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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...
CHAMBER REVIEW
Dominican University of California Guest Concert Series / Sunday, February 21, 2016
San Francisco Chamber Players. Dan Carlson, violin.Jay Fellows, viola; Peter Wyrick, cello; June Choi Oh, piano

San Francisco Chamber Players

COMPELLING CELLO PROMINENCE IN DOMINICAN U. CONCERT

by Vicky Ehrlich
Sunday, February 21, 2016

It could go like this: arrive at Dominican University, park just outside Angelico Hall and perhaps cross a quaint campus bridge over a creek before taking a Hall seat for for a Dominican University Guest Concert Series event featuring the San Francisco Chamber Players.

Faculty pianist June Choi Oh performed with cellist Peter Wyrick the afternoon’s opening work, Beethoven’s A Major Sonata, Op. 69. Mr. Wyrick and Ms. Oh brought off the sonata with beautiful style, energy and deep understanding of the many facets of Beethoven’s mastery. The playing featured many contrasts of volume, tempo, and mood in the first Allegro movement, headlong offset rhythms of the Scherzo, and the stately introduction and then grand sweep of the concluding Adagio.

This third Sonata is sharply different from the first two Op. 5 Sonatas from 1796, and the music revels in the expanded range and more prominent role of the cello. The tempos were just right, never too fast for these consummate players.

The Beethoven was followed by an unusual and charming showpiece for viola and piano, again with instrumental collaboration rather than piano accompaniment. Joy Fellows joined Ms. Oh for the Concertstück by Enescu, a very accessible 1905 composition that gives the listener the whole gamut of emotion, color, and pitch range from the viola, played with full commitment and cohesion on this occasion. Enescu, a splendid violinist, wrote the work as a competition entry at the Paris Conservatoire.

After intermission the entire San Francisco Chamber Players group performed Brahms’ G Minor Piano Quartet, Op. 25, with violinist Dan Carlson joining Mr. Wyrick, Ms. Fellows and Ms. Oh. It was an elegant reading of the 40-minute piece, and the musicians were fun to watch interacting with each other. The sightlines and acoustics of Angelico are very good, albeit the high stage sporadically diminished sonic power, and the message of this glorious 1861 music with manifold majestic themes was palpable. String pitch was excellent, particularly in octave passages in the Brahms, and Mr. Wyrick's usual effortless-seeming clear, expressive sound was as he chose warm, cool, dry and wet as the music demanded. The spiritual slow movement had a touch of sadness, making the C Major flourish at the end so uplifting and satisfying.

A possible programming theme at this concert could be the benefit of a composer’s working relationships with practitioners of specific instruments, which inspires them to write music that fully exploits the expressive possibilities of composer, player, and instrument. The virtuoso Enescu had himself, and Beethoven met the cellist Josef Lincke, who apparently revealed to him new aspects of the instrument’s potential. For Brahms, the Gypsy violinist Eduard Remenyi inspired him to write many Hungarian and Gypsy tunes, and perhaps to make the last movement (Rondo alla Zingarese) wild and crazy, which the ensemble tore through in a way that brought the small audience to their feet at the end.

There was no encore.