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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...
ECLECTIC VIOLIN AND PIANO WORKS IN VIRTUOSIC MILL VALLEY RECITAL
by Abby Wasserman
Sunday, February 23, 2020
Blending virtuosity with sublime artistry, violinist Alexander Sitkovetsky and pianist Wu Qian gave the Mill Valley Chamber Music Society audience many thrills February 23, performing four muscular and soulful works by four composers from four countries: de Falla, Schumann, Stravinsky, and Grieg. T...
PREMIER OF KAIZEN AND DRAMATIC MOZART HIGHLIGHT ECHO CHAMBER CONCERT
by Abby Wasserman
Sunday, February 16, 2020
As concertgoers took their seats in San Anselmo’s First Presbyterian Church for ECHO Chamber Orchestra’s February 16 program, they were surprised to see at center stage two bass drums, a tom-tom, bongos, high hat and cymbals. It was the occasion of the world premiere of "Kaizen," composed and perf...
BEETHOVEN'S VALENTINE'S DAY GIFT IN RAC SEBASTOPOL RECITAL
by Terry McNeill
Friday, February 14, 2020
Continuing a season of Redwood Arts Council successes, the Kouzov Duo performed an eclectic Valentine’s Day concert in Sebastopol’s Community Church before an audience of 125. Beethoven’s charming Op. 66 Variations on Mozart’s “Ein Mädchen oder Weibchen” from the opera the Magic Flute was a bouncy ...
LUSH BACH PERFORMANCE IN DENK'S WEILL HALL RECITAL
by Terry McNeill
Thursday, February 13, 2020
Memorable artistic interpretations of musical masterpieces are often at extremes, and with the Bach’s Well-Tempered Clavier (WTC - Book I) that Jeremy Denk played in Weill Hall Feb. 13, the pianist was only sporadically at unique or ebullient musical ends. But his playing wasn’t exactly at opposite...
RECITAL REVIEW
Music at Oakmont / Thursday, October 16, 2014
Einav Yarden, piano

Pianist Einav Yarden

PIANISM OF SUBSTANCE AND CONTROL

by Terry McNeill
Thursday, October 16, 2014

Israeli pianist Einav Yarden has had several past Sonoma County appearances, but her Oct. 16 Music at Oakmont recital exhibited a new and attractive level of resolute programming, instrumental mastery and impressive musicianship.

She played three substantial works, including the opening Second English Suite of Bach (BWV 807), which was in many ways the most memorable. The Prelude was lively but never too fast, allowing clarity in the mainly two-voiced contrapuntal lines, and leading smoothly into the stately Allemande and a Courante of rhythmic complexity.

Ms. Yarden used minimal damper pedal throughout, enhancing a chaste pianissimo touch in the expressive Sarabande and providing lucidity in the concluding Gigue. There isn’t much dynamic contrast in the two Bourrées and in the da capo part of the Gigue, but it’s a low-temperature work that mated well with the artist’s interpretation and mood.

Closing the first half was Ravel’s popular "Valses Nobles et Sentimentales," a series of eight connected pieces that range from a forceful opening to a delicate closing waltz recapitulation. The playing of each captured ample mystery and chordal structure, especially in the Assez lent and Assez animé waltzes. It was thoughtful and at times pensive playing in a work that in lesser hands can sound raucous.

Occupying the entire second half was the monumental Schubert G Major Sonata, D. 894, one of the composer’s four last sonatas. It took courage to program in Oakmont a restrained work that can take close to 45 minutes to play, with extended themes and long repetitions. But it’s a heavenly length and as in the Bach, the pianist opted for judicious tempos throughout. She brought the long crescendo in the first movement’s development section to a firm but not loud climax, and contrasted it with the rest of the movement’s lyrical serenity. In fact the entire recital didn’t have any fortissimo playing, the music instead demanding the artist’s careful chordal weighting and rhythmic control. The lovely motive where the left hand plays legato single notes against short right-hand figurations was captivatingly played, each of the six times being slightly different.

The Minuetto-Allegretto was appropriately played in a dance-like manner and the finale (Allegretto) was spacious and convincing. It’s a difficult work to sustain and Ms. Yarden’s approach to each work in the recital had to be taken on its own terms. I found all of the playing compelling. There was no encore.

One hundred and fifty attended the recital in Berger Auditorium, which has a continuously noisy HVAC system.