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Chamber
NOVEL OBOE-HARPSICHORD RECITAL FROM AIKEN DUO IN UKIAH
by Terry McNeill
Sunday, February 21, 2021
Oboe and harpsichord recitals are a rare North Bay event, even in a pandemic environment where a formal hall setting isn’t available. So it was a delight Feb. 21 to experience on the Ukiah Symphony’s website a recital by Symphony oboist Beth Aiken and harpsichordist husband Tom. The Aiken home vis...
Symphony
A HEALTHY MIX OF TRANSCRIPTIONS AND ORIGINALS FROM THE SR SYMPHONY
by Steve Osborn
Sunday, January 24, 2021
Transcriptions and ascending arpeggios were the order of the day on Jan. 24, as the Santa Rosa Symphony performed uplifting works by Bach/Webern, Ellen Taaffe Zwilich, Marianna Martínes and Mozart. The concert video was made in Weill Hall on Jan. 9. The first transcription was Webern’s 1935 renderi...
Symphony
HEROIC EFFORT FROM THE SANTA ROSA SYMPHONY
by Steve Osborn
Sunday, December 13, 2020
December 13 was a rainy day, perfect for huddling indoors and watching a prerecorded “live” performance by the Santa Rosa Symphony. The program was expansive, with music from the 18th through 21st centuries, and the mood was festive, in keeping with the holiday season. There was something in the fea...
Symphony
MASKED SANTA ROSA SYMPHONY CARRIES ON BRILLIANTLY
by Steve Osborn
Sunday, November 15, 2020
In some ways the Santa Rosa Symphony’s Nov. 15 concert on YouTube resembled a Conceptual Art performance from the 1970s. On display were about 30 masked orchestral musicians playing six feet apart from each other on stage, some of them separated by plexiglass barriers. In the 1970s, the concept behi...
Chamber
SPLENDID STRINGS IN A SUNLIT GARDEN
by Abby Wasserman
Sunday, November 1, 2020
A sun-drenched autumn afternoon, a Marin County garden and six superb string players from the Santa Rosa Symphony were manna from heaven to a pandemic-weary audience starved for live music. The sextet of Santa Rosa Symphony musicians performed to a small group of 20 Nov. 1, the day after Halloween....
Chamber
EXAMPLARY QUARTET PLAYING IN MARIN GARDEN CONCERT
by Terry McNeill
Thursday, October 22, 2020
Taped video concerts have pretty much dominated the recent fare for classical music fans, but sporadic live music making can still be found in the North Bay with outdoor chamber music. Of course with the obligatory social distancing and often decorative facial masks. Four San Francisco Opera Orc...
Chamber
VIDEO CHAMBER MUSIC FROM LINCOLN CENTER IN GREEN'S BROADCAST
by Terry McNeill
Saturday, October 17, 2020
Along with hosting its resident the Santa Rosa Symphony, Weill Hall has contracted to produce sporadic virtual programs of classical music, and began Oct. 17 with a charming three-part concert from the Chamber Music Society of Lincoln Center in New York. Hosted with comely introductions by CMSLC di...
Symphony
THRILLING SANTA ROSA SYMPHONY PERFORMANCE IN AN EMPTY WEILL HALL
by Steve Osborn
Sunday, October 11, 2020
Viewers of the Santa Rosa Symphony’s inaugural socially distanced YouTube concert on Oct. 11 could be forgiven for thinking they had stumbled upon a performance of Verdi’s “Un Ballo in Maschera” (A Masked Ball), given that the string players in the opening shot all wore black masks. The sole excepti...
Symphony
BROWN VIDEO GALA LAUNCHES SANTA ROSA SYMPHONY SEASON
by Terry McNeill
Saturday, September 12, 2020
Similar to many North Coast musical organizations the Santa Rosa Symphony has scheduled a series of virtual concerts on video, spotlighting sections of the orchestra and the exuberant activities of its conductor Francesco Lecce-Chong. However, as an introduction to the season, a Sept. 12 gala vide...
SONGS AND ECHOES OF HOME IN AIZURI QUARTET CONCERT
by Abby Wasserman
Sunday, March 8, 2020
From the first richly layered harmonies of Dvořák’s Cypresses, the Aizuri Quartet held the March 8th audience at Mt. Tamalpais Methodist Church in thrall. The church was more than half full, a good crowd considering present anxiety about the spread of the coronavirus. Taking precautions, the M...
CHAMBER REVIEW
Sonoma State University Department of Music / Sunday, October 23, 2016
Trio Navarro and Friends. Kathleen Reynolds, flute; Jill Rachuy Brindel, cello; Roy Zajac, clarinet; Marilyn Thompson, piano

