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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 ...
CHAMBER REVIEW
Redwood Arts Council / Saturday, April 29, 2017
Hermitage Piano Trio. Ilya Kazantsev, piano; Sergey Antonov, cello; Misch Keilen, violin

NOTES AND BARS DO NOT A PRISON MAKE

by Nicki Bell
Saturday, April 29, 2017

The Hermitage Piano Trio brought exuberant musicality and sumptuous sound to a packed house April 29 in Occidental's Performing Arts Center for the last concert in the Redwood Arts Council’s 37th season. With a wide interpretive range--from lush to delicate to passionate--these three young Russian virtuosos set the house on fire while tickling the audience to the tips of its toes. Now living in the United States, Misha Keylin (violin), Sergey Antonov (cello) and pianist Ilya Kazantsev are all noted soloists in their own right, and inspired interpreters of classic European repertoire, as well as contemporary American commissions.

The opener, Beethoven's Op. 11 piano trio, was full of character and color. Before playing the work, Mr. Keylin shared the story of the third movement, which is based on the then-popular song, "Before I start work, I must have something to eat!" Mr. Kazantsev created magic during the first movement, infusing a gentle breathing pulse that contrasted with the movement's quick and light playfulness. Mr. Antonov's luscious cello tone in the beginning of the second movement was intimate and warm, a love song, like a rose opening. All three musicians wove lyrical motifs around each other during the movement, leading to an ethereal ending. The third movement was skipping and full of fun, with a piano cadenza, a violin and cello due, and multiple variations.

Schubert's Nocturne in E flat, published after his death and seldom heard in concert, was composed as a possible adagio for his well-known Op. 99 piano trio. The song-like theme, with its unusual rhythmic character and Romantic outpouring, was quintessential Schubert: sad, sweet, innocent and ecstatic.

The final trio before intermission was by Gaspar Casssado, a Catalonian cellist who died 50 years ago. The trio was a Spanish hoe-down with constantly changing tempi, and the three movements had significant variations in mood and dynamics. One could see flamenco dancers, their stomping heels, their sinuous poses. It was passionate, then suddenly very light, always rhythmic and then a race to the end.

After intermission came an unusual musical treat, Tchaikovsky's “The Seasons.” These twelve pieces were originally written for the piano and were published in a Russian music magazine at the rate of one per month. They were subsequently arranged for piano trio by the Russian composer Alexander Goedike. This festive celebration of the year turned out to be a real crowd-pleaser. The blending timbres of the three instruments brought out a new clarity in the music, and moments from “The Nutcracker” echoed throughout. Festive and joyous, lyrical and calm, jaunty and bright, melancholy and celebratory, trolls to swans--all the moods of the year were there.

The audience did not want the evening to end. The trio’s encore, "Let's Play an Opera by Rossini" (1981), was composed by Rion Shchedrin, husband of the great Russian ballerina Maya Plisetskaya. It was a complete charmer, and the audience was giggling throughout.

Sonia Tubridy, who turned pages for pianist Ilya Kazantsev, contributed to this review.