Home  Reviews  Articles  Calendar  Presenters  Add Event     
Wednesday, September 22, 2021
Reader Comments 0 new this week
We value your participation. Contribute by leaving a comment in the box following articles and reviews.
 Recent Reviews
SPARE DUO PRECEDES MYSTEROUS DUO AT DEN BOER RECITAL
by Terry McNeill
Friday, August 27, 2021
Julia Den Boer August 27
In a departure from usual summer festival fare Julia Den Boer played an August 27 virtual recital in the San Francisco Piano Festival’s 4.5 season with four works, all mostly quiet but all in separate ways insistently demanding of artist and listener. Throughout the 40 minutes there was nary a powe...
HARMONIC COMPLEXITY IN PHILLIPS' ALL-GRIFFES RECITAL
by Terry McNeill
Friday, August 20, 2021
Nicholas Phillips Playing Griffes Aug. 20
Charles Griffes’ piano music is similar to that of Busoni, Reger and even Poulenc, in that there is a sporadic flourish of interest with concerts and scholarly work, then a quick fade into another long period of obscurity. So, it was a delight to have an all-Griffes recital August 20 on the San F...
CHAMBER
ONE PIANO, TWO PIANO, THREE PIANO, FORE
by Terry McNeill
Thursday, July 29, 2021
l to r: T. Cabaniss, M. and J. Shinn
Schroeder Hall was nearly full July 29 for the final pianoSonoma concert of their season, and presumably the draw and highlight for many of the 150 attending was Bach’s Concerto for Four Pianos. And that performance was probably going to be a North Bay premiere. However, it wasn’t the highl...
CHAMBER
PENULTIMATE VOM FESTIVAL CONCERT FEATURES GORGEOUS VOCALISM
by Pamela Hicks Gailey
Thursday, July 29, 2021
Contralto Emily Marvosh
The 2021 Valley of the Moon Music Festival continued on July 29 with a sumptuous online offering of French songs, concluding with the second piano quartet by Fauré, Op. 45. Such a beautiful bouquet of video performances wonderfully filmed and recorded softened the disappointment of not being able to...
OTHER
SIX GUITARISTS IN UNIQUE NAPA RECITAL
by Gary Digman
Sunday, July 25, 2021
Guitarist Eric Symons
The first Napa Valley Guitar Festival was held at Napa’s First Presbyterian Church July 25, and featured performances from six classical guitarists. The Church is an iconic structure in downtown Napa, its huge white presence dominating the scene, and the white theme continues inside punctuated by be...
CHAMBER
BOGAS' TENURE ENDS IN OUTDOOR GUALALA CHAMBER CONCERT
by Iris Lorenzfife
Sunday, July 25, 2021
Pianist Roy Bogas
The preconcert call that music lovers should gather at Gualala Arts July 25 to attend the final Roy Bogas and Friends Concert was not quite as dire as it sounded. It seems that a year of Covid 19 and an 88th birthday had combined to convince Mr. Bogas that he was working too hard. But with cellist P...
CHAMBER
CLARA SCHUMANN TRIO COMMANDS VOM CHAMBER MUSIC CONCERT AT HANNA
by Terry McNeill
Saturday, July 24, 2021
Violinist Rachell Ellen Wong
The Valley of the Moon Chamber Music Series has begun several virtual and a few live concerts in its new seventh season, some broadcast from Sonoma’s Hanna Center Hall and some in posh local venues. July 24’s video had a small live audience and a well-produced video program of three works. Titled “...
CHAMBER
RARE LANG SONGS SPARKLE AT VOM FESTIVAL VIDEO RECITAL
by Pamela Hicks Gailey
Wednesday, July 21, 2021
Tenor Kyle Stegall
Unexpected pleasures are often the best. Valley of the Moon Chamber Festival presented a such a pleasure last week-a July 21 recorded performance by tenor Kyle Stegall and pianist Eric Zivian in another mini-recital (very mini-just 15 minutes!) of six songs by the nineteenth century German composer ...
CHAMBER
EXEMPLARY QUARTET PLAYING IN MENDO FESTIVAL FT. BRAGG CONCERT
by Terry McNeill
Wednesday, July 21, 2021
Alexander String Quartet - 2021
Faced with the impossibility of presenting concerts in the iconic large white tent on the bluff, the Mendocino Music Festival opted to use Ft. Bragg’s Cotton Auditorium for ten events in the abbreviated 35th season. San Francisco’s Alexander String Quartet played July 21 to a fully masked audience ...
CHAMBER
ECLECTIC PROGRAMMING AT PIANOSONOMA CONCERT IN SCHROEDER HALL
by Pamela Hicks Gailey
Tuesday, July 20, 2021
Mezzo-soprano Kara Dugan
After a dark year bereft of live performance, pianoSonoma launched July 20 the first Vino & Vibrato concert of the 2021 season in Sonoma State's Schroeder Hall, albeit sadly senza vino due to Covid protocols. Three exceptional musicians showered the audience with an interesting variety of pia...
Local Concerts  
REVIEW
San Francisco International Piano Festival / Sunday, August 29, 2021
Jory Vinikour and Philippe LeRoy, harpsichord; Gwendolyn Mok and Jeffrey LaDeur, piano

