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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...
COLORFUL BORN BACH AT AGAVE BAROQUE'S SCHROEDER HALL CONCERT
by Sonia Morse Tubridy
Friday, February 28, 2020
Bach’s obituary records that “Johann Sebastian Bach belongs to a family that seems to have received a love and aptitude for music as a gift of Nature to all its members in common.” Agave Baroque presented their Feb. 28 concert, Born Bach, as a partial musical story of several generations in this rem...
ECLECTIC VIOLIN AND PIANO WORKS IN VIRTUOSIC MILL VALLEY RECITAL
by Abby Wasserman
Sunday, February 23, 2020
Blending virtuosity with sublime artistry, violinist Alexander Sitkovetsky and pianist Wu Qian gave the Mill Valley Chamber Music Society audience many thrills February 23, performing four muscular and soulful works by four composers from four countries: de Falla, Schumann, Stravinsky, and Grieg. T...
PREMIER OF KAIZEN AND DRAMATIC MOZART HIGHLIGHT ECHO CHAMBER CONCERT
by Abby Wasserman
Sunday, February 16, 2020
As concertgoers took their seats in San Anselmo’s First Presbyterian Church for ECHO Chamber Orchestra’s February 16 program, they were surprised to see at center stage two bass drums, a tom-tom, bongos, high hat and cymbals. It was the occasion of the world premiere of "Kaizen," composed and perf...
BEETHOVEN'S VALENTINE'S DAY GIFT IN RAC SEBASTOPOL RECITAL
by Terry McNeill
Friday, February 14, 2020
Continuing a season of Redwood Arts Council successes, the Kouzov Duo performed an eclectic Valentine’s Day concert in Sebastopol’s Community Church before an audience of 125. Beethoven’s charming Op. 66 Variations on Mozart’s “Ein Mädchen oder Weibchen” from the opera the Magic Flute was a bouncy ...
LUSH BACH PERFORMANCE IN DENK'S WEILL HALL RECITAL
by Terry McNeill
Thursday, February 13, 2020
Memorable artistic interpretations of musical masterpieces are often at extremes, and with the Bach’s Well-Tempered Clavier (WTC - Book I) that Jeremy Denk played in Weill Hall Feb. 13, the pianist was only sporadically at unique or ebullient musical ends. But his playing wasn’t exactly at opposite...
CHAMBER REVIEW
Mastercard Performance Series / Saturday, February 18, 2017
Tetzlaff-Vogt Duo. Christian Tetzlaff, violin; Lars Vogt, piano

Lars Vogt (left) and Christian Tetzlaff Savoring Weill Hall Applause Feb. 18

AUTHORITATIVE BARTOK HIGHLIGHTS TETZLAFF VIOLIN RECITAL

by Terry McNeill
Saturday, February 18, 2017

Christian Tetzlaff’s Feb. 18 violin recital rolled along with lively and fresh readings of Mozart, Beethoven and Schubert when the specter of Bartok’s granitic Second Sonata intervened. The sonic shock to the audience of 250 in Weill was palpable.

Composed in 1923 the 20-minute two-movement work is an insistent and often meandering Sonata that demands a lot from the listener, but even more so from a virtuoso executant. Though there are references to the composer’s Piano Sonata of three years later, the Bartok stands by itself in atonality and invention. Mr. Tetzlaff caught the fantasy and rhythmic complexity of the opening molto moderato with accurate slides up to a held note, and long phrases mixed in with a formidable portamento and pizzicato technique. There were no easy tunes to grasp, no legato phrasing and counterpoint.

Sonic outbursts continued in the concluding allegretto with a beginning toccata that was played on top of the strings, often without vibrato, and with solid foundation playing from pianist Lars Vogt. The intangible themes cried out from both instruments, sometimes shrilly, sometimes with surprisingly powerful playing but always under impeccable control. A few in the small Weill audience were seen to lose interest or were simply overwhelmed, but many (perhaps some violinists?) were entranced by the provocative performance, and gave the duo a standing ovation.

Mozart’s F Major Sonata, K. 377, followed the Bartok and was oil on troubled waters. Smiles appeared in the audience as the familiar music unfolded with swirling scales from Mr. Vogt and appropriately fast tempos. It was an outsized reading throughout, and in the variations of the andante each version had a different character, and Mr. Tetzlaff deftly conveyed a slow dance and then rich tone in the charming theme.

Beethoven’s C minor Sonata (Op. 30, No. 2) opened the program with strong instrumental contrasts and outsized, if often clipped, phrases. Mr. Tetzlaff’s subtle control of dynamics was especially present in the lovely adagio where every register of his violin sounded pure, and intonation dead on. At one point he stroked twice across all four strings with the backside of his hand, producing a beguiling chordal effect. The chirpy scherzo led to a concluding allegro presto of substantial momentum, where color and articulation from Mr. Vogt took a back seat to often raw but exciting “middle period” Beethoven playing.

Schubert’s brilliant B Minor Rondo (D. 895) ended the program in heated salonstücke romp that was lengthy and repetitive, as Schubert often is, but also brought the audience again to its feet in applause.

The one encore was a special choice, the Ballada from Janácek’s 1913 Violin Sonata. Here Mr. Tetzlaff and Mr. Vogt explored the fluid chromatic runs with deliberate tempos and a long line that produced for the first time during the evening’s recital calming and shimmering effects. This was ensemble playing of a high order.

In some ways the selected works were a curious mix, neither for connoisseurs nor the gallery. But there was no mistaking Mr. Tetzlaff’s singular achievement and consummate command.