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Choral and Vocal
A SEASONAL MESSIAH WITH BALANCE AND HEFT
by Terry McNeill
Sunday, December 10, 2017
The mid-December concert season seems for jaded reviewers to invariably include a Messiah performance, and perhaps a Messiah in a long string of similar and mundane performances. This was decidedly not the case when San Francisco’s Philharmonia Baroque mounted Handel’s eminent three-part 1742 Orato...
Symphony
ANDREW GRAMS FINDS HIS GROOVE SR SYMPHONY IN RACHMANINOFF
by Steve Osborn
Sunday, December 03, 2017
Last Sunday’s Santa Rosa Symphony concert featured two elegant and refined guests: music director candidate Andrew Grams and pianist Stewart Goodyear. Both displayed dazzling technique and consummate artistry, but Goodyear was the more consistent of the two. Some of Grams’ inconsistency may have st...
Symphony
SONIC SPLASH AND ENSEMBLE DELICACY AT SO CO PHIL CONCERT
by Terry McNeill
Saturday, November 18, 2017
Franck’s wonderful D Minor Symphony is a rarity on today’s concert programs, and I can’t remember a North Bay performance in many years from any of the six resident area orchestras. So it was good to see the Sonoma County Philharmonic feature it in their Nov. 18 and 19 concerts at Santa Rosa High S...
Chamber
TETZLAFF QUARTET'S MASTERY IN MOZART AND SCHUBERT
by Terry McNeill
Saturday, November 11, 2017
German violin virtuoso Christian Tetzlaff presented a critically successful Weill Hall recital Feb. 18, and returned to the same venue Nov. 11 with his admirable Tetzlaff Quartet in a program of Berg, Schubert and Mozart. Clarity of ensemble has always been a hallmark of this Quartet, and contrapun...
Chamber
RAVISHING SHORT OPERAS FROM FRENCH TROUPE IN WEILL
by Terry McNeill
Friday, November 10, 2017
Standard Weill Hall fall and winter classical programs are pretty routine – symphonic music, chamber, solo recitals – so it was a rare treat Nov. 10 when just two works from the 17th century were gloriously presented. With such specialized compositions, period performers with commanding authenticit...
Symphony
MEI-ANN CHEN PROVES A WORTHY CONTENDER FOR SANTA ROSA SYMPHONY CONDUCTING POST
by Steve Osborn
Sunday, November 05, 2017
These days the focus of Santa Rosa Symphony concerts is as much on the conductor candidates as on the soloists. This past weekend’s concerts featured the second of those candidates, Mei-Ann Chen, along with pianist Nareh Arghamanyan, each of whom cut an imposing figure on the stage. Chen is diminut...
Symphony
TO RUSSIA WITH BRILLIANCE
by Terry McNeill
Friday, November 03, 2017
Russian pianist Denis Matsuev’s high velocity and frequently slam-bang virtuosity came to the Green Music Center last year with a thrilling and equally perplexing solo performance. So many in Weill Nov. 3 were interested to hear if his pianistic style would mesh well in a concerto, and with a fine ...
Symphony
THUNDEROUS TCHAIKOVSKY FOURTH OPENS MARIN SYMPHONY SEASON
by Terry McNeill
Tuesday, October 31, 2017
North Coast weather is turning cool and the nights longer, ideal for Tchaikovsky’s big boned symphonies. The Santa Rosa Symphony recently programmed the Fourth (F Minor Symphony) as did the San Francisco Symphony. Norman Gamboa’s Sonoma County Philharmonic just played the Tchaikovsky First, forgoi...
Recital
RESPIGHI'S PUNGENT SONATA HIGHLIGHTS KENNEY-GUTMAN RECITAL
by Terry McNeill
Sunday, October 29, 2017
Respighi’s B Minor Violin Sonata seems never to gain conventional repertoire status. Perhaps the great Heifetz recording is intimidating, and I can recall over many years just two local performances: Jason Todorov and William Corbett-Jones years go in Newman, and a titanic reading in March by Anne S...
Chamber
MIRÓ QUARTET AND JEFFERY KAHANE PROVIDE MUSICAL RELIEF FOR FIRE-RAVAGED SONOMA COUNTY
by Steve Osborn
Saturday, October 28, 2017
Sonoma County’s Green Music Center has stood silent but unscathed the past few weeks as the county begins to recover from the devastating fires that began on the evening of October 8, only a few hours after a Santa Rosa Symphony concert in the Music Center. Since then, concerts by the Symphony, the ...
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.