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Symphony
A SLICE OF HEAVEN FROM THE SANTA ROSA SYMPHONY
by Steve Osborn
Sunday, January 13, 2019
Under its vibrant new music director, Francesco Lecce-Chong, the Santa Rosa Symphony this past Sunday offered a nearly perfect afternoon of Mozart (Symphony No. 40) and Mahler (Symphony No. 4). While the two works share a common digit, the only element uniting them is genius. They made for a dazzlin...
Recital
KHOZYAINOV'S BRILLIANT PIANISM IN MILL VALLEY RECITAL
by Abby Wasserman
Sunday, January 13, 2019
In its third concert of the season the Mill Valley Chamber Music Society Jan. 13 presented Russian virtuoso Nikolay Khozyainov. His intelligent and sensitive interpretations, masterful pedal work, and virtuoso technique left the near-capacity audience in Mt. Tamalpais Methodist Church astounded and ...
Chamber
A COMPLETE MUSICAL PACKAGE IN ARRON'S OAKMONT RECITAL
by Terry McNeill
Thursday, January 10, 2019
Cellist Edward Arron has been a welcome artist at the Music at Oakmont series, and after his Jan. 10 recital it’s easy to understand his popularity. His artistry is a complete package, with potent instrumental technique wedded to integral musical conceptions. In a nearly flawless concert with pian...
Choral and Vocal
COMPELLING WEILL HALL MESSIAH ORATORIO FROM THE ABS
by Terry McNeill
Saturday, December 15, 2018
Each holiday season when a Classical Sonoma reviewer is assigned to cover a concert with Handel’s seminal Oratorio The Messiah, the question arises about what new commentary can possibly apply to the often performed choral work. Well, if it’s the American Bach Soloists performing the piece, written...
Opera
PURCELL'S DIDO IN YOUTHFUL SSU OPERA
by Abby Wasserman
Wednesday, December 05, 2018
A doomed royal love affair, the theme of Purcell’s Dido and Aeneas, was brought to lovely life at Sonoma State University Dec. 5 in the school’s Schroeder Hall. Conducted by faculty member Zachary Gordin, who also played continuo, the performance was only the second opera production presented by the...
Symphony
SANTA ROSA SYMPHONY HERALDS THE HOLIDAYS
by Steve Osborn
Sunday, December 02, 2018
Antlers are typical headgear during the holiday season, but the ushers and one bassist at the Santa Rosa Symphony concert on Dec. 2 sported apples atop their heads. The red fruits were festive but perplexing until the orchestra began Rossini’s “William Tell” overture, at which point even the dull-wi...
Symphony
A HERO'S ODYSSEY IN SO CO PHIL CONCERT
by Art Hofmann
Sunday, November 18, 2018
The audience at the Sonoma County Philharmonic’s Nov. 18 concert was warned at the outset that the old Santa Rosa High School auditorium boiler was turned off, and there was a steady eminently audible tone in the hall. Conductor Norman Gamboa said the tone was an A, a high one. But there it was, a...
Recital
MTA BENEFIT CONCERT FEATURES FAURE, DVORAK, JANACEK AND BARBER WORKS
by Terry McNeill
Sunday, November 11, 2018
In a splendid concert Nov. 11 the Music Teachers Association of California, Sonoma County Chapter, presented their sixth annual benefit concert before 40 avid listeners in the Santa Rosa home of Helen Howard and Robert Yeats. Highlights of the performances, involving eight musicians in various perf...
Recital
SERKIN'S SINGULAR MOZART AND BACH PLAYING IN WEILL RECITAL
by Terry McNeill
Friday, November 09, 2018
Returning to Weill Hall following a fire-related recital cancellation in 2017, pianist Peter Serkin programmed just three works in his Nov. 7 concert, three masterworks that challenged both artist and audience alike. It needs to be said at the outset that Mr. Serkin takes a decidedly non-standard a...
Chamber
LUMINOUS FAURE TOPS LINCOLN TRIO'S SPRING LAKE VILLAGE CONCERT
by Terry McNeill
Wednesday, November 07, 2018
Familiarity in chamber music often evokes warm appreciation, and it was thus Nov. 7 when the Chicago-based Lincoln Piano Trio made one of their many Sonoma County appearances, this time on the Spring Lake Village Classical Music Series. Regularly presented by local impresario Robert Hayden, the Lin...
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.