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Symphony
CONDUCTOR PLAYOFFS BEGIN IN SANTA ROSA
by Steve Osborn
Sunday, October 08, 2017
The Santa Rosa Symphony is calling 2017-18 “a choice season” because the next few months offer the audience and the symphony’s board of directors a chance to choose a new conductor from a pool of five candidates. Each candidate will lead a three-concert weekend set this fall and winter, with a final...
Symphony
DVORAK AND TCHAIKOVSKY ORCHESTRAL COLOR AT SO CO PHIL SEASON OPENER
by Terry McNeill
Saturday, September 30, 2017
A concert with curious repertoire and splashy orchestral color launched the 19th season of the Sonoma County Philharmonic Sept. 30 in Santa Rosa High School’s Auditorium. Why curious? Conductor Norman Gamboa paired the ever-popular Dvorak and his rarely heard 1891 trilogy In Nature’s Realm, with t...
Recital
ELEGANT PIANISM IN WATER MUSIC CHARMS HOUSE RECITAL AUDIENCE
by Terry McNeill
Sunday, September 03, 2017
A standard component of house concerts often involve listeners hearing the music but also smelling the lasagna and seeing the champagne in the adjacent kitchen. But it was not the case Sept. 3 at Sandra Shen’s Concerts Grand House Recital performance, as her riveting piano playing enthralled the sm...
Chamber
YOUNG MUSICIANS SHINE AT PIANO SONOMA CONCERT
by Lee Ormasa
Tuesday, August 01, 2017
The third in a series of four concerts by Piano Sonoma artists in residence, part of the Vino and Vibrato Series, was held August 1 in Schroeder Hall at the Green Music Center. Entitled “The Masters,” the program included works by Bach, Beethoven, Mozart and Haydn. Piano Sonoma is a summer artist-in...
Chamber
THRILLING PROGRAM CLOSES VOM CHAMBER FESTIVAL AT HANNA CENTER
by Lee Ormasa
Sunday, July 30, 2017
The finale of the two-week Valley of the Moon Music Festival closed July 30 with “The Age of Bravura” concert at the Sonoma’s Hanna Boys Center. The musical selections held to this year’s Festival theme “Schumann’s World - His Music and the Music He Loved.“ This summer Festival features chamber mus...
Chamber
PERIOD INSTRUMENTAL SOUND AT PENULTIMATE VOM FESTIVAL CONCERT
by Terry McNeill
Sunday, July 30, 2017
In the Valley of the Moon Chamber Music Festival’s penultimate concert July 30 the perennial issue of period and modern instruments was apparent. But only in the concluding Mendelssohn Trio, as the performances in the two first half works easily avoided instrumental comparisons. Clara Schumann’s t...
Chamber
ECLECTIC REPERTOIRE IN FETCHING VOM FESTIVAL CONCERT
by Terry McNeill
Saturday, July 22, 2017
One of the purposes of summer music festivals is to present unfamiliar music in an attractive and often small audience setting. The Valley of the Moon Music Festival delightfully met these requirements July 22 and 23 with two concerts in the small hall at Sonoma’s Hanna Boys Center. Classical Sono...
Recital
ADAMS' PHRYGIAN GATES HIGHLIGHTS MORKOSKI FESTIVAL PERFORMANCE
by Lee Ormasa
Saturday, July 22, 2017
Attendees at the Molly Morkoski Mendocino Music Festival recital July 22 were in for a treat, both pianistically and if they happened to buy a tasty cookie during intermission. The program included Beethoven’s Op. 27 Moonlight Sonata, Adams’ Phrygian Gates, a surprise add-on of Grieg’s Holberg Suit...
Symphony
SOARING VERDI REQUIEM CLOSES 31ST MENDOCINO FESTIVAL
by Lee Ormasa
Saturday, July 22, 2017
We speak frequently about how there is nothing like the experience of a live performance. Seldom was this truer than at the July 22 closing performance of the two-week Mendocino Music Festival. The Festival Orchestra, conducted by of Allan Pollack, joined with the Festival Chorus in a moving renderi...
Recital
ORGAN REGISTRATION MASTERY HEARD IN WALHAIN'S RECITAL
by Robert Young
Tuesday, July 18, 2017
A group of 65 lucky attendees July 18 had the pleasure of hearing Etienne Walhain’s recital at the Church of the Incarnation in Santa Rosa. Mr. Walhain is organist at the Cathedral of Notre Dame in Tournai, Belgium, and played to a varied program Bach, Franck, and Reger. He used the tonal resource...
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.