Home  Reviews  Articles  Calendar  Presenters  Add Event     
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
Sonoma Classical Music Society / Friday, May 30, 2008
Elizabeth Dorman and Tanya Tomkins

Elizabeth Dorman and Tanya Tomkins

CELLO-PIANO DUO NOT QUITE RIPE

by Terry McNeill
Friday, May 30, 2008

Sonoma's Classical Music Society closed its fourth season May 30 with a program partly piano recital and partly chamber music.

Presented to 80 people in Sonoma's Burlingame Hall, cellist Tanya Tomkins joined pianist Elizabeth Dorman in Beethoven's flamboyant A Major Sonata, Op. 69, comprising the entire second half. Both artists had an exuberant view of the score and the cello sound in the hall was distinct and warm. Ms. Tomkins needed all the sound she could muster because balance problems pervaded the playing. Constantly pushing the tempo and aggressively stating the four-movement work's engaging themes, Ms. Dorman led the way to a sharply-seasoned but unsettling performance. It was frequently difficult to hear the cello line, though in the brief adagio cantabile the long-line was lovely.

The concert's first half was all piano, and this reviewer heard only the last movement of Beethoven's F-Sharp Major Sonata, Op. 78. The playing was expressive and idiomatic,
but was hampered along with the concluding Chopin works by the inadequate and fatigued house piano. Ms. Dorman, currently studying at the San Francisco Conservatory, gave extroverted readings of the F Major and F Minor Studies from Chopin's Op. 10 set, mastering the technical details of the left-hand arpeggios in No. 8 while grappling with indistinct right-hand scales. The instrument again may have been the culprit, and noisy trap work contributed to mix. The wide extensions in No. 9 were well mastered.

Arguably one of Chopin's greatest works, the titanic F-Minor Ballade, Op. 52 was convincingly played with the requisite drama and tension. Ms. Dorman has a strong rhythmic impulse and was in no hurry to get anywhere. Her rubato playing was unsubtle, but she has an innate understanding of what to do in this under-ten minute exploration of Chopin's genius. She took the pedal at measure 203, cutting off the chordal resonance, and was a wise choice. The cascade of pianistic colors in the coda was skillfully managed, inexorably driving to the final four chords. F Minor is a sinister key.

The Tomkins-Dorman duo would profit by programming more cello works of the standard literature, leaving the solo piano literature to a separate program. The two women are just beginning their collaboration, and based on this one Beethoven performance, it could be a fruitful partnership.