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Recital
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...
Symphony
BROWNE, PAREMSKI HEAD STELLAR CAST AT SANTA ROSA SYMPHONY
by Steve Osborn
Sunday, February 09, 2020
The Sunday, Feb. 9, performance by the Santa Rosa Symphony offered a healthy dose of 21st century music firmly bound to the 19th. Matt Browne’s first symphony, “The Course of Empire”—based on a series of five paintings by Thomas Cole, who founded the Hudson River School of American painting in the ...
Symphony
FRENCH ORCHESTRAL MUSIC A FIRST FOR THE SO CO PHILHARMONIC
by Terry McNeill
Sunday, February 02, 2020
Over many years the Sonoma County Philharmonic has played little French music, but perhaps this oversight was corrected Feb. 2 in a splendid all-Gallic program Feb. 1 and 2 in the Jackson Theater. Classical Sonoma reviewed the Sunday afternoon concert. In his eighth conducting season with the So C...
Symphony
POLISH MUSICAL WORLDS GLOW BRIGHT IN NFM WROCLAW WEILL PERFORMANCE
by Sonia Morse Tubridy
Saturday, February 01, 2020
The NFM Wroclaw Philharmonic, with conductor Giancarlo Guerrero, gave a concert of enormous energy and emotional impact on Feb.1 to a small audience in Weill Hall. This orchestra has been a major cultural force in Poland since 1949, playing under many renowned conductors and has been committed to pr...
Opera
EXTRAVAGANT ARIAS IN NEXT GENERATION TENORS GALA VALLEJO CONCERT
by Mark Kratz
Saturday, February 01, 2020
“Beautiful, strange, and unnatural…” said orchestra conductor Thomas Conlin when speaking of the tenor voice. One of the coveted voice types of the opera world, the tenor voice is known for it’s piercing tones and soaring, unnatural high notes. The iconic image of the Pagliacci clown (in the famed...
STRING QUINTETS, RARE AND FAMILIAR, IN SCHROEDER HALL CONCERT
by Sonia Morse Tubridy
Sunday, January 26, 2020
One hundred attendees in Schroeder Hall were treated Jan. 26 to a pair of stirring two-cello string quintets: Schubert’s much beloved masterpiece Quintet in C (D. 956), and Catoire’s Quintet in C minor (Op. 16), the latter mostly a forgotten work written in 1909. The performers were violinist Victo...
Chamber
MOSTLY MOZART WITH A LITTLE BEETHOVEN AND SOR IN NAPA
by Terry McNeill
Sunday, January 26, 2020
Sharing the stage with a local diva is a tough task for even seasoned musicians, but Napa College faculty soprano Christina Howell stole the show Jan. 26 when the Napa Valley Music Associates presented an eclectic program of mostly Mozart music. Somehow compositions of Sor and Beethoven joined the m...
Chamber
CHALLENGING WORKS IN GOULD TRIO'S MILL VALLEY CHAMBER CONCERT
by Abby Wasserman
Sunday, January 26, 2020
The Gould Piano Trio, founded 28 years ago by violinist Lucy Gould, has been one of the UK’s most prestigious ensembles. Its January 26 performance in Mill Valley Chamber Music Society’s series demonstrated how richly they deserve that reputation. The concert, held at the Mt. Tamalpais Methodist Chu...
Chamber
LOCAL MUSICIANS SHINE IN MTAC BENEFIT CONCERT
by Terry McNeill
Saturday, January 25, 2020
After a fire-related postponement of four months, the Sonoma County Chapter of the Music Teachers Association of California Jan. 25 gave their annual scholarship benefit in a charming Sebastopol home. Showcasing local musicians in an intimate setting with two pianos, the first half highlights inclu...
Symphony
MOZART MASTERWORK HIGHLIGHTS MARIN SYMPHONY CONCERT
by Abby Wasserman
Saturday, January 25, 2020
Excitement was palpable in the Marin Civic Center Auditorium Jan. 25 as the Marin Symphony in splendid full force took the stage for a richly textured Masterworks II program. Prevented from giving its first Masterworks offering by the wildfire-caused blackouts last October, the orchestra returned wi...
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.