G. Mok and J. LaDeur August 29 at Festival's End

GAULIST FLAVOR IN FINAL SF PIANO FESTIVAL CONCERT AT OLD FIRST

by Terry McNeill
Sunday, August 29, 2021

Final summer music festival programs are often a mix of what has come before, with the theme and even a featured composer taking a last stage appearance, with a dramatic wrap up composition. San Francisco’s International Piano Festival defied the norm August 29 with an eclectic French-flavored program, mostly virtual and finally with an audience of 60 in the venerable Old First Church sanctuary (O1C) on Van Ness Avenue.

Directed by Jeffrey LaDeur, the “Les Années Folles” began with a transcription of Poulenc’s 1936 Suite Francaise, heralding a day of transcriptions. The seven-section Suite juxtaposed Jory Vinikour at a two-manual concert harpsichord with pianist Gwendolyn Mok playing the house concert Steinway, alternating sections and reflecting on their colleague’s artistry.

I must be said that in O1C dynamics are problematical and many find the small balcony best. String quartets are good, as is piano sound below mezzo forte, but as more volume is added acoustics become mud, sporadically enhanced by busses moving out and fire engine sirens. In this performance the “Pavane” was heard as a slow religious march, using perhaps old modes, and the harpsichord’s faint sound in the “Petite Marche Militaire” carried surprisingly well, as did the introduction of “Complainte” with a note of mystery. Ms. Mok’s “Bransle de Champagne” continued the same theme, followed by Mr. Vinikour’s bucolic and stately playing in the “Sicilienne.”

The celebratory combo in the (“Carillon”) finale was effectively played, with Ms. Mok’s damper pedaling covering at times the harpsichord’s line. A splendid beginning with captivating music.

Two Couperin works followed, the “Les Folie Francoise sou les Domininos” (13th Ordre, B Minor) and from the 8th Ordre a “Passacaille.” Philippe LeRoy was the virtuoso harpsichordist, his playing awash with trills, mordants, turns, appoggiaturas and stylistic flourishes that the music demands. The key dip in a harpsichord is less than the .375” of a piano, giving his elaborations around the themes blinding speed. Couperin was a contemporary of Bach, Scarlatti and Handel, but his music is radically different than each, and Mr. LeRoy’s superb playing in the “Passacaille” contained tasteful off-beat accents and lots of arpeggios.

Nadia Boulanger’s fame as a composition teacher has made her own small output rarely heard, and it was a treat to have Mr. LaDeur perform the four-minute “Vers la vie Nouvelle” (To the New Life) from 1918. The pianist underscored a strong bass pedal point sound in the prelude, turning to chirpy phrases in the treble and lyrical harmonies that reminded one of late Liszt.

More unfamiliar music was heard in the second half with five pieces from Déodat de Séverac’s En Vascances (Book I, 1912) and Tailleferre’s “Deux Valses.” Each of the charming Séverac miniatures were played with enchanting individuality, the highlights being the up tempo skittish Mimi se Déguise en “Marquise”, with its Rameau connection, and the courtly salon “Valse” that was faintly Grieg and Blumenfeld in delicious modulations. Frothy waltzes continued in the Tailleferre, the second (Valse brillante) being more complicated and was played in a loud rocking jovial French style as it gathered speed.

