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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

Jeewon Park and Edward Arron

RICH PALETTE OF CELLO COLORS IN ARRON-PARK OAKMONT RECITAL

by Terry McNeill
Thursday, January 8, 2015

Rachmaninoff’s haunting cello sonata highlighted Music at Oakmont’s first 2015 concert Jan. 8 in the retirement community’s spacious Berger Auditorium.

In a reading that was both muscular and lush cellist Edward Arron and pianist Jeewon Park explored the ripe romanticism of the Russian’s 1901 G Minor work, replete with references from the F Minor Piano Concerto of ten years earlier. It was played sumptuously with initially fast tempos and piquant inner voices. Mr. Arron is a cellist with an approach mid way between Sonoma County favorites, adding some of Zuill Bailey’s architectural phrasing and some of Yo Yo Ma’s extravagant sonority to his virtuoso execution.

Ms. Park was not a note perfect pianist in this expansive piece (who is with Rachmaninoff’s piano demanding writing?) but never covered her partner. Balances throughout were clear and the glorious Andante movement (really a Largo) had autumnal shape and emotional depth.

The finale was a tour de force of potent chamber music with noble passages, lovely long ritards leading to the rollicking coda and an equally long and swelling vibrato on the cello’s last note.

Two Beethoven works formed most of the first half, the early Variations on “Bei Mănnern” from Mozart’s opera “The Magic Flute,” and the C Major Sonata, Op. 102, No. 1. Playing from score as he did throughout the afternoon Mr. Arron perfectly combined his sonority with the piano line in the seven Variations, and many high notes near the end had an ethereal whine and a Turkish flavor. In the Sonata, Beethoven’s fourth, the music is far removed from the often impetuous third Sonata, and this performance underscored the cello’s lower register in the slow introductions to each of the two movements. The artist’s intonation was sure as was his spicatto bow technique. His instrument can growl as well as lyrically exalt, and both artists managed the long phrases in the introductions with consummate ease and beauty. It was a performance of depth and attention to the smallest detail.

Piazzolla’s Le Grand Tango closed the first half, a 1982 composition that was packed with snazzy tasks for Mr. Arron – fast scale passages, slides that were a shadow of portamento, delightful sonic blurs and strongly syncopated rhythmic playing from both Ms. Park and Mr. Arron. The piece surpasses the more popular “Liber Tango” in complexity and impact, and it brought the first of two standing ovations from the 150 in the hall.

For an encore, Mr. Arron spoke to the audience about “cooling down” from the sonorous Rachmaninoff ending, and played a delectable six-minute Dvorak “Silent Woods,” an 1893 transcription by the composer from a two-piano suite. It had harmonies of early Richard Strauss, and the quiet melancholy and leave taking of the work left the audience in a brief reverie.

In technical accomplishment and interpretative richness it was one of the finest cello recitals in memory on the North Coast.