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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...
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...
Recital
KENNER'S ALL POLISH RECITAL HAS PADEREWSKI RARITY
by Abby Wasserman
Sunday, April 08, 2018
Kevin Kenner’s April 8 recital at Dominican University’s Angelico Hall had been advertised as all-Chopin, but he added a detour into another seminal Polish composer-pianist, Paderewski. Several of Mr. Kenner’s teachers were Poles, he speaks Polish, and he navigated at the piano both composers’ deman...
Recital
VIRTUOSIC VARIATIONS IN MORGAN'S SCHROEDER ORGAN RECITAL
by Paul Blanchard
Sunday, March 18, 2018
Organist Robert Huw Morgan’s artistry spun through the web of early variation form in a Mar. 18 recital on Schroeder Hall’s wonderful Brombaugh organ. Mr. Morgan, Stanford University’s resident organist, performs a wide range of repertoire, but as he said in comments to the audience, he loves when h...
Recital
DEDIK RECITAL MARCH 12 IN SPRING LAKE VILLAGE SERIES
by Terry McNeill
Monday, March 12, 2018
Pianist Anastasia Dedik has been an occasional North Coast visitor, playing with her Trio in Ukiah, and in recitals in Sonoma and with the Spring Lake Village series. She returned March 12 to Spring Lake (a retirement community, with Impresario Robert Hayden) in an abbreviated recital before a pack...
Recital
CHOPIN BALLADES FEATURED IN CONCERTS GRAND RECITAL
by Terry McNeill
Saturday, February 24, 2018
Pianist Nancy Lee Harper made an elegant North Coast debut Feb. 24 in the Concerts Grand House Recitals series in a private Santa Rosa home. Ms. Harper, for decades a performer and teacher in Portugal, has recently relocated to Northern California, played an all-Chopin recital that was comprehensiv...
Recital
ROMANTIC MUSIC AND AMBIANCE AT SEB ARTS RECITAL
by Nicki Bell
Sunday, February 18, 2018
Sebastopol had is own musical salon Feb. 18 with visits to Paris of the 1830s, and side trips to Wales and Germany. Pianist Robyn Carmichael presented a concert of favorite romantic masters and their muses, loves and inspirations, with music of Chopin, Liszt Mendelssohn and Schumann. This was no c...
Recital
HAUNTING RACHMANINOFF WORKS IN HU'S MAO RECITAL
by Terry McNeill
Thursday, February 08, 2018
Ching-Yun Hu made a return Music at Oakmont appearance Feb. 8 in Berger Auditorium, reprising a recital she made in the same hall four years ago. Many of the recital’s trappings were the same, but the music Ms. Hu chose to play was decidedly different. All afternoon the pianist was in an aggressiv...
Recital
ZNAIDER-KULEK DUO CHARMS AND CHALLANGES WEILL AUDIENCE FEB. 2
by Terry McNeill
Friday, February 02, 2018
Weill hall has mounted several exceptional piano recitals, with Garrick Ohlsson’s titanic Liszt concert, and of course Lang Lang’s two insouciant but also compelling performances topping the list since 2013. But arguably the virtuoso violinists have on balance been more impressive, and thoughts g...
Recital
HOME RECITAL BACH COMPLETES HOLIDAY SEASON
by Terry McNeill
Saturday, December 30, 2017
The just closing 2017 year was a calamity for many, but locally in music there were joys galore, and it was fitting Dec. 30 have the balm of two Bach’s violin sonatas in a private Guerneville home recital hosted by the eminent musician Sonia Tubridy. Violinist Richard Heinberg joined Ms. Tubridy in...
RECITAL REVIEW
Numina Center for Spirituality and the Arts / Tuesday, July 18, 2017
Etienne Walhain, organ

Organist Etienne Walhain

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 resources of Incarnation’s Casavant organ to great effect, creating unique and interesting registrations (making, for instance, a gross tierce where none had previously existed!).

The program began with the blazing passage-work of Bach’s Chromatic Fantasy and Fugue, BWV 903. The scale and arpeggio figurations passing between the hands and going from upper to lower manuals were impressive, if perhaps a tick too rapid for complete enjoyment. Throughout the program, it was his pedal technique which stood out. He showed no upper body movement as he negotiated astonishing pedal figures with total clarity and no apparent difficulty.

We were then treated to some novel programming, hearing two Vivaldi concertos as transcribed by Bach and Mr. Walhain’s teacher Jean Guillou. The first, in a minor (BWV 593), was transcribed by Bach to better understand the Italian style of composition, and the second, in D major, was arranged by Guillou, a virtuoso organist. Although they are rather light music, they gave ample opportunity for clever and interesting registrations and again pointed to his faultless and easy pedal technique. With the three opening pieces, the audience was happy to hear Baroque-era German and Italian pieces played on a French disposition instrument by a talented Belgian romantic-style organist.

The final two pieces on the program seemed to bring out the best playing from this organist. The Piece Heroique by his countryman, Franck, was a lesson in romantic style playing. His handling of the form and texture of the work was outstanding, and understanding of the work’s complexities was enhanced throughout by his expert use of rubato. For me the highlight of the program was the Reger’s monumental Introduction and Passacaglia. It is a great work of art, and the artist played it with the respect it deserves, and the abandon it demands. Again, he made the thorny pedal part sound easy. Not one of the wild harmonic moments was lost and when near the end, he pushed the “tutti” button, we were lifted from our seats.

For an encore, he played a transcription (again by Guillou) of a toccata by Prokofiev. It was a typical virtuosic potboiler with presto passagework, lickety split repeated notes, hands crossing over and under each other and flying double-pedal work.

Thanks are due Incarnation Parish and Numina Center for Spirituality and the Arts for bringing this wonderful artist to Santa Rosa.