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Symphony
HEROIC EFFORT FROM THE SANTA ROSA SYMPHONY
by Steve Osborn
Sunday, December 13, 2020
December 13 was a rainy day, perfect for huddling indoors and watching a prerecorded “live” performance by the Santa Rosa Symphony. The program was expansive, with music from the 18th through 21st centuries, and the mood was festive, in keeping with the holiday season. There was something in the fea...
Symphony
MASKED SANTA ROSA SYMPHONY CARRIES ON BRILLIANTLY
by Steve Osborn
Sunday, November 15, 2020
In some ways the Santa Rosa Symphony’s Nov. 15 concert on YouTube resembled a Conceptual Art performance from the 1970s. On display were about 30 masked orchestral musicians playing six feet apart from each other on stage, some of them separated by plexiglass barriers. In the 1970s, the concept behi...
Chamber
SPLENDID STRINGS IN A SUNLIT GARDEN
by Abby Wasserman
Sunday, November 1, 2020
A sun-drenched autumn afternoon, a Marin County garden and six superb string players from the Santa Rosa Symphony were manna from heaven to a pandemic-weary audience starved for live music. The sextet of Santa Rosa Symphony musicians performed to a small group of 20 Nov. 1, the day after Halloween....
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...
CHAMBER REVIEW

Tilden Trio

TILDEN TRIO'S BOHEMIAN ENERGY AT DOMINICAN CONCERT

by Terry McNeill
Sunday, March 3, 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.