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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
Green Music Center / Sunday, February 26, 2017
Yu-Chien Tseng, violin; Chang-Yong Shin, piano

Yu-Chien Tseng (l) and Chang-Yong Shin Feb. 26 in Schroeder

BRILLIANT VIOLIN AND PIANO ARTISTRY CHARMS SCHROEDER HALL AUDIENCE

by Terry McNeill
Sunday, February 26, 2017

A tiny Schroeder Hall audience heard a flawless recital Feb. 26 by Yu-Chien Tseng, arguably the best recent local violin recital since Gil Shaham’s transversal of the complete Bach Suites in Weill and Frank Almond’s Oakmont recital in 2015.

Muscular playing was the afternoon’s norm, and with pianist Chang-Yong Shin Mr. Tseng dived headlong into Mozart’s lovely B-Flat Major Sonata, K. 454. Contrapuntal lines were lucid, as were Mr. Shin’s scale passages in the hall’s clear acoustics. The allegro was weighty and dramatic, a nice contrast to the deep passionate thematic glow in the andante. Mr. Tseng exhibited a beautiful ability to softly and deftly swell on individual notes. The playing in the finale caught the brisk charm of the music, and there was effortless returning to the main theme. This Sonata seems to lead to Schubert’s music 20 years hence. It was a perfect beginning to a concert of prodigious accomplishment

Brawny playing continued in Brahms’ D Minor Sonata, Op. 108, but the score from 1888 can easily stand a powerful and often loud interpretation. All through the four-movement Sonata, the composer’s last, the unusual rhythms were mastered and the big repeated first movement section was sharply different from the first statement.

Despite initial pitch wobbles in the adagio Mr. Tseng quickly found his footing and played expressively and without affectations. Tempos throughout seemed just right, fast when needed but never hurried. The chorale section of the last movement briefly relieved the tension and the duo forged ahead to a roaring bass heavy Brahms ending. It was a dynamic performance with virtuoso work from both artists.

Following intermission Mr. Tseng returned for Bach’s solo Partita in D Minor, BWV 1004. Here again it was a mature and finished reading, stressing fluidity of phrase and omitting many of the short pauses often heard in this magnificent composition. Mr. Tseng played with even trills, no portamento, little rubato and at the end of the concluding Chaconne he held notes to unusual length. He did not emphasize his instrument’s lower register and instead established a balanced sonic architecture over the five extended dance-like sections. His Bach was worthy to stand with Mr. Shaham’s performance.

Closing the concert, which had no encore, was Wieniawski’s frothy but difficult Variations on and Original Theme, Op. 15. This was perhaps a Sonoma County premiere performance, and Mr. Tseng’s formidable technique was up to every skip, double stop, octave, slide, harmonic, sforzando and speedy scale. Mr. Shin did not shrink from the music foray, and in solo sections he played more forcefully and louder than his partner, which in this flashy 12-minute work took some doing.

The waltz ending and coda were brilliantly performed, and generated loud applause.