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Chamber
FLORESTAN TRIO'S MENDELSSOHN AT SPRING LAKE VILLAGE CONCERT
by Terry McNeill
Friday, March 08, 2019
Spring Lake Village’s monthly concerts usually clock in under an hour, but the March 8 Florestan Trio’s performance was more extended as so much good music was on tap for the 125 residents attending at Santa Rosa’s premiere retirement residence facility. Four short pieces made up the first half, be...
Chamber
TILDEN TRIO'S BOHEMIAN ENERGY AT DOMINICAN CONCERT
by Terry McNeill
Sunday, March 03, 2019
Hard on the heels of the Trio Navarro’s late February concert in Sonoma State’s Schroeder Hall, Northern California’s other premiere resident piano trio, the Tilden, played an equally convincing program March 3 in Dominican University’s Angelico Hall. Clearly each hall’s acoustics, stage pianos and...
Recital
24 SONGS IN A MENKE-THOMPSON RECITAL ODYSSEY
by Terry McNeill
Saturday, February 23, 2019
Sonoma County pop and country singing enjoys continued popularity but it rare to see a professional classical vocal concert announced. Diva Ruth Ann Swenson was once a local star, but she has long departed and not much virtuoso recital singing can be found in the North Bay. But the exception to th...
Chamber
UNEXPECTED ARENSKY AND MENDELSSOHN BY THE NAVARRO
by Terry McNeill
Sunday, February 17, 2019
The 100 people entering Schroeder Hall Feb. 17 for a Trio Navarro concert were handed a program that appeared to feature two popular piano trios, Mendelssohn and Arensky. But continuing the Navarro’s tradition of repertoire exploration, the pieces were not the usual first Mendelssohn and first Aren...
Recital
GLOVER'S ECLECTIC PROGRAMMING HIGHLIGHT'S CINNABAR RECITAL
by Terry McNeill
Sunday, February 17, 2019
Daniel Glover is arguably the busiest virtuoso pianist in the San Francisco Bay area, but rarely is heard in North Bay concerts. So 90 local pianophiles were anxious to hear him Feb. 17 in Petaluma’s charming small Cinnabar Theater, and they were rewarded with an eclectic program of sometimes unfam...
Symphony
MENDELSSOHN'S SCOTTISH SAVES THE EVENING IN SRS WEILL CONCERT
by Terry McNeill
Monday, February 11, 2019
The audience entering Weill Hall for Santa Rosa Symphony concerts Feb. 9-11 were presented with a program that on first glance appeared a curious patchwork – a great symphony mixed with a seldom heard concerto and two disparate overtures, and a guest conductor unknown locally. Monday night’s concer...
Recital
INTRIGUING BELL-HAYWOOD RECITAL BEFORE FULL HOUSE IN WEILL HALL
by Abby Wasserman
Friday, February 08, 2019
A big portion of the capacity audience in Weill Hall February 8th came to hear violinist Joshua Bell’s virtuosity, and were treated as well to splendid playing from Sam Haywood, Mr. Bell’s regular pianist since 2010. The duo performed three engaging sonatas, highlighted by Mr. Bell’s sterling techn...
Symphony
TRIPLE PLAY UKIAH SYMPHONY CONCERT AND TCHAIKOVSKY SERENADE
by Terry McNeill
Sunday, January 27, 2019
Over the years the Ukiah Symphony’s concerts have been in the Classical Sonoma Calendar sections, but rarely has this Orchestra, now in its 39th season, had a full winter season concert review. The provocative Jan. 27 program in Mendocino College’s Center Theater seemed a good reason to reacquaint ...
Symphony
JACKSON THEATER WELCOMES A NEW RESIDENT ORCHESTRA
by Terry McNeill
Saturday, January 26, 2019
Moving to a permanent new performance venue can be a perilous undertaking for an orchestra, with different acoustics, the loyal audience finding the new spot and infrastructure challenges of lighting and lobby and backstage operations. In their first concert Jan. 26 in Windsor’s Jackson Theater the...
Symphony
ECLECTIC PASSIONATE PROGRAMMING AT MARIN SYMPHONY CONCERT
by Abby Wasserman
Saturday, January 26, 2019
The Marin Symphony’s second Masterworks concert of the 2018-19 season featured works by John Adams, Sibelius and Brahms, a masterful assembly. In a spoken introduction before the program’s first half, conductor Alasdair Neale primed the audience for the “terra incognita” of Adams’ The Chairman Dance...
CHAMBER REVIEW
SRJC Chamber Concerts / Friday, March 27, 2009
David Korevaar, pianist

