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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
Music at Oakmont / Thursday, January 10, 2019
Edward Arron, cello; Jeewon Park, piano

Cellist Edward Arron

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 pianist Jeewon Park Mendelssohn’s charming Op. 17 Variations were elegantly played with increasing energy and virtuosity in the first five variations. Ms. Park’s fluent sale passages combined with the cellist’s expressive rhythms in fine ensemble, with the sixth variation a sublime and exalted song of harmonic richness where Mr. Arron held a long mid-register A note over the theme in the piano part. An exquisite reading.

Equally fine playing continued with Falla’s Suite Popular Española, originally a series of six songs transcribed for a cello-piano duo in the early 1920s. A Spanish flair is heard throughout the 14-minute work, and Mr. Arron altered his sound from the Mendelssohn, adopting a drier tone and less intense vibrato. Highlights of the playing were “Nana” (No. 2) and “Asturiana” (No. 5), the first a captivating slow lament with the cello in the high register, the second wavering between major and minor in lovely contrast. In “Canción” the cellist deftly leaned into notes for effect, and repeated the short figurations with judicious care. There were hints in the music of Falla’s tuneful ballets.

Following the Falla Mr. Arron left the stage to Ms. Park and Chopin’s G Minor Ballade, Op. 23. The accepted performance approach to this work is orchestral sonority and bravado in the Slavic tradition (Hofmann’s titanic 1937 Met Opera House version) but on this afternoon in the small Berger Auditorium Ms. Park surprisingly adopted a restrained interpretation with slow tempos, extended fermatas and modest drama. I suspect this novel realization of Chopin’s unfolding musical story found approval in many of the audience of 150, but the poky tempos lacked momentum and power at points, including the right-hand octave passages at the return of the second theme (though they were clearly played) and the long single note and octave runs in both hands in the coda. Romantic traditions in repeats, octave doublings and inner voices were outside of the pianist’s interest.

Brahms’ F Major Op. 99 Sonata occupied the entire second half, and the Arron-Park duo gave it the muscular momentum the work demands. Some of Ms. Park’s best playing of the afternoon came in this piece, with admirable textural clarity in the opening allegro vivace, and Mr. Arron’s masterful bowing technique at times generating a rumbling sound, as he alternated bow pressure in phrases. Fine ensemble characterized the adagio with it’s heart-on-sleeve melody and tiny artful instrumental crescendos and decrescendos.

The scherzo received an energetic reading with seamless connections between the wildly contrasting sections, and wonderful soft playing. The finale had the requisite majesty of conception, and its overall sprightly nature was helped by Ms. Park using a seco touch at times. Mr. Arron’s playing here clothed the always-vigorous Brahmsian themes in a beguiling lyricism. Again, he commands a decisive package of virtuosity and imagination.

The performance drew a standing ovation and one encore, Schumann’s Stücke Im Volkston, Op. 102, No. 5. It was an enchanting lullaby, delicate and warmly played.

Listeners that love the great Brahms Sonata can hear it locally again Feb. 10, when Amit Peled plays both Brahms Sonatas at 3 p.m. in the Occidental Performing Arts Center in the Redwood Arts Council series.