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Recital
GLITTERING PIANISM IN LI'S OAKMONT RECITAL
by Terry McNeill
Thursday, April 11, 2019
Piano prodigies have always been a fascination for the music public, and the greatest of them (some were Mozart, Mendelssohn, Liszt, Saint Saëns, Hofmann) went on to legendary fame. George Li, who made is local debut at a Music at Oakmont recital April 11, was a remarkable recent keyboard prodigy t...
Symphony
SO CO PHIL'S SEASON CLOSER WITH EXPANSIVE PROKOFIEV 5TH IN JACKSON
by Terry McNeill
Sunday, April 07, 2019
Closing their 20th season with their usual programming aplomb, the Sonoma County Philharmonic played a provocative set of concerts April 6 and 7 in the Jackson Theater, the Orchestra’s new home at the Sonoma Country Day School by the Sonoma County Airport. Local composer Nolan Gasser’s Sonoma Overt...
Choral and Vocal
SISTINE CHAPEL INSPIRATION FOR THE TALLIS SCHOLARS IN WEILL HALL
by Sonia Morse Tubridy
Friday, April 05, 2019
Returning to Weill Hall April 5 after a seven year absence, the ten singers of the Tallis Scholars brought the sacred choral tradition of Palestrina and his contemporaries to an audience of delighted music lovers. Under the direction of Peter Phillips, the 1973 founder of the group, the program was...
Symphony
AUTUMNAL SIBELIUS 7TH HIGHLIGHTS VSO'S SEASON CLOSING CONCERT
by Terry McNeill
Sunday, March 31, 2019
Closing their 87th Season March 30 and 31 the Vallejo Symphony has moved from a single weekend concert to a set of two, and the late March response was two full houses in the charming downtown Vallejo Empress Theater. Conductor Marc Taddei opened the Sunday program with a rousing performance of B...
Recital
SHARED INSTRUMENTAL BEAUTY IN VIEAUX-MEYERS WEILL HALL CONCERT
by Abby Wasserman
Saturday, March 30, 2019
Exciting timbral sound and intricate counterpoint, made possible when two artists with complementary instruments play together, were richly explored by violinist Anne Akiko Meyers and guitarist Jason Vieaux March 30 in Weill Hall. Whether in close harmony, or unison, or weaving separate melodies to...
Chamber
RARE MAHLER QUARTET AT MILL VALLEY CHAMBER CONCERT
by Abby Wasserman
Sunday, March 24, 2019
Piano quartets are relatively rare in the classical literature, and there are only about 40 compositions for the combination of piano, violin, viola and cello, mostly from the Romantic period of the mid to late 1800s. It therefore was special March 24 to hear three great works of this medium, perfor...
Symphony
AMERICAN CLASSICS SPARKLE UNDER KAHANE’S BATON
by Steve Osborn
Saturday, March 16, 2019
Jeffrey Kahane, the Santa Rosa Symphony’s former conductor, returned to the Weill Hall podium on Saturday night, and the results were expectedly wonderful. The concert of American classics was by turns playful (Gershwin’s “An American in Paris”), emotional (Barber’s violin concerto) and triumphant (...
Chamber
FLORESTAN TRIO'S MENDELSSOHN AT SPRING LAKE VILLAGE CONCERT
by Terry McNeill
Friday, March 08, 2019
Spring Lake Village’s monthly concerts usually clock in under an hour, but the March 8 Florestan Trio’s performance was more extended as so much good music was on tap for the 125 residents attending at Santa Rosa’s premiere retirement residence facility. Four short pieces made up the first half, be...
Chamber
TILDEN TRIO'S BOHEMIAN ENERGY AT DOMINICAN CONCERT
by Terry McNeill
Sunday, March 03, 2019
Hard on the heels of the Trio Navarro’s late February concert in Sonoma State’s Schroeder Hall, Northern California’s other premiere resident piano trio, the Tilden, played an equally convincing program March 3 in Dominican University’s Angelico Hall. Clearly each hall’s acoustics, stage pianos and...
Recital
24 SONGS IN A MENKE-THOMPSON RECITAL ODYSSEY
by Terry McNeill
Saturday, February 23, 2019
Sonoma County pop and country singing enjoys continued popularity but it rare to see a professional classical vocal concert announced. Diva Ruth Ann Swenson was once a local star, but she has long departed and not much virtuoso recital singing can be found in the North Bay. But the exception to th...
CHAMBER REVIEW
Chamber Music Society of Lincoln Center / Saturday, October 18, 2014
Musicians TBA

The Society Players After the Brahms Quintet in Weill Hall (N. Bell Photo)

AUTUMNAL BRAHMS IN WEILL CHAMBER MUSIC CONCERT

by Nicki Bell and Sonia Tubridy
Saturday, October 18, 2014

If you were in Weill Oct. 18 you might have experienced heaven, a Brahms heaven, when New York’s Chamber Music Society of Lincoln Center played an all-Brahms concert in the Hall’s MasterCard Performance series.

It was late Brahms which means rich emotional expression and deep and fluid themes. The clear connection between five musicians and five introspective compositions gave this familiar music a freshness that seemingly left the audience of 800 deeply moved.

Opening the concert was the A Minor Trio, Op. 114, for clarinet, cello and piano. From the first warm and glorious tones we were immersed in a world of beauty, expressively played by pianist Shai Wosner, cellist Timothy Eddy and clarinetist David Schifrin. The intertwining of the instrumental voices and long elegiac melodic lines produced wonderful harmonies.

Mr. Wosner was then joined by violinist Erin Keefe in the last Brahms Violin Sonata, Op. 108, the great work in D Minor. The ardor and drama of the Brahms Trio’s finale is picked up in the first movement of the complex sonata. It was a passionate and beseeching reading that melted into pure song. The Adagio was played with direct expression, pedal point and was mesmerizing.

Following intermission Mfr. Wosner played two piano gems, the Intermezzo from Op. 117 (No. 1) and the E Flat Rhapsody from Op. 119. The pianist provided the requisite power in the coda of the latter work and the playing, as Clara Schumann remarked, “combines passion and tenderness in the smallest of spaces.”

Concluding the evening was the monumental Clarinet Quintet in B Minor, Op. 115, with violinist Alexander Sitkovetsky joining Ms. Keefe, violist Mark Holloway and Mr. Eddy and Mr. Schifrin in an assured and autumnal performance. Weill’s pristine acoustics generated contrapuntal clarity and the lovely pianissimos left one tingling, and Mr. Schfrin's breath control was remarkable. It was visually exciting to watch the quintet’s internal communication, subtle body language and split-second music responses. This blending, contrasts, solos, duets and passionate partnering all evoked an elegant dance.

It was an evening of heavenly sounds and glorious Brahmsian beauty.