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Chamber
FLORESTAN TRIO'S MENDELSSOHN AT SPRING LAKE VILLAGE CONCERT
by Terry McNeill
Friday, March 08, 2019
Spring Lake Village’s monthly concerts usually clock in under an hour, but the March 8 Florestan Trio’s performance was more extended as so much good music was on tap for the 125 residents attending at Santa Rosa’s premiere retirement residence facility. Four short pieces made up the first half, be...
Chamber
TILDEN TRIO'S BOHEMIAN ENERGY AT DOMINICAN CONCERT
by Terry McNeill
Sunday, March 03, 2019
Hard on the heels of the Trio Navarro’s late February concert in Sonoma State’s Schroeder Hall, Northern California’s other premiere resident piano trio, the Tilden, played an equally convincing program March 3 in Dominican University’s Angelico Hall. Clearly each hall’s acoustics, stage pianos and...
Recital
24 SONGS IN A MENKE-THOMPSON RECITAL ODYSSEY
by Terry McNeill
Saturday, February 23, 2019
Sonoma County pop and country singing enjoys continued popularity but it rare to see a professional classical vocal concert announced. Diva Ruth Ann Swenson was once a local star, but she has long departed and not much virtuoso recital singing can be found in the North Bay. But the exception to th...
Chamber
UNEXPECTED ARENSKY AND MENDELSSOHN BY THE NAVARRO
by Terry McNeill
Sunday, February 17, 2019
The 100 people entering Schroeder Hall Feb. 17 for a Trio Navarro concert were handed a program that appeared to feature two popular piano trios, Mendelssohn and Arensky. But continuing the Navarro’s tradition of repertoire exploration, the pieces were not the usual first Mendelssohn and first Aren...
Recital
GLOVER'S ECLECTIC PROGRAMMING HIGHLIGHT'S CINNABAR RECITAL
by Terry McNeill
Sunday, February 17, 2019
Daniel Glover is arguably the busiest virtuoso pianist in the San Francisco Bay area, but rarely is heard in North Bay concerts. So 90 local pianophiles were anxious to hear him Feb. 17 in Petaluma’s charming small Cinnabar Theater, and they were rewarded with an eclectic program of sometimes unfam...
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...
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.