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Chamber
EXAMPLARY QUARTET PLAYING IN MARIN GARDEN CONCERT
by Terry McNeill
Thursday, October 22, 2020
Taped video concerts have pretty much dominated the recent fare for classical music fans, but sporadic live music making can still be found in the North Bay with outdoor chamber music. Of course with the obligatory social distancing and often decorative facial masks. Four San Francisco Opera Orc...
Chamber
VIDEO CHAMBER MUSIC FROM LINCOLN CENTER IN GREEN'S BROADCAST
by Terry McNeill
Saturday, October 17, 2020
Along with hosting its resident the Santa Rosa Symphony, Weill Hall has contracted to produce sporadic virtual programs of classical music, and began Oct. 17 with a charming three-part concert from the Chamber Music Society of Lincoln Center in New York. Hosted with comely introductions by CMSLC di...
Symphony
THRILLING SANTA ROSA SYMPHONY PERFORMANCE IN AN EMPTY WEILL HALL
by Steve Osborn
Sunday, October 11, 2020
Viewers of the Santa Rosa Symphony’s inaugural socially distanced YouTube concert on Oct. 11 could be forgiven for thinking they had stumbled upon a performance of Verdi’s “Un Ballo in Maschera” (A Masked Ball), given that the string players in the opening shot all wore black masks. The sole excepti...
Symphony
BROWN VIDEO GALA LAUNCHES SANTA ROSA SYMPHONY SEASON
by Terry McNeill
Saturday, September 12, 2020
Similar to many North Coast musical organizations the Santa Rosa Symphony has scheduled a series of virtual concerts on video, spotlighting sections of the orchestra and the exuberant activities of its conductor Francesco Lecce-Chong. However, as an introduction to the season, a Sept. 12 gala vide...
SONGS AND ECHOES OF HOME IN AIZURI QUARTET CONCERT
by Abby Wasserman
Sunday, March 8, 2020
From the first richly layered harmonies of Dvořák’s Cypresses, the Aizuri Quartet held the March 8th audience at Mt. Tamalpais Methodist Church in thrall. The church was more than half full, a good crowd considering present anxiety about the spread of the coronavirus. Taking precautions, the M...
COLORFUL BORN BACH AT AGAVE BAROQUE'S SCHROEDER HALL CONCERT
by Sonia Morse Tubridy
Friday, February 28, 2020
Bach’s obituary records that “Johann Sebastian Bach belongs to a family that seems to have received a love and aptitude for music as a gift of Nature to all its members in common.” Agave Baroque presented their Feb. 28 concert, Born Bach, as a partial musical story of several generations in this rem...
ECLECTIC VIOLIN AND PIANO WORKS IN VIRTUOSIC MILL VALLEY RECITAL
by Abby Wasserman
Sunday, February 23, 2020
Blending virtuosity with sublime artistry, violinist Alexander Sitkovetsky and pianist Wu Qian gave the Mill Valley Chamber Music Society audience many thrills February 23, performing four muscular and soulful works by four composers from four countries: de Falla, Schumann, Stravinsky, and Grieg. T...
PREMIER OF KAIZEN AND DRAMATIC MOZART HIGHLIGHT ECHO CHAMBER CONCERT
by Abby Wasserman
Sunday, February 16, 2020
As concertgoers took their seats in San Anselmo’s First Presbyterian Church for ECHO Chamber Orchestra’s February 16 program, they were surprised to see at center stage two bass drums, a tom-tom, bongos, high hat and cymbals. It was the occasion of the world premiere of "Kaizen," composed and perf...
BEETHOVEN'S VALENTINE'S DAY GIFT IN RAC SEBASTOPOL RECITAL
by Terry McNeill
Friday, February 14, 2020
Continuing a season of Redwood Arts Council successes, the Kouzov Duo performed an eclectic Valentine’s Day concert in Sebastopol’s Community Church before an audience of 125. Beethoven’s charming Op. 66 Variations on Mozart’s “Ein Mädchen oder Weibchen” from the opera the Magic Flute was a bouncy ...
LUSH BACH PERFORMANCE IN DENK'S WEILL HALL RECITAL
by Terry McNeill
Thursday, February 13, 2020
Memorable artistic interpretations of musical masterpieces are often at extremes, and with the Bach’s Well-Tempered Clavier (WTC - Book I) that Jeremy Denk played in Weill Hall Feb. 13, the pianist was only sporadically at unique or ebullient musical ends. But his playing wasn’t exactly at opposite...
RECITAL REVIEW

Pianist Judy Walker at Concerts Grand

IDIOMATIC SCHUMANN AND BEETHOVEN HIGHTLIGHT WALKER'S CONCERTS GRAND RECITAL

by Terry McNeill
Sunday, September 23, 2018

Mostly known as a concert producer and indefatigable promoter of Sonoma County music, pianist Judy Walker stepped into the soloist’s role Sept. 23 in a sold out recital for the Concerts Grand House recitals series.

Two Scarlatti Sonatas, in D Minor (K. 213) and D Major (K. 29), began the hour-long event, and she played the first slowly with a lingering character, and the presto D Major with crisp attention to flamenco guitar mood and fast repeated notes in alternating hands. The three inner parts to Schumann’s five-part Op. 26 Faschingschwank aus Wien followed. The wistful and beguiling romanze led easily into the scherzino in B Flat, both performed vigorously. Ms. Walker gave passion to the popular E Flat intermezzo, certainly echt Schumann playing.

Arguably the afternoon’s best playing came in Beethoven’s Les Adieux Sonata, Op. 81a, and according to the artist’s pithy introductory comments it was written in 1809 and was a bridge from the virtuosic Waldstein and Appassionata Sonatas to the seminal and spirited late piano works. Parts of the opening adagio-allegro with its fast staccato chords were a challenge for Ms. Walker, but she played the lovely andante (l’absence) at just the right tempo (not overly slow) and a rich tone.

One of Beethoven’s most joyful movements, the concluding vivacissimament was appropriately exultant and the phrases picked up in momentum towards the end with the cascades of descending and then ascending notes. The pianist clearly had an affinity with this humorous and sprightly music, and the playing received substantial applause.

Though no encore was provided, Balakirev’s arrangement of Glinka’s original song The Lark could have been one. Next to the novel harmonies of the short introduction the main laconic and sad theme was set out by Ms. Walker with clear trills and concise pedaling, allowing the haunting melody to be heard through the pianistic filigree. A captivating performance.

A patio buffet honoring Ms. Walker’s Concerts Grand debut followed the recital.

Among attendees was the artist’s teacher, Peggy Nance, who played a Concerts Grand recital during the inaugural 2003-2004 season in SRJC’s Newman Auditorium.