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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...
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...
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...
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...
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...
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, July 17, 2019
Jeffrey LaDeur, piano

Jeffrey LaDeur July 17 at Spring Lake Village

PUNGENT WALTZES AND VIRTUOSITY IN LADEUR'S SLV RECITAL

by Terry McNeill
Wednesday, July 17, 2019

San Francisco based pianist Jeffrey LaDeur has become one of the most sought-after North Bay virtuosi, and cemented that reputation July 17 in a short but eclectic recital in Santa Rosa’s Spring Lake Village Chamber Music Series.

Before 140 in the Village’s auditorium Mr. LaDeur began with Schubert’s lovely E-Flat Major work from the Drei Klavierstücke, D. 946, a piece from the composer’s last year that juxtaposes an energetic section with modulations into with two poignant episodes. He played it at a good clip with admirable clarity, at times a little to fast with scant attention to phrase ending ritards. The pianist inserted beguiling short pauses, reminiscent of much Schubert from the early “Grazer” Fantasy to the last B-Flat Sonata. It was convincing if a tad perfunctory.

In remarks to the audience Mr. LaDeur spoke of three Schubert Waltzes from Twelve Valses Nobles, D. 969, and how they influenced Ravel. Two he played were lilting and effective, the second familiar from Liszt’s transcription in his Soirées de Vienne and beguiling in recordings of Rosenthal and Horowitz. All the Schubert was played from score, and proved that the great composer’s music should not be sentimental but full of sentiment. The pianist’s interpretation was often aggressive and right hand thirds never failed him.

Two of Ravel’s works from the early 1900s came next, the popular Valses Nobles et Sentimentales and the first part (Ondine) from the exciting Gaspard de la Nuit suite of 1908. Mr. LaDeur prefaced the seven Waltzes by showing at the piano how masterfully Ravel transfigured Schubert’s muses, with dissonances and sound that he characterized as sometimes “an out of tune guitar and a car horn.”

Playing without score the pianist’s interpretation was the evening’s highlight with many small climaxes, elegantly shaped themes, pedal point in the bass and in the one really fast dance a circus-like feeling. It was a reading that could quickly change from shrillness to a slow atmospheric sonority and finally a beautiful concluding shimmer of sound. Captivating.

Ondine is usually played quite fast (as is the last piece in the Suite, Scarbo) but Mr. LaDeur’s approach featured a judicious tempo, aiming again for clarity and artful balance between the hands. His pedaling never allowed the music to become blurred, even with the forte descending bass phrases that the hall’s piano produced with a palpable roar. Of course many in the audience wanted the two ending movements, but the time schedule did not permit it, and the pianist closed with Chopin’s Op. 46 Allegro de Concert.

It was a muscular interpretation of the rarely heard work, said to be a discarded attempt by Chopin of a third concerto. Here in 12 minutes Mr. LaDeur didn’t let much air into the piece with little consideration to slowing at phrase endings and cantilena secondary to momentum, although there was charm in the tunes that as in all Chopin are operatic, and the pianist’s clean scales and fast appoggiaturas were splendid. It’s a work than can easily be overplayed but, well, it is a scintillating showpiece, and Mr. LaDeur’s virtuosity produced a standing ovation and happy faces from Spring Lake Village residents.

No encore was offered.