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Symphony
SO CO PHIL BON VOYAGE CONCERT AN ODYSSEY OF CONTRASTING SOUND
by Terry McNeill
Friday, June 15, 2018
In a splashy bon voyage concert June 15 the Sonoma County Philharmonic Orchestra launched its June 17-25 Costa Rica tour, performing gratis in Santa Rosa’s Jackson Theater the repertoire for tour concerts in San José, Costa Rica’s capital, and in surrounding towns. Conductor Norman Gamboa pr...
Chamber
COMMANDING CHOPIN AND DEBUSSY IN SLV RECITAL
by Terry McNeill
Wednesday, June 06, 2018
Concerts at the classy Spring Lake Village Retirement Home in Santa Rosa have admission limited to residents and a few guests, but the chance to hear a first cabin North Bay pianist June 6 brought a Classical Sonoma reviewer into the audience of 100. The crowd numbers were unusually low due to a ba...
Recital
MUSICAL ALCHEMY INSIDE A HIDDEN GEM
by Kayleen Asbo
Friday, May 25, 2018
The Petaluma Historical Library and Museum is a hidden gem of Sonoma County, a gracious building that is one of Sonoma County’s loveliest venues for chamber music concerts, with a fine period piano particularly suited to Romantic music.  Of the surprisingly large array of festivities there, one of t...
Chamber
FINAL VOM MUSICIANS CONCERT IN SCHROEDER A SCHUBERT DELIGHT
by Terry McNeill
Saturday, May 12, 2018
It's rare to have the opportunity to compare in a short period two performances of the same major Schubert work, in this case the great B Flat Piano Trio, D. 898. The chance came May 12 when the Valley of the Moon Festival musicians played it in Schroeder, just over a month since the Hall’s residen...
Symphony
FERRANDIS BIDS ADIEU WITH MAHLER’S FINAL SYMPHONY
by Steve Osborn
Sunday, May 06, 2018
Sonoma State students in graduation robes posed for pictures and hugged each other at the university’s stone gates on Sunday afternoon, mirroring the prolonged farewells within the university’s Green Music Center, where Bruno Ferrandis bid adieu to the Santa Rosa Symphony after a dozen years at the ...
Symphony
SONIC SPLENDOR AT MARIN SYMPHONY SEASON FINALE
by Abby Wasserman
Tuesday, May 01, 2018
The Marin Symphony Orchestra ended the current season with a flourish, interpreting big and small works by Richard Strauss and Stravinsky. Strauss and Stravinsky were contemporaries for 40 years, but inhabited different worlds. Both composers were affected by cataclysmic changes and war, and musical...
Symphony
ORGAN SYMPHONY IN SSU ORCHESTRA CONCERT IN WEILL
by Terry McNeill
Sunday, April 29, 2018
Though Classical Sonoma seldom reviews student concerts, as ample North Coast concerts keep the staff of 11 reviewers busy. But the chance to hear the Sonoma State University Orchestra tackle St. Saëns’ majestic Organ Symphony April 29 was a rare opportunity and not easily to be missed. Avec l’...
Recital
HEAVENLY SCHUBERT AND DEMONIC CHOPIN
by Terry McNeill
Saturday, April 21, 2018
One of the anomalies in the long ago “Golden Era” of romantic pianism (about 1905 to 1940) is that the virtuoso giants of the time didn’t play Schubert. It took the German pianist Artur Schnabel to bring the beauties of Schuber’s work to the public’s attention, and now they seem to be on almost ever...
Symphony
SPLENDID JUPITER AND ZOOMING CONCERTO AT VALLEJO SYMPHONY SEASON FINALE
by Terry McNeill
Sunday, April 15, 2018
Over the past two years the Vallejo Symphony has made big changes, moving from a stark middle school auditorium to the snazzy remodeled 1911-era downtown Empress Theater, and engaging Marc Taddei as its seventh conductor. April 15 was the season’s final concert of the 86th season. In a programmin...
Chamber
VIRTUOSO CELLO AND GUITAR TRANSCRIPTIONS AT RAC SEBASTOPOL CONCERT
by Terry McNeill
Saturday, April 14, 2018
Listeners and yes even music critics usually prepare for a concert with research, checking recorded performances, looking at artist biographies and even reviewing sheet music. This was a difficult task for the April 14 Redwood Arts Council concert in Sebastopol’s Community Church, as the performers...
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.