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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...
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.