Pianist David Korevaar

KOREVAAR BALANCES THE POPULAR WITH THE UNKNOWN

by Terry McNeill
Friday, March 27, 2009

Pianist David Korevaar brought a curiously unbalanced program to the Santa Rosa Junior College Chamber Series on March 27 for the SRJC season’s final event. Unbalanced because the first half consisted of essentially unknown works, whereas the second half consisted of Schubert’s most popular piano sonata.

Korevaar, who teaches at the University of Colorado, began his recital in the half-full Newman Auditorium with Brahms’s Variations on a Hungarian Song, Op. 21, No. 2. A master of the variation form, Brahms wrote two big Paganini and Handel sets that have challenged pianists since the 1860s, but the variations here are shorter and less inspired. Unlike the Handel Variations, which only begin to sound like Brahms at the second variation, the Hungarian variations bear all the marks of the German master in the very first variation, right after the statement of the theme. Though the variations are not a subtle work, Korevaar played them convincingly, with a strong bass line and careful development of the complex theme.

Erno Von Dohnanyi, a Hungarian virtuoso who ended his career in Florida, composed his Variations on a Hungarian Folk Song in 1916, and there are echoes of Liszt, Brahms and Rubinstein in his 10 variations in classical form. The sound of chimes permeates several variations. Korevaar’s reliable octave technique served the digital demands in the ninth variation, and the concluding slow arpeggios of the tenth shimmered with rich colors.

A work probably unknown to the entire audience, Castelnuovo-Tedesco’s Piedigrotta (1924), closed the first half. Set out in five widely different movements, played here often without break, Piedigrotta is a Neapolitan rhapsody that makes virtuosic demands but delivers a piquant musical story. Opening with a lively tarantella, the work turns quickly to a nocturnal aria with references to Albeniz’s Iberia. Korevaar controlled the repeated chord figurations and swift hand crossings with ease, making the whirling and impulsive “Calasciunate” dance section an exciting blur of sound. These pieces, although not dissonant, reflect the harmonic language of impressionism and are close to Griffes’s The Fountain of the Aqua Paola. A lovely descending glissando introduces the final movement, where rapid repeated notes and minor seconds generate a giddy, wild ride all over the keyboard. A novel and provocative piece, Piedigrotta was thrillingly rendered by Korevaar to loud applause.

Schubert’s last sonata, in B-Flat (D. 960), was written shortly before the composer’ death in 1828, and has been a staple of non-Slavic pianists since the acclaim from performances by Schnabel in the 1920s. It’s a long haul, and in Korevaar’s reading the four movements lasted just over 45 minutes, with the deep and melancholic opening Molto Moderato running more than 19 minutes alone. Korevaar used the shift pedal continuously in the first two movements, juxtaposing a generally aggressive attack in the dramatic sections with the ethereal and constantly modulating melodies. The big sforzandos had punch, but a jarring break in the deeply felt first-movement texture — three bars of raucous un-Schubertian chords — were a mysterious intercession.

The Andante sostenuto was beautifully played, evoking a haunting and certainly religious feeling, the left-hand figures even and at times mesmerizing. The Scherzo, so different than what came before, was played with a light touch and a balance of off-beat accents and cheery frolic. The closing Allegro man non troppo was dramatic and boldly played, more in the style of Serkin’s persistence than Alfred Brendel’s nobility.

No encores were offered.

All in all, Korevaar performed an estimable recital, ultimately balancing three unfamiliar works with an aristocratic reading of Schubert’s sovereign sonata.