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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
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.