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Symphony
SO CO PHIL BON VOYAGE CONCERT AN ODYSSEY OF CONTRASTING SOUND
by Terry McNeill
Friday, June 15, 2018
In a splashy bon voyage concert June 15 the Sonoma County Philharmonic Orchestra launched its June 17-25 Costa Rica tour, performing gratis in Santa Rosa’s Jackson Theater the repertoire for tour concerts in San José, Costa Rica’s capital, and in surrounding towns. Conductor Norman Gamboa pr...
Chamber
COMMANDING CHOPIN AND DEBUSSY IN SLV RECITAL
by Terry McNeill
Wednesday, June 06, 2018
Concerts at the classy Spring Lake Village Retirement Home in Santa Rosa have admission limited to residents and a few guests, but the chance to hear a first cabin North Bay pianist June 6 brought a Classical Sonoma reviewer into the audience of 100. The crowd numbers were unusually low due to a ba...
Recital
MUSICAL ALCHEMY INSIDE A HIDDEN GEM
by Kayleen Asbo
Friday, May 25, 2018
The Petaluma Historical Library and Museum is a hidden gem of Sonoma County, a gracious building that is one of Sonoma County’s loveliest venues for chamber music concerts, with a fine period piano particularly suited to Romantic music.  Of the surprisingly large array of festivities there, one of t...
Chamber
FINAL VOM MUSICIANS CONCERT IN SCHROEDER A SCHUBERT DELIGHT
by Terry McNeill
Saturday, May 12, 2018
It's rare to have the opportunity to compare in a short period two performances of the same major Schubert work, in this case the great B Flat Piano Trio, D. 898. The chance came May 12 when the Valley of the Moon Festival musicians played it in Schroeder, just over a month since the Hall’s residen...
Symphony
FERRANDIS BIDS ADIEU WITH MAHLER’S FINAL SYMPHONY
by Steve Osborn
Sunday, May 06, 2018
Sonoma State students in graduation robes posed for pictures and hugged each other at the university’s stone gates on Sunday afternoon, mirroring the prolonged farewells within the university’s Green Music Center, where Bruno Ferrandis bid adieu to the Santa Rosa Symphony after a dozen years at the ...
Symphony
SONIC SPLENDOR AT MARIN SYMPHONY SEASON FINALE
by Abby Wasserman
Tuesday, May 01, 2018
The Marin Symphony Orchestra ended the current season with a flourish, interpreting big and small works by Richard Strauss and Stravinsky. Strauss and Stravinsky were contemporaries for 40 years, but inhabited different worlds. Both composers were affected by cataclysmic changes and war, and musical...
Symphony
ORGAN SYMPHONY IN SSU ORCHESTRA CONCERT IN WEILL
by Terry McNeill
Sunday, April 29, 2018
Though Classical Sonoma seldom reviews student concerts, as ample North Coast concerts keep the staff of 11 reviewers busy. But the chance to hear the Sonoma State University Orchestra tackle St. Saëns’ majestic Organ Symphony April 29 was a rare opportunity and not easily to be missed. Avec l’...
Recital
HEAVENLY SCHUBERT AND DEMONIC CHOPIN
by Terry McNeill
Saturday, April 21, 2018
One of the anomalies in the long ago “Golden Era” of romantic pianism (about 1905 to 1940) is that the virtuoso giants of the time didn’t play Schubert. It took the German pianist Artur Schnabel to bring the beauties of Schuber’s work to the public’s attention, and now they seem to be on almost ever...
Symphony
SPLENDID JUPITER AND ZOOMING CONCERTO AT VALLEJO SYMPHONY SEASON FINALE
by Terry McNeill
Sunday, April 15, 2018
Over the past two years the Vallejo Symphony has made big changes, moving from a stark middle school auditorium to the snazzy remodeled 1911-era downtown Empress Theater, and engaging Marc Taddei as its seventh conductor. April 15 was the season’s final concert of the 86th season. In a programmin...
Chamber
VIRTUOSO CELLO AND GUITAR TRANSCRIPTIONS AT RAC SEBASTOPOL CONCERT
by Terry McNeill
Saturday, April 14, 2018
Listeners and yes even music critics usually prepare for a concert with research, checking recorded performances, looking at artist biographies and even reviewing sheet music. This was a difficult task for the April 14 Redwood Arts Council concert in Sebastopol’s Community Church, as the performers...
RECITAL REVIEW
Mastercard Performance Series / Friday, May 05, 2017
Richard Goode, piano

