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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...
Chamber
COMMANDING CHOPIN AND DEBUSSY IN SLV RECITAL
by Terry McNeill
Wednesday, June 06, 2018
Concerts at the classy Spring Lake Village Retirement Home in Santa Rosa have admission limited to residents and a few guests, but the chance to hear a first cabin North Bay pianist June 6 brought a Classical Sonoma reviewer into the audience of 100. The crowd numbers were unusually low due to a ba...
Recital
MUSICAL ALCHEMY INSIDE A HIDDEN GEM
by Kayleen Asbo
Friday, May 25, 2018
The Petaluma Historical Library and Museum is a hidden gem of Sonoma County, a gracious building that is one of Sonoma County’s loveliest venues for chamber music concerts, with a fine period piano particularly suited to Romantic music.  Of the surprisingly large array of festivities there, one of t...
Chamber
FINAL VOM MUSICIANS CONCERT IN SCHROEDER A SCHUBERT DELIGHT
by Terry McNeill
Saturday, May 12, 2018
It's rare to have the opportunity to compare in a short period two performances of the same major Schubert work, in this case the great B Flat Piano Trio, D. 898. The chance came May 12 when the Valley of the Moon Festival musicians played it in Schroeder, just over a month since the Hall’s residen...
Symphony
FERRANDIS BIDS ADIEU WITH MAHLER’S FINAL SYMPHONY
by Steve Osborn
Sunday, May 06, 2018
Sonoma State students in graduation robes posed for pictures and hugged each other at the university’s stone gates on Sunday afternoon, mirroring the prolonged farewells within the university’s Green Music Center, where Bruno Ferrandis bid adieu to the Santa Rosa Symphony after a dozen years at the ...
Symphony
SONIC SPLENDOR AT MARIN SYMPHONY SEASON FINALE
by Abby Wasserman
Tuesday, May 01, 2018
The Marin Symphony Orchestra ended the current season with a flourish, interpreting big and small works by Richard Strauss and Stravinsky. Strauss and Stravinsky were contemporaries for 40 years, but inhabited different worlds. Both composers were affected by cataclysmic changes and war, and musical...
Symphony
ORGAN SYMPHONY IN SSU ORCHESTRA CONCERT IN WEILL
by Terry McNeill
Sunday, April 29, 2018
Though Classical Sonoma seldom reviews student concerts, as ample North Coast concerts keep the staff of 11 reviewers busy. But the chance to hear the Sonoma State University Orchestra tackle St. Saëns’ majestic Organ Symphony April 29 was a rare opportunity and not easily to be missed. Avec l’...
Recital
HEAVENLY SCHUBERT AND DEMONIC CHOPIN
by Terry McNeill
Saturday, April 21, 2018
One of the anomalies in the long ago “Golden Era” of romantic pianism (about 1905 to 1940) is that the virtuoso giants of the time didn’t play Schubert. It took the German pianist Artur Schnabel to bring the beauties of Schuber’s work to the public’s attention, and now they seem to be on almost ever...
Symphony
SPLENDID JUPITER AND ZOOMING CONCERTO AT VALLEJO SYMPHONY SEASON FINALE
by Terry McNeill
Sunday, April 15, 2018
Over the past two years the Vallejo Symphony has made big changes, moving from a stark middle school auditorium to the snazzy remodeled 1911-era downtown Empress Theater, and engaging Marc Taddei as its seventh conductor. April 15 was the season’s final concert of the 86th season. In a programmin...
Chamber
VIRTUOSO CELLO AND GUITAR TRANSCRIPTIONS AT RAC SEBASTOPOL CONCERT
by Terry McNeill
Saturday, April 14, 2018
Listeners and yes even music critics usually prepare for a concert with research, checking recorded performances, looking at artist biographies and even reviewing sheet music. This was a difficult task for the April 14 Redwood Arts Council concert in Sebastopol’s Community Church, as the performers...
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.