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Chamber
HEROIC TRUMPET AND ORGAN MUSIC AT INCARNATION
by Jerry Dibble
Friday, October 12, 2018
The strong connections between Santa Rosa’s musical community and California State University Chico were on display Oct. 12 as David Rothe, Professor Emeritus in the Chico Music Department, and Ayako Nakamura, trumpet with the North State Symphony, presented a concert titled “Heroic Music for Trumpe...
Symphony
LECCE-CHONG PROVES HIS METTLE WITH SANTA ROSA SYMPHONY
by Steve Osborn
Sunday, October 07, 2018
Francesco Lecce-Chong was handed two warhorses for his debut as conductor of the Santa Rosa Symphony, and he rode them both to thrilling victory. For the first win, Brahms’ violin concerto, he owed much to soloist Arnaud Sussman, but for the other triumph, Beethoven’s fifth symphony, he and his musi...
Chamber
THORNY BARTOK AND ELEGANT MENDELSSOHN FOR THE BRENTANO
by Sonia Morse Tubridy
Sunday, September 30, 2018
In a minor masterpiece of programming choices the Brentano String Quartet played a Sept. 30 Weill Hall program with an emphasis on refinement, even with a challenging Bartok work in the mix. Dvorák’s Miniatures for Two Violins and Viola (Op. 75a) opened the concert with charm and gentle loveliness,...
Chamber
ECHO'S RICH MUSICAL TAPESTRY IN MARIN
by Abby Wasserman
Sunday, September 30, 2018
Marin’s Echo Chamber Orchestra unfurled a glorious tapestry of Mozart, Weber and Respighi music Sept. 30 in San Anselmo’s First Presbyterian Church. The church, located on the grounds of San Francisco Theological Seminary, boasts a ceiling high enough for angels to fly, and its quiet setting and aco...
Recital
IDIOMATIC SCHUMANN AND BEETHOVEN HIGHTLIGHT WALKER'S CONCERTS GRAND RECITAL
by Terry McNeill
Sunday, September 23, 2018
Mostly known as a concert producer and indefatigable promoter of Sonoma County music, pianist Judy Walker stepped into the soloist’s role Sept. 23 in a sold out recital for the Concerts Grand House recitals series. Two Scarlatti Sonatas, in D Minor (K. 213) and D Major (K. 29), began the hour-long ...
Symphony
SAKAKEENY'S LION AND ROSE HIGHLIGHTS SO CO PHIL'S 20TH SEASON OPENER
by Terry McNeill
Saturday, September 22, 2018
Fresh from a triumphant tour in Latin America the Sonoma County Philharmonic opened its 20th season Sept. 22 in a celebratory concert in the Santa Rosa High School Auditorium. Keeping to the evening’s orchestra history and past performance, conductor emeritus Gabriel Sakakeeny, who led the So Co Ph...
Recital
DEDIK'S POTENT BEETHOVEN AND CHOPIN AT SPRING LAKE VILLAGE RECITAL
by Terry McNeill
Monday, September 17, 2018
Anastasia Dedik returned Sept. 17 to the Spring Lake Village Classical Music Series in a recital that featured three familiar virtuoso works in potent interpretations. Chopin’s G Minor Ballade hasn’t been heard in Sonoma County public concerts since a long-ago Earl Wild performance, and Beethoven’s...
Recital
DUO WEST OPENS OCCIDENTAL CONCERT SEASON
by Terry McNeill
Sunday, September 09, 2018
Before a full house at the Occidental Performing Arts Center Sept. 9 the cello-piano Duo West, playing from score throughout, presented a recital that on paper looked stimulating and thoughtful. Beginning with MacDowell’s To A Wild Rose (from Woodland Sketches, Op. 51), the transcription by an unan...
Chamber
CELLO-PIANO DUO IN HUSKY SPRING LAKE VILLAGE PROGRAM
by Terry McNeill
Wednesday, September 05, 2018
Two thirds of the way through a stimulating 22-concert season the Spring Lake Village Classical Music Series Sept. 5 presented two splendid cello sonatas before 110 people in the Village’s Montgomery auditorium. A duo for more than a decade, East Bay musicians cellist Monica Scott and pianist Hadle...
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...
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.