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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...
Recital
MUSCULAR PIANISM DOMINATES MILL VALLEY CHAMBER SOCIETY RECITAL
by Terry McNeill
Sunday, March 12, 2017
Piano recitals since the beginning of the genre open with finger pieces - Scarlatti or Soler Sonatas, Bach, a Mendelssohn Prelude and Fugue or perhaps Mozart or Haydn. Sarah Daneshpour’s March 12 opening work at the Mill Valley Chamber Music Society series abruptly avoided the norm with the 10-minut...
Recital
NOVEL HAYDN AND SCHUMANN IN YARDEN'S OAKMONT RECITAL
by Terry McNeill
Thursday, March 09, 2017
Israeli pianist Einav Yarden has been a frequent Sonoma County visitor, playing private recitals for Spring Lake Village and Concerts Grand, and twice performing for Music at Oakmont. The Berlin-based artist returned to Oakmont’s Berger Auditorium March 9 with a program that was neither for connois...
Chamber
CONSUMMATE ENSEMBLE FROM THE MIRÓ IN WEILL
by Sonia Tubridy and Nicki Bell
Sunday, March 05, 2017
A March 5 Weill hall audience of 350 leaned in to share an intimate musical space and to hear the Miró String Quartet’s sterling concert. Starting with Haydn's Op. 20, No. 4, the four musicians seemed to want listeners to be enveloped in their music. The Miró plays with the feat of being four dist...
Recital
BRILLIANT VIOLIN AND PIANO ARTISTRY CHARMS SCHROEDER HALL AUDIENCE
by Terry McNeill
Sunday, February 26, 2017
A tiny Schroeder Hall audience heard a flawless recital Feb. 26 by Yu-Chien Tseng, arguably the best recent local violin recital since Gil Shaham’s transversal of the complete Bach Suites in Weill and Frank Almond’s Oakmont recital in 2015. Muscular playing was the afternoon’s norm, and with pianis...
Chamber
MUSIC AND ART MELD IN ZUCKERMAN TRIO CONCERT
by Nicki Bell
Friday, February 24, 2017
A Feb. 24 Weill Hall concert by the Pinchas Zuckerman Trio juxtaposed formidable music making with palpable associations about visual art. Brahms’ C Minor "Sonatensatz” (Scherzo) is a short youthful work for violin and piano, and was an opening call to action. Lively and vigorous playing alternated...
Chamber
THREE BEETHOVEN TRIOS BEGUILE AUDIENCE IN FEB. 19 WEILL CONCERT
by Terry McNeill
Sunday, February 19, 2017
Chamber music concerts featuring one composer can be tricky, but the Han/Setzer/Finckel trio made a Feb. 19 Weill Hall audience of 500 hear and to a degree see the boundless creativity of Beethoven. The G Major Trio, Op. 1, No. 2, opened the afternoon’s Beethoven odyssey and one wonders why it is t...
Chamber
AUTHORITATIVE BARTOK HIGHLIGHTS TETZLAFF VIOLIN RECITAL
by Terry McNeill
Saturday, February 18, 2017
Christian Tetzlaff’s Feb. 18 violin recital rolled along with lively and fresh readings of Mozart, Beethoven and Schubert when the specter of Bartok’s granitic Second Sonata intervened. The sonic shock to the audience of 250 in Weill was palpable. Composed in 1923 the 20-minute two-movement work i...
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.