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Choral and Vocal
A SEASONAL MESSIAH WITH BALANCE AND HEFT
by Terry McNeill
Sunday, December 10, 2017
The mid-December concert season seems for jaded reviewers to invariably include a Messiah performance, and perhaps a Messiah in a long string of similar and mundane performances. This was decidedly not the case when San Francisco’s Philharmonia Baroque mounted Handel’s eminent three-part 1742 Orato...
Symphony
ANDREW GRAMS FINDS HIS GROOVE SR SYMPHONY IN RACHMANINOFF
by Steve Osborn
Sunday, December 03, 2017
Last Sunday’s Santa Rosa Symphony concert featured two elegant and refined guests: music director candidate Andrew Grams and pianist Stewart Goodyear. Both displayed dazzling technique and consummate artistry, but Goodyear was the more consistent of the two. Some of Grams’ inconsistency may have st...
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 ...
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.”