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SIX GUITARISTS IN UNIQUE NAPA RECITAL
by Gary Digman
Sunday, July 25, 2021
The first Napa Valley Guitar Festival was held at Napa’s First Presbyterian Church July 25, and featured performances from six classical guitarists. The Church is an iconic structure in downtown Napa, its huge white presence dominating the scene, and the white theme continues inside punctuated by be
Chamber
CLARA SCHUMANN TRIO COMMANDS VOM CHAMBER MUSIC CONCERT AT HANNA
by Terry McNeill
Saturday, July 24, 2021
The Valley of the Moon Chamber Music Series has begun several virtual and a few live concerts in its new seventh season, some broadcast from Sonoma’s Hanna Center Hall and some in posh local venues. July 24’s video had a small live audience and a well-produced video program of three works. Titled “
Chamber
EXEMPLARY QUARTET PLAYING IN MENDO FESTIVAL FT. BRAGG CONCERT
by Terry McNeill
Wednesday, July 21, 2021
Faced with the impossibility of presenting concerts in the iconic large white tent on the bluff, the Mendocino Music Festival opted to use Ft. Bragg’s Cotton Auditorium for ten events in the abbreviated 35th season. San Francisco’s Alexander String Quartet played July 21 to a fully masked audience
Chamber
ECLECTIC PROGRAMMING AT PIANOSONOMA CONCERT IN SCHROEDER HALL
by Pamela Hicks Gailey
Tuesday, July 20, 2021
After a dark year bereft of live performance, pianoSonoma launched July 20 the first Vino & Vibrato concert of the 2021 season in Sonoma State's Schroeder Hall, albeit sadly senza vino due to Covid protocols. Three exceptional musicians showered the audience with an interesting variety of pia
Chamber
RARELY-PLAYED SCHUMANN HIGHLIGHTS HEALDSBURG RECITAL
by Terry McNeill
Saturday, July 10, 2021
Brave New Music sporadically produces concerts in and around Healdsburg, and July 10’s violin recital in downtown St. Paul’s Church must have been one of the first post-lockdown, post-be-extra-careful classical music concerts in Sonoma County's summer season. New Music Founder Gary McLaughlin with
Chamber
ECHOS ON A WARM SUMMER NIGHT
by Abby Wasserman
Saturday, July 10, 2021
ECHO Chamber Orchestra’s first concert in a year and a half, “A Musical Promenade,” was a promenade indeed. When patrons arrived at San Anselmo’s First Presbyterian Church for the 6:00 performance July 10, they were funneled through the garden to the Duncan Hall patio, where folding chairs were set
Chamber
LONG DISTANCE LOVE BEGINS VOM SUMMER FESTIVAL
by Pamela Hicks Gailey
Thursday, June 24, 2021
The Valley of the Moon Music Festival offered a 7th season preview June 24 with a stunning online concert, aptly named Long Distance Love, featuring inspired performances of Beethoven's short song cycle An die ferne Geliebte,, and selections from Brahms’ beloved Liebeslieder Wal
Recital
ROMERO'S ARTISTRY IN SLV RECITAL PROGRAMMING AND PERFORMANCE
by Terry McNeill
Wednesday, June 2, 2021
Gustavo Romero has been an admired visitor to North Bay stages, playing over a decade recitals at Dominican University, the Music at Oakmont concerts and at the Spring Lake Village Concert Series. He returned June 2 to SLV in a virtual recital, videoed from his home concert hall the University of N
RUBICON'S VIRTUAL CONCERT A MALANGE OF CONTRASTS
by Terry McNeill
Sunday, May 16, 2021
The inaugural concert of a new Mendocino County chamber group is a reason for celebration, and the Rubicon Trio made the most of a mixed musical menu during a May16 virtual concert. Presented by the Ukiah Symphony Orchestra as the last in their “Salons with the Symphony” Series, the Rubicon began w
Recital
PIANO VIRTUOSITY IN YAKUSHEV'S REDWOOD ARTS RECITAL
by Nicki Bell
Sunday, May 16, 2021
Russian pianist Ilya Yakushev’s recital for the Redwood Arts Council was perhaps the local season’s virtual music at the greatest distance, as the filming May 16 came from a church in St. Petersburg. And good filming it was, with multiple camera viewpoints of the church, full and split screens and
CHAMBER REVIEW

Tilden Trio Feb. 11 in Angelico Hall

NOVEL AND FAMILIAR WORKS FROM THE TILDEN TRIO

by Terry McNeill
Sunday, February 11, 2018

North Coast chamber music fans have the luxury of two fine resident piano trios, with the frequently performing Trio Navarro at Sonoma State, and the Tilden Trio at San Rafael’s Dominican University. The Tilden plays less often, but their Feb. 11 performance brought several hundred to Angelico Hall to hear a sterling program.

A novelty opened the concert, Hummel’s E-Flat Major Trio, Op. 93, and it was probably a local premiere. There were flashes of his contemporary Beethoven in the expansive allegro, though taken at a slower than usual tempo. Pianist June Choi Oh played with smooth scales and prominence, and Peter Wyrick’s cello line sounded full. Violinist Sean Oliver had intonation problems in the initial thematic statements but quickly found his footing.

Hummel’s larghetto was played with careful emotion, and in the concluding finale the piano part was quite fast, with the left hand pedal point sporadically blurred (by design?). Much of the music had a fugal character and was a refreshing and convincing break from the more common period trios of Haydn, Mozart and early Beethoven.

From the stage Ms. Oh made announcements and the trio moved to Jennifer Higdon’s Pale Yellow, an 8-minute part of a 2003 composition. As with most of this composer’s work Pale Yellow was easily approachable, and in this case atmospheric. The cello and violin have the big themes, the latter mostly in the high register. The Tilden played it as a long-line lament, sad but also soaring with soft marching chords from Ms. Oh. Each instrument seamlessly rose and receded into the sonic mix, and this saturated-with-color score finally resolved with the musical sun coming out. A splendid choice.

As a consummate orchestral cellist Mr. Wyrick seldom is in the soloist spotlight, but was in this concert partnering with Ms. Oh and playing Chopin’s effervescent Op. 3 Introduction et Polonaise Brillante. It was performed at a very slow tempo and with the cellist’s well-known dynamic control, but was not note perfect. The operatic ending (Donizetti? Bellini?) was elegant. He played without score.

Concluding the program was Schubert’s seminal first Trio (Op. 99) in B-Flat Major, and here was the best ensemble playing of the afternoon. In the opening allegro a lot is going on, and Mr. Wyrick’s projection of the big second theme was lovely. In the famous andante the Tilden choose a pokey tempo, as in the classic Cortot/Casals/Thibaud recording, but as in current interpretations they avoided the latter Trio’s uber-romantic ritards and phrasing. The violin and cello duet over a slow rocking piano line was beguiling. There was even a nod towards ländler-like phrases, playful and exquisite. The scherzo playing was trim, breezy and not overplayed.

Tight ensemble continued in the rondo finale, a long but satisfying collection of lovely themes and effects. Often listeners new to Schubert are perplexed, saying “not another repeat!” or “it’s so long,” but for the Tilden musicians it was a heavenly length. The continual contrasts and urgent piano dissonances were compelling, and the 1828 work finished with flair and loud audience applause.

No encore was offered. Pianist Kevin Kenner continues the Guest Artist Series April 8 in Angelico with an all-Chopin program.