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Recital
HEAVENLY SCHUBERT AND DEMONIC CHOPIN
by Terry McNeill
Saturday, April 21, 2018
One of the anomalies in the long ago “Golden Era” of romantic pianism (about 1905 to 1940) is that the virtuoso giants of the time didn’t play Schubert. It took the German pianist Artur Schnabel to bring the beauties of Schuber’s work to the public’s attention, and now it seems to be on almost every...
Symphony
SPLENDID JUPITER AND ZOOMING CONCERTO AT VALLEJO SYMPHONY SEASON FINALE
by Terry McNeill
Sunday, April 15, 2018
Over the past two years the Vallejo Symphony has made big changes, moving from a stark middle school auditorium to the snazzy remodeled 1911-era downtown Empress Theater, and engaging Marc Taddei as its seventh conductor. April 15 was the season’s final concert of the 86th season. In a programmin...
Chamber
VIRTUOSO CELLO AND GUITAR TRANSCRIPTIONS AT RAC SEBASTOPOL CONCERT
by Terry McNeill
Saturday, April 14, 2018
Listeners and yes even music critics usually prepare for a concert with research, checking recorded performances, looking at artist biographies and even reviewing sheet music. This was a difficult task for the April 14 Redwood Arts Council concert in Sebastopol’s Community Church, as the performers...
Chamber
TRIO NAVARRO'S POPULAR FARE IN SCHROEDER HALL CONCERT
by Terry McNeill
Sunday, April 08, 2018
Long time Classical Sonoma readers may recall many Trio Navarro concert reviews that lauded their virtuosity and interest in rarely played repertoire. The April 8 concert in Schroeder Hall before 85 chamber music fans featured sterling performances but had a mostly conservative menu of popular trio...
Recital
KENNER'S ALL POLISH RECITAL HAS PADEREWSKI RARITY
by Abby Wasserman
Sunday, April 08, 2018
Kevin Kenner’s April 8 recital at Dominican University’s Angelico Hall had been advertised as all-Chopin, but he added a detour into another seminal Polish composer-pianist, Paderewski. Several of Mr. Kenner’s teachers were Poles, he speaks Polish, and he navigated at the piano both composers’ deman...
Symphony
IT'S ALL ABOUT THE VOICE AT SANTA ROSA SYMPHONY
by Steve Osborn
Sunday, April 08, 2018
In an April 8 Santa Rosa Symphony concert filled to the brim with instruments--electric violin, vibraphone, marimba, xylophone, glockenspiel, keyboard samplers, harps, piano and myriad drums, gongs and bells, to say nothing of winds, brass and strings--the instrument that came out on top was the hum...
Chamber
VOM FESTIVAL TRIO CHARMS WITH CHAMBER MIX, AND HUMMEL
by Terry McNeill
Saturday, March 31, 2018
At the core of the group of Valley of the Moon Music Festival (VOM) musicians is an ensemble of trios and duos, and as a trio March 31 Festival founders cellist Tanya Tomkins and pianist Eric Zivian joined British violinist Monica Huggett for a chamber music concert in the Green Music Center’s Schro...
Choral and Vocal
GOOD FRIDAY REQUIEM FILLS INCARNATION
by Terry McNeill
Friday, March 30, 2018
Maurice Duruflé’s short and intense Requiem has been heard in Santa Rosa’s Church of the Incarnation before, but the March 30 Good Friday performance was stripped down in the number of performers, combining Cantiamo Sonoma and the St. Cecilia Choir with musical underpinning from organist Robert Youn...
Symphony
HAMELIN'S HUSKY MOOD IN SCHROEDER RECITAL
by Terry McNeill
Sunday, March 25, 2018
Convention in piano recitals has the artist coming on stage and playing. Canadian pianist Charles Richard-Hamelin walked on Schroeder Hall’s stage March 25 and didn’t play for six minutes, chatting with the audience. A risk for some artists. Then most programs include a contemporary or rarely play...
Recital
VIRTUOSIC VARIATIONS IN MORGAN'S SCHROEDER ORGAN RECITAL
by Paul Blanchard
Sunday, March 18, 2018
Organist Robert Huw Morgan’s artistry spun through the web of early variation form in a Mar. 18 recital on Schroeder Hall’s wonderful Brombaugh organ. Mr. Morgan, Stanford University’s resident organist, performs a wide range of repertoire, but as he said in comments to the audience, he loves when h...
CHAMBER REVIEW
Trio Navarro / Sunday, April 06, 2014
Jill Rachuy Brindel, cello; Victor Romasevich, violin; Marilyn Thompson,piano

Trio Navarro April 6 in Weill Hall

THEMATIC OPULENCE FROM THE TRIO NAVARRO

by Terry McNeill
Sunday, April 06, 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.