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Recital
LUSH BACH PERFORMANCE IN DENK'S WEILL HALL RECITAL
by Terry McNeill
Thursday, February 13, 2020
Memorable artistic interpretations of musical masterpieces are often at extremes, and with the Bach’s Well-Tempered Clavier (WTC - Book I) that Jeremy Denk played in Weill Hall Feb. 13, the pianist was only sporadically at unique or ebullient musical ends. But his playing wasn’t exactly at opposite...
Symphony
BROWNE, PAREMSKI HEAD STELLAR CAST AT SANTA ROSA SYMPHONY
by Steve Osborn
Sunday, February 09, 2020
The Sunday, Feb. 9, performance by the Santa Rosa Symphony offered a healthy dose of 21st century music firmly bound to the 19th. Matt Browne’s first symphony, “The Course of Empire”—based on a series of five paintings by Thomas Cole, who founded the Hudson River School of American painting in the ...
Symphony
FRENCH ORCHESTRAL MUSIC A FIRST FOR THE SO CO PHILHARMONIC
by Terry McNeill
Sunday, February 02, 2020
Over many years the Sonoma County Philharmonic has played little French music, but perhaps this oversight was corrected Feb. 2 in a splendid all-Gallic program Feb. 1 and 2 in the Jackson Theater. Classical Sonoma reviewed the Sunday afternoon concert. In his eighth conducting season with the So C...
Symphony
POLISH MUSICAL WORLDS GLOW BRIGHT IN NFM WROCLAW WEILL PERFORMANCE
by Sonia Morse Tubridy
Saturday, February 01, 2020
The NFM Wroclaw Philharmonic, with conductor Giancarlo Guerrero, gave a concert of enormous energy and emotional impact on Feb.1 to a small audience in Weill Hall. This orchestra has been a major cultural force in Poland since 1949, playing under many renowned conductors and has been committed to pr...
Opera
EXTRAVAGANT ARIAS IN NEXT GENERATION TENORS GALA VALLEJO CONCERT
by Mark Kratz
Saturday, February 01, 2020
“Beautiful, strange, and unnatural…” said orchestra conductor Thomas Conlin when speaking of the tenor voice. One of the coveted voice types of the opera world, the tenor voice is known for it’s piercing tones and soaring, unnatural high notes. The iconic image of the Pagliacci clown (in the famed...
STRING QUINTETS, RARE AND FAMILIAR, IN SCHROEDER HALL CONCERT
by Sonia Morse Tubridy
Sunday, January 26, 2020
One hundred attendees in Schroeder Hall were treated Jan. 26 to a pair of stirring two-cello string quintets: Schubert’s much beloved masterpiece Quintet in C (D. 956), and Catoire’s Quintet in C minor (Op. 16), the latter mostly a forgotten work written in 1909. The performers were violinist Victo...
Chamber
MOSTLY MOZART WITH A LITTLE BEETHOVEN AND SOR IN NAPA
by Terry McNeill
Sunday, January 26, 2020
Sharing the stage with a local diva is a tough task for even seasoned musicians, but Napa College faculty soprano Christina Howell stole the show Jan. 26 when the Napa Valley Music Associates presented an eclectic program of mostly Mozart music. Somehow compositions of Sor and Beethoven joined the m...
Chamber
CHALLENGING WORKS IN GOULD TRIO'S MILL VALLEY CHAMBER CONCERT
by Abby Wasserman
Sunday, January 26, 2020
The Gould Piano Trio, founded 28 years ago by violinist Lucy Gould, has been one of the UK’s most prestigious ensembles. Its January 26 performance in Mill Valley Chamber Music Society’s series demonstrated how richly they deserve that reputation. The concert, held at the Mt. Tamalpais Methodist Chu...
Chamber
LOCAL MUSICIANS SHINE IN MTAC BENEFIT CONCERT
by Terry McNeill
Saturday, January 25, 2020
After a fire-related postponement of four months, the Sonoma County Chapter of the Music Teachers Association of California Jan. 25 gave their annual scholarship benefit in a charming Sebastopol home. Showcasing local musicians in an intimate setting with two pianos, the first half highlights inclu...
Symphony
MOZART MASTERWORK HIGHLIGHTS MARIN SYMPHONY CONCERT
by Abby Wasserman
Saturday, January 25, 2020
Excitement was palpable in the Marin Civic Center Auditorium Jan. 25 as the Marin Symphony in splendid full force took the stage for a richly textured Masterworks II program. Prevented from giving its first Masterworks offering by the wildfire-caused blackouts last October, the orchestra returned wi...
CHAMBER REVIEW
Oakmont Concert Series / Thursday, January 08, 2009
Kai Gleusteen, violin
Catherine Ordronneau, piano

THREE COMPOSERS, THREE RARE GEMS AT OAKMONT

by
Thursday, January 08, 2009

The nineteenth season of the Oakmont Concert Series opened January 8 with a recital by violinist Kai Gleusteen and pianist Catherine Ordronneau in Berger Auditorium. The enticing program featured three lesser known works by three of classical music’s iconic composers: Brahms, Schubert and Faure. Sonoma County violin recitals have become rare occurrences so there was much to anticipate. The program and the performances did not disappoint.

Things got off to a brisk start with the Brahms Scherzo from the F.A.E. Sonata, WoO post. 2. There is a bit of fascinating history regarding this movement. It was Schumann's idea in 1853 to put together a composite sonata as a gift for the great violinist Joachim. Albert Dietrich wrote the first movement, Schumann the second and fourth, and Brahms the Scherzo. F. A. E. stands for "Frei aber einsam," Joachim's motto (free but lonely). The movements were to feature the notes f, a, and e, and Joachim was to guess the composers. He performed the work with Clara Schumann at the Schumann household, and identified the composers without any trouble. While not often performed, the Scherzo is heard more than the other three movements. Gleusteen and Ordronneau played it superbly.

Schubert’s Fantasy in C Major D. 934, Op. Post. 159, is a true rarity on the concert stage. Lasting 25 minutes, it rambles somewhat, but given its title,
that is to be expected. It seems like a wordless song cycle, laced with one gorgeous melody after another, reminding the listener of some of Schubert’s better known songs, particularly Suleika, which also begins with a shimmering tremolo in the piano so characteristic of many of Schubert’s songs. The Fantasy was written when he was 30 years old, just before his death. It is as if he had hundreds of melodies inside just waiting to be written and luckily put this one on paper. Gleusteen and Ordronneau approached the work with great reverence, and again seemed to be in perfect sync with each other as they spun out motif after motif. The piece is a tour-de-force for the pianist, and Ordronneau showed that she was more than up to the challenge.

The perfectly polished performance came after intermission, when the husband-wife duo delivered the Violin Sonata No. 1 in A Major, Op. 13 of Gabriel Faure. Clearly, the artists have lived with this piece for years and rendered an exquisite and refined performance, replete with all the wonderfully woven textures for which this composer is known. Gleusteen’s 1781 Guadagnini violin sounded especially sweet in this work. The artists acknowledged the standing ovation of the audience of 200 with an encore: Sibelius’ Romance No. 2, yet another rarely performed work by a well-known composer. The afternoon added up to chamber music at its best, and one hopes that this Barcelona-based duo will return to Sonoma County again soon.