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Symphony
A SLICE OF HEAVEN FROM THE SANTA ROSA SYMPHONY
by Steve Osborn
Sunday, January 13, 2019
Under its vibrant new music director, Francesco Lecce-Chong, the Santa Rosa Symphony this past Sunday offered a nearly perfect afternoon of Mozart (Symphony No. 40) and Mahler (Symphony No. 4). While the two works share a common digit, the only element uniting them is genius. They made for a dazzlin...
Chamber
A COMPLETE MUSICAL PACKAGE IN ARRON'S OAKMONT RECITAL
by Terry McNeill
Thursday, January 10, 2019
Cellist Edward Arron has been a welcome artist at the Music at Oakmont series, and after his Jan. 10 recital it’s easy to understand his popularity. His artistry is a complete package, with potent instrumental technique wedded to integral musical conceptions. In a nearly flawless concert with pian...
Choral and Vocal
COMPELLING WEILL HALL MESSIAH ORATORIO FROM THE ABS
by Terry McNeill
Saturday, December 15, 2018
Each holiday season when a Classical Sonoma reviewer is assigned to cover a concert with Handel’s seminal Oratorio The Messiah, the question arises about what new commentary can possibly apply to the often performed choral work. Well, if it’s the American Bach Soloists performing the piece, written...
Opera
PURCELL'S DIDO IN YOUTHFUL SSU OPERA
by Abby Wasserman
Wednesday, December 05, 2018
A doomed royal love affair, the theme of Purcell’s Dido and Aeneas, was brought to lovely life at Sonoma State University Dec. 5 in the school’s Schroeder Hall. Conducted by faculty member Zachary Gordin, who also played continuo, the performance was only the second opera production presented by the...
Symphony
SANTA ROSA SYMPHONY HERALDS THE HOLIDAYS
by Steve Osborn
Sunday, December 02, 2018
Antlers are typical headgear during the holiday season, but the ushers and one bassist at the Santa Rosa Symphony concert on Dec. 2 sported apples atop their heads. The red fruits were festive but perplexing until the orchestra began Rossini’s “William Tell” overture, at which point even the dull-wi...
Symphony
A HERO'S ODYSSEY IN SO CO PHIL CONCERT
by Art Hofmann
Sunday, November 18, 2018
The audience at the Sonoma County Philharmonic’s Nov. 18 concert was warned at the outset that the old Santa Rosa High School auditorium boiler was turned off, and there was a steady eminently audible tone in the hall. Conductor Norman Gamboa said the tone was an A, a high one. But there it was, a...
Recital
MTA BENEFIT CONCERT FEATURES FAURE, DVORAK, JANACEK AND BARBER WORKS
by Terry McNeill
Sunday, November 11, 2018
In a splendid concert Nov. 11 the Music Teachers Association of California, Sonoma County Chapter, presented their sixth annual benefit concert before 40 avid listeners in the Santa Rosa home of Helen Howard and Robert Yeats. Highlights of the performances, involving eight musicians in various perf...
Recital
SERKIN'S SINGULAR MOZART AND BACH PLAYING IN WEILL RECITAL
by Terry McNeill
Friday, November 09, 2018
Returning to Weill Hall following a fire-related recital cancellation in 2017, pianist Peter Serkin programmed just three works in his Nov. 7 concert, three masterworks that challenged both artist and audience alike. It needs to be said at the outset that Mr. Serkin takes a decidedly non-standard a...
Chamber
LUMINOUS FAURE TOPS LINCOLN TRIO'S SPRING LAKE VILLAGE CONCERT
by Terry McNeill
Wednesday, November 07, 2018
Familiarity in chamber music often evokes warm appreciation, and it was thus Nov. 7 when the Chicago-based Lincoln Piano Trio made one of their many Sonoma County appearances, this time on the Spring Lake Village Classical Music Series. Regularly presented by local impresario Robert Hayden, the Lin...
Symphony
PEACE AND LOVE FROM THE SANTA ROSA SYMPHONY
by Steve Osborn
Sunday, November 04, 2018
Before the Santa Rosa Symphony’s Nov. 4 performance of Leonard Bernstein’s “Symphonic Dances from West Side Story,” Symphony CEO Alan Silow took a moment to acknowledge the victims of the Pittsburgh synagogue attack and to observe that music offers a more peaceful and loving view of the world. Mr. ...
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.