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Chamber
BEETHOVEN FEATURED IN SF TRIO'S OCCIDENTAL CONCERT
by Terry McNeill
Sunday, January 19, 2020
Conventional repertoire in uncommonly good performances highlighted the San Francisco Piano Trio’s Jan. 19 concert in the Occidental Center for the Arts. Haydn’s No. 44 Trio (Hob. XV:28) came from late in his long career, when he was in and out of London, and received a sparkling reading that featu...
SIMONE PORTER ASPIRES TO STARDOM WITH SANTA ROSA SYMPHONY
by Steve Osborn
Sunday, January 12, 2020
The Sibelius violin concerto is one of several mountains that violin soloists need to ascend before they can lay claim to stardom. Hundreds make the attempt every year, but only a few reach the top. Simone Porter, who played the concerto with the Santa Rosa Symphony on Sunday afternoon, got close bu...
Choral and Vocal
ORPHEUS OF AMSTERDAM'S MUSIC IN SCHROEDER ORGAN CHORAL CONCERT
by Sonia Morse Tubridy
Friday, January 10, 2020
“All over the map.” Sonoma Bach, directed by Bob Worth, has taken its audiences this season on journeys through many centuries and many lands. The programming is fresh and intriguing and the performers varied and creators of beauty and interest. The January 10 program was centered on organ works by...
Choral and Vocal
OLD NORTH GERMAN CAROLS IN SONOMA BACH'S SCHROEDER CONCERT
by Sonia Morse Tubridy
Sunday, December 15, 2019
“Cast off all sorrows…also dance in heavenly fashion.” A volume called Piae Cantiones was printed in 1582 in North Germany, lively songs going back to the 14th century, and this treasure trove provided material for numerous composers to arrange Christmas carols over following generations, from simp...
Symphony
EVERLASTING LIGHT AT SANTA ROSA SYMPHONY
by Steve Osborn
Monday, December 09, 2019
The Mozart Requiem includes four intermittent vocal soloists, but the real star is the choir, which is featured in almost every movement. That stardom shone bright at the Santa Rosa Symphony’s memorable Requiem performance on Monday night. The soloists were good, but the choir was superb. Located wi...
Symphony
UNFINISHED AND FINNISH
by Terry McNeill
Sunday, December 08, 2019
Having a new resident conductor on the podium for the Ukiah Symphony was an attractive invitation for a long-delayed visit to Mendocino College’s Center Theater Dec. 8. The insouciant Les Pfutzenreuter recently retired after decades of conducting the ensemble, replaced by Phillip Lenberg who also j...
Choral and Vocal
PRAERTORIUS IN RENAISSANCE GLORY FROM SONOMA BACH
by Sonia Morse Tubridy
Saturday, November 16, 2019
Sonoma Bach Choir, in collaboration with Barefoot All-Stars Viol Consort and The Whole Noyse Brass Ensemble, presented “Sing Glorious Praetorius!” November 16 to an almost full Schroeder Hall at the Green Music Center. The Soloists were soprano Dianna Morgan, Christopher Fritzsche, (countertenor), m...
Symphony
ECLECTIC INSTRUMENTAL EXCITEMENT IN SO CO PHIL CONCERT IN JACKSON
by Terry McNeill
Saturday, November 16, 2019
Beginning with a scintillating reading of Rossini’s Overture to the Opera “Semiramide,” the Sonoma County Philharmonic performed a splendid program Nov. 16 in the Jackson Theater, and featured two additional works, one showcasing the winner of the San Francisco Conservatory’s Young Artist Award. It...
Chamber
SPIRITUAL LATE BEETHOVEN QUARTET HIGHLIGHTS MILL VALLEY CHAMBER CONCERT
by Abby Wasserman
Sunday, November 10, 2019
Beethoven’s String Quartet No. 14 in C-sharp minor, Op. 131, called “unparalleled in its inexhaustibility” by critic Thomas May, is a daunting challenge. Orchestral in concept, filled with wit and charm, melancholy and fury, it almost overwhelms listeners. Playing the frenetic Scherzo, a viol...
Symphony
MUSICAL EXTRAVAGANCE IN UNIQUE SRS CONCERT IN WEILL HALL
by Terry McNeill
Monday, November 04, 2019
It was a concert full of surprises Nov. 4 as the Santa Rosa Symphony responded to the area’s wild fires and evacuations with challenging, songful and somewhat unique music in Weill Hall. The last of a three-concert series titled "Master of the Modern Banjo" is reviewed here. The evening began with...
CHAMBER REVIEW
Trio Navarro / Sunday, October 26, 2014
Jill Brndel, cello; Victor Romasevich, violin; Marilyn Thompson,piano

Romasevich, Thompson and Brindel

A BRUCH SURPRISE IN TRIO'S SCHROEDER CONCERT

by Terry McNeill
Sunday, October 26, 2014

Part of the Trio Navarro’s sterling reputation rests with the rare repertoire they perform. So it was a bit of a surprise Oct. 26 in Schroeder Hall when they programmed popular works by Beethoven and Rachmaninoff. Somehow Max Bruch pieces managed to sneak into the mix.

The Bruch in a way stole the show. Four selections were played from a work transcribed from the original Op. 83 for viola, piano and clarinet. The Navarro performed Nos. 2, 5, 6 and 7, all in a minor key save for the last. In the opening B Minor part, cellist Jill Rachuy Brindel and pianist Marilyn Thompson gave the music a surging darkness that carried over to the next part (Andante) in F Minor. This music was way out of fashion when composed in 1910, and there is no hint of Dvorak, Rubinstein or Tchaikovsky, but sporadically fleeting Schumann harmonies are heard.

The common thread in the Bruch is lush romanticism, and the Trio’s performers alternated stating the theme in the G Minor “Night Song.” Violinist Victor Romasevich’s tone is not especially rich in harmonics, but it is penetrating, and he never covers the cello line.

The concluding B Major Allegro alternated light-hearted rhythms that at times turned dark and demanding. With only 80 people in a hall seating 250, some piano runs were acoustically muddy, though the string sound was always direct and vivid.

Composed in 1811, the Beethoven B Flat Trio of Op .97 (Archduke) comprised the entire second half, and the Navarro gave it a dramatic and spacious reading. Ms. Thompson started the initial Allegro at a fast clip, and the Navarro played the iconic work in a thoroughly modern style, eschewing the heart-on-sleeve approach of past performances by trios such as Cortot, Thibaud and Casals. In the lovely Andante Cantabile, the music was a question-and-answer of plaintive voices, with Ms. Brindel’s resonant cello baritone sounding out strongly in the hall.

Rachmaninoff’s G Minor Trio (“Élégiaque”) opened the concert, an early work from 1892 that has all the seeds of the composer’s ambrosial harmonies in the later cello sonata and the famous concertos and symphonies. Again Ms. Brindel had a starring role, trading dramatic outbursts with Mr. Romasevich’s energetic violin part.

As might be expected from the great pianist-composer, the piano sound could be dominant, though Ms. Thompson attentively worked to balance her sonority with that of the ensemble.

This concert gave me no reason to alter a long-ago observation that the Trio Navarro is the finest resident classical music trio in Northern California.