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Symphony
MENDELSSOHN'S SCOTTISH SAVES THE EVENING IN SRS WEILL CONCERT
by Terry McNeill
Monday, February 11, 2019
The audience entering Weill Hall for Santa Rosa Symphony concerts Feb. 9-11 were presented with a program that on first glance appeared a curious patchwork – a great symphony mixed with a seldom heard concerto and two disparate overtures, and a guest conductor unknown locally. Monday night’s concer...
Recital
INTRIGUING BELL-HAYWOOD RECITAL BEFORE FULL HOUSE IN WEILL HALL
by Abby Wasserman
Friday, February 08, 2019
A big portion of the capacity audience in Weill Hall February 8th came to hear violinist Joshua Bell’s virtuosity, and were treated as well to splendid playing from Sam Haywood, Mr. Bell’s regular pianist since 2010. The duo performed three engaging sonatas, highlighted by Mr. Bell’s sterling techn...
Symphony
TRIPLE PLAY UKIAH SYMPHONY CONCERT AND TCHAIKOVSKY SERENADE
by Terry McNeill
Sunday, January 27, 2019
Over the years the Ukiah Symphony’s concerts have been in the Classical Sonoma Calendar sections, but rarely has this Orchestra, now in its 39th season, had a full winter season concert review. The provocative Jan. 27 program in Mendocino College’s Center Theater seemed a good reason to reacquaint ...
Symphony
JACKSON THEATER WELCOMES A NEW RESIDENT ORCHESTRA
by Terry McNeill
Saturday, January 26, 2019
Moving to a permanent new performance venue can be a perilous undertaking for an orchestra, with different acoustics, the loyal audience finding the new spot and infrastructure challenges of lighting and lobby and backstage operations. In their first concert Jan. 26 in Windsor’s Jackson Theater the...
Symphony
ECLECTIC PASSIONATE PROGRAMMING AT MARIN SYMPHONY CONCERT
by Abby Wasserman
Saturday, January 26, 2019
The Marin Symphony’s second Masterworks concert of the 2018-19 season featured works by John Adams, Sibelius and Brahms, a masterful assembly. In a spoken introduction before the program’s first half, conductor Alasdair Neale primed the audience for the “terra incognita” of Adams’ The Chairman Dance...
Symphony
A SLICE OF HEAVEN FROM THE SANTA ROSA SYMPHONY
by Steve Osborn
Sunday, January 13, 2019
Under its vibrant new music director, Francesco Lecce-Chong, the Santa Rosa Symphony this past Sunday offered a nearly perfect afternoon of Mozart (Symphony No. 40) and Mahler (Symphony No. 4). While the two works share a common digit, the only element uniting them is genius. They made for a dazzlin...
Recital
KHOZYAINOV'S BRILLIANT PIANISM IN MILL VALLEY RECITAL
by Abby Wasserman
Sunday, January 13, 2019
In its third concert of the season the Mill Valley Chamber Music Society Jan. 13 presented Russian virtuoso Nikolay Khozyainov. His intelligent and sensitive interpretations, masterful pedal work, and virtuoso technique left the near-capacity audience in Mt. Tamalpais Methodist Church astounded and ...
Chamber
A COMPLETE MUSICAL PACKAGE IN ARRON'S OAKMONT RECITAL
by Terry McNeill
Thursday, January 10, 2019
Cellist Edward Arron has been a welcome artist at the Music at Oakmont series, and after his Jan. 10 recital it’s easy to understand his popularity. His artistry is a complete package, with potent instrumental technique wedded to integral musical conceptions. In a nearly flawless concert with pian...
Choral and Vocal
COMPELLING WEILL HALL MESSIAH ORATORIO FROM THE ABS
by Terry McNeill
Saturday, December 15, 2018
Each holiday season when a Classical Sonoma reviewer is assigned to cover a concert with Handel’s seminal Oratorio The Messiah, the question arises about what new commentary can possibly apply to the often performed choral work. Well, if it’s the American Bach Soloists performing the piece, written...
Opera
PURCELL'S DIDO IN YOUTHFUL SSU OPERA
by Abby Wasserman
Wednesday, December 05, 2018
A doomed royal love affair, the theme of Purcell’s Dido and Aeneas, was brought to lovely life at Sonoma State University Dec. 5 in the school’s Schroeder Hall. Conducted by faculty member Zachary Gordin, who also played continuo, the performance was only the second opera production presented by the...
CHAMBER REVIEW
Dominican University of California Guest Concert Series / Sunday, February 11, 2018
Tilden Trio. June Choi Oh, piano; Sarn Oliver,violin; Peter Wyrick, cello

