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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 Einav Yarden

PIANISM OF SUBSTANCE AND CONTROL

by Terry McNeill
Thursday, October 16, 2014

Israeli pianist Einav Yarden has had several past Sonoma County appearances, but her Oct. 16 Music at Oakmont recital exhibited a new and attractive level of resolute programming, instrumental mastery and impressive musicianship.

She played three substantial works, including the opening Second English Suite of Bach (BWV 807), which was in many ways the most memorable. The Prelude was lively but never too fast, allowing clarity in the mainly two-voiced contrapuntal lines, and leading smoothly into the stately Allemande and a Courante of rhythmic complexity.

Ms. Yarden used minimal damper pedal throughout, enhancing a chaste pianissimo touch in the expressive Sarabande and providing lucidity in the concluding Gigue. There isn’t much dynamic contrast in the two Bourrées and in the da capo part of the Gigue, but it’s a low-temperature work that mated well with the artist’s interpretation and mood.

Closing the first half was Ravel’s popular "Valses Nobles et Sentimentales," a series of eight connected pieces that range from a forceful opening to a delicate closing waltz recapitulation. The playing of each captured ample mystery and chordal structure, especially in the Assez lent and Assez animé waltzes. It was thoughtful and at times pensive playing in a work that in lesser hands can sound raucous.

Occupying the entire second half was the monumental Schubert G Major Sonata, D. 894, one of the composer’s four last sonatas. It took courage to program in Oakmont a restrained work that can take close to 45 minutes to play, with extended themes and long repetitions. But it’s a heavenly length and as in the Bach, the pianist opted for judicious tempos throughout. She brought the long crescendo in the first movement’s development section to a firm but not loud climax, and contrasted it with the rest of the movement’s lyrical serenity. In fact the entire recital didn’t have any fortissimo playing, the music instead demanding the artist’s careful chordal weighting and rhythmic control. The lovely motive where the left hand plays legato single notes against short right-hand figurations was captivatingly played, each of the six times being slightly different.

The Minuetto-Allegretto was appropriately played in a dance-like manner and the finale (Allegretto) was spacious and convincing. It’s a difficult work to sustain and Ms. Yarden’s approach to each work in the recital had to be taken on its own terms. I found all of the playing compelling. There was no encore.

One hundred and fifty attended the recital in Berger Auditorium, which has a continuously noisy HVAC system.