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Symphony
SO CO PHIL BON VOYAGE CONCERT AN ODYSSEY OF CONTRASTING SOUND
by Terry McNeill
Friday, June 15, 2018
In a splashy bon voyage concert June 15 the Sonoma County Philharmonic Orchestra launched its June 17-25 Costa Rica tour, performing gratis in Santa Rosa’s Jackson Theater the repertoire for tour concerts in San José, Costa Rica’s capital, and in surrounding towns. Conductor Norman Gamboa pr...
Chamber
COMMANDING CHOPIN AND DEBUSSY IN SLV RECITAL
by Terry McNeill
Wednesday, June 06, 2018
Concerts at the classy Spring Lake Village Retirement Home in Santa Rosa have admission limited to residents and a few guests, but the chance to hear a first cabin North Bay pianist June 6 brought a Classical Sonoma reviewer into the audience of 100. The crowd numbers were unusually low due to a ba...
Recital
MUSICAL ALCHEMY INSIDE A HIDDEN GEM
by Kayleen Asbo
Friday, May 25, 2018
The Petaluma Historical Library and Museum is a hidden gem of Sonoma County, a gracious building that is one of Sonoma County’s loveliest venues for chamber music concerts, with a fine period piano particularly suited to Romantic music.  Of the surprisingly large array of festivities there, one of t...
Chamber
FINAL VOM MUSICIANS CONCERT IN SCHROEDER A SCHUBERT DELIGHT
by Terry McNeill
Saturday, May 12, 2018
It's rare to have the opportunity to compare in a short period two performances of the same major Schubert work, in this case the great B Flat Piano Trio, D. 898. The chance came May 12 when the Valley of the Moon Festival musicians played it in Schroeder, just over a month since the Hall’s residen...
Symphony
FERRANDIS BIDS ADIEU WITH MAHLER’S FINAL SYMPHONY
by Steve Osborn
Sunday, May 06, 2018
Sonoma State students in graduation robes posed for pictures and hugged each other at the university’s stone gates on Sunday afternoon, mirroring the prolonged farewells within the university’s Green Music Center, where Bruno Ferrandis bid adieu to the Santa Rosa Symphony after a dozen years at the ...
Symphony
SONIC SPLENDOR AT MARIN SYMPHONY SEASON FINALE
by Abby Wasserman
Tuesday, May 01, 2018
The Marin Symphony Orchestra ended the current season with a flourish, interpreting big and small works by Richard Strauss and Stravinsky. Strauss and Stravinsky were contemporaries for 40 years, but inhabited different worlds. Both composers were affected by cataclysmic changes and war, and musical...
Symphony
ORGAN SYMPHONY IN SSU ORCHESTRA CONCERT IN WEILL
by Terry McNeill
Sunday, April 29, 2018
Though Classical Sonoma seldom reviews student concerts, as ample North Coast concerts keep the staff of 11 reviewers busy. But the chance to hear the Sonoma State University Orchestra tackle St. Saëns’ majestic Organ Symphony April 29 was a rare opportunity and not easily to be missed. Avec l’...
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 they seem to be on almost ever...
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...
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.