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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...
RECITAL REVIEW
Anderson and Roe / Friday, October 24, 2014
Terry McNeill

Anderson and Roe in Weill Oct. 24 (S. Tubridy Photo)

DARK SPIRITS IN SPOOKY ANDERSON AND ROE WEILL PROGRAM

by Sonia Tubridy
Friday, October 24, 2014

The Anderson and Roe piano duo have been a force in the music world for over a decade. Their arrangements and performances present virtuoso abilities and commitment to engaging audiences in the beauty and drama of classical music, juxtaposed with contemporary artists' music of other genres.
The concert Oct. 24 at Weill Hall was called Dancing in the Dark, a program to celebrate Halloween. Greg Anderson and Elizabeth Joy Roe introduced each piece with intelligence and humor, warning us of some of the unusual sounds and experiences ahead.

They commenced with Dance Macabre, the St. Saëns Bacchanal for two pianos in their own arrangement. Twelve bells of midnight ushered in a wild revelry of skeletons until a crow announces dawn. It was intense and captivating, the ensemble and connection between the two musicians seemed almost supernatural. The next piece was Rachmaninoff's "The Night…The Love" based on a poem by Byron. This was lush and rich in romantic emotional content, and the beauty of the last slow quiet chords, played as if the two musicians were one, lingered in the hushed hall.

This was followed by Stravinsky's “Adoration of the Earth” from the Rite of Spring, performed on one piano and a ballet from 1913 depicting ancient Russian tribal rituals and through this the tumult and turbulence of the times. We were told that the savagery of the music was meant to shock, and it is relevant to the violence and confusion all over the world today as well. We were told that if we were not terrified and on the edge of our seats, they were not doing things right. They certainly succeeded in an intense emotional and physical impact. An exquisite gentle and sad Ballet from Gluck's Orfeo and Eurydice, arranged for piano duet, depicted an underworld dance of spirits and the loss of a great love, and was intimately played.

The last selection in the first half of the program was Michael Jackson's "Billie Jean". Certainly this was a surprise for many, and it was not a cover of the song but rather an attempt to highlight the dark spirit and the iconic dance movements. Throughout the concert the theme of dance was apparent and often the performers would add dance moves to their playing.

We were again surprised following intermission. On a large screen a music video of Schubert's "Der Erlkonig" was shown, a horror film involving Anderson and Roe playing in a Steinway Piano Company warehouse with disintegrating pianos and performers being tossed about violently. This was frightening but always with a sense of humor, a quality the duo have in abundance. Radiohead's "Paranoid Android" was next with challenging sonorities and rhythms, and an introduction inviting us to experience a psychological journey of a dark nightmare tale of alienation and isolation. This unquiet world of strange layered harmonies and sounds then gave way to a beautiful cinematic "Quietly Luminous,” inspired by John Williams' score from Star Wars.

Closing this compelling and provocative concert was a transcription of Bizet's opera Carmen, condensed into 13 minutes of operatic and orchestral beauty and drama. The performers invited us to be seduced by the tempestuous music and it was a wonderful way to end the evening. But no, it wasn't over. The enthusiastic audience was treated to Sabre Dance by Khatchaturian and then Piazzola's Libertango on one piano. It was played very sensually as a tango, with eyes, arms and bodies suggesting the tango as nimble fingers danced.

Greg Anderson and Elizabeth Joy Roe are fascinating artists, and they lavished an appreciative audience with delightful tricks and treats.




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