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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
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.