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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 ...
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.