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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...
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.