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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...
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...
Symphony
PEACE AND LOVE FROM THE SANTA ROSA SYMPHONY
by Steve Osborn
Sunday, November 04, 2018
Before the Santa Rosa Symphony’s Nov. 4 performance of Leonard Bernstein’s “Symphonic Dances from West Side Story,” Symphony CEO Alan Silow took a moment to acknowledge the victims of the Pittsburgh synagogue attack and to observe that music offers a more peaceful and loving view of the world. Mr. ...
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.