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Chamber
EXAMPLARY QUARTET PLAYING IN MARIN GARDEN CONCERT
by Terry McNeill
Thursday, October 22, 2020
Taped video concerts have pretty much dominated the recent fare for classical music fans, but sporadic live music making can still be found in the North Bay with outdoor chamber music. Of course with the obligatory social distancing and often decorative facial masks. Four San Francisco Opera Orc...
Chamber
VIDEO CHAMBER MUSIC FROM LINCOLN CENTER IN GREEN'S BROADCAST
by Terry McNeill
Saturday, October 17, 2020
Along with hosting its resident the Santa Rosa Symphony, Weill Hall has contracted to produce sporadic virtual programs of classical music, and began Oct. 17 with a charming three-part concert from the Chamber Music Society of Lincoln Center in New York. Hosted with comely introductions by CMSLC di...
Symphony
THRILLING SANTA ROSA SYMPHONY PERFORMANCE IN AN EMPTY WEILL HALL
by Steve Osborn
Sunday, October 11, 2020
Viewers of the Santa Rosa Symphony’s inaugural socially distanced YouTube concert on Oct. 11 could be forgiven for thinking they had stumbled upon a performance of Verdi’s “Un Ballo in Maschera” (A Masked Ball), given that the string players in the opening shot all wore black masks. The sole excepti...
Symphony
BROWN VIDEO GALA LAUNCHES SANTA ROSA SYMPHONY SEASON
by Terry McNeill
Saturday, September 12, 2020
Similar to many North Coast musical organizations the Santa Rosa Symphony has scheduled a series of virtual concerts on video, spotlighting sections of the orchestra and the exuberant activities of its conductor Francesco Lecce-Chong. However, as an introduction to the season, a Sept. 12 gala vide...
SONGS AND ECHOES OF HOME IN AIZURI QUARTET CONCERT
by Abby Wasserman
Sunday, March 8, 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...
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...
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.