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Choral and Vocal
A SEASONAL MESSIAH WITH BALANCE AND HEFT
by Terry McNeill
Sunday, December 10, 2017
The mid-December concert season seems for jaded reviewers to invariably include a Messiah performance, and perhaps a Messiah in a long string of similar and mundane performances. This was decidedly not the case when San Francisco’s Philharmonia Baroque mounted Handel’s eminent three-part 1742 Orato...
Symphony
ANDREW GRAMS FINDS HIS GROOVE SR SYMPHONY IN RACHMANINOFF
by Steve Osborn
Sunday, December 03, 2017
Last Sunday’s Santa Rosa Symphony concert featured two elegant and refined guests: music director candidate Andrew Grams and pianist Stewart Goodyear. Both displayed dazzling technique and consummate artistry, but Goodyear was the more consistent of the two. Some of Grams’ inconsistency may have st...
Symphony
SONIC SPLASH AND ENSEMBLE DELICACY AT SO CO PHIL CONCERT
by Terry McNeill
Saturday, November 18, 2017
Franck’s wonderful D Minor Symphony is a rarity on today’s concert programs, and I can’t remember a North Bay performance in many years from any of the six resident area orchestras. So it was good to see the Sonoma County Philharmonic feature it in their Nov. 18 and 19 concerts at Santa Rosa High S...
Chamber
TETZLAFF QUARTET'S MASTERY IN MOZART AND SCHUBERT
by Terry McNeill
Saturday, November 11, 2017
German violin virtuoso Christian Tetzlaff presented a critically successful Weill Hall recital Feb. 18, and returned to the same venue Nov. 11 with his admirable Tetzlaff Quartet in a program of Berg, Schubert and Mozart. Clarity of ensemble has always been a hallmark of this Quartet, and contrapun...
Chamber
RAVISHING SHORT OPERAS FROM FRENCH TROUPE IN WEILL
by Terry McNeill
Friday, November 10, 2017
Standard Weill Hall fall and winter classical programs are pretty routine – symphonic music, chamber, solo recitals – so it was a rare treat Nov. 10 when just two works from the 17th century were gloriously presented. With such specialized compositions, period performers with commanding authenticit...
Symphony
MEI-ANN CHEN PROVES A WORTHY CONTENDER FOR SANTA ROSA SYMPHONY CONDUCTING POST
by Steve Osborn
Sunday, November 05, 2017
These days the focus of Santa Rosa Symphony concerts is as much on the conductor candidates as on the soloists. This past weekend’s concerts featured the second of those candidates, Mei-Ann Chen, along with pianist Nareh Arghamanyan, each of whom cut an imposing figure on the stage. Chen is diminut...
Symphony
TO RUSSIA WITH BRILLIANCE
by Terry McNeill
Friday, November 03, 2017
Russian pianist Denis Matsuev’s high velocity and frequently slam-bang virtuosity came to the Green Music Center last year with a thrilling and equally perplexing solo performance. So many in Weill Nov. 3 were interested to hear if his pianistic style would mesh well in a concerto, and with a fine ...
Symphony
THUNDEROUS TCHAIKOVSKY FOURTH OPENS MARIN SYMPHONY SEASON
by Terry McNeill
Tuesday, October 31, 2017
North Coast weather is turning cool and the nights longer, ideal for Tchaikovsky’s big boned symphonies. The Santa Rosa Symphony recently programmed the Fourth (F Minor Symphony) as did the San Francisco Symphony. Norman Gamboa’s Sonoma County Philharmonic just played the Tchaikovsky First, forgoi...
Recital
RESPIGHI'S PUNGENT SONATA HIGHLIGHTS KENNEY-GUTMAN RECITAL
by Terry McNeill
Sunday, October 29, 2017
Respighi’s B Minor Violin Sonata seems never to gain conventional repertoire status. Perhaps the great Heifetz recording is intimidating, and I can recall over many years just two local performances: Jason Todorov and William Corbett-Jones years go in Newman, and a titanic reading in March by Anne S...
Chamber
MIRÓ QUARTET AND JEFFERY KAHANE PROVIDE MUSICAL RELIEF FOR FIRE-RAVAGED SONOMA COUNTY
by Steve Osborn
Saturday, October 28, 2017
Sonoma County’s Green Music Center has stood silent but unscathed the past few weeks as the county begins to recover from the devastating fires that began on the evening of October 8, only a few hours after a Santa Rosa Symphony concert in the Music Center. Since then, concerts by the Symphony, the ...
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.