Home  Reviews  Articles  Calendar  Presenters  Add Event     
Chamber
SONGS AND ECHOES OF HOME IN AIZURI QUARTET CONCERT
by Abby Wasserman
Sunday, March 08, 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...
Choral and Vocal
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...
Chamber
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
PREMIER OF KAIZEN AND DRAMATIC MOZART HIGHLIGHT ECHO CHAMBER CONCERT
by Abby Wasserman
Sunday, February 16, 2020
As concertgoers took their seats in San Anselmo’s First Presbyterian Church for ECHO Chamber Orchestra’s February 16 program, they were surprised to see at center stage two bass drums, a tom-tom, bongos, high hat and cymbals. It was the occasion of the world premiere of "Kaizen," composed and perf...
Chamber
BEETHOVEN'S VALENTINE'S DAY GIFT IN RAC SEBASTOPOL RECITAL
by Terry McNeill
Friday, February 14, 2020
Continuing a season of Redwood Arts Council successes, the Kouzov Duo performed an eclectic Valentine’s Day concert in Sebastopol’s Community Church before an audience of 125. Beethoven’s charming Op. 66 Variations on Mozart’s “Ein Mädchen oder Weibchen” from the opera the Magic Flute was a bouncy ...
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...
BROWNE, PAREMSKI HEAD STELLAR CAST AT SANTA ROSA SYMPHONY CONCERT
by Steve Osborn
Sunday, February 09, 2020
The 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 1820s—emp...
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...
RECITAL REVIEW
Spring Lake Village Classical Music Series / Wednesday, May 08, 2019
Kindra Scharich, mezzo-soprano; Jeffrey LaDeur, piano

K. Scharich and J. LaDeur May 8 at Spring Lake Village

THREE SONG CYCLES HIGHLIGHT VIBRANT SLV RECITAL

by Pamela Hicks-Gailey
Wednesday, May 08, 2019

An ambitious recital of vocal and piano music was presented May 8 at Santa Rosa’s Spring Lake Village by mezzo-soprano Kindra Scharich and pianist Jeffrey LaDeur. The duo engaged the enthusiastic audience with scholarly friendliness and artistry in performances of Beethoven's short cycle of six songs An die ferne Geliebte, Op. 98; selections from Fauré's La Bonne Chanson, Op. 61; and four of Copland’s Twelve Poems of Emily Dickinson composed in 1950.

Mr. LaDeur also contributed two solo pieces: the first movement of Schumann's C Major Fantasy, Op. 17, and Liszt's "Sposalizio" from Deuxième Année de Pèlerinage: Italie. This was a full ninety-minute program with perhaps more introductory narrative of each piece than was necessary.

The Beethoven songs present a variety of interpretative challenges for a singer, and as with most of the song cycles by composers of the early to mid nineteenth century, this piece has been the province of tenors and baritones. Although women have always freely performed stand-alone German songs with gender neutral texts, they have mostly avoided the great cycles of Schubert and Schumann, which are uniformly sad tales of sad men. Women are only recently beginning to challenge the gender norm and explore this rich artistic territory. And yet, in spite of a desire to hear women tackling these great cycles, I've always felt that the mid-range male voice to be the most ideally suited to singing the consonant-rich and colorful text inflections of the German art song canon, the reason being that the singing range of the male voice sits primarily in its natural speaking range, which lends a speaking quality and immediacy to the poems that are being sung.

Women sing the same music but an octave (or two) higher than their natural speaking voices, and as a result, the speaking quality is weaker, and inflection and diction are in danger of becoming either lost or rather generalized. Depending on the acoustics of the hall, words can be more or less obscured in a live performance, particularly in the higher range, even though a skilled singer may have perfect diction. It's the eternal problem, especially in presenting an entire cycle. A cycle is essentially a very long epic monologue or ballade, and if inflection or diction are weak, then the songs take on a sameness of tone and can become tedious.

In this performance the hall was intimate enough to accommodate both a light voice and pianissimo singing, and Ms. Scharich's very light voice and delivery (while wanting a bit more heft) were otherwise well-suited to the piece from 1816. Although for me the ideal sound would contain more complexity, punch and "Germanic" depth, hers is a sympathetic, fresh, and buoyantly soaring mezzo-soprano of lovely clarity, pinpoint intonation and musical discipline, and I understood virtually every word. An expressive, relaxed, technically solid and committed singer with a pleasant stage demeanor, she moved calmly through the subtle mood changes of each poem, telling her personal reverie of melancholy contemplation, longing, impatience, joy, and finally exultation.

Mr. LaDeur and Ms. Scharich sing and play together very intimately and effectively. The pianist’s affinity for this music, his fiery style and technic framed these songs in a way that musically described the poetic content and Ms. Scharich's vocalism. The result was a coherent and satisfying rendition. If I could have wished for anything more from this performance, it would have been for both artists to have been musically even freer with the natural inner rubato contained in the poetry and music, giving a little more space here, a little more pause there. There is a fine line between allowing music and word to occasionally linger and hang in the air, and overindulging the moment, and I felt some moments could have hung a little longer.

Schumann’s great quasi sonata was played with extreme sonic contrasts and in a muscular style that well fitted this echt example of German romanticism. Presumably Mr. LaDeur selected it to highlight the thematic connection with the Beethoven song cycle. Dramatic license was taken with phrasing, and several inner voices were intriguing. With many in the hall I wanted to hear the subsequent mässig, durchaus energisch movement in the compatible E Flat, but time permitted only this potent reading of one movement of the masterful music. Dramatic playing continued in Liszt’s Sposalizio (“Wedding”) and Mr. LaDeur’s resounding left-hand octaves propelled much of the eight-minute work, as did the tonal warmth of the lovely slow section.


Ms. Scharich returned to sing four songs from Fauré’s La Bonne Chanson and closed the program with Copland's Dickinson settings, and she created a pleasingly idiomatic alteration to her vocal color as she sang in French and English. That said, the Fauré songs are a work in progress and she was not yet free enough from the score, which tended to reduce the performance quality. These songs work even more dreamily in the oft-performed string quartet version, but even if the visual experience was more like a rehearsal, this performance was a pleasure to listen to. The colleagues understand each other, and French suits Ms. Scharich's voice and temperament ideally.

Although this listener is not the greatest fan of every one of Copland's Dickinson Songs, the four that Ms. Scharich closed the program were among my favorites ("Nature, the Gentlest Mother", "Why Do They Shut Me Out of Heaven", "Heart, We Will Forget Him", and "Going to Heaven!"). Using the score as an occasional prompt did not interfere with her interpretations, and she rose to the technical challenges, completely immersed in these wonderful, stirring poems. Dissonances were perfectly tuned, and vocal acrobatics were effortless. It was a very strong ending to the program.


The acoustics of this venue are somewhat problematic in that the hall’s piano sound, although never totally obscuring Ms. Scharich singing, is bright and loud for the space. The lack of lighting and closeness of the audience to the performers tended to make Ms. Scharich sing over us rather than to us. The general ambiance of this recital would also have been enhanced with some mood-setting lighting, by creating more space between the performers and audience, and by the artists themselves choosing more elegant and/or interesting attire, rather than the “Casual Friday" look. I found myself wanting more visual presence and magic!











Sent from my iPad