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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...
CHAMBER REVIEW
Sonoma State University Department of Music / Sunday, September 29, 2019
Trio Navarro. Jill Rachuy, cello; Victor Romasevich, violin; Marilyn Thompson, piano

Trio Navarro Sept. 29 in Schroeder Hall

DEMANDING PIANO TRIOS ADORN TRIO NAVARRO'S OPENING CONCERT

by Terry McNeill
Sunday, September 29, 2019

Continuing a decades-long search for innovative piano trio repertoire, Sonoma State’s resident Trio Navarro opened their current season Sept. 29 in Schroeder Hall with three works of mostly arcane and rigorous music.

Not rare of course was Mozart’s G Major Trio, K. V. 564, that opened the program in a buoyant performance with Marilyn Thompson’s warm piano sound. The Schroeder house instrument is voiced with less brilliance than the two stage pianos in Weill Hall, and the music sounded clearly even in the allegro’s fast legato passages that at times were joyful dances.

In the andante violinist Victor Romasevich’s unsteady intonation quickly resolved with many ascending phrases of beauty in splendid ensemble. This work, possibly arranged by Mozart from a piano sonata, received a reading that stressed musical simplicity and light touches from all three instruments.

Frank Bridge’s early Phastasie Trio in C Minor is anything but initially charming, with a potent opening phrase that then moved through five movements of continual tempo and mood changes. The Navarro stressed the mixture of percussive effects with surging lyricism. Here and there references to Arensky and Rachmaninoff could be heard, but just snippets, and there was a splendid duo with Mr. Romasevitch’s high register and cellist Jill Rachuy Brindel’s rich bottom sound. There is much harmonic interest and the composer gives each instrument the same theme to announce over perhaps 15 measures.

Near the end the Navarro played a big repetition of the menacing opening theme in dramatic phrases, and pushed the music to the end, albeit with several deceptive cadences. The response from the audience of 50 was tepid.

Following intermission Georgy Catoire’s F Minor Trio concluded the afternoon, a piece the Navarro has played before and the mood was moved from quirky drama to saturated romanticism with a Russian flair, with bit of Tchaikovsky, but so different. The allegro moderato is a high temperature movement where the ensemble never lets up. Richer violin tone was needed here, but Ms. Brindel played well the themes that are attractive but not easily grasped.

Momentum continued in the allegretto fantastico that is harmonically foreign to contemporaries (Dvorák, St. Saëns, Ravel, Liadov, Reger), the high point for me being an elegant held note in the cello over Ms. Thompson’s wandering piano configurations. The playing in the finale (molto allegro) found the trio building abbreviated and extended climaxes, with flourishes in the piano part. It’s a difficult piece to pigeonhole, unique and strange where a touch of Schumann’s chordal progressions and Rachmaninoff’s temperament appear.

The Trio gave a committed performance of a work that is difficult to get ones arms (or ears) around. Applause was temperate. There was no encore.
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