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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...
Chamber
KODALY DUO TRUMPS POPULAR MENDELSSOHN TRIO AT SLV CONCERT
by Terry McNeill
Wednesday, June 21, 2017
It’s not really a secret, but Sonoma County’s best chamber music series is one without much notoriety or publicity. The concerts at Santa Rosa’s Spring Lake Village programs are only for residents and a few invited guests. Impresario Robert Hayden years ago honed his producer skills as founder of ...
Chamber
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 v...
Chamber
CONSUMMATE ENSEMBLE FROM THE MIRÓ IN WEILL
by Sonia Tubridy and Nicki Bell
Sunday, March 05, 2017
A March 5 Weill hall audience of 350 leaned in to share an intimate musical space and to hear the Miró String Quartet’s sterling concert. Starting with Haydn's Op. 20, No. 4, the four musicians seemed to want listeners to be enveloped in their music. The Miró plays with the feat of being four dist...
Chamber
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...
Chamber
THREE BEETHOVEN TRIOS BEGUILE AUDIENCE IN FEB. 19 WEILL CONCERT
by Terry McNeill
Sunday, February 19, 2017
Chamber music concerts featuring one composer can be tricky, but the Han/Setzer/Finckel trio made a Feb. 19 Weill Hall audience of 500 hear and to a degree see the boundless creativity of Beethoven. The G Major Trio, Op. 1, No. 2, opened the afternoon’s Beethoven odyssey and one wonders why it is t...
Chamber
AUTHORITATIVE BARTOK HIGHLIGHTS TETZLAFF VIOLIN RECITAL
by Terry McNeill
Saturday, February 18, 2017
Christian Tetzlaff’s Feb. 18 violin recital rolled along with lively and fresh readings of Mozart, Beethoven and Schubert when the specter of Bartok’s granitic Second Sonata intervened. The sonic shock to the audience of 250 in Weill was palpable. Composed in 1923 the 20-minute two-movement work i...
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.