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Recital
ECLECTIC PIANISM IN SPRING LAKE VILLAGE VIRTUAL RECITAL
by Terry McNeill
Wednesday, May 5, 2021
During the pandemic The Santa Rosa Symphony’s virtual concerts received their due in performance praise, but another series, Spring Lake Village, more quietly presented monthly virtual concerts to a select local audience. May 5 saw the latest event, produced by impresario Robert Hayden, and feature...
Symphony
SONIC CONTRASTS HIGHLIGHT SANTA ROSA SYMPHONY SPRING PROGRAM
by Terry McNeill
Sunday, April 25, 2021
In a curious mixture of compositions, the Santa Rosa Symphony’s penultimate virtual concert of the season April 25 unfolded in ways both highly satisfying and a bit perplexing. Directed by resident Music Director Francesco Lecce-Chong, the event followed a familiar format – several contemporary wor...
Symphony
ZUILL PLAYS ZWILICH WITH SANTA ROSA SYMPHONY
by Steve Osborn
Sunday, March 28, 2021
The Santa Rosa Symphony took a cautious step toward the return of live music in their March 28 virtual concert by sharing the stage with an actual live soloist rather than an apparition. Star cellist Zuill Bailey was still masked, and his back was toward the equally masked and plexiglassed orchestra...
Chamber
ECLECTIC CELLO PIANO VIRTUAL RECITAL FROM TOMKINS ZIVIAN DUO
by Terry McNeill
Sunday, March 28, 2021
The venerable 41-year Redwood Arts Council Series in Occidental has joined the virtual recital world with low budget but artistically satisfying programs, mostly using videos filmed in the performer’s residences. March 28 saw the Tanya Tomkins-Eric Zivian duo present an eclectic program from their ...
Symphony
SANTA ROSA SYMPHONY HITS THE SWEET SPOT
by Steve Osborn
Sunday, February 28, 2021
Small orchestras can inhabit a sweet spot between chamber ensembles and full orchestras, but how well they hit that spot depends on the composer's orchestration and the players' ability to project. That dependence was on full display in the Santa Rosa Symphony's Feb. 28 concert, which featured three...
Chamber
NOVEL OBOE-HARPSICHORD RECITAL FROM AIKEN DUO IN UKIAH
by Terry McNeill
Sunday, February 21, 2021
Oboe and harpsichord recitals are a rare North Bay event, even in a pandemic environment where a formal hall setting isn’t available. So it was a delight Feb. 21 to experience on the Ukiah Symphony’s website a recital by Symphony oboist Beth Aiken and harpsichordist husband Tom. The Aiken home vis...
Symphony
A HEALTHY MIX OF TRANSCRIPTIONS AND ORIGINALS FROM THE SR SYMPHONY
by Steve Osborn
Sunday, January 24, 2021
Transcriptions and ascending arpeggios were the order of the day on Jan. 24, as the Santa Rosa Symphony performed uplifting works by Bach/Webern, Ellen Taaffe Zwilich, Marianna Martínes and Mozart. The concert video was made in Weill Hall on Jan. 9. The first transcription was Webern’s 1935 renderi...
Symphony
HEROIC EFFORT FROM THE SANTA ROSA SYMPHONY
by Steve Osborn
Sunday, December 13, 2020
December 13 was a rainy day, perfect for huddling indoors and watching a prerecorded “live” performance by the Santa Rosa Symphony. The program was expansive, with music from the 18th through 21st centuries, and the mood was festive, in keeping with the holiday season. There was something in the fea...
Symphony
MASKED SANTA ROSA SYMPHONY CARRIES ON BRILLIANTLY
by Steve Osborn
Sunday, November 15, 2020
In some ways the Santa Rosa Symphony’s Nov. 15 concert on YouTube resembled a Conceptual Art performance from the 1970s. On display were about 30 masked orchestral musicians playing six feet apart from each other on stage, some of them separated by plexiglass barriers. In the 1970s, the concept behi...
Chamber
SPLENDID STRINGS IN A SUNLIT GARDEN
by Abby Wasserman
Sunday, November 1, 2020
A sun-drenched autumn afternoon, a Marin County garden and six superb string players from the Santa Rosa Symphony were manna from heaven to a pandemic-weary audience starved for live music. The sextet of Santa Rosa Symphony musicians performed to a small group of 20 Nov. 1, the day after Halloween....
CHAMBER REVIEW
Oakmont Concert Series / Thursday, May 14, 2009
GILA GOLDSTEIN, CONCERT PIANIST

Israeli Pianist Gila Goldstein

GOLDSTEIN'S FINE PIANISM AT OAKMONT

by Terry McNeill
Thursday, May 14, 2009

Gila Goldstein isn’t a household name in North Bay music, but as a visiting virtuoso the New York resident has played here a lot: three recitals in San Francisco’s Old First Church series, another in a stately Marin hilltop home, one for Concerts Grand, and at least one Sonoma County home concert. May 14 found her at the Oakmont Concert Series’ Berger Auditorium, her third recital there, with a varied program of virtuoso works for the piano.

Goldstein, trained in her native Israel and at the Manhattan School of Music, offered a mixed bag from six composers in the first half, beginning with the big Bach Chaconne from the Second Violin Partita, in Busoni’s edition. As in the rest of the program, she took a measured approach to the massive work, leaving orchestral playing aside and concentrating on fine details, distinct lines and coloristic effects. Her scales were clean, and she judiciously traded the themes between her hands.

Liszt’s Sonetto Del Petrarca followed, again in a colorful but small-scaled reading, more reminiscent of Brendel than of Horowitz or Bolet. A lovely inner voice peeped through before the final thematic statement. A Nocturne by Respighi was next. The work has a beguiling shimmer with softly repeated right-hand alternating chords, and the surprise of two low-bass ending notes. Goldstein played it wonderfully, along with the following work, Debussy’s Poissons d’or. Her playing of Debussy’s overlapping tremolo figures was suitably impressionistic, as were the fluid arpeggios. Playing fast, delicate pianissimo passages is clearly difficult, but she handled them with aplomb.

Concluding the first half were Paul Ben-Haim’s Five Pieces for Piano, a Goldstein specialty. Each section alternates improvisational melodies and exciting rhythms. The ending Toccata is directly akin to Prokofiev’s Toccata and much of his Third Sonata (which Goldstein played here three years ago), and it was and equally effective under Goldstein’s fleet and accurate fingers. The Canzonetta was phrased in a way to delight any singer in the audience of 160.

The concert, the fifth in the 2009 season, had but one work in the second half, Schumann’s Davidsbundlertanze. Comprised of 18 short dances and other works from 1837, the cycle has never acquired the popularity of the composer’s other cyclic works: Carnaval, Humoresque, Kreisleriana and the Noveletten. The Davidsbundlertanze is a difficult piece for the listener, having considerable sectional beauty but lacking the dramatic contrast and march themes of the 22-part Carnaval. Goldstein lavished a great deal of beautiful pianism on the piece, playing repeats differently (a mark of the romantic pianist) and adding little phrase-ending ritards and telling off-beat accents. Her control of pianissimo and evocative tone color from the piano’s midsection were masterful. She has a lyrical gift and a deft touch well suited to this neglected but demanding work.

No encore was requested by the assembly, though more of the richly hued Schumann would have been a blessing. Also desirable would be a method of quieting Berger Auditorium’s air conditioning system. Its steady hum offered a less-than-joyful accompaniment to an afternoon of fine piano playing.