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Symphony
SO CO PHIL BON VOYAGE CONCERT AN ODYSSEY OF CONTRASTING SOUND
by Terry McNeill
Friday, June 15, 2018
In a splashy bon voyage concert June 15 the Sonoma County Philharmonic Orchestra launched its June 17-25 Costa Rica tour, performing gratis in Santa Rosa’s Jackson Theater the repertoire for tour concerts in San José, Costa Rica’s capital, and in surrounding towns. Conductor Norman Gamboa pr...
Chamber
COMMANDING CHOPIN AND DEBUSSY IN SLV RECITAL
by Terry McNeill
Wednesday, June 06, 2018
Concerts at the classy Spring Lake Village Retirement Home in Santa Rosa have admission limited to residents and a few guests, but the chance to hear a first cabin North Bay pianist June 6 brought a Classical Sonoma reviewer into the audience of 100. The crowd numbers were unusually low due to a ba...
Recital
MUSICAL ALCHEMY INSIDE A HIDDEN GEM
by Kayleen Asbo
Friday, May 25, 2018
The Petaluma Historical Library and Museum is a hidden gem of Sonoma County, a gracious building that is one of Sonoma County’s loveliest venues for chamber music concerts, with a fine period piano particularly suited to Romantic music.  Of the surprisingly large array of festivities there, one of t...
Chamber
FINAL VOM MUSICIANS CONCERT IN SCHROEDER A SCHUBERT DELIGHT
by Terry McNeill
Saturday, May 12, 2018
It's rare to have the opportunity to compare in a short period two performances of the same major Schubert work, in this case the great B Flat Piano Trio, D. 898. The chance came May 12 when the Valley of the Moon Festival musicians played it in Schroeder, just over a month since the Hall’s residen...
Symphony
FERRANDIS BIDS ADIEU WITH MAHLER’S FINAL SYMPHONY
by Steve Osborn
Sunday, May 06, 2018
Sonoma State students in graduation robes posed for pictures and hugged each other at the university’s stone gates on Sunday afternoon, mirroring the prolonged farewells within the university’s Green Music Center, where Bruno Ferrandis bid adieu to the Santa Rosa Symphony after a dozen years at the ...
Symphony
SONIC SPLENDOR AT MARIN SYMPHONY SEASON FINALE
by Abby Wasserman
Tuesday, May 01, 2018
The Marin Symphony Orchestra ended the current season with a flourish, interpreting big and small works by Richard Strauss and Stravinsky. Strauss and Stravinsky were contemporaries for 40 years, but inhabited different worlds. Both composers were affected by cataclysmic changes and war, and musical...
Symphony
ORGAN SYMPHONY IN SSU ORCHESTRA CONCERT IN WEILL
by Terry McNeill
Sunday, April 29, 2018
Though Classical Sonoma seldom reviews student concerts, as ample North Coast concerts keep the staff of 11 reviewers busy. But the chance to hear the Sonoma State University Orchestra tackle St. Saëns’ majestic Organ Symphony April 29 was a rare opportunity and not easily to be missed. Avec l’...
Recital
HEAVENLY SCHUBERT AND DEMONIC CHOPIN
by Terry McNeill
Saturday, April 21, 2018
One of the anomalies in the long ago “Golden Era” of romantic pianism (about 1905 to 1940) is that the virtuoso giants of the time didn’t play Schubert. It took the German pianist Artur Schnabel to bring the beauties of Schuber’s work to the public’s attention, and now they seem to be on almost ever...
Symphony
SPLENDID JUPITER AND ZOOMING CONCERTO AT VALLEJO SYMPHONY SEASON FINALE
by Terry McNeill
Sunday, April 15, 2018
Over the past two years the Vallejo Symphony has made big changes, moving from a stark middle school auditorium to the snazzy remodeled 1911-era downtown Empress Theater, and engaging Marc Taddei as its seventh conductor. April 15 was the season’s final concert of the 86th season. In a programmin...
Chamber
VIRTUOSO CELLO AND GUITAR TRANSCRIPTIONS AT RAC SEBASTOPOL CONCERT
by Terry McNeill
Saturday, April 14, 2018
Listeners and yes even music critics usually prepare for a concert with research, checking recorded performances, looking at artist biographies and even reviewing sheet music. This was a difficult task for the April 14 Redwood Arts Council concert in Sebastopol’s Community Church, as the performers...
RECITAL REVIEW
Music at Oakmont / Sunday, April 10, 2016
Jeffrey Kahane, piano

