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Symphony
MASKED SANTA ROSA SYMPHONY CARRIES ON BRILLIANTLY
by Steve Osborn
Sunday, November 15, 2020
In some ways the Santa Rosa Symphony’s Nov. 15 concert on YouTube resembled a Conceptual Art performance from the 1970s. On display were about 30 masked orchestral musicians playing six feet apart from each other on stage, some of them separated by plexiglass barriers. In the 1970s, the concept behi...
Chamber
SPLENDID STRINGS IN A SUNLIT GARDEN
by Abby Wasserman
Sunday, November 1, 2020
A sun-drenched autumn afternoon, a Marin County garden and six superb string players from the Santa Rosa Symphony were manna from heaven to a pandemic-weary audience starved for live music. The sextet of Santa Rosa Symphony musicians performed to a small group of 20 Nov. 1, the day after Halloween....
Chamber
EXAMPLARY QUARTET PLAYING IN MARIN GARDEN CONCERT
by Terry McNeill
Thursday, October 22, 2020
Taped video concerts have pretty much dominated the recent fare for classical music fans, but sporadic live music making can still be found in the North Bay with outdoor chamber music. Of course with the obligatory social distancing and often decorative facial masks. Four San Francisco Opera Orc...
Chamber
VIDEO CHAMBER MUSIC FROM LINCOLN CENTER IN GREEN'S BROADCAST
by Terry McNeill
Saturday, October 17, 2020
Along with hosting its resident the Santa Rosa Symphony, Weill Hall has contracted to produce sporadic virtual programs of classical music, and began Oct. 17 with a charming three-part concert from the Chamber Music Society of Lincoln Center in New York. Hosted with comely introductions by CMSLC di...
Symphony
THRILLING SANTA ROSA SYMPHONY PERFORMANCE IN AN EMPTY WEILL HALL
by Steve Osborn
Sunday, October 11, 2020
Viewers of the Santa Rosa Symphony’s inaugural socially distanced YouTube concert on Oct. 11 could be forgiven for thinking they had stumbled upon a performance of Verdi’s “Un Ballo in Maschera” (A Masked Ball), given that the string players in the opening shot all wore black masks. The sole excepti...
Symphony
BROWN VIDEO GALA LAUNCHES SANTA ROSA SYMPHONY SEASON
by Terry McNeill
Saturday, September 12, 2020
Similar to many North Coast musical organizations the Santa Rosa Symphony has scheduled a series of virtual concerts on video, spotlighting sections of the orchestra and the exuberant activities of its conductor Francesco Lecce-Chong. However, as an introduction to the season, a Sept. 12 gala vide...
SONGS AND ECHOES OF HOME IN AIZURI QUARTET CONCERT
by Abby Wasserman
Sunday, March 8, 2020
From the first richly layered harmonies of Dvořák’s Cypresses, the Aizuri Quartet held the March 8th audience at Mt. Tamalpais Methodist Church in thrall. The church was more than half full, a good crowd considering present anxiety about the spread of the coronavirus. Taking precautions, the M...
COLORFUL BORN BACH AT AGAVE BAROQUE'S SCHROEDER HALL CONCERT
by Sonia Morse Tubridy
Friday, February 28, 2020
Bach’s obituary records that “Johann Sebastian Bach belongs to a family that seems to have received a love and aptitude for music as a gift of Nature to all its members in common.” Agave Baroque presented their Feb. 28 concert, Born Bach, as a partial musical story of several generations in this rem...
ECLECTIC VIOLIN AND PIANO WORKS IN VIRTUOSIC MILL VALLEY RECITAL
by Abby Wasserman
Sunday, February 23, 2020
Blending virtuosity with sublime artistry, violinist Alexander Sitkovetsky and pianist Wu Qian gave the Mill Valley Chamber Music Society audience many thrills February 23, performing four muscular and soulful works by four composers from four countries: de Falla, Schumann, Stravinsky, and Grieg. T...
PREMIER OF KAIZEN AND DRAMATIC MOZART HIGHLIGHT ECHO CHAMBER CONCERT
by Abby Wasserman
Sunday, February 16, 2020
As concertgoers took their seats in San Anselmo’s First Presbyterian Church for ECHO Chamber Orchestra’s February 16 program, they were surprised to see at center stage two bass drums, a tom-tom, bongos, high hat and cymbals. It was the occasion of the world premiere of "Kaizen," composed and perf...
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.