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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
Sporing Lake Village Classical Music Series / Friday, March 08, 2019
Florestan Trio. Hamilton Cheifetz, cello; Janet Guggenheim, piano; Carol Sindell, violin

J. Guggenheim, C. Sindell and Hamilton Cheifetz March 8 at Spring Lake Village

FLORESTAN TRIO'S MENDELSSOHN AT SPRING LAKE VILLAGE CONCERT

by Terry McNeill
Friday, March 08, 2019

Spring Lake Village’s monthly concerts usually clock in under an hour, but the March 8 Florestan Trio’s performance was more extended as so much good music was on tap for the 125 residents attending at Santa Rosa’s premiere retirement residence facility.

Four short pieces made up the first half, beginning with Handel’s G Minor Passacaglia for violin and cello in an 1897 arrangement by Johan Halvorsen. The variations were briskly played with much pizzicato and high register violin sound from Carol Sindell. Catalan cellist Gaspar Cassadó’s transcription of the intermezzo from Granados’ Goyescas followed, which cellist Hamilton Cheifetz announced was a piece familiar to him for decades, but only recently learned. Mr. Cheifetz’ tone was round over pianist Janet Guggenheim’s tremolos in the bass, and the juxtaposition of instrumental sonority was fetching.

Mr. Cheifetz introduced the Haydn Divertimento (arr. Piatigorsky) by speaking about his teacher Janos Starker, and the three section work began with a slow adagio rich in bottom register cello sound. The concluding allegro was played vigorously and with a lilting character. Ms. Guggenheim was a fluent and attentive pianist in this sparkling music.

Mendelssohn’s ever-popular D Minor Trio, Op. 49, was the concert’s chief work, and received a reading with a range of moods. Slow arpeggios in the piano part supported the opening melodious theme from Mr. Cheifetz and the music was alternatively melancholy and dramatic, though the violin part was not prominent and not always clear. Ensemble in the andante’s heart-on-sleeve was excellent. Surprisingly Ms. Guggenheim found some inner voices in the yearning romanticism, but as throughout the 1839 work little interest was shown in extended ritards.

The scherzo always has an “only Mendelssohn could have written this” effect, and the Florestan played it very well with small murmurs of appreciation from the audience. Musical momentum carried into the dance-like finale but here clarity was cloudy as the piano part tended to overwhelm the strings, especially when the violin needed more sonic projection. Phrasing was conventional and the attractive second theme was warm and compelling. It was a muscular interpretation of the Mendelssohn first Trio that at the same time was tastefully orthodox.

Prior to the Mendelssohn Ms. Sindell and Ms. Guggenheim played the John Williams theme from the movie Schindler’s List, and the lament of the beguiling composition moved over a long line to a beautiful ending high e note in the violin.