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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
Trio Navarro / Sunday, February 18, 2018
Victor Romasevich, violin; Jill Rachuy Brindel, cello; Wayne Roden, viola; Marilyn Thompson, piano

Trio Navarro

POWERHOUSE TANEYEV QUARTET IN TRIO NAVARRO CONCERT

by Sonia Tubridy
Sunday, February 18, 2018

Now in their 26th year of presenting chamber music as artists in residence at Sonoma State University, members of the Navarro Trio have performed, over the years, piano trios both famous and rarely performed, including many contemporary works.

Mozart’s Piano Quartet in G Minor, K. 478 opened the Feb. 18 program in Schroeder Hall with its dark, almost ominous unison statement followed by cascades of bright piano passages. The tempo was brisk and the attitude direct and clear. The ensemble sound ranged from lovely elegance to passionate exuberance with hints of contemplative sorrow. Individual solos blended often into a unity of ensemble befitting this masterpiece.

The andante was touchingly played. Pianist Marilyn Thompson’s sound was warm and drew the other instruments into a palette of subtle tone colors. The piano line did not overwhelm in this work that needs transparency. Victor Romasevich’s violin playing was by turns bright and soaring or dark and brooding, and violist Wayne Roden playing sang exquisitely when the viola blossomed out of the surrounding parts. Cellist Jill Brindel’s musical contribution was gracious and well balanced. The third movement Rondo was full of sparkle and musical wit, and the piano part alternated with the strings in lighthearted games of back and forth, providing many delicate surprises in the dynamics and rubatos. There was a delightful sense of ease, ending with effervescent excitement.

After intermission, the audience, which included many students, heard the monumental Piano Quartet, Op. 20, by Taneyev. The composer was the teacher of Rachmaninoff and Scriabin, and for a time Prokofiev. His works are not as well known and he was not drawn into Russian nationalist streams of composing. Taneyev looked to Mozart for inspiration and Bach for counterpoint, and he was considered a master of counterpoint by his contemporaries. Pairing Taneyev with Mozart in this program was a fitting gesture. The Quartet’s first movement (Allegro brillante is a world of fire and fury. There follow many abrupt changes, sweet meditation of the violin, a cello and piano duo, playfulness with dark piano rumbling. The writing is orchestral and ranges from diabolical to heroic. This is music of unrestrained romanticism played by musicians completely engaged in this rich expressive world.

Next was Adagio piu tosto largo, a very emotional musical journey. It starts starts with calm piano chords and soon plaintive viola and cello solos lead to a powerful climax. There is a fugue, viola solo with dazzling piano arpeggios, more rising to limits of sonority and a return to trio sound with piano chords accompanying. One of the memorable themes is closely related to a later famous pop song “Blue Moon.” The third movement was like a whirlwind with moments of calm - capricious, threatening, anguished. It sometimes evoked wandering through the wilderness with almost no rest. A fugue then carries the music until finally there is a return to the calm loving song from the second movement. The viola seems to sing that nature is beautiful and the cello joins with a heartfelt answer, leading all to join for the conclusion.

This Trio Navarro concert was a rich and inspiring experience.