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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...
RECITAL REVIEW
Sky Hill Cultural Alliance / Sunday, September 22, 2019
Elizabeth Walter pianist

Elizabeth Walter Playing Mozart Sept. 22 in Petaluma

GINASTERA'S PERCUSSIVE SONATA SHINES IN WALTER'S PETALUMA RECITAL

by Terry McNeill
Sunday, September 22, 2019

Elizabeth Walter has had considerable impact on Petaluma’s classical music scene, actively promoting music programs in schools, producing concerts through her Sky Hill Cultural Alliance, and playing benefit concerts to raise funds for music in area schools. Sporadically she performs just for the music itself, and Sept. 22 found her in recital in the cozy Petaluma Historical Museum.

Programming four sonatas and playing from score throughout, the artist began with Mozart’s lyrical B Flat Sonata, K. 333, in a performance that featured relaxed tempos and conventional phrasing. The house piano has a bright and tonally thin top end that surprisingly added to the thematic and harmonic clarity. Trills in the charming andante cantabile were even, and in the extended rondo Ms. Walter departed from her temperate reading by letting in some musical “light” in the novel cadenza. The section is unique to Mozart’s 18 principal sonatas, and it was played with brio.

Beethoven’s early C Minor Sonata, Op. 13 (“Pathétique”) completed the first half, with Ms. Walter emphasizing some of the raw drama in the writing, with a judicious tempo in the opening grave-allegro. The held fermatas were loud and delicious. A strict tempo characterized the lovely adagio with just a little speed up in the middle, and steadfast rhythms in the rondo finale. Right-hand voices were underscored and sonic emphasis was changed where Ms. Walter wanted more sound in close hand positions.

In announcing Ravel’s Sonatine (a short sonata) from 1905, the pianist mentioned that it’s mostly a nostalgic minuet, and that her dog is named “minuet.” This playful work is seemingly uncomplicated, but the pianist’s measured rubato and direct approach lacked only richness of tone color, with the instrument both an ally and foe. The animé section had an elegant wash of sound.

A cornerstone in Ms. Walter’s repertoire, Ginastera’s Op. 22 Sonata, was the afternoon’s highlight, and extends the energetic Danzas Argentinas (composed 15 years prior) into a high-temperature percussive four-movement work of exceptional force. Ms. Walter rose to the occasion with the requisite contrary double octaves, heavy damper pedal and often-breathless potent speed. She caught the mystery of the rhapsodic adagio molto, and drove headstrong into the ostinato that concludes a wild sonic ride over fifteen minutes. There was introspection and also loud contrasts, and the small audience generated a resonant ovation at the final chord.

Ms. Walter’s pianism in this recital was secure and often forceful, and she eschewed histrionics and wayward realizations in favor of careful attention to the score and letting these majestic works unfold convincingly.