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Chamber
THREE SONG CYCLES HIGHLIGHT VIBRANT SLV RECITAL
by Pamela Hicks-Gailey
Wednesday, May 08, 2019
An ambitious recital of vocal and piano music was presented May 8 at Santa Rosa’s Spring Lake Village by mezzo-soprano Kindra Scharich and pianist Jeffrey LaDeur. The duo engaged the enthusiastic audience with scholarly friendliness and artistry in performances of Beethoven's short cycle of six song...
Symphony
ALEXANDER TORADZE DELIVERS A LESSON IN SERENITY
by Steve Osborn
Sunday, May 05, 2019
An entire concerto movement consisting of serene piano melodies over a soothing backdrop is probably not the first thing that springs to mind when seeing Shostakovich’s name on an orchestra program, but that’s exactly what pianist Alexander Toradze delivered--twice--at Sunday’s Santa Rosa Symphony c...
Symphony
MARIN SYMPHONY SEASON CLOSES WITH AUTUMNAL ELGAR AND THEATRICAL BEETHOVEN
by Abby Wasserman
Sunday, April 28, 2019
Mozart’s enchanting Overture to his opera The Magic Flute, a miniature tapestry of gems from the 1791 work, opened the Marin Symphony’s final concert of the 2018-2019 season. Under conductor Alasdair Neale, the playing of the sprightly seven-minute piece by a reduced-size classical ensemble sparkled...
Recital
SHAHAM-EGUCHI DUO'S EXCITING MUSICAL GENEROSITY IN WEILL
by Abby Wasserman
Friday, April 26, 2019
Violinist Gil Shaham may be the most modest virtuoso on the concert stage today, and it is the great music he most wishes to put forward, never himself. Generosity, a quality he is known for, was abundantly clear in Weill Hall April 26 when he performed, with pianist Akira Eguchi, a generous program...
Recital
GLITTERING PIANISM IN LI'S OAKMONT RECITAL
by Terry McNeill
Thursday, April 11, 2019
Piano prodigies have always been a fascination for the music public, and the greatest of them (some were Mozart, Mendelssohn, Liszt, Saint Saëns, Hofmann) went on to legendary fame. George Li, who made is local debut at a Music at Oakmont recital April 11, was a remarkable recent keyboard prodigy t...
Symphony
SO CO PHIL'S SEASON CLOSER WITH EXPANSIVE PROKOFIEV 5TH IN JACKSON
by Terry McNeill
Sunday, April 07, 2019
Closing their 20th season with their usual programming aplomb, the Sonoma County Philharmonic played a provocative set of concerts April 6 and 7 in the Jackson Theater, the Orchestra’s new home at the Sonoma Country Day School by the Sonoma County Airport. Local composer Nolan Gasser’s Sonoma Overt...
Choral and Vocal
SISTINE CHAPEL INSPIRATION FOR THE TALLIS SCHOLARS IN WEILL HALL
by Sonia Morse Tubridy
Friday, April 05, 2019
Returning to Weill Hall April 5 after a seven year absence, the ten singers of the Tallis Scholars brought the sacred choral tradition of Palestrina and his contemporaries to an audience of delighted music lovers. Under the direction of Peter Phillips, the 1973 founder of the group, the program was...
Symphony
AUTUMNAL SIBELIUS 7TH HIGHLIGHTS VSO'S SEASON CLOSING CONCERT
by Terry McNeill
Sunday, March 31, 2019
Closing their 87th Season March 30 and 31 the Vallejo Symphony has moved from a single weekend concert to a set of two, and the late March response was two full houses in the charming downtown Vallejo Empress Theater. Conductor Marc Taddei opened the Sunday program with a rousing performance of B...
Recital
SHARED INSTRUMENTAL BEAUTY IN VIEAUX-MEYERS WEILL HALL CONCERT
by Abby Wasserman
Saturday, March 30, 2019
Exciting timbral sound and intricate counterpoint, made possible when two artists with complementary instruments play together, were richly explored by violinist Anne Akiko Meyers and guitarist Jason Vieaux March 30 in Weill Hall. Whether in close harmony, or unison, or weaving separate melodies to...
Chamber
RARE MAHLER QUARTET AT MILL VALLEY CHAMBER CONCERT
by Abby Wasserman
Sunday, March 24, 2019
Piano quartets are relatively rare in the classical literature, and there are only about 40 compositions for the combination of piano, violin, viola and cello, mostly from the Romantic period of the mid to late 1800s. It therefore was special March 24 to hear three great works of this medium, perfor...
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.