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Symphony
SANTA ROSA SYMPHONY STAYS CLOSE TO HOME
by Steve Osborn
Sunday, March 26, 2017
Santa Rosa Symphony concerts usually feature high-powered soloists imported from afar, but for their recent “Bring on the Strings” concert set, they stuck close to home, thrusting their principal violin, viola and cello into the limelight. The violinist (Joseph Edelberg) and the violist (Elizabeth P...
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...
CHAMBER REVIEW
Sebastopol Center For The Arts / Sunday, February 16, 2014
Sonoma County Twenty Fingers Club: Ann Boatright, Angela Coons, David DiGrazia, Judy Sabin, Barbara Shepherd, Adrian Boyer, Loria Rolander, piano.

Goodhart, Neese, Ellis, Tolstova, Schoenthal, Wright, Flor in Sebastopol

MUSICAL IMAGES A LA FLOR ET AL

by Terry McNeill
Sunday, February 16, 2014

Laureano Flor is a bit of a Renaissance man: pianist, concert producer, computer-science teacher, sartorial personage. Many of his manifold talents were in place on Valentine's Day in a multi-performer concert for 75 in the renovated Sebastopol Center for the Arts.

The program's title, "Images of Music," was apt, with three of 19th-century landscape painter Frederick Church's works providing the backdrop for three of composer Daniel Baldwin's bucolic and plaintive pieces. Performed by clarinetist Carla Schoenthal, bassoonist Karen Wright, French hornist Ben Robinson and Mr. Floor, the musical atmosphere was at turns minimalistic and even New Age, Mr. Flor's playing giving a murmuring and mysterious foundation to the lofty wind instruments above.

Pianist Charlotte Ellis joined Mr. Flor for two short Rachmaninoff works, the slow movements (Op. 5, No. 3, and Op.17, No. 3) from the popular Two Suites for two pianos. Slow was the operative term, the pianists squeezing every drop of emotion from the two circa 1900 pieces to the detriment of majesty and contrast. Tatyana Goodhart was the next artist to play with the ubiquitous Mr. Floor, in Ravel's arrangement of two of Debussy's orchestra nocturnes, "Nuages" and "Fetes." The tempos selected were again slow, and the balances favored the larger stage piano, with Ms. Goodhart performing the filigree of "Nuages" elegantly.

The remaining eight works on the program brought various singers to the mix, with Ms. Ellis, Ms. Goodhart and Mr. Flor taking the piano parts. Of special interest were soprano Bethany Neese and tenor Adrian Boyer in the "Recuerdo" song by Charlotte Ellis, and the final three short songs with Ms. Goodhart and soprano Marina Tolstova. Ms. Tolstova's operatic voice tended to overshadow the evening's other vocalists and overpower Rachmaninoff's "A Dream" (Op. 8, No.7) and "Spring Waters" (Op. 14, No. 11). The resolute Russian soprano finished the concert with a thrilling "O Mio Babbino Caro" from Puccini's opera "Gianni Schicchi," her voice at times sliding between notes. Although powerful in sound, it lacked tonal warmth and charm.

Since late 2012, the Arts Center has been in the remodeled Sonoma County Veterans Hall in downtown Sebastopol, an ideal setting for public concerts and social events. Executive Director Linda Galleta and Mr. Flor make an ideal pair to stimulate productions of live music in this semi-cozy venue.