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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...
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...
Symphony
SANTA ROSA SYMPHONY HERALDS THE HOLIDAYS
by Steve Osborn
Sunday, December 02, 2018
Antlers are typical headgear during the holiday season, but the ushers and one bassist at the Santa Rosa Symphony concert on Dec. 2 sported apples atop their heads. The red fruits were festive but perplexing until the orchestra began Rossini’s “William Tell” overture, at which point even the dull-wi...
Symphony
A HERO'S ODYSSEY IN SO CO PHIL CONCERT
by Art Hofmann
Sunday, November 18, 2018
The audience at the Sonoma County Philharmonic’s Nov. 18 concert was warned at the outset that the old Santa Rosa High School auditorium boiler was turned off, and there was a steady eminently audible tone in the hall. Conductor Norman Gamboa said the tone was an A, a high one. But there it was, a...
Recital
MTA BENEFIT CONCERT FEATURES FAURE, DVORAK, JANACEK AND BARBER WORKS
by Terry McNeill
Sunday, November 11, 2018
In a splendid concert Nov. 11 the Music Teachers Association of California, Sonoma County Chapter, presented their sixth annual benefit concert before 40 avid listeners in the Santa Rosa home of Helen Howard and Robert Yeats. Highlights of the performances, involving eight musicians in various perf...
Recital
SERKIN'S SINGULAR MOZART AND BACH PLAYING IN WEILL RECITAL
by Terry McNeill
Friday, November 09, 2018
Returning to Weill Hall following a fire-related recital cancellation in 2017, pianist Peter Serkin programmed just three works in his Nov. 7 concert, three masterworks that challenged both artist and audience alike. It needs to be said at the outset that Mr. Serkin takes a decidedly non-standard a...
Chamber
LUMINOUS FAURE TOPS LINCOLN TRIO'S SPRING LAKE VILLAGE CONCERT
by Terry McNeill
Wednesday, November 07, 2018
Familiarity in chamber music often evokes warm appreciation, and it was thus Nov. 7 when the Chicago-based Lincoln Piano Trio made one of their many Sonoma County appearances, this time on the Spring Lake Village Classical Music Series. Regularly presented by local impresario Robert Hayden, the Lin...
Symphony
PEACE AND LOVE FROM THE SANTA ROSA SYMPHONY
by Steve Osborn
Sunday, November 04, 2018
Before the Santa Rosa Symphony’s Nov. 4 performance of Leonard Bernstein’s “Symphonic Dances from West Side Story,” Symphony CEO Alan Silow took a moment to acknowledge the victims of the Pittsburgh synagogue attack and to observe that music offers a more peaceful and loving view of the world. Mr. ...
RECITAL REVIEW
Santa Rosa Junior College Chamber Concerts / Sunday, October 19, 2014
Anton Nel, piano

Pianist Anton Nel

IMPECCABLE ARTISTIC TASTE IN ANTON NEL SRJC RECITAL

by Terry McNeill
Sunday, October 19, 2014

Reporting on a recital by the Austin-based pianist Anton Nel is a predictably satisfying task. His playing Oct. 19 in SRJC’s Newman Auditorium mirrored a recital on the same stage nearly two years ago and showcased a high level of professionalism and artistry.

Beginning with Mozart’s D Major "Duport Variations," K. 573, Mr. Nel continued just where he left off in 2012, offering an urbane and witty performance. A cornucopia of small details--just a touch of pedal at phrase endings, pearly scales and a smooth cross-hand technique--provided shape to the various touches the pianist used. In this late set of variations, written two years before his untimely death, Mozart radically changes Duport’s theme instead of merely embroidering it. Mr. Nel’s performance was flawless.

Five Debussy Preludes from the 12 of Book II came next, beginning with the sharp rhythms of General Levine – Eccentric. The pianist emphasized the dynamic extremes, very different from the lyricism of Bruyères and the scherzo-like mood changes of the insouciant water sprite Ondine.

The imaginative La terrasse des audiences du clair de lune demonstrated Mr. Nel’s sovereign control over chordal weighting and subtle thematic underlinings. The concluding Feux d’artifice had glittering arpeggios and trills and explosive chords, frenetic when needed to convey a sound of Parisian fireworks. It was the most difficult of the set but seemed to be child’s play under Mr. Nel’s commanding pianistic control.

Can this artist play at any level below magisterial? Not at this recital. The first half’s concluding A Flat Chopin Ballade was a case study in Romantic pianism of repose and space. Using careful pedaling, he drew a burnished sound from the instrument. Nothing was out of place in this most lyrical of the four great Ballades. Mr. Nel eschewed pianistic heroics and extended ritards. His was a performance of impeccable conception and taste.

This reviewer was unable to hear the sole second half work, Schubert’s mighty B Flat Sonata, D. 960, but others reported that it was a transcendent performance.