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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 ...
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.