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Recital
SLAM BANG SONORITY IN HAOCHEN ZHANG'S SCHROEDER RECITAL
by Terry McNeill
Sunday, March 19, 2017
Piano Competition winners are in ample supply, and it’s often a hit and miss proposition as to their sterling interpretative qualities. However, the quadrennial Van Cliburn Competition in Ft. Worth has continually produced top-level artists, and the 2009 winner Haochen Zhang proved a formidable per...
Symphony
FOREIGN AFFAIRS CHARACTERS OF THE BAROQUE
by Sonia Morse Tubridy
Sunday, March 12, 2017
Akademie für Alte Musik Berlin, known as Akamus, played a Weill Hall concert March 12 in a program called "Foreign Affairs -Characters of the Baroque.” The ensemble, that began in 1984, has 15 musicians led by concert master Bernhard Forck. Attired in elegant black with red accents, ranging from tie...
Recital
MUSCULAR PIANISM DOMINATES MILL VALLEY CHAMBER SOCIETY RECITAL
by Terry McNeill
Sunday, March 12, 2017
Piano recitals since the beginning of the genre open with finger pieces - Scarlatti or Soler Sonatas, Bach, a Mendelssohn Prelude and Fugue or perhaps Mozart or Haydn. Sarah Daneshpour’s March 12 opening work at the Mill Valley Chamber Music Society series abruptly avoided the norm with the 10-minut...
Recital
NOVEL HAYDN AND SCHUMANN IN YARDEN'S OAKMONT RECITAL
by Terry McNeill
Thursday, March 09, 2017
Israeli pianist Einav Yarden has been a frequent Sonoma County visitor, playing private recitals for Spring Lake Village and Concerts Grand, and twice performing for Music at Oakmont. The Berlin-based artist returned to Oakmont’s Berger Auditorium March 9 with a program that was neither for connois...
Chamber
CONSUMMATE ENSEMBLE FROM THE MIRÓ IN WEILL
by Sonia Tubridy and Nicki Bell
Sunday, March 05, 2017
A March 5 Weill hall audience of 350 leaned in to share an intimate musical space and to hear the Miró String Quartet’s sterling concert. Starting with Haydn's Op. 20, No. 4, the four musicians seemed to want listeners to be enveloped in their music. The Miró plays with the feat of being four dist...
Recital
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 pianis...
Chamber
MUSIC AND ART MELD IN ZUCKERMAN TRIO CONCERT
by Nicki Bell
Friday, February 24, 2017
A Feb. 24 Weill Hall concert by the Pinchas Zuckerman Trio juxtaposed formidable music making with palpable associations about visual art. Brahms’ C Minor "Sonatensatz” (Scherzo) is a short youthful work for violin and piano, and was an opening call to action. Lively and vigorous playing alternated...
Chamber
THREE BEETHOVEN TRIOS BEGUILE AUDIENCE IN FEB. 19 WEILL CONCERT
by Terry McNeill
Sunday, February 19, 2017
Chamber music concerts featuring one composer can be tricky, but the Han/Setzer/Finckel trio made a Feb. 19 Weill Hall audience of 500 hear and to a degree see the boundless creativity of Beethoven. The G Major Trio, Op. 1, No. 2, opened the afternoon’s Beethoven odyssey and one wonders why it is t...
Chamber
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 i...
Symphony
WHAT SOUND DO STAR-CROSSED LOVERS MAKE?
by Steve Osborn
Sunday, February 12, 2017
Valentine’s Day is just around the corner, so the Santa Rosa Symphony feted the occasion by telling and retelling the story of Romeo and Juliet, a tale ever the more poignant during our era of stark divisions. The first telling was from Berlioz; the second from Prokofiev. In between was Brahms’ monu...
CHAMBER REVIEW
Mastercard Performance Series / Friday, February 24, 2017
Pinchas Zukerkman, violin; Amanda Forsyth, cello; Angela Cheng, piano

Zuckerman Trio

MUSIC AND ART MELD IN ZUCKERMAN TRIO CONCERT

by Nicki Bell
Friday, February 24, 2017

A Feb. 24 Weill Hall concert by the Pinchas Zuckerman Trio juxtaposed formidable music making with palpable associations about visual art.

Brahms’ C Minor "Sonatensatz” (Scherzo) is a short youthful work for violin and piano, and was an opening call to action. Lively and vigorous playing alternated with the tender and gentle, and pianist Angela Cheng and Mr. Zuckerman mastered the quickly shifting rhythms of the five-minute piece, originally a movement in a collaborative sonata. It was over in a flash.

Most of the first half of the program was Kodaly's remarkable Duo for Violin and Cello, Op. 7.
 Ms. Forsyth and Mr. Zuckerman are a striking stage couple. Like his fellow 
Hungarian Bartok, Kodaly's music is filled with references to Hungarian folk and gypsy rhythms and tunes. Written in 1914, the large-scale work in three movements gave each instrument a full range of expression and 
technical virtuosity. The allegro serioso was very dramatic with bursts of power, tempo changes and motifs passed back and forth. It ended in a whisper. A lovely searching and ruminating cello solo launched the adagio, 
then bursts of Magyar character.

The improvisatory opening of the finale leaps into a propulsive presto that quotes a Hungarian children's song. Mr. Zukerman has a mastery of violin tone color and the ability to make
 a single sustained note become eternity. It was difficult to believe there were only two instruments playing and not a small orchestra creating this world of sweeping passion with orchestra affects.

Schubert's B Flat Trio (Op. 99, D. 898) brought all three musicians together, and as a trio they have been together since 2013. The shifting balances of the instruments 
throughout the whole trio were beautifully crafted, and modulations were underscored and phrases balanced. The Zuckerman Trio captured the character of the music, written during Schubert’s last year, in every changing moment. Ms. Cheng joined the mix with with a sensitive touch and clear articulation. It was a three-way conversation: the luscious cello tone, the piano support and the warmth of the violin line. The playing had sparkle and easily reminded one of the “Trout” Quintet and much of the composer’s song output.

The first movement was full of yearning and joy and color. Ms. Forsyth’s warm cello sound was captivating in the andante, and the ensemble became a lullaby with Mr. Zuckerman’s rich violin tone and Ms. Cheng’s softly rocking piano line. One of the great slow movements of all classical music, this movement alone could seduce one to embrace Schubert. In the frolicking scherzo the playing was effervescent.

The performance of the finale was a joy to hear and the Trio traded off themes and phrases in a light-hearted manner. This was music with an artistic smile after each artistic frown.

Robert Schumann said "One glance at the Schubert Op. 99 Trio and the troubles of our human existence disappear 
and all the world is fresh and bright again." This exemplary performance proved the comment.

Prior to the concert a reception in Weill’s lobby was held to inaugurate the hanging of a painting, “The Tower,” by Sonoma State artist Mark Perlman. Situated behind the lobby bar, the work was described as embodying the close relationship of fine art and music.

Sonia Tubridy contributed to this review.