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Chamber
YOUNG MUSICIANS SHINE AT PIANO SONOMA CONCERT
by Lee Ormasa
Tuesday, August 01, 2017
The third in a series of four concerts by Piano Sonoma artists in residence, part of the Vino and Vibrato Series, was held August 1 in Schroeder Hall at the Green Music Center. Entitled “The Masters,” the program included works by Bach, Beethoven, Mozart and Haydn. Piano Sonoma is a summer artist-in...
Chamber
THRILLING PROGRAM CLOSES VOM CHAMBER FESTIVAL AT HANNA CENTER
by Lee Ormasa
Sunday, July 30, 2017
The finale of the two-week Valley of the Moon Music Festival closed July 30 with “The Age of Bravura” concert at the Sonoma’s Hanna Boys Center. The musical selections held to this year’s Festival theme “Schumann’s World - His Music and the Music He Loved.“ This summer Festival features chamber mus...
Chamber
PERIOD INSTRUMENTAL SOUND AT PENULTIMATE VOM FESTIVAL CONCERT
by Terry McNeill
Sunday, July 30, 2017
In the Valley of the Moon Chamber Music Festival’s penultimate concert July 30 the perennial issue of period and modern instruments was apparent. But only in the concluding Mendelssohn Trio, as the performances in the two first half works easily avoided instrumental comparisons. Clara Schumann’s t...
Chamber
ECLECTIC REPERTOIRE IN FETCHING VOM FESTIVAL CONCERT
by Terry McNeill
Saturday, July 22, 2017
One of the purposes of summer music festivals is to present unfamiliar music in an attractive and often small audience setting. The Valley of the Moon Music Festival delightfully met these requirements July 22 and 23 with two concerts in the small hall at Sonoma’s Hanna Boys Center. Classical Sono...
Recital
ADAMS' PHRYGIAN GATES HIGHLIGHTS MORKOSKI FESTIVAL PERFORMANCE
by Lee Ormasa
Saturday, July 22, 2017
Attendees at the Molly Morkoski Mendocino Music Festival recital July 22 were in for a treat, both pianistically and if they happened to buy a tasty cookie during intermission. The program included Beethoven’s Op. 27 Moonlight Sonata, Adams’ Phrygian Gates, a surprise add-on of Grieg’s Holberg Suit...
Symphony
SOARING VERDI REQUIEM CLOSES 31ST MENDOCINO FESTIVAL
by Lee Ormasa
Saturday, July 22, 2017
We speak frequently about how there is nothing like the experience of a live performance. Seldom was this truer than at the July 22 closing performance of the two-week Mendocino Music Festival. The Festival Orchestra, conducted by of Allan Pollack, joined with the Festival Chorus in a moving renderi...
Recital
ORGAN REGISTRATION MASTERY HEARD IN WALHAIN'S RECITAL
by Robert Young
Tuesday, July 18, 2017
A group of 65 lucky attendees July 18 had the pleasure of hearing Etienne Walhain’s recital at the Church of the Incarnation in Santa Rosa. Mr. Walhain is organist at the Cathedral of Notre Dame in Tournai, Belgium, and played to a varied program Bach, Franck, and Reger. He used the tonal resource...
Opera
DONIZETTI'S DON PASQUALE HAS LYRICAL CHARM IN MENDOCINO FESTIVAL PRODUCTION
by Elly Lichenstein
Friday, July 14, 2017
Mendocino Music Festival's production of Donizetti's beloved opera buffa Don Pasquale - a one-night affair July 15 that was presented in an enormous tent on a greensward overlooking the Pacific Ocean - delighted an audience of more than 600 while doing some real justice to this frothy gem of commedi...
Recital
NOVACEK'S 2ND HALF TRIFECTA SCORES AT MENDO MUSIC FESTIVAL
by Terry McNeill
Thursday, July 13, 2017
Modern classical piano recitals are in two parts, with longer and perhaps more profound music proceeding perhaps shorter and usually stimulating lighter fare. In John Novacek’s July 13 Mendocino Music Festival recital the best playing came unexpectedly in the eight abbreviated works comprising the ...
Recital
STYLUS AND PLAYING FANTASTICUS IN YOUNG'S ORGAN RECITAL
by Paul Blanchard
Sunday, June 25, 2017
Organist Robert Young gave a wonderful tour through the stylus fantasticus (fantastic style) organ literature June 25 playing a recital on the Casavant organ at Church of the Incarnation in Santa Rosa. Mr. Young recently became the organist at the Church and previously served for 20 years as Music D...
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.