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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 ...
RECITAL REVIEW
Sonoma State University Department of Music / Saturday, August 23, 2014
Jeffrey Kahane, piano

Pianist Jeffrey Kahane

KAHANE RECITAL HELPS INAUGURATE SCHROEDER HALL

by Terry McNeill
Saturday, August 23, 2014

Jeffrey Kahane returns frequently to Sonoma County in conducting and concerto performance, but rarely in recital. Two past solo events come to mind, a "fantasy" program where the Copland outshone the Schumann and Chopin, and an uneven concert capped by Chopin's F Minor Ballade.

A jammed Schroeder Hall audience heard Mr. Kahane August 23 in a short recital during the opening weekend's events. He began with Beethoven's C Minor "Pathétique" Sonata, Op. 13. After playing a riveting slow first-movement statement, he selected a tempo that he could not sustain without wrong notes and blurred scales. He took the repeat and emphasized momentum and sharp contrasts at the expense of sonic clarity.

The Adagio movement had a stable tempo and lovely phrasing, but in the finale Mr. Kahane returned to a muscular approach, the Sonata's drama finally overcoming pianistic transparency.

Four Chopin works concluded the afternoon, and though the pianist understands the structural nature of the pieces, he is not an innate Chopin interpreter. The E Flat Nocturne of Op. 55 had little rhythmic subtlety and was over-pedaled, a shadow of Friedman's iconic 1936 recording. The arpeggiated final chord was novel, and the repeated A flats in the treble were bursts of beguiling light.

Two Mazurkas followed from Op. 56 (C Minor, No. 3) and Op. 50 (C-Sharp Minor, No. 3). These were workmanlike readings, a little loud for the small hall, with the middle section of the wonderful C-Sharp Minor receiving the most persuasive playing. Chopin's mazurkas are tiny gems with amazing harmonic twists that Mr. Kahane played with finish but not with the requisite deft touch and rhythmic "lift."

A specialty piece for the pianist, the Op. 52 Ballade was given a passionate performance where the parts didn't quite add up to a potent whole. Here too much damper pedal muddied and clipped the endings of phrases, and passagework and right-hand chords were blurred. The chorale section was beautifully shaped, taking advantage of the Schroeder piano's mellow tone quality. In less than 10 minutes Chopin wrote a work of cosmic power and visceral impact, both carefully unfolding under Mr. Kahane's fingers and feet but never quite scaling an emotional peak.

A standing ovation brought an encore of Schubert's B Flat Impromptu from Op. 142. The swirls of left-hand notes were captivating and the long fermata quietly ended the Schroeder's first piano recital.