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A HEALTHY MIX OF TRANSCRIPTIONS AND ORIGINALS FROM THE SR SYMPHONY
by Steve Osborn
Sunday, January 24, 2021
Transcriptions and ascending arpeggios were the order of the day on Jan. 24, as the Santa Rosa Symphony performed uplifting works by Bach/Webern, Ellen Taaffe Zwilich, Marianna Martínes and Mozart. The concert video was made in Weill Hall on Jan. 9. The first transcription was Webern’s 1935 renderi...
Symphony
HEROIC EFFORT FROM THE SANTA ROSA SYMPHONY
by Steve Osborn
Sunday, December 13, 2020
December 13 was a rainy day, perfect for huddling indoors and watching a prerecorded “live” performance by the Santa Rosa Symphony. The program was expansive, with music from the 18th through 21st centuries, and the mood was festive, in keeping with the holiday season. There was something in the fea...
Symphony
MASKED SANTA ROSA SYMPHONY CARRIES ON BRILLIANTLY
by Steve Osborn
Sunday, November 15, 2020
In some ways the Santa Rosa Symphony’s Nov. 15 concert on YouTube resembled a Conceptual Art performance from the 1970s. On display were about 30 masked orchestral musicians playing six feet apart from each other on stage, some of them separated by plexiglass barriers. In the 1970s, the concept behi...
Chamber
SPLENDID STRINGS IN A SUNLIT GARDEN
by Abby Wasserman
Sunday, November 1, 2020
A sun-drenched autumn afternoon, a Marin County garden and six superb string players from the Santa Rosa Symphony were manna from heaven to a pandemic-weary audience starved for live music. The sextet of Santa Rosa Symphony musicians performed to a small group of 20 Nov. 1, the day after Halloween....
Chamber
EXAMPLARY QUARTET PLAYING IN MARIN GARDEN CONCERT
by Terry McNeill
Thursday, October 22, 2020
Taped video concerts have pretty much dominated the recent fare for classical music fans, but sporadic live music making can still be found in the North Bay with outdoor chamber music. Of course with the obligatory social distancing and often decorative facial masks. Four San Francisco Opera Orc...
Chamber
VIDEO CHAMBER MUSIC FROM LINCOLN CENTER IN GREEN'S BROADCAST
by Terry McNeill
Saturday, October 17, 2020
Along with hosting its resident the Santa Rosa Symphony, Weill Hall has contracted to produce sporadic virtual programs of classical music, and began Oct. 17 with a charming three-part concert from the Chamber Music Society of Lincoln Center in New York. Hosted with comely introductions by CMSLC di...
Symphony
THRILLING SANTA ROSA SYMPHONY PERFORMANCE IN AN EMPTY WEILL HALL
by Steve Osborn
Sunday, October 11, 2020
Viewers of the Santa Rosa Symphony’s inaugural socially distanced YouTube concert on Oct. 11 could be forgiven for thinking they had stumbled upon a performance of Verdi’s “Un Ballo in Maschera” (A Masked Ball), given that the string players in the opening shot all wore black masks. The sole excepti...
Symphony
BROWN VIDEO GALA LAUNCHES SANTA ROSA SYMPHONY SEASON
by Terry McNeill
Saturday, September 12, 2020
Similar to many North Coast musical organizations the Santa Rosa Symphony has scheduled a series of virtual concerts on video, spotlighting sections of the orchestra and the exuberant activities of its conductor Francesco Lecce-Chong. However, as an introduction to the season, a Sept. 12 gala vide...
SONGS AND ECHOES OF HOME IN AIZURI QUARTET CONCERT
by Abby Wasserman
Sunday, March 8, 2020
From the first richly layered harmonies of Dvořák’s Cypresses, the Aizuri Quartet held the March 8th audience at Mt. Tamalpais Methodist Church in thrall. The church was more than half full, a good crowd considering present anxiety about the spread of the coronavirus. Taking precautions, the M...
COLORFUL BORN BACH AT AGAVE BAROQUE'S SCHROEDER HALL CONCERT
by Sonia Morse Tubridy
Friday, February 28, 2020
Bach’s obituary records that “Johann Sebastian Bach belongs to a family that seems to have received a love and aptitude for music as a gift of Nature to all its members in common.” Agave Baroque presented their Feb. 28 concert, Born Bach, as a partial musical story of several generations in this rem...
CHAMBER REVIEW

Trio Navarro April 6 in Weill Hall

THEMATIC OPULENCE FROM THE TRIO NAVARRO

by Terry McNeill
Sunday, April 6, 2014

Northern California’s Trio Navarro presented just two works in an April 6 Weill Hall concert, an event with consummate playing, inspired drama and ample thematic richness.

Schubert’s B-Flat Major Trio, D. 898, was the evening’s highlight and was familiar fare for the estimable Navarro. The wonderful opening Allegro Moderato was initially played with restraint but became warmly lyrical in the exposition and development, yet devoid of any sentimentality. This is music of eternal sunshine.

The sublime Andante featured the duet work of cellist Jill Rachuy Brindel and violinist Victor Romasevich. Their playing was tender but without the slow tempo and sweeping ritards of the iconic Cortot-Thibaud-Casals recording. The many modulations were deftly performed and the ensemble balanced. Pianist Marilyn Thompson was always discretely supportive. With only 65 in the hall that seats more than 1,400, the Trio’s sound was direct and clear below a mezzo-forte with a long reverberation time.

In the concluding Scherzo and Rondo movements the work’s length in less capable hands can sound overly extended, but the Navarro shaped the rise and fall of phrases lovingly, and the chorale in the Scherzo’s middle was elegant. After all, for musicians Schubert has heavenly length.

After intermission Arensky’s first Trio, the now-popular D Minor of Op. 32, was played very well but in the end wasn’t totally convincing. As with the Schubert, the Navarro opted for tempos that were at times brisk with repeats played at a volume and with rhythms that were the same as in exposition. It worked well with the Schubert but didn’t quite capture the ambiance in music inspired by Tchaikovsky and foreshadowing Rachmaninoff.

The majestic first movement theme was played strongly but tonally thin by Mr. Romasevich, and the piano sound in fast runs at half pedal was indistinct and lacking the needed finger staccato. Acoustics in the nearly empty hall contributed to this pianistic blur; the opening of the smaller Schroeder Hall cannot come too soon. The trio in the Scherzo was played in a gay style, almost a waltz, and Arensky’s melodic gifts were spotlighted in the Elegia, begun with Mr. Romasevich’s retuning his violin and a subsequent fervid low register duet with Ms. Brindel.

In sum the performance was never pedestrian but also never quite seized Arensky’s subtle lyricism and late romantic-era phrasing. Clearly Arensky’s neglected second Trio in F Minor, with its poetic cello writing, should be on the Navarro’s list of scores to perform.