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Chamber
STYLISH HAYDN QUARTETS CLOSE GREEN ROOM SERIES
by Terry McNeill
Sunday, May 9, 2021
Completing the Green Music Center’s spring series series of “Green Room” virtual concerts, the St. Lawrence String Quartet played May 9 a lightweight program of two Haydn works. Lightweight perhaps, but in every way satisfying. The G Major Quartet (Op. 76, No.1) began the music that was supplement...
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 REVIEW
Mastercard Performance Series / Friday, November 13, 2015
Juilliard String Quartet: Joseph Lin and Ronald Copes, violin; Roger Tapping, viola; Joel Krosnick, cello

Juilliard String Quartet

STERLING QUARTET MUSIC FROM THE JUILLIARD IN WEILL

by Terry McNeill
Friday, November 13, 2015

Mozart’s C Minor Quartet, K. 465, has had the sobriquet “dissonant” almost since its 1785 composition, but the word really doesn’t seem to apply. It’s a buoyant work, after an initial, deep melancholy and minor key clashes are overcome.

In their Nov. 13 Weill Hall concert the Juilliard String Quartet made the Mozart the evening’s cornerstone before an appreciative audience of 700 chamber music fans. All four movements received a reading of meticulous attention to attack, phrasing and instrumental balance. The opening Adagio-Allegro was played at a quick tempo (after the introductory musical pessimism) with an elegant cello line from long-time JSQ member Joel Krosnick. The featherweight ending led to a light vibrato plaintive Andante Cantabile movement in a sometime instrumental question and answer mode.

The finale had an impish quality and first violinist Joseph Lin played the big themes with vigor and a bright but never forced tone. The Juilliard played this from score, as they did the entire program.

Beginning the first half was Schubert’s Quartettstatz (D. 703), a one-movement curiosity that in its ten-minute playing time might benefit with additional sections, but this performance stood well on its own. The opening swelling tremolos in all four instruments gave way to conciliatory themes and slimmed down (for Schubert) and often clipped phrases. The string blend was pure and beguiling.

Debussy’s single quartet from 1893 comprised the entire second half, and of course all was in order for this seasoned ensemble. Atmospheric beauty was present throughout the four movements, and the harmonic territory of the Andantino, doucement expressif and the pizzicato writing in the second movement must have been novel when the piece was first heard. The plucking was almost shimmering. There was never any hurry to get anywhere in this performance, and in the Andantino violist Roger Tapping played beautifully, giving and taking back a rich theme with Mr. Lin. In places the string vibrato was deftly adjusted to heighten contrast. It was a shaded and subdued playing, a watercolor of sound.

Clean lines were heard in the finale, despite the richness of the writing and the chaste fugato from Mr. Krosnick that leads upwards to the ostinato lines of his three colleagues. The captivating Debussy brought a standing ovation and Mr. Lin announced one encore, the third movement from Schubert’s D Minor Quartet, “Death and the Maiden.” This Scherzo is a wild dance that demands quick virtuosity at every turn, but this sterling group was its master as they were throughout the concert.

Nicki Bell contributed to this review.