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Chamber
EXTRAVAGANT FUSION OF STYLES AT CHRIS BOTTI BAND WEILL HALL CONCERT
by Jerry Dibble
Sunday, August 12, 2018
Trumpeter Chris Botti still performs in jazz venues including SF Jazz and The Blue Note, but now appears mostly in cavernous halls or on outdoor stages like the Sonoma State University’s Green Music Center. He brought his unique road show to the packed Weill Hall August 12 in a concert of effusive e...
Chamber
SCHUBERT "MIT SCHLAG" AT VOM FESTIVAL MORNING CONCERT
by Abby Wasserman
Sunday, July 29, 2018
The spirit of 19th century Vienna was present July 29 on the final day of the Valley of the Moon Music Festival. The Festival in the second half of July glittered with innovative programming and the new, old sound of original instruments played by musicians who love music with historic instruments. ...
Chamber
PASSIONATE BRAHMS-SCHOENBERG MUSIC CLOSES VOM FESTIVAL SUMMER
by Abby Wasserman
Sunday, July 29, 2018
An extraordinary program of chamber music by Brahms and Schoenberg attracted a capacity crowd to the Valley of the Moon Music Festival’s final concert July 29th in Sonoma’s Hanna Center. It opened with a richly expressive reading by Festival Laureate violinist Rachell Wong and pianist Jeffrey LaDeur...
Chamber
PRAGUE AND VIENNA PALACE GEMS HIGHLIGHT VOM FESTIVAL CONCERT
by Sonia Morse Tubridy
Saturday, July 28, 2018
The remarkable Valley of the Moon Chamber Music Festival presented a concert called “Kinsky Palace” July 28 on their final Festival weekend in Sonoma’s Hanna Center. Two well-known treasures and one lesser gem were programmed. Starting the afternoon offerings were violinist Monica Huggett and Fest...
Chamber
INNOVATIVE CHAMBER WORKS IN HANNA CENTER CONCERT
by Sonia Morse Tubridy
Sunday, July 22, 2018
The Valley of the Moon Music Festival presented a July 22 concert featuring three giants: Haydn, Schubert and Schumann, composers who altered music of their time with creative innovations and artistic vision. In the fourth season the Festival’s theme this year is “Vienna in Transition”, and VOM Fes...
Chamber
VIENNA INSPIRATION FOR VOM FESTIVAL PROGRAM AT HANNA CENTER
by Nicki Bell
Saturday, July 21, 2018
A music-loving audience filled Sonoma’s Hanna Center Auditorium July 21 to begin a record weekend of three concerts, produced by the Valley of the Moon Music Festival. The Festival’s theme this summer is “Venice in Transition – From the Enlightenment to the Dawn of Modernism” Prior to Saturday’s m...
Chamber
VANHAL QUARTET AT VOM FESTIVAL DISCOVERY AT HANNA CENTER
by Abby Wasserman
Sunday, July 15, 2018
A near-capacity crowd of 220 filled the Sonoma Hanna Boys Center Auditorium July 15 for the opening concert of the fourth Valley of the Moon Music Festival. This Festival presents gems of the Classical and early Romantic periods performed on instruments of the composer’s era, which presents a few ch...
Opera
SPARKLING CIMAROSA OPERA HIGHLIGHTS MENDOCINO MUSIC FESTIVAL
by Kathryn Stewart
Friday, July 13, 2018
The Classical music era was a time of extraordinary innovation. Dominated by composers from the German-speaking countries, the period witnessed the handiwork of masterpieces by two classical giants, Haydn and Mozart. Both composers put forth a tremendous catalog of masterful works and perhaps to our...
Symphony
!PURA VIDA! A SONIC TRIUMPH FOR SO CO PHIL IN THRILLING COSTA RICA TOUR CONCERT
by Terry McNeill
Tuesday, June 19, 2018
Long anticipated events, such as a great sporting game, gourmet feast, holiday trip or a concert, occasionally fall way short of expectations. The results don’t measure to expectations. With the Sonoma County Philharmonic’s Costa Rica concert June 19, the performance exceeded any heated or tenuou...
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...
RECITAL REVIEW
Mastercard Performance Series / Sunday, April 26, 2015
Alisa Weilerstein, cello; Inon Barnatan, piano

Cellist Alisa Weilerstein

WEILERSTEIN-BARNATAN DUO IN WEILL - REVIEW ONE

by Joel Cohen
Sunday, April 26, 2015

The MasterCard Performance Series in Weill Hall featured an April 26 recital by cellist Alisa Weilerstein and pianist Inon Barnatan.

In Beethoven’s substantial D Major sonata, Op.102, No. 2, the duo were clearly at ease with both the technical demands of the writing and with each other. They showed a lovely rapport in all the give-and-take between the instruments that is such an important part of Beethoven’s chamber music writing. Particularly striking was how, in the composer’s sudden dynamic changes, not only the volume, but the character of their playing changed distinctly. This carried over as the second movement began in its distant, timeless opening half-note chords. Their rendition was quite touching without being overly sentimental or exaggerated.

Mr. Barnatan had an elegant touch and, although the acoustics of Weill Hall are at best dubious for small chamber music and string instruments, it never overpowered Ms. Weilerstein’s sound. She did have a propensity to play quite a bit in a pianissimo lontano, given the fact that for her clearly fine cello the room is excessively live and diffuse. The fugal third movement of the Beethoven was lovely and conversational, dramatic as called for but never losing that joyous interplay that makes this movement and piece compelling and a standard in the cello repertoire.

Following the Beethoven was Schubert’s C Major Fantasie, D. 934, a work originally written for violin and piano and played with aplomb by Ms Weilerstein. This is a wonderful example of Schubert at his mature best (if any composer dying before his 32nd birthday can have reached musical maturity!). It is considered virtuosic for both violin and piano, and doubly so for the part played on the cello. Her command of the instrument was stunning, with massively difficult passages being played with verve and confidence. The end of the Fantasie was met with an immediate standing ovation from the audience.

After intermission the duo played music of the young Philadelphia composer Joseph Hallman, named by NPR one of the top composers under age 40. DreamLog was written for Ms. Weilerstein and Mr. Barnatan as a series of the composer’s dreams, some with descriptive titles such as Stellar Vision and Poulenc/Picasso vs. Shostakovitch/Kandinsky. It was helpful that they talked about the piece before playing, and of how many of these sections were random, so each time it was performed it would sound different. Those with titles seemed appropriate to their inspirations. They performed four of the eleven movements.

The duo closed the program with the G minor Sonata, Op.19, by Rachmaninoff. This large, four-movement work was written immediately after the successful 1901second piano concerto. It is full of the romantic drama and rich melodies that are a trademark of Rachmaninoff. Ms. Weilerstein and Mr. Barnatan easily rose to the occasion. The performance was completely convincing and the audience rose to their feet as one to acknowledge that fact. Although brought back to the stage twice by continued applause, there was no encore.

The audience was exceptionally appreciative but their modest numbers made the Weill seem cavernous. Schroeder Hall would have been a better location where the cellist could match her sonority with the pianist’s sound. As it was, Mr. Barnatan did a commendable job of sounding authoritative and dramatic without unduly covering Ms. Weilerstein.

This was a virtuosic collaborative duo, well worth seeking out the next time they come to Northern California.