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Chamber
EXTRAVAGANT FUSION OF STYLES AT CHRIS BOTTI BAND WEILL HALL CONCERT
by Jerry Dibble
Sunday, August 12, 2018
Trumpeter Chris Botti still performs in jazz venues including SF Jazz and The Blue Note, but now appears mostly in cavernous halls or on outdoor stages like the Sonoma State University’s Green Music Center. He brought his unique road show to the packed Weill Hall August 12 in a concert of effusive e...
Chamber
SCHUBERT "MIT SCHLAG" AT VOM FESTIVAL MORNING CONCERT
by Abby Wasserman
Sunday, July 29, 2018
The spirit of 19th century Vienna was present July 29 on the final day of the Valley of the Moon Music Festival. The Festival in the second half of July glittered with innovative programming and the new, old sound of original instruments played by musicians who love music with historic instruments. ...
Chamber
PASSIONATE BRAHMS-SCHOENBERG MUSIC CLOSES VOM FESTIVAL SUMMER
by Abby Wasserman
Sunday, July 29, 2018
An extraordinary program of chamber music by Brahms and Schoenberg attracted a capacity crowd to the Valley of the Moon Music Festival’s final concert July 29th in Sonoma’s Hanna Center. It opened with a richly expressive reading by Festival Laureate violinist Rachell Wong and pianist Jeffrey LaDeur...
Chamber
PRAGUE AND VIENNA PALACE GEMS HIGHLIGHT VOM FESTIVAL CONCERT
by Sonia Morse Tubridy
Saturday, July 28, 2018
The remarkable Valley of the Moon Chamber Music Festival presented a concert called “Kinsky Palace” July 28 on their final Festival weekend in Sonoma’s Hanna Center. Two well-known treasures and one lesser gem were programmed. Starting the afternoon offerings were violinist Monica Huggett and Fest...
Chamber
INNOVATIVE CHAMBER WORKS IN HANNA CENTER CONCERT
by Sonia Morse Tubridy
Sunday, July 22, 2018
The Valley of the Moon Music Festival presented a July 22 concert featuring three giants: Haydn, Schubert and Schumann, composers who altered music of their time with creative innovations and artistic vision. In the fourth season the Festival’s theme this year is “Vienna in Transition”, and VOM Fes...
Chamber
VIENNA INSPIRATION FOR VOM FESTIVAL PROGRAM AT HANNA CENTER
by Nicki Bell
Saturday, July 21, 2018
A music-loving audience filled Sonoma’s Hanna Center Auditorium July 21 to begin a record weekend of three concerts, produced by the Valley of the Moon Music Festival. The Festival’s theme this summer is “Venice in Transition – From the Enlightenment to the Dawn of Modernism” Prior to Saturday’s m...
Chamber
VANHAL QUARTET AT VOM FESTIVAL DISCOVERY AT HANNA CENTER
by Abby Wasserman
Sunday, July 15, 2018
A near-capacity crowd of 220 filled the Sonoma Hanna Boys Center Auditorium July 15 for the opening concert of the fourth Valley of the Moon Music Festival. This Festival presents gems of the Classical and early Romantic periods performed on instruments of the composer’s era, which presents a few ch...
Opera
SPARKLING CIMAROSA OPERA HIGHLIGHTS MENDOCINO MUSIC FESTIVAL
by Kathryn Stewart
Friday, July 13, 2018
The Classical music era was a time of extraordinary innovation. Dominated by composers from the German-speaking countries, the period witnessed the handiwork of masterpieces by two classical giants, Haydn and Mozart. Both composers put forth a tremendous catalog of masterful works and perhaps to our...
Symphony
!PURA VIDA! A SONIC TRIUMPH FOR SO CO PHIL IN THRILLING COSTA RICA TOUR CONCERT
by Terry McNeill
Tuesday, June 19, 2018
Long anticipated events, such as a great sporting game, gourmet feast, holiday trip or a concert, occasionally fall way short of expectations. The results don’t measure to expectations. With the Sonoma County Philharmonic’s Costa Rica concert June 19, the performance exceeded any heated or tenuou...
Symphony
SO CO PHIL BON VOYAGE CONCERT AN ODYSSEY OF CONTRASTING SOUND
by Terry McNeill
Friday, June 15, 2018
In a splashy bon voyage concert June 15 the Sonoma County Philharmonic Orchestra launched its June 17-25 Costa Rica tour, performing gratis in Santa Rosa’s Jackson Theater the repertoire for tour concerts in San José, Costa Rica’s capital, and in surrounding towns. Conductor Norman Gamboa pr...
RECITAL REVIEW
Mastercard Performance Series / Friday, November 06, 2015
Jean-Yves Thibaudet, piano

Pianist Jean-Yves Thibaudet

A TALE OF TWO PERFORMANCES

by John S. Hord
Friday, November 06, 2015

Jean-Yves Thibaudet’s Nov. 6 performance of Ravel in Weill Hall was sheer beauty, and illuminated the essentials of French piano music: elegance, proportion, balance, delicacy, and precision.

The performance of Noctuelles (Night Moths), the first of the five Mirrors (1905) was stunning. Oiseaux triste (Sad Birds) was projected to sound as if birds were indeed perched in various places of the hall. My only quibble is the reordering of the last two pieces in the set of five. I prefer La vallée des cloches last, as published, and believe this provides a more convincing musical framework by providing a “mirror” of the first piece in the set.

In the first half, all Schumann including Kinderscenen (Op. 15), the playing was less effective than the Ravel. The vast majority of Schumann’ s piano music is composed with three levels of interest; the melody on top, the bass line (usually another melody) at the bottom and a middle section that provides more rhythmic interest and fills out the harmonies. The melody on top from Mr. Thibaudet’s virtuosic hands (and feet) was quite beautiful, with song-like phrasing a joy to hear. But, the bass line was not projected strongly enough to provide the foundation of sound nor the counterpoint to the top melody. The result were bass lines and inner voices sounding as one idea, changing the texture of the work from polyphonic to homophonic.

The first movement of the Op. 11 F-Sharp-Minor Sonata has an arresting initial theme, and appears just after an introduction. The melody, rhythm, and accompaniment figurations were also used by Clara Schumann in the first piece, Impromptu: Le Sabbat, of her composition 4 Pièces caractéristiques, Op. 5. (This one piece was later retitled Witches Dance.) This is a beautiful example of motif sharing that was common in the Schumann household.

Mr. Thibaudet responded to encore requests by playing Brahms’ A Major Intermezzo of Op. 118, No. 2. It also did not have the projection of the three levels of sound mentioned in the works of Schumann, but the treble theme was performed elegantly.

The title “A Tale of Two Performances” reflected the acoustics in Weill Hall, at least in the critic’s seat at row J, stage left. I heard little piano resonance from the lovely hall, especially in the two big Schumann compositions. However, the lighter textures of Ravel fared much better with rich tone color and shadings.