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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

Maile, Zivian, Tomkins and Lin Jan. 18 in Occidental

WEIGHTY ROMANTICISM IN REDWOOD ARTS COUNCIL CONCERT

by Terry McNeill
Saturday, January 18, 2014

Pungent Romantic music dominated the Redwood Arts Council chamber music concert Jan. 18 in the Occidental Community Center, with an aesthetic pianistic introduction of two Bach Preludes and Fugues.

Pianist Eric Zivian brought heavy legato and a full tone to the Bach pieces in E-flat Minor (Book I, BWV 853) and C-Sharp Minor (Book II, BWV 872), taking a judicious tempo in both works and providing careful articulation and repose in the C-Sharp’s fugue. It was not Bach for those used to a pointillist sound, but led well into the thick textures of Schumann and Brahms.

Joined by cellist Tanya Tomkins and violinist Joseph Maile, Mr. Zivian led a passionate reading of Schumann’s D Minor Trio, Op. 63. A clue to the approach was a sweeping ritard by Mr. Zivian, leading to the second theme in the long and tumultuous first movement. The acoustics of the Community Center are full and direct, emphasizing the richness of the cello line, but also Mr. Maile’s thin tone and difficulties with taking notes cleanly, especially in fast ascending scale passages.

This anguished dynamism carried forward into a vigorous Scherzo, the violin and piano trading phrases, and then a slow section with haunting recitatives, sensitively played. The finale was appropriately joyous with ample instrumental virtuosity. The ensemble was not always a smooth blend, as the parched violin line and the muted sonority from the sub-professional house piano could be jarring.

Keyboard sonority was a needed component of the night’s final work, the muscular Brahms Piano Quartet in A, Op. 26. Violist Pei-Ling Lin joined the mix. The playing in the opening Allegro had fervor and underscored the composer’s mastery of counterpoint and majestic thematic material. The serene melodies of the second movement, shortly to characterize Brahms’ first piano concerto in 1867, were played lovingly and with a deep foundation of Ms. Tomkins’ rich cello line and patrician phrasing.

A fine climax was built in the dramatic finale with Mr. Zivian enjoying playing off-beat accents and small dissonances (for Brahms in 1862) in chords of seconds and thirds. The pianist's potent playing occasionally covered his colleagues, but it was of little consequence in the headlong drive to a thrilling ending.

A full house gave the four musicians a standing ovation, but no encore was offered.