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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
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.