(L to R) J. Brindel, K. Reynolds, M. Thompson and R. Zajac Oct. 23

TASTY TRIO NAVARRO CONCERT WITH SRS WIND VIRTUOSI

by Terry McNeill
Sunday, October 23, 2016

SSU’s resident Trio Navarro has a long history of presenting diverse programs in the piano trio format, with occasional out-of-area artists joining the mix. This familiar configuration was altered in an Oct. 23 Schroeder Hall concert with the deletion of the violin part and the addition of two sterling local wind players.

The “newbies” jumped right in with pianist Marilyn Thompson in a transcription of Fauré’s six-part Dolly Suite, Op. 56. In the opening “Berceuse” the flute (Kathleen Reynolds) and clarinet (Roy Zajac) parts carried perfectly to the audience of 125, the rich lines covering a tinckeling piano part. The balance improved in the “Mi-a-ou” and “Le Jardin de Dolly” movements, the first with a boisterous ending and the second wholly belonging to Mr. Zajac with his rendering a lovely theme taken from the same composer’s A Major Violin Sonata.

This was everywhere a fetching performance, especially in the “Tendresse” part that featured a slow and melancholic flute-clarinet interplay. The fast Chabrier-like finale (Le Pas Espagnol) was dominated by the piano part and brought the beguiling music to a chirpy end.

Trio co-founder cellist Jill Rachuy Brindel stepped out of her customary ensemble role to play Beethoven’s C Major Sonata, Op. 102, No. 1. Ms. Brindel’s performance was never forceful in power or tone, but featured a focused and lyrical sound that in the Andante-Allegro sporadically was covered in the low register by the piano. This is a piece far removed from the composer’s preceding and dramatic A Major Sonata, but some of it’s energy spilled over into the concluding Allegro Vivace. The duo’s deliberate tempo and strong accents highlighted the movement that had accurate instrumental pitch and elegant phrasing.

French composer Phillipe Gaubert, an early 20th Century colleague of flute master Georges Barrère, wrote his delectable “Trois Aquarelles” for flute, cello and piano, and the work is atmospherically French. Ms. Reynolds, principal Santa Rosa Symphony flutist, played extravagantly in the “Par un clair matin” with a rippling piano part and the cello line uncovering mild dissonances. Ms. Brindel’s vibrato widened and became richer in the “Soir d’automne” with a chaste minor-key ending.

An outdoor and waltz-like “Pipes of Pan” character was heard in the concluding “Sérénade” with Ms. Thompson’s rippling Arpeggios gently supporting the other two instruments.

Mr. Zajack, also a SRS principal, rejoined Ms. Thompson and Ms. Brindel to cap the afternoon with Nino Rota’s Trio, a 16-minute work from 1973 that is individual in ways that the composer’s 150 film scores are not. The Allegro was played percussively and in spots the pace was quite pushed. Unlike this movement, the following Andante had references to seamless film music with lush romantic themes, many slow climaxes and colorful melodies projected by Mr. Zajac and echoed by Ms. Brindel. It was some of the most choice playing of the day.

The concluding Allegrissimo was indeed light and “kittenish,” one instrument playing catch up to another with frequent tasty interjections. It’s derivative music in many ways, with touches of Milhaud and even a lighter sardonic Shostakovich, but no less enjoyable for that. The ensemble was assured and elicited and noisy ovation.