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Symphony
HEROIC EFFORT FROM THE SANTA ROSA SYMPHONY
by Steve Osborn
Sunday, December 13, 2020
December 13 was a rainy day, perfect for huddling indoors and watching a prerecorded “live” performance by the Santa Rosa Symphony. The program was expansive, with music from the 18th through 21st centuries, and the mood was festive, in keeping with the holiday season. There was something in the fea...
Symphony
MASKED SANTA ROSA SYMPHONY CARRIES ON BRILLIANTLY
by Steve Osborn
Sunday, November 15, 2020
In some ways the Santa Rosa Symphony’s Nov. 15 concert on YouTube resembled a Conceptual Art performance from the 1970s. On display were about 30 masked orchestral musicians playing six feet apart from each other on stage, some of them separated by plexiglass barriers. In the 1970s, the concept behi...
Chamber
SPLENDID STRINGS IN A SUNLIT GARDEN
by Abby Wasserman
Sunday, November 1, 2020
A sun-drenched autumn afternoon, a Marin County garden and six superb string players from the Santa Rosa Symphony were manna from heaven to a pandemic-weary audience starved for live music. The sextet of Santa Rosa Symphony musicians performed to a small group of 20 Nov. 1, the day after Halloween....
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...
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.