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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...
Chamber
COMMANDING CHOPIN AND DEBUSSY IN SLV RECITAL
by Terry McNeill
Wednesday, June 06, 2018
Concerts at the classy Spring Lake Village Retirement Home in Santa Rosa have admission limited to residents and a few guests, but the chance to hear a first cabin North Bay pianist June 6 brought a Classical Sonoma reviewer into the audience of 100. The crowd numbers were unusually low due to a ba...
Recital
MUSICAL ALCHEMY INSIDE A HIDDEN GEM
by Kayleen Asbo
Friday, May 25, 2018
The Petaluma Historical Library and Museum is a hidden gem of Sonoma County, a gracious building that is one of Sonoma County’s loveliest venues for chamber music concerts, with a fine period piano particularly suited to Romantic music.  Of the surprisingly large array of festivities there, one of t...
Chamber
FINAL VOM MUSICIANS CONCERT IN SCHROEDER A SCHUBERT DELIGHT
by Terry McNeill
Saturday, May 12, 2018
It's rare to have the opportunity to compare in a short period two performances of the same major Schubert work, in this case the great B Flat Piano Trio, D. 898. The chance came May 12 when the Valley of the Moon Festival musicians played it in Schroeder, just over a month since the Hall’s residen...
Symphony
FERRANDIS BIDS ADIEU WITH MAHLER’S FINAL SYMPHONY
by Steve Osborn
Sunday, May 06, 2018
Sonoma State students in graduation robes posed for pictures and hugged each other at the university’s stone gates on Sunday afternoon, mirroring the prolonged farewells within the university’s Green Music Center, where Bruno Ferrandis bid adieu to the Santa Rosa Symphony after a dozen years at the ...
Symphony
SONIC SPLENDOR AT MARIN SYMPHONY SEASON FINALE
by Abby Wasserman
Tuesday, May 01, 2018
The Marin Symphony Orchestra ended the current season with a flourish, interpreting big and small works by Richard Strauss and Stravinsky. Strauss and Stravinsky were contemporaries for 40 years, but inhabited different worlds. Both composers were affected by cataclysmic changes and war, and musical...
Symphony
ORGAN SYMPHONY IN SSU ORCHESTRA CONCERT IN WEILL
by Terry McNeill
Sunday, April 29, 2018
Though Classical Sonoma seldom reviews student concerts, as ample North Coast concerts keep the staff of 11 reviewers busy. But the chance to hear the Sonoma State University Orchestra tackle St. Saëns’ majestic Organ Symphony April 29 was a rare opportunity and not easily to be missed. Avec l’...
Recital
HEAVENLY SCHUBERT AND DEMONIC CHOPIN
by Terry McNeill
Saturday, April 21, 2018
One of the anomalies in the long ago “Golden Era” of romantic pianism (about 1905 to 1940) is that the virtuoso giants of the time didn’t play Schubert. It took the German pianist Artur Schnabel to bring the beauties of Schuber’s work to the public’s attention, and now they seem to be on almost ever...
CHAMBER REVIEW
Mastercard Performance Series / Friday, November 13, 2015
Juilliard String Quartet: Joseph Lin and Ronald Copes, violin; Roger Tapping, viola; Joel Krosnick, cello

Juilliard String Quartet

STERLING QUARTET MUSIC FROM THE JUILLIARD IN WEILL

by Terry McNeill
Friday, November 13, 2015

Mozart’s C Minor Quartet, K. 465, has had the sobriquet “dissonant” almost since its 1785 composition, but the word really doesn’t seem to apply. It’s a buoyant work, after an initial, deep melancholy and minor key clashes are overcome.

In their Nov. 13 Weill Hall concert the Juilliard String Quartet made the Mozart the evening’s cornerstone before an appreciative audience of 700 chamber music fans. All four movements received a reading of meticulous attention to attack, phrasing and instrumental balance. The opening Adagio-Allegro was played at a quick tempo (after the introductory musical pessimism) with an elegant cello line from long-time JSQ member Joel Krosnick. The featherweight ending led to a light vibrato plaintive Andante Cantabile movement in a sometime instrumental question and answer mode.

The finale had an impish quality and first violinist Joseph Lin played the big themes with vigor and a bright but never forced tone. The Juilliard played this from score, as they did the entire program.

Beginning the first half was Schubert’s Quartettstatz (D. 703), a one-movement curiosity that in its ten-minute playing time might benefit with additional sections, but this performance stood well on its own. The opening swelling tremolos in all four instruments gave way to conciliatory themes and slimmed down (for Schubert) and often clipped phrases. The string blend was pure and beguiling.

Debussy’s single quartet from 1893 comprised the entire second half, and of course all was in order for this seasoned ensemble. Atmospheric beauty was present throughout the four movements, and the harmonic territory of the Andantino, doucement expressif and the pizzicato writing in the second movement must have been novel when the piece was first heard. The plucking was almost shimmering. There was never any hurry to get anywhere in this performance, and in the Andantino violist Roger Tapping played beautifully, giving and taking back a rich theme with Mr. Lin. In places the string vibrato was deftly adjusted to heighten contrast. It was a shaded and subdued playing, a watercolor of sound.

Clean lines were heard in the finale, despite the richness of the writing and the chaste fugato from Mr. Krosnick that leads upwards to the ostinato lines of his three colleagues. The captivating Debussy brought a standing ovation and Mr. Lin announced one encore, the third movement from Schubert’s D Minor Quartet, “Death and the Maiden.” This Scherzo is a wild dance that demands quick virtuosity at every turn, but this sterling group was its master as they were throughout the concert.

Nicki Bell contributed to this review.