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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....
RECITAL REVIEW

Daniel Glover on San Rafael's J-B Piano Stage April 3

UNCONVENTIONAL REPERTOIRE FEATURED IN DANIEL GLOVER'S SAN RAFAEL PIANO RECITAL

by Terry McNeill
Sunday, April 3, 2011

San Francisco’s Daniel Glover arguably plays more concerts than any classical pianist residing in Northern California, and his wide repertoire of concertos and solo works are the envy of many musicians. San Rafael’s J-B Piano Emporium was fortunate to host Mr. Glover’s artistry April 3 and 35 music lovers heard an uncompromising program short on familiarity but long on intriguing music.

In the long awaited final recital of the eighth Concerts Grand season, Mr. Glover cast down a provocative gauntlet by beginning with Bartok’s Piano Suite, Op. 14, a four-movement piece that quickly wakes up indolent hearing. The first three sections are pointillist and at times a brash jester appears, finally giving way with the pianist’s touch to a leisurely conclusion and an inconclusive and dissonant halt.

Mr. Glover’s pianism is not at first hearing easy to embrace. He is not a colorist, shuns swooning rubatos and is far more the architect than the poet. These characteristics were apparent in his tackling of Tchaikovsky’s big Sonata in G Major, Op. 37, a work rarely played due to its encompassing scope and often hammering repetition of phrases. The last local public performance I can recall, in a great 1982 Davies Hall recital, was from the mercurial Shura Cherkassky. Mr. Glover is never mercurial, his interpretations being the result of conscientious thought, extended finger work in the studio and his innate curiosity. The bold proclamations of the opening march were perfectly captured in the pianist’s propulsive playing, Tchaikovsky’s debt to Schumann’s early piano music everywhere apparent. The Andante non troppo was chastely played, the lacy long arpeggios were both marcato and cantabile as indicated in the score. The pianist played this movement, as in the entire afternoon, without score. The repeated sixths cords at the end were softly beautiful.

Concluding the Sonata were a bight Scherzo, abetted by the unique treble timbre of the J-B stage piano, and a fast and bravura tour of the finale. This section reflects the declamatory character of the opening movement with syncopated chords and dashing runs in both hands, and Mr. Glover gave his fingers (and feet) full rein. In this last movement there was more playing of a vocal character but an absence of voice leading, an approach that would have lent breathing space to the headlong journey to the coda, preceded by nine clangorous chords in sforzando. Mr. Glover had his arms around this thorny piece and made a strong case for it, albeit with palpable apprehension in the audience. Perhaps an acquired taste for the assembly?

Following intermission Kodaly’s arcane 1907 Méditation sur un Motif de Claude Debussy was played, a richly impressionist work that sounded as if the pianist was improvising. It followed intriguing harmonic paths and Mr. Glover lavished loving care in the details, especially in the ruminative soft notes deep in the bass. A highlight of the afternoon and a rarified work for most in the hall.

Three reasonably familiar Liszt works were played, the first two from Volume One of the Années de Pèlerinage and one, Harmonies Du Soir, from the Transcendental Etudes of 1851 (revised version). Mr. Glover favored left-hand clarity in Au Lac du Wallenstadt and washes of sound in the Au Bord d’une Source. Both were admirable interpretations, convincingly slow in the first and lacking the last bit of charm and prismatic color in the second. The Etude, the 11th of 12 daunting studies, received a formidable performance. Mr. Glover’s running left-hand chords at forte carried throughout the hall and his deft control of soft passages was telling. Here and there sonic smudges appeared in the broken chords and the pianist wasn’t note perfect, but “Evening Harmonies” needs the shimmering repose that it received.

The formal recital ended with two rarely-played Liapunov works, Berceuse and Lesghinka. Both are from an Op. 11 set of Etudes d’exécution transcedante, the Berceuse airy and lyrical and disclosing playing from Mr. Glover removed from the presentation of previous compositions. In introductory remarks to the Lesghinka the pianist alluded to a comparison with Balakirev’s famously virtuosic Islamey and highlighted the Russian folk music derivation and how devilish the piece is to bring off in a live performance. He solidly nailed it, sparks flying with an arsenal of octaves, skips and rapid scales. It was Islamey “light” and compelling.

Two encores were offered, both surprising to the small throng that had previously heard mostly muscular music. Gershwin’s Second Prelude in C-Sharp Minor was followed by an early 1921 Copland work, “Jazzy” from the “Three Moods.” Both received a subtle “hip swinging” performance from Mr. Glover, his rhythms both intoxicating and languorous and his identification with the jazz elements persuasive.

A season-ending Champagne reception followed with ample time for the audience to play the store’s instruments and exchange commentary with an artist that treats every aspect of musical performance as a quest for honesty and esthetic truth.

The reviewer is the producer for the Concerts Grand series.