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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.