chamber
CONSUMMATE ENSEMBLE FROM THE MIRÓ IN WEILL
by Sonia Tubridy and Nicki Bell
Sunday, March 05, 2017
A March 5 Weill hall audience of 350 leaned in to share an intimate musical space and to hear the Miró String Quartet’s sterling concert. Starting with Haydn's Op. 20, No. 4, the four musicians seemed to want listeners to be enveloped in their music. The Miró plays with the feat of being four dist...
Recital
BRILLIANT VIOLIN AND PIANO ARTISTRY CHARMS SCHROEDER HALL AUDIENCE
by Terry McNeill
Sunday, February 26, 2017
A tiny Schroeder Hall audience heard a flawless recital Feb. 26 by Yu-Chien Tseng, arguably the best recent local violin recital since Gil Shaham’s transversal of the complete Bach Suites in Weill and Frank Almond’s Oakmont recital in 2015. Muscular playing was the afternoon’s norm, and with pianis...
Chamber
MUSIC AND ART MELD IN ZUCKERMAN TRIO CONCERT
by Nicki Bell
Friday, February 24, 2017
A Feb. 24 Weill Hall concert by the Pinchas Zuckerman Trio juxtaposed formidable music making with palpable associations about visual art. Brahms’ C Minor "Sonatensatz” (Scherzo) is a short youthful work for violin and piano, and was an opening call to action. Lively and vigorous playing alternated...
Chamber
THREE BEETHOVEN TRIOS BEGUILE AUDIENCE IN FEB. 19 WEILL CONCERT
by Terry McNeill
Sunday, February 19, 2017
Chamber music concerts featuring one composer can be tricky, but the Han/Setzer/Finckel trio made a Feb. 19 Weill Hall audience of 500 hear and to a degree see the boundless creativity of Beethoven. The G Major Trio, Op. 1, No. 2, opened the afternoon’s Beethoven odyssey and one wonders why it is t...
Chamber
AUTHORITATIVE BARTOK HIGHLIGHTS TETZLAFF VIOLIN RECITAL
by Terry McNeill
Saturday, February 18, 2017
Christian Tetzlaff’s Feb. 18 violin recital rolled along with lively and fresh readings of Mozart, Beethoven and Schubert when the specter of Bartok’s granitic Second Sonata intervened. The sonic shock to the audience of 250 in Weill was palpable. Composed in 1923 the 20-minute two-movement work i...
Symphony
WHAT SOUND DO STAR-CROSSED LOVERS MAKE?
by Steve Osborn
Sunday, February 12, 2017
Valentine’s Day is just around the corner, so the Santa Rosa Symphony feted the occasion by telling and retelling the story of Romeo and Juliet, a tale ever the more poignant during our era of stark divisions. The first telling was from Berlioz; the second from Prokofiev. In between was Brahms’ monu...
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.