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Recital
ELEGANT PIANISM IN WATER MUSIC CHARMS HOUSE RECITAL AUDIENCE
by Terry McNeill
Sunday, September 03, 2017
A standard component of house concerts often involve listeners hearing the music but also smelling the lasagna and seeing the champagne in the adjacent kitchen. But it was not the case Sept. 3 at Sandra Shen’s Concerts Grand House Recital performance, as her riveting piano playing enthralled the sm...
Chamber
YOUNG MUSICIANS SHINE AT PIANO SONOMA CONCERT
by Lee Ormasa
Tuesday, August 01, 2017
The third in a series of four concerts by Piano Sonoma artists in residence, part of the Vino and Vibrato Series, was held August 1 in Schroeder Hall at the Green Music Center. Entitled “The Masters,” the program included works by Bach, Beethoven, Mozart and Haydn. Piano Sonoma is a summer artist-in...
Chamber
THRILLING PROGRAM CLOSES VOM CHAMBER FESTIVAL AT HANNA CENTER
by Lee Ormasa
Sunday, July 30, 2017
The finale of the two-week Valley of the Moon Music Festival closed July 30 with “The Age of Bravura” concert at the Sonoma’s Hanna Boys Center. The musical selections held to this year’s Festival theme “Schumann’s World - His Music and the Music He Loved.“ This summer Festival features chamber mus...
Chamber
PERIOD INSTRUMENTAL SOUND AT PENULTIMATE VOM FESTIVAL CONCERT
by Terry McNeill
Sunday, July 30, 2017
In the Valley of the Moon Chamber Music Festival’s penultimate concert July 30 the perennial issue of period and modern instruments was apparent. But only in the concluding Mendelssohn Trio, as the performances in the two first half works easily avoided instrumental comparisons. Clara Schumann’s t...
Chamber
ECLECTIC REPERTOIRE IN FETCHING VOM FESTIVAL CONCERT
by Terry McNeill
Saturday, July 22, 2017
One of the purposes of summer music festivals is to present unfamiliar music in an attractive and often small audience setting. The Valley of the Moon Music Festival delightfully met these requirements July 22 and 23 with two concerts in the small hall at Sonoma’s Hanna Boys Center. Classical Sono...
Recital
ADAMS' PHRYGIAN GATES HIGHLIGHTS MORKOSKI FESTIVAL PERFORMANCE
by Lee Ormasa
Saturday, July 22, 2017
Attendees at the Molly Morkoski Mendocino Music Festival recital July 22 were in for a treat, both pianistically and if they happened to buy a tasty cookie during intermission. The program included Beethoven’s Op. 27 Moonlight Sonata, Adams’ Phrygian Gates, a surprise add-on of Grieg’s Holberg Suit...
Symphony
SOARING VERDI REQUIEM CLOSES 31ST MENDOCINO FESTIVAL
by Lee Ormasa
Saturday, July 22, 2017
We speak frequently about how there is nothing like the experience of a live performance. Seldom was this truer than at the July 22 closing performance of the two-week Mendocino Music Festival. The Festival Orchestra, conducted by of Allan Pollack, joined with the Festival Chorus in a moving renderi...
Recital
ORGAN REGISTRATION MASTERY HEARD IN WALHAIN'S RECITAL
by Robert Young
Tuesday, July 18, 2017
A group of 65 lucky attendees July 18 had the pleasure of hearing Etienne Walhain’s recital at the Church of the Incarnation in Santa Rosa. Mr. Walhain is organist at the Cathedral of Notre Dame in Tournai, Belgium, and played to a varied program Bach, Franck, and Reger. He used the tonal resource...
Opera
DONIZETTI'S DON PASQUALE HAS LYRICAL CHARM IN MENDOCINO FESTIVAL PRODUCTION
by Elly Lichenstein
Friday, July 14, 2017
Mendocino Music Festival's production of Donizetti's beloved opera buffa Don Pasquale - a one-night affair July 15 that was presented in an enormous tent on a greensward overlooking the Pacific Ocean - delighted an audience of more than 600 while doing some real justice to this frothy gem of commedi...
Recital
NOVACEK'S 2ND HALF TRIFECTA SCORES AT MENDO MUSIC FESTIVAL
by Terry McNeill
Thursday, July 13, 2017
Modern classical piano recitals are in two parts, with longer and perhaps more profound music proceeding perhaps shorter and usually stimulating lighter fare. In John Novacek’s July 13 Mendocino Music Festival recital the best playing came unexpectedly in the eight abbreviated works comprising the ...
RECITAL REVIEW
Green Music Center / Sunday, February 26, 2017
Yu-Chien Tseng, violin; Chang-Yong Shin, piano

Yu-Chien Tseng (l) and Chang-Yong Shin Feb. 26 in Schroeder

BRILLIANT VIOLIN AND PIANO ARTISTRY CHARMS SCHROEDER HALL AUDIENCE

by Terry McNeill
Sunday, February 26, 2017

A tiny Schroeder Hall audience heard a flawless recital Feb. 26 by Yu-Chien Tseng, arguably the best recent local violin recital since Gil Shaham’s transversal of the complete Bach Suites in Weill and Frank Almond’s Oakmont recital in 2015.

Muscular playing was the afternoon’s norm, and with pianist Chang-Yong Shin Mr. Tseng dived headlong into Mozart’s lovely B-Flat Major Sonata, K. 454. Contrapuntal lines were lucid, as were Mr. Shin’s scale passages in the hall’s clear acoustics. The allegro was weighty and dramatic, a nice contrast to the deep passionate thematic glow in the andante. Mr. Tseng exhibited a beautiful ability to softly and deftly swell on individual notes. The playing in the finale caught the brisk charm of the music, and there was effortless returning to the main theme. This Sonata seems to lead to Schubert’s music 20 years hence. It was a perfect beginning to a concert of prodigious accomplishment

Brawny playing continued in Brahms’ D Minor Sonata, Op. 108, but the score from 1888 can easily stand a powerful and often loud interpretation. All through the four-movement Sonata, the composer’s last, the unusual rhythms were mastered and the big repeated first movement section was sharply different from the first statement.

Despite initial pitch wobbles in the adagio Mr. Tseng quickly found his footing and played expressively and without affectations. Tempos throughout seemed just right, fast when needed but never hurried. The chorale section of the last movement briefly relieved the tension and the duo forged ahead to a roaring bass heavy Brahms ending. It was a dynamic performance with virtuoso work from both artists.

Following intermission Mr. Tseng returned for Bach’s solo Partita in D Minor, BWV 1004. Here again it was a mature and finished reading, stressing fluidity of phrase and omitting many of the short pauses often heard in this magnificent composition. Mr. Tseng played with even trills, no portamento, little rubato and at the end of the concluding Chaconne he held notes to unusual length. He did not emphasize his instrument’s lower register and instead established a balanced sonic architecture over the five extended dance-like sections. His Bach was worthy to stand with Mr. Shaham’s performance.

Closing the concert, which had no encore, was Wieniawski’s frothy but difficult Variations on and Original Theme, Op. 15. This was perhaps a Sonoma County premiere performance, and Mr. Tseng’s formidable technique was up to every skip, double stop, octave, slide, harmonic, sforzando and speedy scale. Mr. Shin did not shrink from the music foray, and in solo sections he played more forcefully and louder than his partner, which in this flashy 12-minute work took some doing.

The waltz ending and coda were brilliantly performed, and generated loud applause.