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Recital
DYNAMIC PIANISM IN YAKUSHEV MARIN RECITAL
by Terry McNeill
Sunday, January 23, 2022
Russian pianist Ilya Yakushev arrived Jan. 23 at his Mill Valley Chamber Music Society recital with the repute of playing loud and fast and delivering charming introductory musical remarks to his audience. He was true to form in Mill Valley’s Mt. Tamalpais Methodist Church, preceding Haydn’s sple
Symphony
THE SHOW MUST GO ON
by Steve Osborn
Sunday, January 9, 2022
The Jan. 9 Santa Rosa Symphony concert was supposed to feature the world premiere of Gabriella Smith’s first symphony, but it ended up featuring another type of premiere: a concert that was conceived, rehearsed and performed in less than eight hours. Symphony staff learned on Sunday morning that so
Choral and Vocal
AN OLD FRIEND RETURNS TO WEILL IN STERLING ABS MESSIAH PERFORMANCE
by Pamela Hicks Gailey
Sunday, December 19, 2021
A tremendous accomplishment by the American Bach Soloists Dec. 19 was near perfect performance of Handel's Messiah in Weill Hall. Long an annual tradition at San Francisco's Grace Cathedral, the ABS took to the road and delivered a Christmas gift of epic proportions to an obviously thrilled and enth
Symphony
SHOSTAKOVICH FIFTH THUNDERS AT WEILL HALL CONCERT
by Terry McNeill
Sunday, December 5, 2021
In a new season marketed as “Classical Reunion,” the Santa Rosa Symphony made a palpable connection with its audience at the early December set of three standing ovation concerts in Weill Hall. The December 5 concert, with 1,000 attending, is reviewed here. Vaughan Williams’ popular Fantasia on a T
Chamber
THE LINCOLN RETURNS WITH CLARKE'S PUNGENT TRIO
by Terry McNeill
Thursday, November 18, 2021
There were many familiar faces Nov. 18 during Music at Oakmont’s initial concert of the season, but perhaps the most necessary were the three musicians of the Lincoln Piano Trio, the Chicago-based group that has performed often in Oakmont since 2006. A smaller than unusual audience in Berger Audito
Symphony
NOSTALGIC BARBER KNOXVILLE AT SO CO PHIL JACKSON THEATER CONCERT
by Terry McNeill
Sunday, November 14, 2021
In their first Jackson Theater appearance of the new season the Sonoma County Philharmonic presented Nov. 14 a program devoid of novelty, but showcasing the “People’s Orchestra” in splendid performance condition after a long COVID-related layoff. Conductor Norman Gamboa drew a committed and boister
Chamber
THRILLING PIANO QUINTETS IN MILL VALLEY CHAMBER CONCERT
by Abby Wasserman
Sunday, November 14, 2021
The Mill Valley Chamber Music Society sprang back to life on November 14 when a stellar ensemble from the Manhattan Chamber Players, a New York-based collective, arrived to perform two piano quintets: Vaughn-Williams’ in C Minor (1903), little known and rarely performed; and Schubert’s in A Major D.
Chamber
MUSCULAR BRAHMS FROM IVES COLLECTIVE IN GLASER
by Terry McNeill
Sunday, November 14, 2021
Leaving SRJC’s Newman Auditorium for the first time in decades, the College’s Chamber Concert Series presented a season-opening concert Nov. 14 in Santa Rosa’s Glaser Center with the four-musician Bay-Area based Ives Collective. The season, the first given since 2020, is dedicated to Series Founder
Symphony
MONUMENTAL BRAHMS SYMPHONY HIGHLIGHTS MARIN SYMPHONY RETURN
by Terry McNeill
Sunday, November 7, 2021
In the waning COVID pandemic the Marin Symphony is one of the last Bay Area orchestras to return to the stage, and they did with considerable fanfare Nov. 7 before 1,200 in Civic Center Auditorium, with resident conductor Alasdair Neale leading a demanding concert of Brahms, Schumann and New York-ba
Symphony
APOLLO'S FIRE LIGHTS UP VIVALDI'S FOUR SEASONS IN WEILL
by Terry McNeill
Saturday, October 30, 2021
Long ago the Canadian violin virtuoso Gil Shaham played a program in Weill Hall of solo Bach, with a visual backdrop of slowly developing visuals, such as a pokey flower opening over four minutes. The Bach was sensational, and some in the audience liked the photos but many found them disconcerting,
REVIEW

Cellist Sébastian Gingras

QUARTET WITH PIANO AT SEASON-CLOSING OAKMONT CHAMBER CONCERT

by Terry McNeill
Thursday, December 13, 2012

Completing a rich 2012 season, the Oakmont Concert Series presented a rare quartet concert Dec. 13 featuring the San Francisco Chamber Players. Marin pianist June Choi Oh, a frequent Oakmont performer with her Tilden Trio, brought along an admirable string company to an audience of 150 in Berger Auditorium.

A Telemann transcription in D Minor opened the concert with march-like playing in a pure Baroque style, the violinist Dan Carlson providing lithe phrasing over the piano’s continuo line. Cellist Sébastian Gingras paced the lively Vivace and the ensemble played the sad but lyrical Largo with minimal vibrato and exact intonation. The unison playing in the finale was exact.

Beethoven’s early E-Flat Major Quartet, Op. 16, came next and was another transcription, the 1797 work originally written for piano, oboe, clarinet, bassoon and horn. The present version was arranged by the composer. It’s idiomatic writing, long on repeated phrases and fits the string instruments perfectly. In the Andante Cantabile the piano part becomes more prominent with faint echoes of the Archduke Trio of 15 years later. Ms. Oh played cleanly the many scale passages on the Rondo finale, never covering the strings, and it was an aggressive group approach with slashing bows and proficient ensemble. A lovely work elegantly played.

Following intermission the ambiance sharply changed with Schumann Quartet in E-Flat Major, Op. 47, one of the most popular of all piano quartets. The SFCP began tentatively but quickly delivered the Zwickau master’s surging romanticism and ever-present legato. There was equal distribution of instrumental interest in the Allegro Ma Non Troppo and Ms. Oh adopted a period flourish, adding a short hesitation at the beginning of descending scale passages. The concluding instrumental sforzandos were abrupt and exciting.

The Scherzo, beginning with a toccata and repose sections, was well played as was the glorious and expressive Andante Cantabile. Here violist Jonathan Vinocour had subtle duets with Mr. Carlson, and Mr. Gingras’ melodic projection was graceful and at times forceful.

The Quintet’s finale (Vivace) playing was contrapuntally clear but never brawny, and as in the entire work the prudent execution had the requisite fervor and beauty to elicit a standing ovation.

Vishnu Vishnu contributed to this review.