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Chamber
YOUNG MUSICIANS SHINE AT PIANO SONOMA CONCERT
by Lee Ormasa
Tuesday, August 01, 2017
The third in a series of four concerts by Piano Sonoma artists in residence, part of the Vino and Vibrato Series, was held August 1 in Schroeder Hall at the Green Music Center. Entitled “The Masters,” the program included works by Bach, Beethoven, Mozart and Haydn. Piano Sonoma is a summer artist-in...
Chamber
THRILLING PROGRAM CLOSES VOM CHAMBER FESTIVAL AT HANNA CENTER
by Lee Ormasa
Sunday, July 30, 2017
The finale of the two-week Valley of the Moon Music Festival closed July 30 with “The Age of Bravura” concert at the Sonoma’s Hanna Boys Center. The musical selections held to this year’s Festival theme “Schumann’s World - His Music and the Music He Loved.“ This summer Festival features chamber mus...
Chamber
PERIOD INSTRUMENTAL SOUND AT PENULTIMATE VOM FESTIVAL CONCERT
by Terry McNeill
Sunday, July 30, 2017
In the Valley of the Moon Chamber Music Festival’s penultimate concert July 30 the perennial issue of period and modern instruments was apparent. But only in the concluding Mendelssohn Trio, as the performances in the two first half works easily avoided instrumental comparisons. Clara Schumann’s t...
Chamber
ECLECTIC REPERTOIRE IN FETCHING VOM FESTIVAL CONCERT
by Terry McNeill
Saturday, July 22, 2017
One of the purposes of summer music festivals is to present unfamiliar music in an attractive and often small audience setting. The Valley of the Moon Music Festival delightfully met these requirements July 22 and 23 with two concerts in the small hall at Sonoma’s Hanna Boys Center. Classical Sono...
Recital
ADAMS' PHRYGIAN GATES HIGHLIGHTS MORKOSKI FESTIVAL PERFORMANCE
by Lee Ormasa
Saturday, July 22, 2017
Attendees at the Molly Morkoski Mendocino Music Festival recital July 22 were in for a treat, both pianistically and if they happened to buy a tasty cookie during intermission. The program included Beethoven’s Op. 27 Moonlight Sonata, Adams’ Phrygian Gates, a surprise add-on of Grieg’s Holberg Suit...
Symphony
SOARING VERDI REQUIEM CLOSES 31ST MENDOCINO FESTIVAL
by Lee Ormasa
Saturday, July 22, 2017
We speak frequently about how there is nothing like the experience of a live performance. Seldom was this truer than at the July 22 closing performance of the two-week Mendocino Music Festival. The Festival Orchestra, conducted by of Allan Pollack, joined with the Festival Chorus in a moving renderi...
Recital
ORGAN REGISTRATION MASTERY HEARD IN WALHAIN'S RECITAL
by Robert Young
Tuesday, July 18, 2017
A group of 65 lucky attendees July 18 had the pleasure of hearing Etienne Walhain’s recital at the Church of the Incarnation in Santa Rosa. Mr. Walhain is organist at the Cathedral of Notre Dame in Tournai, Belgium, and played to a varied program Bach, Franck, and Reger. He used the tonal resource...
Opera
DONIZETTI'S DON PASQUALE HAS LYRICAL CHARM IN MENDOCINO FESTIVAL PRODUCTION
by Elly Lichenstein
Friday, July 14, 2017
Mendocino Music Festival's production of Donizetti's beloved opera buffa Don Pasquale - a one-night affair July 15 that was presented in an enormous tent on a greensward overlooking the Pacific Ocean - delighted an audience of more than 600 while doing some real justice to this frothy gem of commedi...
Recital
NOVACEK'S 2ND HALF TRIFECTA SCORES AT MENDO MUSIC FESTIVAL
by Terry McNeill
Thursday, July 13, 2017
Modern classical piano recitals are in two parts, with longer and perhaps more profound music proceeding perhaps shorter and usually stimulating lighter fare. In John Novacek’s July 13 Mendocino Music Festival recital the best playing came unexpectedly in the eight abbreviated works comprising the ...
Recital
STYLUS AND PLAYING FANTASTICUS IN YOUNG'S ORGAN RECITAL
by Paul Blanchard
Sunday, June 25, 2017
Organist Robert Young gave a wonderful tour through the stylus fantasticus (fantastic style) organ literature June 25 playing a recital on the Casavant organ at Church of the Incarnation in Santa Rosa. Mr. Young recently became the organist at the Church and previously served for 20 years as Music D...
CHAMBER REVIEW
Green Music Center / Friday, June 26, 2015
Natasha Paremski, piano; Malcolm Matthews, organ

