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Recital
DEMANDING VIOLIN SONATAS CONQUERED BY BEILMAN-WEISS DUO IN SCHROEDER
by Terry McNeill
Sunday, May 14, 2017
Violinist Benjamin Beilman’s ravishing Mozart performance at last summer’s Weill Hall ChamberFest finale lured an enthusiastic crowd to Schroeder Hall May 14 to hear if his secure virtuosity was up to a program of demanding sonatas. He did not disappoint. With the powerful pianist Orion Weiss in t...
Symphony
SOVIETS INVADE WEILL HALL, TAKE NO PRISONERS
by Steve Osborn
Sunday, May 07, 2017
Bruno Ferrandis may be French, but he excels in Soviet repertoire. His Slavonic expertise was more than amply demonstrated at the Santa Rosa Symphony’s May 7 concert, where the program began joyfully with Khachaturian’s ballet suite from “Masquerade,” surged forward with Prokofiev’s second violin co...
Recital
MASTERFUL PIANISM IN GOODE'S WEILL HALL RECITAL
by Sonia Morse Tubridy
Friday, May 05, 2017
Pianist Richard Goode programmed an evening of treasures May 5 from four great composers, and is an artist of intimacy and intelligence, power and passion, able to go deep and to soar. Hearing Mr. Goode play this literature was a reminder of how music does indeed bridge worlds and time. Bach’s E m...
Recital
ELEGANT ORGAN SALUTE TO THE REFORMATION
by Paul Blanchard
Sunday, April 30, 2017
Organist Jonathan Dimmock presented an April 30 recital in homage to the 500th anniversary of the Reformation, playing Schroeder Hall’s wonderful Brombaugh instrument. Mr. Dimmock is the organist for the San Francisco Symphony, principal organist for the Palace of the Legion of Honor and teaches at...
Chamber
NOTES AND BARS DO NOT A PRISON MAKE
by Nicki Bell
Saturday, April 29, 2017
The Hermitage Piano Trio brought exuberant musicality and sumptuous sound to a packed house April 29 in Occidental's Performing Arts Center for the last concert in the Redwood Arts Council’s 37th season. With a wide interpretive range--from lush to delicate to passionate--these three young Russian v...
Recital
SCHUMANN AND BARTOK HIGHLIGHT BRONFMAN RECITAL IN WEILL
by Lee Ormasa
Friday, April 21, 2017
Those people once addicted to the “Angry Birds” game application likely suffered an auditory flashback during the opening measures of the allegro from Bartok’s Suite, Op. 14, the opening work in Yefim Bronfman’s April 21 recital at Weill Hall. The repetitive opening figures of the Bartok were...
Symphony
HULKING MAHLER "TITAN" AT SO CO PHIL'S SEASON FINALE
by Terry McNeill
Saturday, April 08, 2017
A composer’s first symphony rarely gives a clear indication of what beautiful complexities will follow over the years. Early Mozart and Tchaikovsky are examples, and the big exceptions to this axiom are the “firsts” of Beethoven, Shostakovich and Mahler. Tackling Mahler ‘s D Major Symphony (No. 1,...
Symphony
SANTA ROSA SYMPHONY STAYS CLOSE TO HOME
by Steve Osborn
Sunday, March 26, 2017
Santa Rosa Symphony concerts usually feature high-powered soloists imported from afar, but for their recent “Bring on the Strings” concert set, they stuck close to home, thrusting their principal violin, viola and cello into the limelight. The violinist (Joseph Edelberg) and the violist (Elizabeth P...
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...
CHAMBER REVIEW
Valley of the Moon Music Festival / Sunday, July 19, 2015
Eric Hoeprich, clarinet; Elizabeth Blumenstock, violin; Tanya Tomkins, cello; Eric Zivian, fortepiano

Eric Hoeprich, Eric Zivian, Tanya Tomkins July 19 at Sonoma's Hanna Boys Center

CLARINET MUSIC LAUNCHES NEW FESTIVAL IN SONOMA VALLEY

by Terry McNeill
Sunday, July 19, 2015

Among the several North Coast summer festivals in 2015 is a new one, the Valley of the Moon Music Festival, directed by San Francisco-area artists Tanya Tomkins and Eric Zivian. It’s unique in presenting seven concerts of the Classical and Romantic eras with instruments designed and mostly built when the music was written.

Held in the new auditorium of Sonoma’s Hanna Boys Center, the series was inaugurated July 19 with a splendid afternoon of chamber works featuring clarinetist Eric Hoeprich. In the opening Haydn F-Sharp Minor Trio, H. XV: 26, Mr. Zivian and Ms. Tomkins were joined by stellar Baroque violinist Elizabeth Blumenstock.

The piano in the Haydn, owned by Mr. Zivian, was a reproduction of a 1795 Dutch design and allowed the pianist’s fast on-top-of-the-key scales to sound well in the somber opening Allegro and the songful Adagio with its lovely decrescendo ending. As in many of Haydn’s trios the minuet finale received playing of a breezy manner and jocular rhythms.

Ms. Tomkins and Messrs Zivian and Hoeprich then played Beethoven’s early Clarinet Trio in B-Flat Major (Op. 11) with sharply contrasting melodic fragments and an elegant interplay of instrumental voices. The piano here was a restored 1841 Viennese instrument which was best heard in the yearning slow pace of the Adagio and the variations that made up the finale. The inane theme of the latter was often played softly with a comely cello-clarinet duo and Mr. Zivan’s long virtuosic interlude before the coda.

After intermission Weber’s Clarinet Variations in B Flat, Op. 33, was heard from Mr. Hoeprich and Mr. Zivian, and Glinka’s Trio Pathétique (1832). A lovely theme characterized the Weber work, and it turned frothy as each variation unfolded. There were long solo variations for the piano where at frequent places Mr. Zivian dropped his left shoulder to accentuate a phrase ending. Both artists were adept in the syncopated dance variations. It was the concert’s highlight.

Graceful cello solos were featured in the Glinka Trio, a period piece written not in the composer’s Russia but in Italy. It received a polished performance with big down-keyboard skips by Mr. Zivian and dramatic clarinet phrases that carried the work above its rather routine external refinement. The piano sound here was significantly more powerful than the tiny instrument used for Haydn, and had a resonate bass and a predictably weak treble register. It seemed well suited to the three featured compositions.

Mention needs to made of the Center’s hall, a new auditorium with a wide and low stage, direct acoustics and flat-floor seating for perhaps 250. Parking and access are excellent and Hanna may well become a key Sonoma Valley musical venue. Additional Festival concerts, listed on the Classical Sonoma Calendar, are July 31 (young artists, free admission, 7:30 p.m.), August 1 (4 p.m., Mozart’s Viola Quintet) and a Mozart Sonata for Violin and Mendelssohn’s C Minor Trio, Op. 66, for the Festival-ending event August 2 at 4 p.m. Tickets are $40 (General) and $20 for ages below 30.