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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 ...
Symphony
CONDUCTOR PLAYOFFS BEGIN IN SANTA ROSA
by Steve Osborn
Sunday, October 08, 2017
The Santa Rosa Symphony is calling 2017-18 “a choice season” because the next few months offer the audience and the symphony’s board of directors a chance to choose a new conductor from a pool of five candidates. Each candidate will lead a three-concert weekend set this fall and winter, with a final...
Recital
PIANISTIC COMMAND IN SCHROEDER RECITAL
by Lee Ormasa
Sunday, October 08, 2017
Nikolay Khozyainov’s Oct. 8 debut at the Green Music Center’s Schroeder Hall was one of those rare moments in a young artist’s career when a performance approaches perfection. From the opening notes of Beethoven’s A-Flat Major Sonata (Op. 110) through a delightful recital ending transcription, the ...
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.