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Choral and Vocal
A SEASONAL MESSIAH WITH BALANCE AND HEFT
by Terry McNeill
Sunday, December 10, 2017
The mid-December concert season seems for jaded reviewers to invariably include a Messiah performance, and perhaps a Messiah in a long string of similar and mundane performances. This was decidedly not the case when San Francisco’s Philharmonia Baroque mounted Handel’s eminent three-part 1742 Orato...
Symphony
ANDREW GRAMS FINDS HIS GROOVE SR SYMPHONY IN RACHMANINOFF
by Steve Osborn
Sunday, December 03, 2017
Last Sunday’s Santa Rosa Symphony concert featured two elegant and refined guests: music director candidate Andrew Grams and pianist Stewart Goodyear. Both displayed dazzling technique and consummate artistry, but Goodyear was the more consistent of the two. Some of Grams’ inconsistency may have st...
Symphony
SONIC SPLASH AND ENSEMBLE DELICACY AT SO CO PHIL CONCERT
by Terry McNeill
Saturday, November 18, 2017
Franck’s wonderful D Minor Symphony is a rarity on today’s concert programs, and I can’t remember a North Bay performance in many years from any of the six resident area orchestras. So it was good to see the Sonoma County Philharmonic feature it in their Nov. 18 and 19 concerts at Santa Rosa High S...
Chamber
TETZLAFF QUARTET'S MASTERY IN MOZART AND SCHUBERT
by Terry McNeill
Saturday, November 11, 2017
German violin virtuoso Christian Tetzlaff presented a critically successful Weill Hall recital Feb. 18, and returned to the same venue Nov. 11 with his admirable Tetzlaff Quartet in a program of Berg, Schubert and Mozart. Clarity of ensemble has always been a hallmark of this Quartet, and contrapun...
Chamber
RAVISHING SHORT OPERAS FROM FRENCH TROUPE IN WEILL
by Terry McNeill
Friday, November 10, 2017
Standard Weill Hall fall and winter classical programs are pretty routine – symphonic music, chamber, solo recitals – so it was a rare treat Nov. 10 when just two works from the 17th century were gloriously presented. With such specialized compositions, period performers with commanding authenticit...
Symphony
MEI-ANN CHEN PROVES A WORTHY CONTENDER FOR SANTA ROSA SYMPHONY CONDUCTING POST
by Steve Osborn
Sunday, November 05, 2017
These days the focus of Santa Rosa Symphony concerts is as much on the conductor candidates as on the soloists. This past weekend’s concerts featured the second of those candidates, Mei-Ann Chen, along with pianist Nareh Arghamanyan, each of whom cut an imposing figure on the stage. Chen is diminut...
Symphony
TO RUSSIA WITH BRILLIANCE
by Terry McNeill
Friday, November 03, 2017
Russian pianist Denis Matsuev’s high velocity and frequently slam-bang virtuosity came to the Green Music Center last year with a thrilling and equally perplexing solo performance. So many in Weill Nov. 3 were interested to hear if his pianistic style would mesh well in a concerto, and with a fine ...
Symphony
THUNDEROUS TCHAIKOVSKY FOURTH OPENS MARIN SYMPHONY SEASON
by Terry McNeill
Tuesday, October 31, 2017
North Coast weather is turning cool and the nights longer, ideal for Tchaikovsky’s big boned symphonies. The Santa Rosa Symphony recently programmed the Fourth (F Minor Symphony) as did the San Francisco Symphony. Norman Gamboa’s Sonoma County Philharmonic just played the Tchaikovsky First, forgoi...
Recital
RESPIGHI'S PUNGENT SONATA HIGHLIGHTS KENNEY-GUTMAN RECITAL
by Terry McNeill
Sunday, October 29, 2017
Respighi’s B Minor Violin Sonata seems never to gain conventional repertoire status. Perhaps the great Heifetz recording is intimidating, and I can recall over many years just two local performances: Jason Todorov and William Corbett-Jones years go in Newman, and a titanic reading in March by Anne S...
Chamber
MIRÓ QUARTET AND JEFFERY KAHANE PROVIDE MUSICAL RELIEF FOR FIRE-RAVAGED SONOMA COUNTY
by Steve Osborn
Saturday, October 28, 2017
Sonoma County’s Green Music Center has stood silent but unscathed the past few weeks as the county begins to recover from the devastating fires that began on the evening of October 8, only a few hours after a Santa Rosa Symphony concert in the Music Center. Since then, concerts by the Symphony, the ...
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.