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Symphony
MENDELSSOHN'S SCOTTISH SAVES THE EVENING IN SRS WEILL CONCERT
by Terry McNeill
Monday, February 11, 2019
The audience entering Weill Hall for Santa Rosa Symphony concerts Feb. 9-11 were presented with a program that on first glance appeared a curious patchwork – a great symphony mixed with a seldom heard concerto and two disparate overtures, and a guest conductor unknown locally. Monday night’s concer...
Recital
INTRIGUING BELL-HAYWOOD RECITAL BEFORE FULL HOUSE IN WEILL HALL
by Abby Wasserman
Friday, February 08, 2019
A big portion of the capacity audience in Weill Hall February 8th came to hear violinist Joshua Bell’s virtuosity, and were treated as well to splendid playing from Sam Haywood, Mr. Bell’s regular pianist since 2010. The duo performed three engaging sonatas, highlighted by Mr. Bell’s sterling techn...
Symphony
TRIPLE PLAY UKIAH SYMPHONY CONCERT AND TCHAIKOVSKY SERENADE
by Terry McNeill
Sunday, January 27, 2019
Over the years the Ukiah Symphony’s concerts have been in the Classical Sonoma Calendar sections, but rarely has this Orchestra, now in its 39th season, had a full winter season concert review. The provocative Jan. 27 program in Mendocino College’s Center Theater seemed a good reason to reacquaint ...
Symphony
JACKSON THEATER WELCOMES A NEW RESIDENT ORCHESTRA
by Terry McNeill
Saturday, January 26, 2019
Moving to a permanent new performance venue can be a perilous undertaking for an orchestra, with different acoustics, the loyal audience finding the new spot and infrastructure challenges of lighting and lobby and backstage operations. In their first concert Jan. 26 in Windsor’s Jackson Theater the...
Symphony
ECLECTIC PASSIONATE PROGRAMMING AT MARIN SYMPHONY CONCERT
by Abby Wasserman
Saturday, January 26, 2019
The Marin Symphony’s second Masterworks concert of the 2018-19 season featured works by John Adams, Sibelius and Brahms, a masterful assembly. In a spoken introduction before the program’s first half, conductor Alasdair Neale primed the audience for the “terra incognita” of Adams’ The Chairman Dance...
Symphony
A SLICE OF HEAVEN FROM THE SANTA ROSA SYMPHONY
by Steve Osborn
Sunday, January 13, 2019
Under its vibrant new music director, Francesco Lecce-Chong, the Santa Rosa Symphony this past Sunday offered a nearly perfect afternoon of Mozart (Symphony No. 40) and Mahler (Symphony No. 4). While the two works share a common digit, the only element uniting them is genius. They made for a dazzlin...
Recital
KHOZYAINOV'S BRILLIANT PIANISM IN MILL VALLEY RECITAL
by Abby Wasserman
Sunday, January 13, 2019
In its third concert of the season the Mill Valley Chamber Music Society Jan. 13 presented Russian virtuoso Nikolay Khozyainov. His intelligent and sensitive interpretations, masterful pedal work, and virtuoso technique left the near-capacity audience in Mt. Tamalpais Methodist Church astounded and ...
Chamber
A COMPLETE MUSICAL PACKAGE IN ARRON'S OAKMONT RECITAL
by Terry McNeill
Thursday, January 10, 2019
Cellist Edward Arron has been a welcome artist at the Music at Oakmont series, and after his Jan. 10 recital it’s easy to understand his popularity. His artistry is a complete package, with potent instrumental technique wedded to integral musical conceptions. In a nearly flawless concert with pian...
Choral and Vocal
COMPELLING WEILL HALL MESSIAH ORATORIO FROM THE ABS
by Terry McNeill
Saturday, December 15, 2018
Each holiday season when a Classical Sonoma reviewer is assigned to cover a concert with Handel’s seminal Oratorio The Messiah, the question arises about what new commentary can possibly apply to the often performed choral work. Well, if it’s the American Bach Soloists performing the piece, written...
Opera
PURCELL'S DIDO IN YOUTHFUL SSU OPERA
by Abby Wasserman
Wednesday, December 05, 2018
A doomed royal love affair, the theme of Purcell’s Dido and Aeneas, was brought to lovely life at Sonoma State University Dec. 5 in the school’s Schroeder Hall. Conducted by faculty member Zachary Gordin, who also played continuo, the performance was only the second opera production presented by the...
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.