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Chamber
BEETHOVEN FEATURED IN SF TRIO'S OCCIDENTAL CONCERT
by Terry McNeill
Sunday, January 19, 2020
Conventional repertoire in uncommonly good performances highlighted the San Francisco Piano Trio’s Jan. 19 concert in the Occidental Center for the Arts. Haydn’s No. 44 Trio (Hob. XV:28) came from late in his long career, when he was in and out of London, and received a sparkling reading that featu...
SIMONE PORTER ASPIRES TO STARDOM WITH SANTA ROSA SYMPHONY
by Steve Osborn
Sunday, January 12, 2020
The Sibelius violin concerto is one of several mountains that violin soloists need to ascend before they can lay claim to stardom. Hundreds make the attempt every year, but only a few reach the top. Simone Porter, who played the concerto with the Santa Rosa Symphony on Sunday afternoon, got close bu...
Choral and Vocal
ORPHEUS OF AMSTERDAM'S MUSIC IN SCHROEDER ORGAN CHORAL CONCERT
by Sonia Morse Tubridy
Friday, January 10, 2020
“All over the map.” Sonoma Bach, directed by Bob Worth, has taken its audiences this season on journeys through many centuries and many lands. The programming is fresh and intriguing and the performers varied and creators of beauty and interest. The January 10 program was centered on organ works by...
Choral and Vocal
OLD NORTH GERMAN CAROLS IN SONOMA BACH'S SCHROEDER CONCERT
by Sonia Morse Tubridy
Sunday, December 15, 2019
“Cast off all sorrows…also dance in heavenly fashion.” A volume called Piae Cantiones was printed in 1582 in North Germany, lively songs going back to the 14th century, and this treasure trove provided material for numerous composers to arrange Christmas carols over following generations, from simp...
Symphony
EVERLASTING LIGHT AT SANTA ROSA SYMPHONY
by Steve Osborn
Monday, December 09, 2019
The Mozart Requiem includes four intermittent vocal soloists, but the real star is the choir, which is featured in almost every movement. That stardom shone bright at the Santa Rosa Symphony’s memorable Requiem performance on Monday night. The soloists were good, but the choir was superb. Located wi...
Symphony
UNFINISHED AND FINNISH
by Terry McNeill
Sunday, December 08, 2019
Having a new resident conductor on the podium for the Ukiah Symphony was an attractive invitation for a long-delayed visit to Mendocino College’s Center Theater Dec. 8. The insouciant Les Pfutzenreuter recently retired after decades of conducting the ensemble, replaced by Phillip Lenberg who also j...
Choral and Vocal
PRAERTORIUS IN RENAISSANCE GLORY FROM SONOMA BACH
by Sonia Morse Tubridy
Saturday, November 16, 2019
Sonoma Bach Choir, in collaboration with Barefoot All-Stars Viol Consort and The Whole Noyse Brass Ensemble, presented “Sing Glorious Praetorius!” November 16 to an almost full Schroeder Hall at the Green Music Center. The Soloists were soprano Dianna Morgan, Christopher Fritzsche, (countertenor), m...
Symphony
ECLECTIC INSTRUMENTAL EXCITEMENT IN SO CO PHIL CONCERT IN JACKSON
by Terry McNeill
Saturday, November 16, 2019
Beginning with a scintillating reading of Rossini’s Overture to the Opera “Semiramide,” the Sonoma County Philharmonic performed a splendid program Nov. 16 in the Jackson Theater, and featured two additional works, one showcasing the winner of the San Francisco Conservatory’s Young Artist Award. It...
Chamber
SPIRITUAL LATE BEETHOVEN QUARTET HIGHLIGHTS MILL VALLEY CHAMBER CONCERT
by Abby Wasserman
Sunday, November 10, 2019
Beethoven’s String Quartet No. 14 in C-sharp minor, Op. 131, called “unparalleled in its inexhaustibility” by critic Thomas May, is a daunting challenge. Orchestral in concept, filled with wit and charm, melancholy and fury, it almost overwhelms listeners. Playing the frenetic Scherzo, a viol...
Symphony
MUSICAL EXTRAVAGANCE IN UNIQUE SRS CONCERT IN WEILL HALL
by Terry McNeill
Monday, November 04, 2019
It was a concert full of surprises Nov. 4 as the Santa Rosa Symphony responded to the area’s wild fires and evacuations with challenging, songful and somewhat unique music in Weill Hall. The last of a three-concert series titled "Master of the Modern Banjo" is reviewed here. The evening began with...
CHAMBER REVIEW
Dominican University of California Guest Concert Series / Sunday, March 03, 2019
Tilden Trio. Sarn Oliver, violin; Peter Wyrick, cello; June Choi Oh, piano

