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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 ...
RECITAL REVIEW
Music at Oakmont / Thursday, March 09, 2017
Einav Yarden, piano

Pianist Einav Yarden

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 connoisseurs nor for popular taste, but was full of rarely-played music from always-played composers. Somehow Beethoven’s magisterial A-Flat Major Sonata managed to get into the mix.

Ms. Yarden has been specializing lately in Haydn’s middle period sonatas, and it was refreshing to hear a work for the first time, the F Major No. 44. She played it very well, using a lot of damper pedal at the end of phrases and keeping the drama small-scaled but effective. The pianist underscored the stylistic diversity and innovation of the opening moderato and paid careful attention to harmonic nuances, of which there are many in this work that doesn’t have the usual level of the composer’s playfulness. The adagio was lovely, the tempo just right.

Schumann’s last set of three Fantasiestücke, Op. 111, closed the first half. Here again the artist played the swirling phrases and sweep of the C Minor in a beguiling tempo, and made the lovely and fragmentary A Flat (No. 2) sound a little like Brahms. But only a little, as Schumann’s harmonies prevailed, as they did in the march like C Major finale that had echoes of the great march from the Op. 17 Fantasy in the same key. Ms. Yarden played the simple theme and quick descending motifs flawlessly, which made the middle section sound all the more graceful.

Following intermission the composer’s Waldszenen, Op. 82, received a performance that stressed the connective tissue between the nine sections: tonal balances, asymmetrical phrasings and many staccato chords and even phrases. There seems to be no forte chords in this piece from 1849, and the entire recital eschewed loud outbursts of sound. Highlights of the playing included the contrapuntal lines in “Solitary Flowers,” poetic and almost flighty playing in the B Flat “Friendly Landscape”, and the extended questioning and a long and delicate decrescendo at the conclusion of “The Prophet Bird.”

Many of the themes in Forest Scenes harken to Schumann lieder, especially the Op. 25 songs “Myrthen,” and Ms. Yarden captured these aural references with idiomatic phrasing and pellucid tone color.

Beethoven’s penultimate Op. 110 Sonata closed the program in a polished and never bass-heavy reading. This glorious Sonata from 1821 is deeply expressive in its three semi-distinct movements, and Ms. Yarden treated the opening moderato in a leisurely manner, amiable and always eloquent. She was never in a hurry

This approach characterized the figurations in the scherzo-like allegro molto and the lyric introduction to the noble fugue. Textures were clear and the cantabile was limpid. It was persuasive Beethoven playing, vivid and convincing. If there was any interpretative misstep it came at the end when the final five bars lacked the non legato punch down to the final a-flat note and the upward push to the last raw fortissimo chord. The musical ecstasy was just missed.

No encore was offered.

Four of Beethoven’s early and seldom-played Op. 33 Bagatelles opened the recital, and each was a gem. Mr. Yarden’s tempos were ideal, as was careful half-pedaling and in No. 2 spotlighting Beethoven’s sly humor. In the will-of-the-wisp No. 7 she played scales and quick repeated notes impeccably.