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Opera
SPARKLING CIMAROSA OPERA HIGHLIGHTS MENDOCINO MUSIC FESTIVAL
by Kathryn Stewart
Friday, July 13, 2018
The Classical music era was a time of extraordinary innovation. Dominated by composers from the German-speaking countries, the period witnessed the handiwork of masterpieces by two classical giants, Haydn and Mozart. Both composers put forth a tremendous catalog of masterful works and perhaps to our...
Symphony
!PURA VIDA! A SONIC TRIUMPH FOR SO CO PHIL IN THRILLING COSTA RICA TOUR CONCERT
by Terry McNeill
Tuesday, June 19, 2018
Long anticipated events, such as a great sporting game, gourmet feast, holiday trip or a concert, occasionally fall way short of expectations. The results don’t measure to expectations. With the Sonoma County Philharmonic’s Costa Rica concert June 19, the performance exceeded any heated or tenuou...
Symphony
SO CO PHIL BON VOYAGE CONCERT AN ODYSSEY OF CONTRASTING SOUND
by Terry McNeill
Friday, June 15, 2018
In a splashy bon voyage concert June 15 the Sonoma County Philharmonic Orchestra launched its June 17-25 Costa Rica tour, performing gratis in Santa Rosa’s Jackson Theater the repertoire for tour concerts in San José, Costa Rica’s capital, and in surrounding towns. Conductor Norman Gamboa pr...
Chamber
COMMANDING CHOPIN AND DEBUSSY IN SLV RECITAL
by Terry McNeill
Wednesday, June 06, 2018
Concerts at the classy Spring Lake Village Retirement Home in Santa Rosa have admission limited to residents and a few guests, but the chance to hear a first cabin North Bay pianist June 6 brought a Classical Sonoma reviewer into the audience of 100. The crowd numbers were unusually low due to a ba...
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...
Chamber
FINAL VOM MUSICIANS CONCERT IN SCHROEDER A SCHUBERT DELIGHT
by Terry McNeill
Saturday, May 12, 2018
It's rare to have the opportunity to compare in a short period two performances of the same major Schubert work, in this case the great B Flat Piano Trio, D. 898. The chance came May 12 when the Valley of the Moon Festival musicians played it in Schroeder, just over a month since the Hall’s residen...
Symphony
FERRANDIS BIDS ADIEU WITH MAHLER’S FINAL SYMPHONY
by Steve Osborn
Sunday, May 06, 2018
Sonoma State students in graduation robes posed for pictures and hugged each other at the university’s stone gates on Sunday afternoon, mirroring the prolonged farewells within the university’s Green Music Center, where Bruno Ferrandis bid adieu to the Santa Rosa Symphony after a dozen years at the ...
Symphony
SONIC SPLENDOR AT MARIN SYMPHONY SEASON FINALE
by Abby Wasserman
Tuesday, May 01, 2018
The Marin Symphony Orchestra ended the current season with a flourish, interpreting big and small works by Richard Strauss and Stravinsky. Strauss and Stravinsky were contemporaries for 40 years, but inhabited different worlds. Both composers were affected by cataclysmic changes and war, and musical...
Symphony
ORGAN SYMPHONY IN SSU ORCHESTRA CONCERT IN WEILL
by Terry McNeill
Sunday, April 29, 2018
Though Classical Sonoma seldom reviews student concerts, as ample North Coast concerts keep the staff of 11 reviewers busy. But the chance to hear the Sonoma State University Orchestra tackle St. Saëns’ majestic Organ Symphony April 29 was a rare opportunity and not easily to be missed. Avec l’...
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...
CHAMBER REVIEW
Mill Valley Chamber Music Society / Sunday, February 18, 2018
Bomsori Kim, violin; Drew Petersen, piano

Violinist Bomsori Kim

KIM-PETERSEN DUO SHINE IN MILL VALLEY CHAMBER RECITAL

by Abby Wasserman
Sunday, February 18, 2018

“Bomsori” means “the sound of spring” in Korean, and violinist Bomsori Kim’s sound is like spring - fresh, clarion, and nuanced. Her expressiveness and obvious pleasure in engaging with audiences is substantial, and she partnered with pianist Drew Petersen in a Feb. 18 recital for the Mill Valley Chamber Music Society.

On stage at the Mill Valley United Methodist Church. Ms. Kim and Mr. Petersen chose a program that was technically demanding and aesthetically thrilling, with pieces by Beethoven, Schumann, Ravel, Wieniawski, and Ysäye. The pulse and arc of each of her phrases was exquisitely shaped. If one weren’t already in love with the violin, this concert would have been the heart-winning valentine.

Beethoven’s 8th Sonata in G, Op. 30, No. 3, begins with a pulsating, passionate allegro, where “Sturm und Drang” alternate with tender, singing passages. At first the tempo seemed too fast but Ms. Kim captured each pulse in the music, and it never spun out of control. When Beethoven composed the Sonata in 1802, he was dealing with impending deafness, and the terror, dread and shame are manifest in the violence of the movement. In the minuetto Mr. Petersen took the bright musical lead even as the violin line wove a tragic leitmotif. The furious finale (allegro vivace) was masterfully controlled.

Ms. Kim’s playing captured the character of Schumann’s grief and movement towards insanity in the A Minor Sonata from 1851. Unfortunately, the piano sound was occasionally too loud, covering the violin’s line. The house piano’s lid was fully open, and as the instrument had a brilliant sound, Mr. Petersen’s playing at times swamped that of Ms. Kim. The allegretto was nostalgic and sweet, evoking childhood play, and then came the lebhaft with its abrupt changes and mood swings, expressing with delicacy and anguish the composer’s complex emotional state.

A standout of the program was Ravel’s Sonata No. 2 (G Major), composed in 1927. The piano sound had a bell-like clarity and the violin line soared. Here the musical lines blend and diverge in a fascinating meander. In the first movement allegretto the two instruments created their own eccentric harmonies, parting and meeting again. The movement with blues character, with its sensual slides and jazzy pizzicato, was spellbinding, and midway through the stirring perpetuum mobile finale Ms. Kim’s playing was joyous and her joy was palpably shared with the Church’s audience.

The last two selections, a Wieniawski D Major Polonaise and Ysäye’s Caprice d’Apres l’Etude en Forme de Valse de Concert (St. Saëns), were pure, exuberant showpieces. The duo captured the panache and yearning of the Polonaise, and the Ysäye was a fascinating journey into the astonishing capabilities of the virtuoso violinist. Ms. Kim bowed and plucked through each surprise, relishing each joke, and glided through the tour-de-force acrobatics of the transcribed study as though they came freshly from her imagination.

It was a generous program and the audience responded with two standing ovations. Clearly touched, Ms. Kim and Mr. Petersen offered two encores - Ponce’s “Estrellita,” arranged by Heifitz, and Kreisler’s “Schoen Rosemarin.” With their transparent and lilting lines, both encores were effervescent and an audience delight.