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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...
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.