Pianist Richard Goode

MASTERFUL PIANISM IN GOODE'S WEILL HALL RECITAL

by Sonia Morse Tubridy
Friday, May 05, 2017

Pianist Richard Goode programmed an evening of treasures May 5 from four great composers, and is an artist of intimacy and intelligence, power and passion, able to go deep and to soar. Hearing Mr. Goode play this literature was a reminder of how music does indeed bridge worlds and time.

Bach’s E minor Partita (BWV 830) opened the Weill Hall program in a toccata of cascades and streams of arpeggios and fanciful chromatic flights leading to a serious and thoughtful fugue. The playing was straightforward with delightful use of pedal and touches of rubato. Mr. Goode uses the piano with all its colors and articulations, never locking Bach into "period" playing or attempting to imitate our poor knowledge of early styles. The allemande was elegant and playful, delicate and with rich tone, leading into the jolly corrente with its syncopated fun. Here the tempo was lively, allowing clusters of notes to be heard as units, and occasional additions of accents highlighted phrases creatively. Then came the air with solid weighted sound and some grandeur building to the sarabande. The slow and exotic sarabande is often the heart of a suite and so it was here: mysterious harmonies seeming often bent and twisted with heart wrenching suspensions, and very ornate writing leading to passionate peaks of emotion. The breezy relief of the tempo di gavotte, a simple joyful dance, preceded a tour de force gigue which was clear with all its complexity of fugal structure, syncopations and tumbling wild leaps. All voices were audible and unforced. There was no separation between pianist, instrument and composer.

Following the Bach the pianist chose Brahms’ 6 Klavierstucke, Op. 118. The juxtaposition of these two composers was inspired and one could hear the connection between Bach and Brahms through their chromatic harmonies, complex thematic work, dense textures and lovely lyricism. Opus 118 starts with an agitated wave of sounds rising out of the piano’s depths, beauty searching for a place in time. This is followed by a Romantic Lied and then a heavenly duet, a prayerful moment and and finally the duet returns with Mr. Goode bringing out inner voices with expert shadings. The third piece is a ballade, a story of impetuous adventure and a sense of hopeful endings. This had great clusters of sound with rapid tempo, but was never percussive. A charmingintermezzo led to a romance, a piece with warm spaciousness. The artist brought out the folk elements and had the piano imitating sounds of nature, birds, water, wind, sunshine and dark. The final Intermezzo is very mysterious and travels through mazes of searching harmonies, often very dark, to a triumph of joy and hope.

Following intermission the program continued with Chopin’s Nocturne in B Major, Op. 62, No. 1; three mazurkas (Op. 41 Nos. 2 and 3, and Op. 50, No. 3), and the Polonaise-fantaisie, Op. 61. The Nocturne was played movingly by this master of big and small gestures, color at his fingertips, trills creating shimmering melodies, the music glowing. Mr. Goode seemed to magically exceed the limitations of a piano. In the Mazurkas he created simplicity, Polish character, folk sounds, delicacy and heroism. The pianist was portraying dancing and weaving tales. The Polonaise-fantaisie commenced with tragic chords and delicate sounds rose out of them. Spectacular pianism with exquisite chord voicing led to the end where the last sounds heard could invoke "Ring the bells that still can ring…" (L. Cohen).

The evening’s finale was Beethoven's Sonata A Major Sonata,Op. 101. The allegretto was orchestral in its rocking rhythms and the vivace ala marcia had humor with sweetness always creeping in. One had a feeling of improvisation within a highly ordered environment. The Schumannesque recitative of the adagio was poignant. The rising interval of a sixth was a beautiful returning pianistic gesture, and the fugue was energetic and wild, at times possessed, but the pianist managed to keep careful melodic control. It was splendid!

An enthusiastic ovation followed from the audience of 400 and generated an encore: Janacek’s "Good Night" from the 1908 Suite “On An Overgrown Path.”