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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,
CHAMBER REVIEW

Boreal Trio

BOREAL AURORA RISES OVER OAKMONT

by Terry McNeill
Thursday, January 9, 2014

Opening the new year Jan. 9 at Music at Oakmont the Boreal Trio played a program of two diverse and distinct parts, the emphasis on charm rather than drama.

The bucolic first half had lyrical and low-volume works by Schumann and Mozart, the latter's "Kegelstatt" Trio in E-Flat Major (K. 498) setting a tranquil tone. This trio doesn't have a menacing note throughout, but in past performances I have heard the piano and clarinet lines covering the viola. Here Juan-Miguel Hernandez' viola line was always audible, often in fetching duos with clarinetist Uriel Vanchestein. Occasionally Mr. Vanchestein sounded a bit reserved, but in many ways that approach served the serene music well.

The quiet ambiance continued in Schumann's Op. 132 "Fairy Tales," the four short sections brimming with romantic yearning. Pianist Wonny Song played the day's first real forte in the dramatic Lebhaft und sehr markiert movement, the most Brahms-like part of the 1853 composition. The Boreal's playing reached a peak in the sweet third section, a love song with unison instrumental lines and a sublime and tender ending.

Ensemble playing in the concluding Lebhaft, sehr markiert was excellent, tying together a rarely-played work of elegance and nostalgia.

Five of Bruch's eight Op. 83 Pieces were played after intermission and the rich Romanticism again recalled Brahms' autumnal works and harmonic language. The orchestral and relentless Allegro Agitato opened the set with flair, moving to a Nachtgesang (night song) where nearing the end the viola handed off the melodic line to the clarinet, with Mr. Vanchestein playing a deft descending and ascending chromatic scale in perfect legato. These were more substantial pieces than those of the first half, clearly so in the adventuresome harmonies of the Moderato that looked back to both Brahms and Schumann, and the bouncy and effervescent Allegro Vivace finale. Mr. Song was had a greater role here, sewing together the string and wind lines with bouncy rhythms.

Though the Bruch was for me the day's highlight, Alfred Uhl's neoclassical Trio "Kleines Konzert" from 1938 came close. It was a bit of a cold shower after the previous works with a bigger piano part, many off-beat accents and a snazzy viola and clarinet duet in the spooky Allegro con Brio's cadenza. It was café music played with grace. A slow march morphed into a lament, with Mr. Song sounding chimes with his left hand and Mr. Hernandez playing uniquely with the tip of his bow on the viola's C and G strings. In the concluding Vivo, the Boreal took a fast tempo and played the virtuosic and showy movement with aplomb. A sudden forte chord closed an exciting performance.

The encore, Mr. Vanchestein's "Moment Musical," was announced as a study in the style of Rachmaninoff and Scriabin, but I could find neither Russian composer's music in the short romantic study of swirling clarinet phrases. It was a bon-bon to a light and pleasurably non-traditional musical meal.