Miró String Quartet June 26 in Schroeder Hall Playing Beethoven (N. Anderson Photo)

STERLING BHAHMS AND BEETHOVEN WITH AN ADDITIONAL B IN JUNE 26 SCHROEDER CONCERT

by Nicki Bell and Sonia Tubridy
Friday, June 26, 2015

Chamberfest’s June 26 evening concert began not with music but with informative and insightful remarks by Festival Artistic Director Jeffrey Kahane.

He spoke of Busoni, one of the handful of greatest pianists of the 20th Century, a teacher and composer whose name was linked with Bach through salient transcriptions. The short transcription that Mr. Kahane played, Ich ruf zu dir Herr (I call to the Lord) seemed appropriate to recent events in Charleston, S. C., and functioned as a prelude to the evening, and set a tone and mood of serious contemplation.

Brahms’ E Minor Sonata, Op. 38, came next with Mr. Kahane at the Schroeder Hall piano and Los Angeles-based cellist Andrew Shulman. This is truly a duo sonata and was inspired by parts of Bach’s “Art of the Fugue.” The first movement is dark and melancholy on the whole, the cello setting the tone and the piano quietly responding. It was played with rich tone, careful instrumental balance and sensitivity. The movement’s E-Major ending is powerful in a quiet way, and in the last 12 bars Mr. Kahane played octaves that descended into a mesmerizing repose.

In the second movement there is a wistful minuet with an elegant trio, the first four notes of the minuet becoming the motive connection. There is no slow movement. In the finale there is a powerful free fugue that was played viscerally, accelerating to the end. All through the work the piano and cello were constantly changing registers, one above and then the other, creating an intimate fusing. These artists understand elegant phrasing.

Beethoven’s C Major Quartet, Op. 59, No. 3 concluded the concert, and was faultlessly performed by the Miró Quartet. The three Razumovsky quartets are bigger in form, longer and more innovative that Beethoven’s six Quartets of Op. 18, but the Miró (violinists Daniel Ching and William Fedkenheuer, cellist Joshua Gindele and violists John Largess) were more than up to the challenge.

Harkening back to Mozart’s “Dissonant” Quartet, the first movement was played quite slowly, then into a flurry of action – a punctuating plucking in the cello, much additional string plucking and then rich legato. Crispness and speed with small back and forth bow movements were a marvel in the Allegro molto finale, and phrase leadership seemed to be constantly passed around the group. They communicate with eyes, foreheads, body angles and facial expressions. The hall’s acoustics gave voice to every note, nuance and tone shading. It was vivid and at the same time an intimate Beethoven performance, spontaneous and intelligent. The audience at the last chord jumped to their feet, beaming faces and hoots and hollers everywhere.

Most of the Chamberfest concerts had a Q and A following the performance and this session showcased the Miró’s sense of humor and how they articulate music verbally. One questioner asked about the Quartet’s name (it was founded at the Oberlin Conservatory of Music) and indeed it came from an emotional association with the paintings of Catalan artist Joan Miró. They feel that bringing oneself into the creation of music based on what went before is the foundation for the new and is what the Miró has set out to do.