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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
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.