Home  Reviews  Articles  Calendar  Presenters  Add Event     
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
SPLENDID STRINGS IN A SUNLIT GARDEN
by Abby Wasserman
Sunday, November 1, 2020
A sun-drenched autumn afternoon, a Marin County garden and six superb string players from the Santa Rosa Symphony were manna from heaven to a pandemic-weary audience starved for live music. The sextet of Santa Rosa Symphony musicians performed to a small group of 20 Nov. 1, the day after Halloween....
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.