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Recital
HOME RECITAL BACH COMPLETES HOLIDAY SEASON
by Terry McNeill
Saturday, December 30, 2017
The just closing 2017 year was a calamity for many, but locally in music there were joys galore, and it was fitting Dec. 30 have the balm of two Bach’s violin sonatas in a private Guerneville home recital hosted by the eminent musician Sonia Tubridy. Violinist Richard Heinberg joined Ms. Tubridy in...
Choral and Vocal
A SEASONAL MESSIAH WITH BALANCE AND HEFT
by Terry McNeill
Sunday, December 10, 2017
The mid-December concert season seems for jaded reviewers to invariably include a Messiah performance, and perhaps a Messiah in a long string of similar and mundane performances. This was decidedly not the case when San Francisco’s Philharmonia Baroque mounted Handel’s eminent three-part 1742 Orato...
Symphony
ANDREW GRAMS FINDS HIS GROOVE WITH SR SYMPHONY IN RACHMANINOFF
by Steve Osborn
Sunday, December 03, 2017
Last Sunday’s Santa Rosa Symphony concert featured two elegant and refined guests: music director candidate Andrew Grams and pianist Stewart Goodyear. Both displayed dazzling technique and consummate artistry, but Goodyear was the more consistent of the two. Some of Grams’ inconsistency may have st...
Symphony
SONIC SPLASH AND ENSEMBLE DELICACY AT SO CO PHIL CONCERT
by Terry McNeill
Saturday, November 18, 2017
Franck’s wonderful D Minor Symphony is a rarity on today’s concert programs, and I can’t remember a North Bay performance in many years from any of the six resident area orchestras. So it was good to see the Sonoma County Philharmonic feature it in their Nov. 18 and 19 concerts at Santa Rosa High S...
Chamber
TETZLAFF QUARTET'S MASTERY IN MOZART AND SCHUBERT
by Terry McNeill
Saturday, November 11, 2017
German violin virtuoso Christian Tetzlaff presented a critically successful Weill Hall recital Feb. 18, and returned to the same venue Nov. 11 with his admirable Tetzlaff Quartet in a program of Berg, Schubert and Mozart. Clarity of ensemble has always been a hallmark of this Quartet, and contrapun...
Chamber
RAVISHING SHORT OPERAS FROM FRENCH TROUPE IN WEILL
by Terry McNeill
Friday, November 10, 2017
Standard Weill Hall fall and winter classical programs are pretty routine – symphonic music, chamber, solo recitals – so it was a rare treat Nov. 10 when just two works from the 17th century were gloriously presented. With such specialized compositions, period performers with commanding authenticit...
Symphony
MEI-ANN CHEN PROVES A WORTHY CONTENDER FOR SANTA ROSA SYMPHONY CONDUCTING POST
by Steve Osborn
Sunday, November 05, 2017
These days the focus of Santa Rosa Symphony concerts is as much on the conductor candidates as on the soloists. This past weekend’s concerts featured the second of those candidates, Mei-Ann Chen, along with pianist Nareh Arghamanyan, each of whom cut an imposing figure on the stage. Chen is diminut...
Symphony
TO RUSSIA WITH BRILLIANCE
by Terry McNeill
Friday, November 03, 2017
Russian pianist Denis Matsuev’s high velocity and frequently slam-bang virtuosity came to the Green Music Center last year with a thrilling and equally perplexing solo performance. So many in Weill Nov. 3 were interested to hear if his pianistic style would mesh well in a concerto, and with a fine ...
Symphony
THUNDEROUS TCHAIKOVSKY FOURTH OPENS MARIN SYMPHONY SEASON
by Terry McNeill
Tuesday, October 31, 2017
North Coast weather is turning cool and the nights longer, ideal for Tchaikovsky’s big boned symphonies. The Santa Rosa Symphony recently programmed the Fourth (F Minor Symphony) as did the San Francisco Symphony. Norman Gamboa’s Sonoma County Philharmonic just played the Tchaikovsky First, forgoi...
Recital
RESPIGHI'S PUNGENT SONATA HIGHLIGHTS KENNEY-GUTMAN RECITAL
by Terry McNeill
Sunday, October 29, 2017
Respighi’s B Minor Violin Sonata seems never to gain conventional repertoire status. Perhaps the great Heifetz recording is intimidating, and I can recall over many years just two local performances: Jason Todorov and William Corbett-Jones years go in Newman, and a titanic reading in March by Anne S...
RECITAL REVIEW
Mastercard Performance Series / Sunday, April 26, 2015
Alisa Weilerstein, cello; Inon Barnatan, piano

Pianist Inon Barnatan

WEILERSTEIN-BARNATAN DUO IN WEILL - REVIEW TWO

by Robert Hayden
Sunday, April 26, 2015

This was one of those concerts which far exceeded my expectations. I have heard Alisa Weilerstein several times before, as a colleague in concerts with Jeffrey Kahane, but she has matured and is certainly now one of America’s pre-eminent cellists.

Playing before a sadly half empty Weill Hall audience the cellist and pianist Inon Barnatan opened with Beethoven’s Sonata No.5, and announced the work with an electrifying set of phrases from the piano. It spoke to the audience saying, “This is not going to be an ordinary Beethoven performance.” When Ms. Weilerstein joined with her rich toned cello voice, an augury of what lay ahead was apparent.

Using an iPad on the piano’s music desk, the pianist displayed a brilliant technique and remarkable dynamic range throughout the program. His singing tone was a perfect match to Ms. Weilerstein’s romantic approach to every phrase, both ranging from pppp to fff.  In the Adagio movement listeners seemed to lean forward in their seats: “Is she still making sound?”. But the bow was still moving.

The second work in the program was unusual and new to the cello repertoire—a transcription of the Schubert Fantasie in C Major, D. 934, originally for violin and piano.  Superbly conceived and an absolute delight to hear, the transcription was done by the two performers. Its six movements blossomed out as the best of the composer’s always charming work, opening with a barely heard Andante and proceeding through a bouncy Allegretto, and ending with a Presto filled with fanciful variations that brought out Mr. Barnatan’s ability to play long tremolos with both hands very softly but perfectly.

After intermission the Duo played four movements of a thankfully short work by Joseph Hallman, entitled "Dream Log,” that was interesting, and I say this non-pejoratively. A microphone placed in front of the pianist carried the sound of heavy breathing, written into the score to produce an occasional pant.

The concert concluded with a passionate performance of the Rachmaninoff Cello Sonata that perfectly suited to the cellist and pianist. Throughout the sonata Ms. Weilerstein displayed elegant tone, and there was never a line in the score, nor a phrase, in which both the outer and inner melodies did not flow dynamically. Of course this work abounds with beautiful lines that are reminiscent of the best tunes of Rachmaninoff’s piano concertos, and the cellist made the most of them. The last movement was positively triumphant, ringing through the hall and evoking a standing ovation from an enthusiastic audience.