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Symphony
MENDELSSOHN'S SCOTTISH SAVES THE EVENING IN SRS WEILL CONCERT
by Terry McNeill
Monday, February 11, 2019
The audience entering Weill Hall for Santa Rosa Symphony concerts Feb. 9-11 were presented with a program that on first glance appeared a curious patchwork – a great symphony mixed with a seldom heard concerto and two disparate overtures, and a guest conductor unknown locally. Monday night’s concer...
Recital
INTRIGUING BELL-HAYWOOD RECITAL BEFORE FULL HOUSE IN WEILL HALL
by Abby Wasserman
Friday, February 08, 2019
A big portion of the capacity audience in Weill Hall February 8th came to hear violinist Joshua Bell’s virtuosity, and were treated as well to splendid playing from Sam Haywood, Mr. Bell’s regular pianist since 2010. The duo performed three engaging sonatas, highlighted by Mr. Bell’s sterling techn...
Symphony
TRIPLE PLAY UKIAH SYMPHONY CONCERT AND TCHAIKOVSKY SERENADE
by Terry McNeill
Sunday, January 27, 2019
Over the years the Ukiah Symphony’s concerts have been in the Classical Sonoma Calendar sections, but rarely has this Orchestra, now in its 39th season, had a full winter season concert review. The provocative Jan. 27 program in Mendocino College’s Center Theater seemed a good reason to reacquaint ...
Symphony
JACKSON THEATER WELCOMES A NEW RESIDENT ORCHESTRA
by Terry McNeill
Saturday, January 26, 2019
Moving to a permanent new performance venue can be a perilous undertaking for an orchestra, with different acoustics, the loyal audience finding the new spot and infrastructure challenges of lighting and lobby and backstage operations. In their first concert Jan. 26 in Windsor’s Jackson Theater the...
Symphony
ECLECTIC PASSIONATE PROGRAMMING AT MARIN SYMPHONY CONCERT
by Abby Wasserman
Saturday, January 26, 2019
The Marin Symphony’s second Masterworks concert of the 2018-19 season featured works by John Adams, Sibelius and Brahms, a masterful assembly. In a spoken introduction before the program’s first half, conductor Alasdair Neale primed the audience for the “terra incognita” of Adams’ The Chairman Dance...
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...
Recital
KHOZYAINOV'S BRILLIANT PIANISM IN MILL VALLEY RECITAL
by Abby Wasserman
Sunday, January 13, 2019
In its third concert of the season the Mill Valley Chamber Music Society Jan. 13 presented Russian virtuoso Nikolay Khozyainov. His intelligent and sensitive interpretations, masterful pedal work, and virtuoso technique left the near-capacity audience in Mt. Tamalpais Methodist Church astounded and ...
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...
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.