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SONGS AND ECHOES OF HOME IN AIZURI QUARTET CONCERT
by Abby Wasserman
Sunday, March 08, 2020
From the first richly layered harmonies of Dvořák’s Cypresses, the Aizuri Quartet held the March 8th audience at Mt. Tamalpais Methodist Church in thrall. The church was more than half full, a good crowd considering present anxiety about the spread of the coronavirus. Taking precautions, the M...
Choral and Vocal
COLORFUL BORN BACH AT AGAVE BAROQUE'S SCHROEDER HALL CONCERT
by Sonia Morse Tubridy
Friday, February 28, 2020
Bach’s obituary records that “Johann Sebastian Bach belongs to a family that seems to have received a love and aptitude for music as a gift of Nature to all its members in common.” Agave Baroque presented their Feb. 28 concert, Born Bach, as a partial musical story of several generations in this rem...
ECLECTIC VIOLIN AND PIANO WORKS IN VIRTUOSIC MILL VALLEY RECITAL
by Abby Wasserman
Sunday, February 23, 2020
Blending virtuosity with sublime artistry, violinist Alexander Sitkovetsky and pianist Wu Qian gave the Mill Valley Chamber Music Society audience many thrills February 23, performing four muscular and soulful works by four composers from four countries: de Falla, Schumann, Stravinsky, and Grieg. T...
PREMIER OF KAIZEN AND DRAMATIC MOZART HIGHLIGHT ECHO CHAMBER CONCERT
by Abby Wasserman
Sunday, February 16, 2020
As concertgoers took their seats in San Anselmo’s First Presbyterian Church for ECHO Chamber Orchestra’s February 16 program, they were surprised to see at center stage two bass drums, a tom-tom, bongos, high hat and cymbals. It was the occasion of the world premiere of "Kaizen," composed and perf...
BEETHOVEN'S VALENTINE'S DAY GIFT IN RAC SEBASTOPOL RECITAL
by Terry McNeill
Friday, February 14, 2020
Continuing a season of Redwood Arts Council successes, the Kouzov Duo performed an eclectic Valentine’s Day concert in Sebastopol’s Community Church before an audience of 125. Beethoven’s charming Op. 66 Variations on Mozart’s “Ein Mädchen oder Weibchen” from the opera the Magic Flute was a bouncy ...
LUSH BACH PERFORMANCE IN DENK'S WEILL HALL RECITAL
by Terry McNeill
Thursday, February 13, 2020
Memorable artistic interpretations of musical masterpieces are often at extremes, and with the Bach’s Well-Tempered Clavier (WTC - Book I) that Jeremy Denk played in Weill Hall Feb. 13, the pianist was only sporadically at unique or ebullient musical ends. But his playing wasn’t exactly at opposite...
BROWNE, PAREMSKI HEAD STELLAR CAST AT SANTA ROSA SYMPHONY CONCERT
by Steve Osborn
Sunday, February 09, 2020
The Feb. 9 performance by the Santa Rosa Symphony offered a healthy dose of 21st century music firmly bound to the 19th. Matt Browne’s first symphony, “The Course of Empire”—based on a series of five paintings by Thomas Cole, who founded the Hudson River School of American painting in the 1820s—emp...
FRENCH ORCHESTRAL MUSIC A FIRST FOR THE SO CO PHILHARMONIC
by Terry McNeill
Sunday, February 02, 2020
Over many years the Sonoma County Philharmonic has played little French music, but perhaps this oversight was corrected Feb. 2 in a splendid all-Gallic program Feb. 1 and 2 in the Jackson Theater. Classical Sonoma reviewed the Sunday afternoon concert. In his eighth conducting season with the So C...
POLISH MUSICAL WORLDS GLOW BRIGHT IN NFM WROCLAW WEILL PERFORMANCE
by Sonia Morse Tubridy
Saturday, February 01, 2020
The NFM Wroclaw Philharmonic, with conductor Giancarlo Guerrero, gave a concert of enormous energy and emotional impact on Feb.1 to a small audience in Weill Hall. This orchestra has been a major cultural force in Poland since 1949, playing under many renowned conductors and has been committed to pr...
EXTRAVAGANT ARIAS IN NEXT GENERATION TENORS GALA VALLEJO CONCERT
by Mark Kratz
Saturday, February 01, 2020
“Beautiful, strange, and unnatural…” said orchestra conductor Thomas Conlin when speaking of the tenor voice. One of the coveted voice types of the opera world, the tenor voice is known for it’s piercing tones and soaring, unnatural high notes. The iconic image of the Pagliacci clown (in the famed...
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.