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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...
RECITAL REVIEW
Music at Oakmont / Sunday, April 10, 2016
Jeffrey Kahane, piano

Pianist Jeffrey Kahane

OAKMONT 25TH ANNIVERSARY CONCERT FEATURES KAHANE'S SCHUBERT AND CHOPIN

by Terry McNeill
Sunday, April 10, 2016

Jeffery Kahane spreads his musical largess widely. Since leaving a Sonoma County residence for Colorado the pianist has returned often for performances, the most recent the wildly successful ChamberFest series at the Green Music Center last summer.

April 10 found him again in Sonoma County, this time in recital before one of the largest attendances ever in Oakmont’s Berger Auditorium. It was a gala 25th Anniversary occasion for Music at Oakmont, and the artist mounted a probing performance of mostly familiar music to many raucous ovations.

The opening Rameau “Le Rappel des Oiseaux” and Couperin’s enigmatic “Les Barricades Mystérieuses” quickly disclosed the mood of the artist: mellow and elegant. This was not to be an afternoon of high drama, as I have heard from Mr. Kahane’s Beethoven readings. Le Rappel began judiciously, far slower than a pianist such as Gyorgy Sokolov chooses, and in the enigmatic Barricades the theme swelled beautifully out of a subdued and chaste fabric.

Two of the four pieces from Debussy’s 1890 Suite Bergamasque followed, the staccato chords of the Menuet clear and the legato touch in thirds and textures of the famous Clair de Lune were flowing and graceful. Audience appreciation of the familiar movement was instant and warm.

Three of Schubert’s four Op. 90 Impromptus (D. 899) ended the first half and were the recital’s highlight. Mr. Kahane adopted a detaché touch in parts of all three, all the better for the rippling and mostly halcyon music. The E-Flat Major was played fast but never above mezzo forte with deft pianistic modulating in the idle and subtly shaped phrases. Nothing was forced in the bucolic G-Flat Major, and in the concluding A-Flat Major Impromptu the artist’s impeccable right hand scales and poetic playing were rapturous. Anton Rubinstein called Schubert “sunshine in music,” and the pianist’s traversal of the Impromptus was radiant and refined.

After an extended intermission the mostly Chopin half began with two Mazurkas, the Op. 56, No 3 in C Minor, and the C-Sharp Minor, Op. 50, No. 3. If memory serves Mr. Kahane’s Mazurkas could border on the prosaic, but on this occasion each was beautifully shaped and even underplayed. The first had a lovely meandering quality, and the long C-Sharp Minor’s contrapuntal parts and many modulations were played with deep conviction. The ending notes of the Op. 50 were held until the line almost broke, but of course didn’t.

In his only words to the audience the artist announced substitution for a Chopin Waltz, Mendelssohn’s E-Flat Major (Op. 67) Song Without Words. A favorite work of his late mother Lori Kahane (an Oakmont resident), the playing stressed rich harmonic texture and nostalgia.

Of the final two extended Chopin, the Op. 61 Polonaise-Fantasie fared best, and the artist made it into a tone poem of probing beauty and harmonic growth. This late Chopin can sound loose structurally in lesser hands, but the artist was able to couple an improvisatory approach with lovely tonal shadings, while still holding the Polonaise rhythms.

I have heard Mr. Kahane play several times the great F Minor Ballade, Op. 52, and have never quite been on his wave length regarding its interpretation. As in the past he played the score energetically and accurately but without conveying its majesty and compelling emotional authority. In many places this music can be intensely Wagnerian (with themes that are vocal in character) as in the widely opposite recordings of Horowitz and Hofmann, but the pianist’s disposition today went in different directions. Applause was strong but not extended.

In a rare Oakmont turnabout there was no demand for an encore, and none was forthcoming.