Pianist Jeffrey Kahane

OAKMONT 25TH ANNIVERSARY CONCERT FEATURES KAHANE'S SCHUBERT AND CHOPIN

by Terry McNeill
Sunday, April 10, 2016

Jeffery Kahane spreads his musical largess widely. Since leaving a Sonoma County residence for Colorado the pianist has returned often for performances, the most recent the wildly successful ChamberFest series at the Green Music Center last summer.

April 10 found him again in Sonoma County, this time in recital before one of the largest attendances ever in Oakmont’s Berger Auditorium. It was a gala 25th Anniversary occasion for Music at Oakmont, and the artist mounted a probing performance of mostly familiar music to many raucous ovations.

The opening Rameau “Le Rappel des Oiseaux” and Couperin’s enigmatic “Les Barricades Mystérieuses” quickly disclosed the mood of the artist: mellow and elegant. This was not to be an afternoon of high drama, as I have heard from Mr. Kahane’s Beethoven readings. Le Rappel began judiciously, far slower than a pianist such as Gyorgy Sokolov chooses, and in the enigmatic Barricades the theme swelled beautifully out of a subdued and chaste fabric.

Two of the four pieces from Debussy’s 1890 Suite Bergamasque followed, the staccato chords of the Menuet clear and the legato touch in thirds and textures of the famous Clair de Lune were flowing and graceful. Audience appreciation of the familiar movement was instant and warm.

Three of Schubert’s four Op. 90 Impromptus (D. 899) ended the first half and were the recital’s highlight. Mr. Kahane adopted a detaché touch in parts of all three, all the better for the rippling and mostly halcyon music. The E-Flat Major was played fast but never above mezzo forte with deft pianistic modulating in the idle and subtly shaped phrases. Nothing was forced in the bucolic G-Flat Major, and in the concluding A-Flat Major Impromptu the artist’s impeccable right hand scales and poetic playing were rapturous. Anton Rubinstein called Schubert “sunshine in music,” and the pianist’s traversal of the Impromptus was radiant and refined.

After an extended intermission the mostly Chopin half began with two Mazurkas, the Op. 56, No 3 in C Minor, and the C-Sharp Minor, Op. 50, No. 3. If memory serves Mr. Kahane’s Mazurkas could border on the prosaic, but on this occasion each was beautifully shaped and even underplayed. The first had a lovely meandering quality, and the long C-Sharp Minor’s contrapuntal parts and many modulations were played with deep conviction. The ending notes of the Op. 50 were held until the line almost broke, but of course didn’t.

In his only words to the audience the artist announced substitution for a Chopin Waltz, Mendelssohn’s E-Flat Major (Op. 67) Song Without Words. A favorite work of his late mother Lori Kahane (an Oakmont resident), the playing stressed rich harmonic texture and nostalgia.

Of the final two extended Chopin, the Op. 61 Polonaise-Fantasie fared best, and the artist made it into a tone poem of probing beauty and harmonic growth. This late Chopin can sound loose structurally in lesser hands, but the artist was able to couple an improvisatory approach with lovely tonal shadings, while still holding the Polonaise rhythms.

I have heard Mr. Kahane play several times the great F Minor Ballade, Op. 52, and have never quite been on his wave length regarding its interpretation. As in the past he played the score energetically and accurately but without conveying its majesty and compelling emotional authority. In many places this music can be intensely Wagnerian (with themes that are vocal in character) as in the widely opposite recordings of Horowitz and Hofmann, but the pianist’s disposition today went in different directions. Applause was strong but not extended.

In a rare Oakmont turnabout there was no demand for an encore, and none was forthcoming.