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Chamber
FLORESTAN TRIO'S MENDELSSOHN AT SPRING LAKE VILLAGE CONCERT
by Terry McNeill
Friday, March 08, 2019
Spring Lake Village’s monthly concerts usually clock in under an hour, but the March 8 Florestan Trio’s performance was more extended as so much good music was on tap for the 125 residents attending at Santa Rosa’s premiere retirement residence facility. Four short pieces made up the first half, be...
Chamber
TILDEN TRIO'S BOHEMIAN ENERGY AT DOMINICAN CONCERT
by Terry McNeill
Sunday, March 03, 2019
Hard on the heels of the Trio Navarro’s late February concert in Sonoma State’s Schroeder Hall, Northern California’s other premiere resident piano trio, the Tilden, played an equally convincing program March 3 in Dominican University’s Angelico Hall. Clearly each hall’s acoustics, stage pianos and...
Recital
24 SONGS IN A MENKE-THOMPSON RECITAL ODYSSEY
by Terry McNeill
Saturday, February 23, 2019
Sonoma County pop and country singing enjoys continued popularity but it rare to see a professional classical vocal concert announced. Diva Ruth Ann Swenson was once a local star, but she has long departed and not much virtuoso recital singing can be found in the North Bay. But the exception to th...
Chamber
UNEXPECTED ARENSKY AND MENDELSSOHN BY THE NAVARRO
by Terry McNeill
Sunday, February 17, 2019
The 100 people entering Schroeder Hall Feb. 17 for a Trio Navarro concert were handed a program that appeared to feature two popular piano trios, Mendelssohn and Arensky. But continuing the Navarro’s tradition of repertoire exploration, the pieces were not the usual first Mendelssohn and first Aren...
Recital
GLOVER'S ECLECTIC PROGRAMMING HIGHLIGHT'S CINNABAR RECITAL
by Terry McNeill
Sunday, February 17, 2019
Daniel Glover is arguably the busiest virtuoso pianist in the San Francisco Bay area, but rarely is heard in North Bay concerts. So 90 local pianophiles were anxious to hear him Feb. 17 in Petaluma’s charming small Cinnabar Theater, and they were rewarded with an eclectic program of sometimes unfam...
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...
CHAMBER REVIEW
Trio Navarro and Friends / Sunday, October 04, 2015
Victor Romasevich, violin; Jill Rachuy Brindel, cello; Marilyn Thompson, piano

Trio Navarro in 2014

ARCANE ARENSKY TRIO HIGHLIGHTS NAVARRO'S SEASON OPENING CONCERT IN SCHROEDER

by Terry McNeill
Sunday, October 04, 2015

One would have thought that the glitz surrounding Lang Lang’s 101 Pianists Foundation program Oct. 4 in Weill would have upstaged chamber music at the same time in nearby Schroeder Hall. Not to worry, as the Trio Navarro continues to perform sometimes-neglected gems from the trio literature with a level of artistry that the Chinese superstar might grandly applaud.

In Rimsky-Korsakov’s My Musical Life he writes in 1905 that the works and life of his pupil Anton Arensky “…will soon be forgotten.” And that has mostly been so, with the exception of piano bagatelles, some suites, two string quartets and the first Trio in D Minor. The Navarro programmed the rarely heard second Trio in F Minor, Op. 73, for the second half of the concert, and scored a minor triumph with it before an audience of 125.

The Trio choose quick tempos and clipped phrases in the opening movement, eschewing extended ritards and the voice leading one hears in recordings of Arensky by Russian musicians. It’s Tchaikovsky influenced a bit by Schumann. A surprisingly movement ending accelerandowas played swiftly and vigorously. In the lyrical second movement pianist Marilyn Thompson played the opening expressive theme and throughout the music from 1905 is achingly rich, but even here in opulent thematic voices traded between violinist Victor Romasevich and cellist Jill Rachuy Brindel one hoped for a little more loosening of tempo. Mr. Romasevich held one high note at the end of an ascending phrase with just the right character of suspense and bright tone.

A Scherzo comprises a wonderful trio in a waltz form, and the concluding “Tema con Variazioni” with a big cello part portraying music that is less exalted than the preceding movements. It’s episodic until the return of the first-movement’s dark theme, and the Navarro played it with conviction. Brahms’ last movements are always imposing; Arensky’s are less so.

Before intermission the Navarro played trios by Haydn (B Flat Major, Hob XV:20) and the venerable Dvorak E Minor (“Dumky”). Haydn wrote more than 40 piano trios, and in most the cello supports the violin’s stating principal themes. It was this way in the first two movements with Mr. Romasevich’s light vibrato and a simple and long introductory line from Ms. Thompson in the Andante Cantabile. At times this Trio sounded like an accompanied piano solo, brisk and and pungent.

Dvorak’s famous Dumky has often been played by the Navarro, but with violinist Roy Malan. It’s a masterful work of vitality and infectious Czech rhythmic power in six alternating dumka of festive gaiety and yearning, though alike in character. The Navarro performed the demanding rhythm patterns with seasoned artistry. A highlight was the lovely recitative in the Poco Adagio sounding with Ms. Brindel’s plaintive cello melody, and the Cantilena in the piano part. In the fourth dumka again the cello carried a melancholy theme over the bass lines of piano and violin, and this created a sense of warm calm.

The final dumka (Lento) had the Navarro playing up the disparity of a grave pathetic theme with a wild quick section, and Ms. Brindel as earlier had prominence with her assured cello technique.

The repertoire selection and performance gave me no reason to change a decade-long view that the Navarro is the best resident piano trio in Northern California.