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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....
RECITAL REVIEW

Pianist Jeffrey Kahane

KAHANE RECITAL HELPS INAUGURATE SCHROEDER HALL

by Terry McNeill
Saturday, August 23, 2014

Jeffrey Kahane returns frequently to Sonoma County in conducting and concerto performance, but rarely in recital. Two past solo events come to mind, a "fantasy" program where the Copland outshone the Schumann and Chopin, and an uneven concert capped by Chopin's F Minor Ballade.

A jammed Schroeder Hall audience heard Mr. Kahane August 23 in a short recital during the opening weekend's events. He began with Beethoven's C Minor "Pathétique" Sonata, Op. 13. After playing a riveting slow first-movement statement, he selected a tempo that he could not sustain without wrong notes and blurred scales. He took the repeat and emphasized momentum and sharp contrasts at the expense of sonic clarity.

The Adagio movement had a stable tempo and lovely phrasing, but in the finale Mr. Kahane returned to a muscular approach, the Sonata's drama finally overcoming pianistic transparency.

Four Chopin works concluded the afternoon, and though the pianist understands the structural nature of the pieces, he is not an innate Chopin interpreter. The E Flat Nocturne of Op. 55 had little rhythmic subtlety and was over-pedaled, a shadow of Friedman's iconic 1936 recording. The arpeggiated final chord was novel, and the repeated A flats in the treble were bursts of beguiling light.

Two Mazurkas followed from Op. 56 (C Minor, No. 3) and Op. 50 (C-Sharp Minor, No. 3). These were workmanlike readings, a little loud for the small hall, with the middle section of the wonderful C-Sharp Minor receiving the most persuasive playing. Chopin's mazurkas are tiny gems with amazing harmonic twists that Mr. Kahane played with finish but not with the requisite deft touch and rhythmic "lift."

A specialty piece for the pianist, the Op. 52 Ballade was given a passionate performance where the parts didn't quite add up to a potent whole. Here too much damper pedal muddied and clipped the endings of phrases, and passagework and right-hand chords were blurred. The chorale section was beautifully shaped, taking advantage of the Schroeder piano's mellow tone quality. In less than 10 minutes Chopin wrote a work of cosmic power and visceral impact, both carefully unfolding under Mr. Kahane's fingers and feet but never quite scaling an emotional peak.

A standing ovation brought an encore of Schubert's B Flat Impromptu from Op. 142. The swirls of left-hand notes were captivating and the long fermata quietly ended the Schroeder's first piano recital.