Ravel’s omniscient “La Valse” in the two-piano transcription ended the concert and the 10-day Festival, Ms. Mok at the powerful Church Steinway and Mr. LaDeur front and center playing an interloper, a rarely seen Steingräeber piano that eclipses even a Fazioli in cost. It’s a work that seems to go off the rails of Viennese convention: sweeping glissandos pile onto shrill passages, deceptive cadences and potent rumbles to generate a decadent and a slowly increasing tsumani of muscular sound. The duo ended this seminal piece not with a whimper but with a bang.

There was no encore and in COVID times no reception in O1C’s popular but timeworn basement. The concert was an appropriate end to a uniquely inspiring summer Festival.

Events Calendar

CHAMBER
Jewish Music Series - Bridge Players
Thursday, September 23, 2021
5:30 PM - Rohnert Park
Randall Weiss and Leslie Ludena, violin; Natalia Vershilova, viola; Victoria Erlich, cello; Marilyn
Jewish Music Series. Brian S. Wilson: Piano Trio ("Alchunun"), "Jumping In The Bay" (solo violin); Mendelssohn: Piano Trio TBA No ticket; registration is necessary...
Details

OTHER
Green Music Center
Saturday, September 25, 2021
7:00 PM - Rohnert Park
Jon Cleary, piano snd the Absolute Monster Gentlemen
Music in Weill Hall (8 p.m.) will be preceded by a gala reception in the lobby. Following the concert there will be speciality cocktails and dancing (9 p.m.) in the Trione Courtyard Tickets are $125 ...
Details

SYMPHONY
Sonoma State University Department of Music
Sunday, September 26, 2021
2:00 PM - Rohnert Park
Alexander Kahn, conductor. Matthew Bowker, saxophone; Isabella Grimes, flute
Mozart: Symphony No. 36 ("Linz") in C Major, K. 425; Ibert: Concertino for Saxophone; Mozart: Flute Concerto in G Major Admission: $12, including parking. Free for SSU students ...
Details

SYMPHONY
Santa Rosa Symphony
Saturday, October 2, 2021
7:30 PM - Rohnert Park
Francesco Lecce-Chong, conductor. Julian Rhee, violin
Mozart: 5th Violin Concerto, K. 219, in A Major ("Turkish"); Libby Larsen: Deep Summer Music; Gabriela Smith: Rust; Elgar: Enigma Variations...
Details

SYMPHONY
Sonoma County Philharmonic
Sunday, October 3, 2021
12:00 PM - Windsor
Norman Gamboa, conductor

Movie Music - Wonder Woman, Black Panther, Spiderman, Batman, others TBA Free admission. Family event on the Windsor Green Grass...
Details

SYMPHONY
Santa Rosa Symphony
Sunday, October 3, 2021
3:00 PM - Rohnert Park
Francesco Lecce-Chong, conductor. Julian Rhee, violin
Mozart: Violin Concerto No. 5 ("Turkish") in A Major, K. 219; Elgar: Enigma Variations; Libby Larsen: Deep Summer Music; Gabriela Smith: Rust...
Details

SYMPHONY
Sonoma County Philharmonic
Sunday, October 3, 2021
12:00 PM - Santa Rosa
Norman Gamboa, conductor
Pops Concert - movie music. Wonder Woman, Batman , Superman, Black Panther, others TBA Family Friendly on the Windsor Green Grass...
Details

SYMPHONY
Santa Rosa Symphony
Monday, October 4, 2021
7:30 PM - Rohnert Park
Francesco Lecce-Chong, conductor. Julian Rhee, violin
Elgar: Enigma Variations; Gabriela Smith: Rust; Libby Larsen: Deep Summer Music; Mozart: Violin Concerto No. 5 ("Turkish"), in A Major (K. 219)...
Details

RECITAL
Redwood Arts Council
Friday, October 8, 2021
7:00 PM - Occidental
Andreas Klein, piano
Bach: Partita # 2 in C Minor, BWV 826; Beethoven, A Flat Major Sonata, Op. 110; Chopin: G Minor Ballade, Op. 23; Prokofiev: Sonata No. 7 in B Flat, Op. 83 Single tickets are $30...
Details

SYMPHONY
Eric Kritz and Friends
Sunday, October 17, 2021
3:00 PM - Mendocino
Eric Kritz, clarinet. Musicians TBA
Music of Mozart, Milhaud and Jeff Ives TBA Tickets are $22 in advance, $25 at the door, under 18 free...
Details