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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...
Symphony
SANTA ROSA SYMPHONY HERALDS THE HOLIDAYS
by Steve Osborn
Sunday, December 02, 2018
Antlers are typical headgear during the holiday season, but the ushers and one bassist at the Santa Rosa Symphony concert on Dec. 2 sported apples atop their heads. The red fruits were festive but perplexing until the orchestra began Rossini’s “William Tell” overture, at which point even the dull-wi...
Symphony
A HERO'S ODYSSEY IN SO CO PHIL CONCERT
by Art Hofmann
Sunday, November 18, 2018
The audience at the Sonoma County Philharmonic’s Nov. 18 concert was warned at the outset that the old Santa Rosa High School auditorium boiler was turned off, and there was a steady eminently audible tone in the hall. Conductor Norman Gamboa said the tone was an A, a high one. But there it was, a...
Recital
MTA BENEFIT CONCERT FEATURES FAURE, DVORAK, JANACEK AND BARBER WORKS
by Terry McNeill
Sunday, November 11, 2018
In a splendid concert Nov. 11 the Music Teachers Association of California, Sonoma County Chapter, presented their sixth annual benefit concert before 40 avid listeners in the Santa Rosa home of Helen Howard and Robert Yeats. Highlights of the performances, involving eight musicians in various perf...
Recital
SERKIN'S SINGULAR MOZART AND BACH PLAYING IN WEILL RECITAL
by Terry McNeill
Friday, November 09, 2018
Returning to Weill Hall following a fire-related recital cancellation in 2017, pianist Peter Serkin programmed just three works in his Nov. 7 concert, three masterworks that challenged both artist and audience alike. It needs to be said at the outset that Mr. Serkin takes a decidedly non-standard a...
Chamber
LUMINOUS FAURE TOPS LINCOLN TRIO'S SPRING LAKE VILLAGE CONCERT
by Terry McNeill
Wednesday, November 07, 2018
Familiarity in chamber music often evokes warm appreciation, and it was thus Nov. 7 when the Chicago-based Lincoln Piano Trio made one of their many Sonoma County appearances, this time on the Spring Lake Village Classical Music Series. Regularly presented by local impresario Robert Hayden, the Lin...
CHAMBER REVIEW
Spring Lake Village Classical Music Series / Wednesday, September 05, 2018
Monica Scott, cello; Hadley McCarroll, piano

H. McCarroll and M. Scott

CELLO-PIANO DUO IN HUSKY SPRING LAKE VILLAGE PROGRAM

by Terry McNeill
Wednesday, September 05, 2018

Two thirds of the way through a stimulating 22-concert season the Spring Lake Village Classical Music Series Sept. 5 presented two splendid cello sonatas before 110 people in the Village’s Montgomery auditorium.

A duo for more than a decade, East Bay musicians cellist Monica Scott and pianist Hadley McCarroll began with Shostakovich’s D Minor Sonata, Op. 40, in a performance that captured the composer’s contrasts of contemplation and drama. Playing from score, as they did throughout, the duo’s sound carried well in the acoustically bright hall, and they chose in the opening allegro a judicious tempo that continued into the slow march with a hint of menace. Ms. Scott wove a lovely threnody above the piano, though often the tone was harsh. But this music supports this often-raw string sound. A slower than expected tempo continued into the scherzo, giving the music a little less frenzy and more air but lacking sonic punch.

Ms. Scott’s best playing came in the wonderful largo with rich bottom-end register sonority. There was a beguiling ascending phrase at the end, followed by a descending one with thirds to close. The finale (allegro) was well played and Ms. McCarroll’s fast scales half pedaled and clear. A witty reading of the 1934 work.

Beethoven’s short C Major Sonata (Op. 102, No. 1) doesn’t have the impact of the Shostakovich, or the Ginastera that followed, but in two extended movements the two instruments were treated with consummate beauty. The stately introductory andante was lovely, the syncopated rhythms robust, though Ms. McCarroll’s trills were often muddy. The extended adagio allegro vivace again had a quiet beginning, leading to sharp thematic contrasts and phrasing that was “cat and mouse.” The duo’s playing in this inventive movement caught the composer’s humor and joy and, though often subtle, was for me the recital’s highlight.

Ginastera’s early music, especially the Piano Sonata and the Danzas Argentinas, are never subtle and never lacking in energy. The Op. 21, No. 2, Pampeanas is popular with cellists, was written in 1951, and is in three large sections. It’s a short work that featured Ms. Scott’s long, wailing high-register phrases and efficient bow control, with double stops. The ostinato piano part supported Ms. Scott’s virtuosic and propulsive playing, especially in fast repeated notes. The duo made the thick textures and frantic momentum palpable, and received a loud ovation.

No encore was played.

The Shostakovich Sonata, with Fauré’s First Sonata, will be played Sept. 9 in a recital in the Occidental Performing Arts Center in Occidental.