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Recital
SLAM BANG SONORITY IN HAOCHEN ZHANG'S SCHROEDER RECITAL
by Terry McNeill
Sunday, March 19, 2017
Piano Competition winners are in ample supply, and it’s often a hit and miss proposition as to their sterling interpretative qualities. However, the quadrennial Van Cliburn Competition in Ft. Worth has continually produced top-level artists, and the 2009 winner Haochen Zhang proved a formidable per...
Symphony
FOREIGN AFFAIRS CHARACTERS OF THE BAROQUE
by Sonia Morse Tubridy
Sunday, March 12, 2017
Akademie für Alte Musik Berlin, known as Akamus, played a Weill Hall concert March 12 in a program called "Foreign Affairs -Characters of the Baroque.” The ensemble, that began in 1984, has 15 musicians led by concert master Bernhard Forck. Attired in elegant black with red accents, ranging from tie...
Recital
MUSCULAR PIANISM DOMINATES MILL VALLEY CHAMBER SOCIETY RECITAL
by Terry McNeill
Sunday, March 12, 2017
Piano recitals since the beginning of the genre open with finger pieces - Scarlatti or Soler Sonatas, Bach, a Mendelssohn Prelude and Fugue or perhaps Mozart or Haydn. Sarah Daneshpour’s March 12 opening work at the Mill Valley Chamber Music Society series abruptly avoided the norm with the 10-minut...
Recital
NOVEL HAYDN AND SCHUMANN IN YARDEN'S OAKMONT RECITAL
by Terry McNeill
Thursday, March 09, 2017
Israeli pianist Einav Yarden has been a frequent Sonoma County visitor, playing private recitals for Spring Lake Village and Concerts Grand, and twice performing for Music at Oakmont. The Berlin-based artist returned to Oakmont’s Berger Auditorium March 9 with a program that was neither for connois...
Chamber
CONSUMMATE ENSEMBLE FROM THE MIRÓ IN WEILL
by Sonia Tubridy and Nicki Bell
Sunday, March 05, 2017
A March 5 Weill hall audience of 350 leaned in to share an intimate musical space and to hear the Miró String Quartet’s sterling concert. Starting with Haydn's Op. 20, No. 4, the four musicians seemed to want listeners to be enveloped in their music. The Miró plays with the feat of being four dist...
Recital
BRILLIANT VIOLIN AND PIANO ARTISTRY CHARMS SCHROEDER HALL AUDIENCE
by Terry McNeill
Sunday, February 26, 2017
A tiny Schroeder Hall audience heard a flawless recital Feb. 26 by Yu-Chien Tseng, arguably the best recent local violin recital since Gil Shaham’s transversal of the complete Bach Suites in Weill and Frank Almond’s Oakmont recital in 2015. Muscular playing was the afternoon’s norm, and with pianis...
Chamber
MUSIC AND ART MELD IN ZUCKERMAN TRIO CONCERT
by Nicki Bell
Friday, February 24, 2017
A Feb. 24 Weill Hall concert by the Pinchas Zuckerman Trio juxtaposed formidable music making with palpable associations about visual art. Brahms’ C Minor "Sonatensatz” (Scherzo) is a short youthful work for violin and piano, and was an opening call to action. Lively and vigorous playing alternated...
Chamber
THREE BEETHOVEN TRIOS BEGUILE AUDIENCE IN FEB. 19 WEILL CONCERT
by Terry McNeill
Sunday, February 19, 2017
Chamber music concerts featuring one composer can be tricky, but the Han/Setzer/Finckel trio made a Feb. 19 Weill Hall audience of 500 hear and to a degree see the boundless creativity of Beethoven. The G Major Trio, Op. 1, No. 2, opened the afternoon’s Beethoven odyssey and one wonders why it is t...
Chamber
AUTHORITATIVE BARTOK HIGHLIGHTS TETZLAFF VIOLIN RECITAL
by Terry McNeill
Saturday, February 18, 2017
Christian Tetzlaff’s Feb. 18 violin recital rolled along with lively and fresh readings of Mozart, Beethoven and Schubert when the specter of Bartok’s granitic Second Sonata intervened. The sonic shock to the audience of 250 in Weill was palpable. Composed in 1923 the 20-minute two-movement work i...
Symphony
WHAT SOUND DO STAR-CROSSED LOVERS MAKE?
by Steve Osborn
Sunday, February 12, 2017
Valentine’s Day is just around the corner, so the Santa Rosa Symphony feted the occasion by telling and retelling the story of Romeo and Juliet, a tale ever the more poignant during our era of stark divisions. The first telling was from Berlioz; the second from Prokofiev. In between was Brahms’ monu...
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.