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Chamber
PERFORMER AS PROMOTER: CLARA SCHUMANN AND MUSICAL SALONS CLOSE VOM FESTIVAL
by Pamela Hicks Gailey
Sunday, July 28, 2019
The July 28 closing performance of the Valley of the Moon Chamber Music Festival could have been subtitled "Friends", as it was devoted to works by both Clara and Robert Schumann, and those of their friends and protégés Brahms and virtuoso violinist Joseph Joachim, with whom Clara toured extensively...
Chamber
ROMANTIC CHAMBER WORKS HIGHLIGHT VOM FESTIVAL AT HANNA CENTER
by Sonia Morse Tubridy
Saturday, July 27, 2019
Now in its 5th season the Valley of the Moon Chamber Music Festival presented July 27 a concert titled “My Brilliant Sister,” featuring Fanny Mendelssohn Hensel’s compositions for combinations of voice, fortepiano and strings. Fanny and her brother Felix were close, and Felix occasionally published ...
Symphony
ROMANTIC DREAMS AT THE MENDOCINO MUSIC FESTIVAL
by Kayleen Asbo
Wednesday, July 24, 2019
Romanticism, contrary to many popular perceptions, wasn’t simply about diving into the habitat of the heart. Romanticism began as a literary movement that elevated the power of nature as a transcendent force and sought with keen nostalgia to rediscover the wisdom of the past. The Romantics in both l...
Chamber
CHAUSSON CONCERTO SHINES IN A VISIONARY'S SALON
by Steve Osborn
Sunday, July 21, 2019
Ernest Chausson’s four-movement Concerto in D Major for Violin, Piano, and String Quartet (1891) is neither concerto nor sonata nor symphony, but it somehow manages to be all three, especially when played with fire and conviction by an accomplished soloist. Those incendiary and emotional elements w...
Chamber
EUROPEAN SALON MUSIC CAPTIVATES AT VOM FESTIVAL CONCERT
by Pamela Hicks Gailey
Sunday, July 21, 2019
Two stunning programs of 19th and 20th century chamber music were presented on July 21 and 28 as part of the Valley of the Moon Music Festival at the Hanna Center in Sonoma. Festival founders and directors pianist Eric Zivian and cellist Tanya Tompkins were both on hand to contribute brilliantly at ...
Chamber
ECLECTIC INSTRUMENTAL COMBINATIONS IN VOM FESTIVAL CONCERT
by Sonia Morse Tubridy
Saturday, July 20, 2019
A Lovely summer afternoon in Sonoma Valley, an excellent small concert hall, enthusiastic audience, exciting musicians and creative programming with interesting story lines. All these were combined July 20 at a Valley of the Moon Festival concert titled “An Italian in Paris.” This is the fifth seaso...
Opera
'ELIXIR' A WELCOME TONIC IN SPRIGHTLY ANNUAL MMF OPERA
by Terry McNeill
Friday, July 19, 2019
In most of the Mendocino Music Festival’s 33 seasons a single evening is given over to a staged opera, with bare bones sets, lighting, costumes, minimal cast and short length. No Wagner or Verdi here, no multiple acts and complicated production demands. Light and frothy are the usual, and so it wa...
Recital
PUNGENT WALTZES AND VIRTUOSITY IN LADEUR'S SLV RECITAL
by Terry McNeill
Wednesday, July 17, 2019
San Francisco based pianist Jeffrey LaDeur has become one of the most sought-after North Bay virtuosi, and cemented that reputation July 17 in a short but eclectic recital in Santa Rosa’s Spring Lake Village Chamber Music Series. Before 140 in the Village’s auditorium Mr. LaDeur began with Schubert...
Choral and Vocal
NOBLE BRAHMS REQUIEM PERFORMANCE CLOSES SONOMA BACH'S SEASON
by Pamela Hicks Gailey
Saturday, June 01, 2019
Sonoma Bach, conducted by Robert Worth, presented a truly grand finale to their 2018-19 "Light Out of Darkness" season in two sold out Schroeder Hall performances June 1 and 2. The program "A Human Requiem" was received rapturously with a well-deserved standing ovation for the main work, Brahms' ...
Chamber
THREE SONG CYCLES HIGHLIGHT VIBRANT SLV RECITAL
by Pamela Hicks-Gailey
Wednesday, May 08, 2019
An ambitious recital of vocal and piano music was presented May 8 at Santa Rosa’s Spring Lake Village by mezzo-soprano Kindra Scharich and pianist Jeffrey LaDeur. The duo engaged the enthusiastic audience with scholarly friendliness and artistry in performances of Beethoven's short cycle of six song...
CHAMBER REVIEW
Spring Lake Village Classical Music Series / Wednesday, November 07, 2018
Lincoln Trio. Desíree Ruhstrat, violin; David Cunliffe, cello; Marta Asnavoorian, piano

Lincoln Trio Nov. 7 at Spring Lake Village with Robert Hayden

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 Lincoln played an abbreviated program of four works, beginning with a short “Silver Dagger”, composed for them by Stacy Garrop. Pianist Marta Asnavoorian’s tapping the strings from above started the short, atmospheric work that featured Desíree Ruhstrat’s violin line sliding in and out of notes in the high register, and cellist David Cunliff playing an often drone-like underpinning and a slow dissonant folk tune wound around pedal point piano phrase. Curiously the work didn’t sound contemporary.

Fauré’s D Minor Trio, Op. 120, followed, and though not contemporary it was at the first notes of the allegro full of softly swirling echt harmonies and rhythms that one knew it was the product the French master. Fine ensemble playing was heard and the Lincoln built the many small climaxes deftly, with often modulations seamlessly unfolding. Beautiful playing followed in the andantino where Ms. Asnavoorian played the cantando espressivo theme with charming grace and didn’t cover her colleagues. The Lincoln captured the yearning sad character of the movement.

Ms. Ruhstrat and Mr. Cunliffe dug into their strings in the finale allegro in an approach that was never jocular, but close. Urgency and wonderfully lively rhythmic breaks characterized the performance, with much spontaneous excitement that developed in the five-minute movement. A convincing Fauré performance demands a refined sensibility and an urbane sound, and the Lincoln delivered it.

Joaquin Turina’s early F Major Trio has been a Lincoln specialty, played and recorded far less than the Op. 35 and Op. 76 Turina Trios. The four-movement piece at times has reference to the two Arensky and other Russian Trios, and the playing in the opening lento – allegro had strong thematic projection in the march-like themes, and pedal point in the piano part. Slow descending passages characterized the andante, a beguiling threnody. Ms. Aznavoorian’s octave playing was forceful, and the big climax had a Spanish sound. Unison string playing was very good, often in the higher registers, and the lively scherzo with pizzicato strings was surprisingly lightweight.

Muscular and loud playing was heard in the concluding andante grandiose, a fast and impulsive romp that had echoes of the music of Franck and Bizet. Fauré chamber compositions masterfully combine throttled excitement with elegance, and the Lincoln conveyed these characteristics perfectly. Applause was generous but not loud.

A short and intense work by Juan Antonio Cuellar, a Colombian composer associated with the University of Indiana, closed then program. It was a jerky piece, menacing, dissonant and replete with repetitive phrases. A samba rhythm rolled in and the Lincoln gave the interpretation instrumental power and excitement. The specter of Gustavo Dudamel’s athletic conducting and musical juice came to mind.

On the next day the Lincoln Trio played a slightly expanded version of this program in the Music at Oakmont Series in Berger Auditorium.