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Chamber
UNEXPECTED ARENSKY AND MENDELSSOHN BY THE NAVARRO
by Terry McNeill
Sunday, February 17, 2019
The 100 people entering Schroeder Hall Feb. 17 for a Trio Navarro concert were handed a program that appeared to feature two popular piano trios, Mendelssohn and Arensky. But continuing the Navarro’s tradition of repertoire exploration, the pieces were not the usual first Mendelssohn and first Aren...
Symphony
MENDELSSOHN'S SCOTTISH SAVES THE EVENING IN SRS WEILL CONCERT
by Terry McNeill
Monday, February 11, 2019
The audience entering Weill Hall for Santa Rosa Symphony concerts Feb. 9-11 were presented with a program that on first glance appeared a curious patchwork – a great symphony mixed with a seldom heard concerto and two disparate overtures, and a guest conductor unknown locally. Monday night’s concer...
Recital
INTRIGUING BELL-HAYWOOD RECITAL BEFORE FULL HOUSE IN WEILL HALL
by Abby Wasserman
Friday, February 08, 2019
A big portion of the capacity audience in Weill Hall February 8th came to hear violinist Joshua Bell’s virtuosity, and were treated as well to splendid playing from Sam Haywood, Mr. Bell’s regular pianist since 2010. The duo performed three engaging sonatas, highlighted by Mr. Bell’s sterling techn...
Symphony
TRIPLE PLAY UKIAH SYMPHONY CONCERT AND TCHAIKOVSKY SERENADE
by Terry McNeill
Sunday, January 27, 2019
Over the years the Ukiah Symphony’s concerts have been in the Classical Sonoma Calendar sections, but rarely has this Orchestra, now in its 39th season, had a full winter season concert review. The provocative Jan. 27 program in Mendocino College’s Center Theater seemed a good reason to reacquaint ...
Symphony
JACKSON THEATER WELCOMES A NEW RESIDENT ORCHESTRA
by Terry McNeill
Saturday, January 26, 2019
Moving to a permanent new performance venue can be a perilous undertaking for an orchestra, with different acoustics, the loyal audience finding the new spot and infrastructure challenges of lighting and lobby and backstage operations. In their first concert Jan. 26 in Windsor’s Jackson Theater the...
Symphony
ECLECTIC PASSIONATE PROGRAMMING AT MARIN SYMPHONY CONCERT
by Abby Wasserman
Saturday, January 26, 2019
The Marin Symphony’s second Masterworks concert of the 2018-19 season featured works by John Adams, Sibelius and Brahms, a masterful assembly. In a spoken introduction before the program’s first half, conductor Alasdair Neale primed the audience for the “terra incognita” of Adams’ The Chairman Dance...
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...
Recital
KHOZYAINOV'S BRILLIANT PIANISM IN MILL VALLEY RECITAL
by Abby Wasserman
Sunday, January 13, 2019
In its third concert of the season the Mill Valley Chamber Music Society Jan. 13 presented Russian virtuoso Nikolay Khozyainov. His intelligent and sensitive interpretations, masterful pedal work, and virtuoso technique left the near-capacity audience in Mt. Tamalpais Methodist Church astounded and ...
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...
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.