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Chamber
STYLISH HAYDN QUARTETS CLOSE GREEN ROOM SERIES
by Terry McNeill
Sunday, May 9, 2021
Completing the Green Music Center’s spring series series of “Green Room” virtual concerts, the St. Lawrence String Quartet played May 9 a lightweight program of two Haydn works. Lightweight perhaps, but in every way satisfying. The G Major Quartet (Op. 76, No.1) began the music that was supplement...
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...
RECITAL REVIEW
Sebastopol Center For The Arts / Friday, November 19, 2010
Jazmin Aliakbari and Carolyn Tewari, piano

Carolyn Tewari and Jasmin Aliakbari in Sebastopol Nov. 19

ALIAKBARI AND TEWARI SHINE IN SEBASTOPOL ARTS CENTER RECITAL

by Terry McNeill
Friday, November 19, 2010

Carolyn Tewari must be the most active performing pianist in Sonoma County. In addition to teaching, she has a full schedule playing in retirement homes, churches and concert halls, and has a penchant for music by women composers and partnerships with colleagues.

On November 19 she joined her duo partner of long standing, Jazmin Aliakbari, in a joint recital of eclectic music in the Sebastopol Center for the Performing Arts. The two women switched at the piano from primo to segundo with an enthusiastic audience of 40 watching every solo and four-hand alignment.

Jane Savage’s Duet, Op. 6, opened the program and was immediately forgettable. Glenn Gould referred to such compositions as “dictation music.” Debussy’s First Arabesque and Beethoven’s “Pathétique” Sonata, Op. 13, both performed by Ms. Tewari, were of course works of different merit. The Debussy featured a slow tempo with the stress on tonal color, the arching right-hand runs played with grace, and the legato triplets were stylishly rendered.

The Beethoven C Minor Sonata has been played in parts around the County by Ms. Tewari, and it was good that she finally tackled the entire work in a public hall. There was palpable momentum and drama in the playing, and left-hand tremolo passages had verve. Ms. Tewari was careful in the Adagio to keep one tempo throughout, and the concluding Rondo had perhaps the Sonata’s most concise playing, the long trill telling.

Poulenc’s Sonata for Four Hands closed the first half, Ms. Aliakbari joining in a clangorous change from the controlled pianism of the Beethoven. There was some unstable playing in the initial Prelude and beguiling juxtapositions of ruminative sound in the “Rustique” second movement. The counterpoint was clear in the finale, with lots of rumbling passages in the low bass and echoes of Poulenc’s large Concerto for Two Pianos. The last chord was held to considerable effect, the playing on balance the best in the first half.

Solo performance returned after intermission when Ms. Aliakbari played Bach’s Toccata in E Minor (S. 914), Chopin’s Third Ballade and the “Suite de Danzas Criollas,” Op. 15, of Ginastera. Though the Bach had good differentiation of voices, and the A-Flat Ballade featured clear right-hand scale passages, neither seemed a work that was yet fully the pianist’s own. The footing in each seemed unsure, the phrases hurried when repose was needed, the dense Bach fugal section lacking a concrete shape. The Ginastera work, from 1946 and similar in parts one and five to the earlier “Danzas Argentinas,” had an idiomatic reading from the pianist, the Creole style palpable and the clusters in the Allegro Rustico powerful indeed.

Four pieces from Grieg’s Peer Gynt Suite No. 1, Op. 46, concluded the formal program. The majestic nostalgia of “Morning Mood” and the singing treble line of the “In The Hall of the Mountain King” were salutary. No author of the transcription for piano four hands was listed.

A final charming work for both artists, the iconic “Tea For Two” from the 1925 Broadway show “No, No, Nanette,” was offered as an encore. It was a tuneful end to a pleasurable evening of rich solo and four-hand piano music.