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Chamber
BEETHOVEN FEATURED IN SF TRIO'S OCCIDENTAL CONCERT
by Terry McNeill
Sunday, January 19, 2020
Conventional repertoire in uncommonly good performances highlighted the San Francisco Piano Trio’s Jan. 19 concert in the Occidental Center for the Arts. Haydn’s No. 44 Trio (Hob. XV:28) came from late in his long career, when he was in and out of London, and received a sparkling reading that featu...
SIMONE PORTER ASPIRES TO STARDOM WITH SANTA ROSA SYMPHONY
by Steve Osborn
Sunday, January 12, 2020
The Sibelius violin concerto is one of several mountains that violin soloists need to ascend before they can lay claim to stardom. Hundreds make the attempt every year, but only a few reach the top. Simone Porter, who played the concerto with the Santa Rosa Symphony on Sunday afternoon, got close bu...
Choral and Vocal
ORPHEUS OF AMSTERDAM'S MUSIC IN SCHROEDER ORGAN CHORAL CONCERT
by Sonia Morse Tubridy
Friday, January 10, 2020
“All over the map.” Sonoma Bach, directed by Bob Worth, has taken its audiences this season on journeys through many centuries and many lands. The programming is fresh and intriguing and the performers varied and creators of beauty and interest. The January 10 program was centered on organ works by...
Choral and Vocal
OLD NORTH GERMAN CAROLS IN SONOMA BACH'S SCHROEDER CONCERT
by Sonia Morse Tubridy
Sunday, December 15, 2019
“Cast off all sorrows…also dance in heavenly fashion.” A volume called Piae Cantiones was printed in 1582 in North Germany, lively songs going back to the 14th century, and this treasure trove provided material for numerous composers to arrange Christmas carols over following generations, from simp...
Symphony
EVERLASTING LIGHT AT SANTA ROSA SYMPHONY
by Steve Osborn
Monday, December 09, 2019
The Mozart Requiem includes four intermittent vocal soloists, but the real star is the choir, which is featured in almost every movement. That stardom shone bright at the Santa Rosa Symphony’s memorable Requiem performance on Monday night. The soloists were good, but the choir was superb. Located wi...
Symphony
UNFINISHED AND FINNISH
by Terry McNeill
Sunday, December 08, 2019
Having a new resident conductor on the podium for the Ukiah Symphony was an attractive invitation for a long-delayed visit to Mendocino College’s Center Theater Dec. 8. The insouciant Les Pfutzenreuter recently retired after decades of conducting the ensemble, replaced by Phillip Lenberg who also j...
Choral and Vocal
PRAERTORIUS IN RENAISSANCE GLORY FROM SONOMA BACH
by Sonia Morse Tubridy
Saturday, November 16, 2019
Sonoma Bach Choir, in collaboration with Barefoot All-Stars Viol Consort and The Whole Noyse Brass Ensemble, presented “Sing Glorious Praetorius!” November 16 to an almost full Schroeder Hall at the Green Music Center. The Soloists were soprano Dianna Morgan, Christopher Fritzsche, (countertenor), m...
Symphony
ECLECTIC INSTRUMENTAL EXCITEMENT IN SO CO PHIL CONCERT IN JACKSON
by Terry McNeill
Saturday, November 16, 2019
Beginning with a scintillating reading of Rossini’s Overture to the Opera “Semiramide,” the Sonoma County Philharmonic performed a splendid program Nov. 16 in the Jackson Theater, and featured two additional works, one showcasing the winner of the San Francisco Conservatory’s Young Artist Award. It...
Chamber
SPIRITUAL LATE BEETHOVEN QUARTET HIGHLIGHTS MILL VALLEY CHAMBER CONCERT
by Abby Wasserman
Sunday, November 10, 2019
Beethoven’s String Quartet No. 14 in C-sharp minor, Op. 131, called “unparalleled in its inexhaustibility” by critic Thomas May, is a daunting challenge. Orchestral in concept, filled with wit and charm, melancholy and fury, it almost overwhelms listeners. Playing the frenetic Scherzo, a viol...
Symphony
MUSICAL EXTRAVAGANCE IN UNIQUE SRS CONCERT IN WEILL HALL
by Terry McNeill
Monday, November 04, 2019
It was a concert full of surprises Nov. 4 as the Santa Rosa Symphony responded to the area’s wild fires and evacuations with challenging, songful and somewhat unique music in Weill Hall. The last of a three-concert series titled "Master of the Modern Banjo" is reviewed here. The evening began with...
CHAMBER REVIEW
Music at Oakmont / Thursday, March 13, 2014
Boston Piano Trio. Heng-Jin Park, piano; Irina Muresanu, violin; Jennifer Culp, cello

Boston Trio at Oakmont March 13

GHOSTS AND GYPSIES USHER IN THE SPRING

by Terry McNeill
Thursday, March 13, 2014

As a harbinger of spring, the Boston Trio brought sprightly piano trios of Haydn and Beethoven to their Music at Oakmont concert March 13 in Berger Auditorium. Happily the long and weighty Dvorak F Minor Trio, Op. 65, didn't manage to dampen the warm afternoon's ambiance.

The Dvorak performance was the most memorable, with a perfect unison in the somber opening phrase from violinist Irina Muresanu and cellist Jennifer Culp, leading quickly to surging themes set out by pianist Heng-Jin Park. This is an episodic movement, at times sounding like Brahms, and it was played with considerable power and insight. Ms. Muresanu's tone is not big, but her intonation is accurate, contrasting well with Ms. Culp's rich lower register and frequent portamento.

The following Allegretto was played in a bouncy fashion, the violin and cello alternating brief riffs in thirds over the piano line, and it had the character of a wild dance. Ms. Park's comments to the audience noted that Dvorak's extended Adagio was the center of the piece. The cello opening over marching chords from the piano was lovely, and the ensemble projected one questioning phrase after another. Ms. Park played with uniform chordal weighting, and the ending, a last unison string chord, was refined.

The finale was played well with majesty in the short themes and little instrumental "hiccups" abounding. A peaceful resignation came only at the end. This long trio seemed not long at all under the Boston's artistry.

Haydn's "Gypsy" Trio from 1795 was a shrewd program opener and received a lively reading. Ms. Park throughout the afternoon showed her discerning command of scales, using a detaché touch in the Haydn and Beethoven, and a more legato touch for Dvorak. Ms. Muresanu, though frequently needing more tonal bloom, often underplays the solo lines, preferring to meld well into the ensemble to an alluring effect. The whirling "Hungarian" Rondo was pungent and often thrusting, and brought a loud ovation from the 200 patrons in the hall.

The "Geister" (Ghost) Trio, Op. 70, No. 1, is one of Beethoven's most popular chamber works, and the Boston's focus here was on instrumental clarity. Following substantial string retuning, the players began the Allegro Vivace at a fast clip, with Ms. Culp's cello projecting a resonant and vocal line. The string unison playing again was impeccable. I found the conception in the famous Largo careful but a little dry, with exquisite violin work from Ms. Muresanu and operatic tremolos for both hands from Ms. Park. Beethoven's astounding creativity was everywhere present in the final Presto, and the ensemble was elegant and everywhere balanced.

In sum, the concert was a splendid mix of the trio repertoire, splendidly played.