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Symphony
CONDUCTOR PLAYOFFS BEGIN IN SANTA ROSA
by Steve Osborn
Sunday, October 08, 2017
The Santa Rosa Symphony is calling 2017-18 “a choice season” because the next few months offer the audience and the symphony’s board of directors a chance to choose a new conductor from a pool of five candidates. Each candidate will lead a three-concert weekend set this fall and winter, with a final...
Symphony
DVORAK AND TCHAIKOVSKY ORCHESTRAL COLOR AT SO CO PHIL SEASON OPENER
by Terry McNeill
Saturday, September 30, 2017
A concert with curious repertoire and splashy orchestral color launched the 19th season of the Sonoma County Philharmonic Sept. 30 in Santa Rosa High School’s Auditorium. Why curious? Conductor Norman Gamboa paired the ever-popular Dvorak and his rarely heard 1891 trilogy In Nature’s Realm, with t...
Recital
ELEGANT PIANISM IN WATER MUSIC CHARMS HOUSE RECITAL AUDIENCE
by Terry McNeill
Sunday, September 03, 2017
A standard component of house concerts often involve listeners hearing the music but also smelling the lasagna and seeing the champagne in the adjacent kitchen. But it was not the case Sept. 3 at Sandra Shen’s Concerts Grand House Recital performance, as her riveting piano playing enthralled the sm...
Chamber
YOUNG MUSICIANS SHINE AT PIANO SONOMA CONCERT
by Lee Ormasa
Tuesday, August 01, 2017
The third in a series of four concerts by Piano Sonoma artists in residence, part of the Vino and Vibrato Series, was held August 1 in Schroeder Hall at the Green Music Center. Entitled “The Masters,” the program included works by Bach, Beethoven, Mozart and Haydn. Piano Sonoma is a summer artist-in...
Chamber
THRILLING PROGRAM CLOSES VOM CHAMBER FESTIVAL AT HANNA CENTER
by Lee Ormasa
Sunday, July 30, 2017
The finale of the two-week Valley of the Moon Music Festival closed July 30 with “The Age of Bravura” concert at the Sonoma’s Hanna Boys Center. The musical selections held to this year’s Festival theme “Schumann’s World - His Music and the Music He Loved.“ This summer Festival features chamber mus...
Chamber
PERIOD INSTRUMENTAL SOUND AT PENULTIMATE VOM FESTIVAL CONCERT
by Terry McNeill
Sunday, July 30, 2017
In the Valley of the Moon Chamber Music Festival’s penultimate concert July 30 the perennial issue of period and modern instruments was apparent. But only in the concluding Mendelssohn Trio, as the performances in the two first half works easily avoided instrumental comparisons. Clara Schumann’s t...
Chamber
ECLECTIC REPERTOIRE IN FETCHING VOM FESTIVAL CONCERT
by Terry McNeill
Saturday, July 22, 2017
One of the purposes of summer music festivals is to present unfamiliar music in an attractive and often small audience setting. The Valley of the Moon Music Festival delightfully met these requirements July 22 and 23 with two concerts in the small hall at Sonoma’s Hanna Boys Center. Classical Sono...
Recital
ADAMS' PHRYGIAN GATES HIGHLIGHTS MORKOSKI FESTIVAL PERFORMANCE
by Lee Ormasa
Saturday, July 22, 2017
Attendees at the Molly Morkoski Mendocino Music Festival recital July 22 were in for a treat, both pianistically and if they happened to buy a tasty cookie during intermission. The program included Beethoven’s Op. 27 Moonlight Sonata, Adams’ Phrygian Gates, a surprise add-on of Grieg’s Holberg Suit...
Symphony
SOARING VERDI REQUIEM CLOSES 31ST MENDOCINO FESTIVAL
by Lee Ormasa
Saturday, July 22, 2017
We speak frequently about how there is nothing like the experience of a live performance. Seldom was this truer than at the July 22 closing performance of the two-week Mendocino Music Festival. The Festival Orchestra, conducted by of Allan Pollack, joined with the Festival Chorus in a moving renderi...
Recital
ORGAN REGISTRATION MASTERY HEARD IN WALHAIN'S RECITAL
by Robert Young
Tuesday, July 18, 2017
A group of 65 lucky attendees July 18 had the pleasure of hearing Etienne Walhain’s recital at the Church of the Incarnation in Santa Rosa. Mr. Walhain is organist at the Cathedral of Notre Dame in Tournai, Belgium, and played to a varied program Bach, Franck, and Reger. He used the tonal resource...
CHAMBER REVIEW
Music at Oakmont / Thursday, March 10, 2016
Lincoln Trio. Desiree Ruhstrat, violin; David Cunliffe, cello; Marta Aznavoorian, piano

Lincoln Trio

LINCOLN TRIO IN RARE WORKS AT OAKMONT CONCERT

by Terry McNeill
Thursday, March 10, 2016

Chicago’s Lincoln Trio returned for a fifth time to Oakmont’s Berger Auditorium Concert Series Mar. 10 with a challenging and uncommon program that began with Rebecca Clarke’s Trio from 1921.

Starting a concert with this formidable work seemed risky, not because of the Oakmont audience but simply for the demands of the music, often acerbic involving a central powerful and knotty idea in all three movements. The Lincoln jumped into the fray with an opening movement and captured the misterioso character and the somber opening movement ending. It’s scary in places and only sometimes sounds like Ravel. The Lincoln played the long lines in the Andante slowly with attention to the phrase endings, with violinist Desirée Ruhstrat’s elegantly stating the first subject with a single G note in the piano part.

In the finale string pizzicato and a hammered piano line led ultimately to excellent ensemble and even a quasi-happy ending.

Stretching the first half was a short transcription of the Irish Ballad “Danny Boy,” a popular and syrupy song from about1910. It was a charming addition to the program and chastely played.

Before intermission the Primavera Porteña movement of Piazzolla’s Four Seasons of Buenos Aires was played.
The Argentinian composer has enjoyed startling popularity in the past decade, and his tango-infused music appears often in chamber music events. Here the offbeat accents, repeated sforzando chords from pianist Marta Aznavoorian and the leaning into phrases seemed a little familiar. The constant tempos changes were deftly handled. The performance seemed to underscore Piazzolla’s swaggering music as initially fetching but finally not memorable.

Turina wrote four substantial piano trios, the two big ones played in recent years by the North Bay’s own Trio Navarro. In a surprise the Lincoln brought out a nearly unknown early trio by the Spanish master, in F and composed about 1905. In a way they own the work, and it was a performance replete with fire, drive and occasional lyricism. The Trio was able to blend a bit of Spanish flavor with something that might have been heard in a Parisian street hall concert prior to the 1914.

Long descending piano runs and charming thematic projections were heard in the first two movements, so different from the trios that just preceded the F Major, by Dvorak, Brahms, Rubinstein, Tchaikovsky and Smetana. Here and there are hints of the dance hall and the palm court. The Lincoln was light footed throughout, especially the surprising momentum in the exciting finale. Cellist David Cunliff played forcefully and supported with gusto the music’s momentum.

A standing ovation produced one encore, Juan Antonio Cucular’s In Conversations. Mr. Cunliff announced it as a wild and crazy piece, and it was that – rhythmically complex, Ginastera like, with spicatto bowing and piano glissandos. Not spooky, just frenzied, and the 175 in Berger loved it.