Tilden Trio Feb. 11 in Angelico Hall

NOVEL AND FAMILIAR WORKS FROM THE TILDEN TRIO

by Terry McNeill
Sunday, February 11, 2018

North Coast chamber music fans have the luxury of two fine resident piano trios, with the frequently performing Trio Navarro at Sonoma State, and the Tilden Trio at San Rafael’s Dominican University. The Tilden plays less often, but their Feb. 11 performance brought several hundred to Angelico Hall to hear a sterling program.

A novelty opened the concert, Hummel’s E-Flat Major Trio, Op. 93, and it was probably a local premiere. There were flashes of his contemporary Beethoven in the expansive allegro, though taken at a slower than usual tempo. Pianist June Choi Oh played with smooth scales and prominence, and Peter Wyrick’s cello line sounded full. Violinist Sean Oliver had intonation problems in the initial thematic statements but quickly found his footing.

Hummel’s larghetto was played with careful emotion, and in the concluding finale the piano part was quite fast, with the left hand pedal point sporadically blurred (by design?). Much of the music had a fugal character and was a refreshing and convincing break from the more common period trios of Haydn, Mozart and early Beethoven.

From the stage Ms. Oh made announcements and the trio moved to Jennifer Higdon’s Pale Yellow, an 8-minute part of a 2003 composition. As with most of this composer’s work Pale Yellow was easily approachable, and in this case atmospheric. The cello and violin have the big themes, the latter mostly in the high register. The Tilden played it as a long-line lament, sad but also soaring with soft marching chords from Ms. Oh. Each instrument seamlessly rose and receded into the sonic mix, and this saturated-with-color score finally resolved with the musical sun coming out. A splendid choice.

As a consummate orchestral cellist Mr. Wyrick seldom is in the soloist spotlight, but was in this concert partnering with Ms. Oh and playing Chopin’s effervescent Op. 3 Introduction et Polonaise Brillante. It was performed at a very slow tempo and with the cellist’s well-known dynamic control, but was not note perfect. The operatic ending (Donizetti? Bellini?) was elegant. He played without score.

Concluding the program was Schubert’s seminal first Trio (Op. 99) in B-Flat Major, and here was the best ensemble playing of the afternoon. In the opening allegro a lot is going on, and Mr. Wyrick’s projection of the big second theme was lovely. In the famous andante the Tilden choose a pokey tempo, as in the classic Cortot/Casals/Thibaud recording, but as in current interpretations they avoided the latter Trio’s uber-romantic ritards and phrasing. The violin and cello duet over a slow rocking piano line was beguiling. There was even a nod towards ländler-like phrases, playful and exquisite. The scherzo playing was trim, breezy and not overplayed.

Tight ensemble continued in the rondo finale, a long but satisfying collection of lovely themes and effects. Often listeners new to Schubert are perplexed, saying “not another repeat!” or “it’s so long,” but for the Tilden musicians it was a heavenly length. The continual contrasts and urgent piano dissonances were compelling, and the 1828 work finished with flair and loud audience applause.

No encore was offered. Pianist Kevin Kenner continues the Guest Artist Series April 8 in Angelico with an all-Chopin program.