Tilden Trio

TILDEN TRIO'S BOHEMIAN ENERGY AT DOMINICAN CONCERT

by Terry McNeill
Sunday, March 03, 2019

Hard on the heels of the Trio Navarro’s late February concert in Sonoma State’s Schroeder Hall, Northern California’s other premiere resident piano trio, the Tilden, played an equally convincing program March 3 in Dominican University’s Angelico Hall.

Clearly each hall’s acoustics, stage pianos and group temperament contributed to subtle but discernable stylistic differences, with the Navarro perhaps more elegant and the Tilden more gregarious. Such differences in chamber music are always welcome.

Dvorak’s eminent E Minor “Dumky” Trio, Op. 90, was the afternoon’s highlight and drew an athletic reading that was alternatively fiery and gay, and then melancholic and sad. Each of the six movements was played with thematically contrasting motives, some rustic and toccata like, and the restless music from 1891 was never quiet for long. Violinist Sarn Oliver deftly changed his sound in fast passages from the opening lento maestoso – allegro to restless high register playing with eerie falling fifths and a “far away” unison string duo with cellist Peter Wyrick’s dark-hued sound. Strange modulations characterize one instrument’s following another with the Tilden’s performance full of folk-music charm laced with mastery of the work’s complex structure and lack of cyclic sonata form.

It was a propulsive reading with the dance aspects emphasized, all the more stark with many melancholic and rhythmic parts and ostinato playing in the andante moderato from pianist June Choi Oh. The counterpoint was everywhere clear and the Tilden’s conception of Dvorak’s greatest chamber work was extravagant and vital.

Mr. Oliver and Ms. Choi Oh opened the concert with Brahms’ great G Major Sonata, Op. 78. Judicious tempos were the rule of the performance and the violinist’s tonal projection was not large, but certainly big enough when the soaring melodic line demanded it. As in the Dvorak, Ms. Choi Oh was not a reticent pianist and in the desirable bass heavy lines toward the glorious ending of the vivace ma non troppo the playing has to reach majestic heights, and the duo captured them. There is a C-Sharp octave in the piano’s deep bass six bars before the end that for a moment covered the violin line, perhaps needed in a performance that nailed Brahms’ muscular genius, and here it was all of a piece.

Pianissimo and double stop playing in the laconic adagio was lovely, leading to a richly hued fermata at the end, and a seamless transition to the finale (allegro molto) where Mr. Oliver’s pliant phrasing and warm tonal color led inexorably to a quietly radiant finish. The duo was able to deftly connect the thematic relationships of the first and last movements in an interpretation ultimately more poetic than burley. It was a stylish and convincing reading.

Ending the first half was Suk’s early C Minor Trio, Op. 2, in a performance than could have been a North Bay premiere. There are echoes of Dvorak and Dohnanyi in the music but not a whiff of contemporary German or Russian composers. Ms. Choi Oh spoke from the stage about Suk and the influence of Dvorak and Brahms. The playing of the opening vivace ma non troppo had a healthy Bohemian glow with potent chords from the piano and the theme in the strings.

It was followed by the most “Dvorakian” adagio, the first charming theme played by the cello, and in subtle crescendo and decrescendo and enchanting unison playing from Mr. Wyrick and Mr. Oliver. At places it sounded lightly rhapsodic. A brisk tempo and syncopated rhythms were heard in the finale, with Ms. Choi Oh’s energetic playing carrying the agitated music to sparkling conclusion.

Applause from the 100 attendees was ample.