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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...
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 ...
Recital
STYLUS AND PLAYING FANTASTICUS IN YOUNG'S ORGAN RECITAL
by Paul Blanchard
Sunday, June 25, 2017
Organist Robert Young gave a wonderful tour through the stylus fantasticus (fantastic style) organ literature June 25 playing a recital on the Casavant organ at Church of the Incarnation in Santa Rosa. Mr. Young recently became the organist at the Church and previously served for 20 years as Music D...
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.”