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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...
Recital
PIANISTIC COMMAND IN SCHROEDER RECITAL
by Lee Ormasa
Sunday, October 08, 2017
Nikolay Khozyainov’s Oct. 8 debut at the Green Music Center’s Schroeder Hall was one of those rare moments in a young artist’s career when a performance approaches perfection. From the opening notes of Beethoven’s A-Flat Major Sonata (Op. 110) through a delightful recital ending transcription, the ...
Recital
ELEGANT PIANISM IN WATER MUSIC CHARMS HOUSE RECITAL AUDIENCE
by Terry McNeill
Sunday, September 03, 2017
A standard component of house concerts often involve listeners hearing the music but also smelling the lasagna and seeing the champagne in the adjacent kitchen. But it was not the case Sept. 3 at Sandra Shen’s Concerts Grand House Recital performance, as her riveting piano playing enthralled the sm...
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...
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...
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
DEMANDING VIOLIN SONATAS CONQUERED BY BEILMAN-WEISS DUO IN SCHROEDER
by Terry McNeill
Sunday, May 14, 2017
Violinist Benjamin Beilman’s ravishing Mozart performance at last summer’s Weill Hall ChamberFest finale lured an enthusiastic crowd to Schroeder Hall May 14 to hear if his secure virtuosity was up to a program of demanding sonatas. He did not disappoint. With the powerful pianist Orion Weiss in t...
Recital
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 m...
Recital
ELEGANT ORGAN SALUTE TO THE REFORMATION
by Paul Blanchard
Sunday, April 30, 2017
Organist Jonathan Dimmock presented an April 30 recital in homage to the 500th anniversary of the Reformation, playing Schroeder Hall’s wonderful Brombaugh instrument. Mr. Dimmock is the organist for the San Francisco Symphony, principal organist for the Palace of the Legion of Honor and teaches at...
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.