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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
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.