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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

H. McCarroll and M. Scott

CELLO-PIANO DUO IN HUSKY SPRING LAKE VILLAGE PROGRAM

by Terry McNeill
Wednesday, September 5, 2018

Two thirds of the way through a stimulating 22-concert season the Spring Lake Village Classical Music Series Sept. 5 presented two splendid cello sonatas before 110 people in the Village’s Montgomery auditorium.

A duo for more than a decade, East Bay musicians cellist Monica Scott and pianist Hadley McCarroll began with Shostakovich’s D Minor Sonata, Op. 40, in a performance that captured the composer’s contrasts of contemplation and drama. Playing from score, as they did throughout, the duo’s sound carried well in the acoustically bright hall, and they chose in the opening allegro a judicious tempo that continued into the slow march with a hint of menace. Ms. Scott wove a lovely threnody above the piano, though often the tone was harsh. But this music supports this often-raw string sound. A slower than expected tempo continued into the scherzo, giving the music a little less frenzy and more air but lacking sonic punch.

Ms. Scott’s best playing came in the wonderful largo with rich bottom-end register sonority. There was a beguiling ascending phrase at the end, followed by a descending one with thirds to close. The finale (allegro) was well played and Ms. McCarroll’s fast scales half pedaled and clear. A witty reading of the 1934 work.

Beethoven’s short C Major Sonata (Op. 102, No. 1) doesn’t have the impact of the Shostakovich, or the Ginastera that followed, but in two extended movements the two instruments were treated with consummate beauty. The stately introductory andante was lovely, the syncopated rhythms robust, though Ms. McCarroll’s trills were often muddy. The extended adagio allegro vivace again had a quiet beginning, leading to sharp thematic contrasts and phrasing that was “cat and mouse.” The duo’s playing in this inventive movement caught the composer’s humor and joy and, though often subtle, was for me the recital’s highlight.

Ginastera’s early music, especially the Piano Sonata and the Danzas Argentinas, are never subtle and never lacking in energy. The Op. 21, No. 2, Pampeanas is popular with cellists, was written in 1951, and is in three large sections. It’s a short work that featured Ms. Scott’s long, wailing high-register phrases and efficient bow control, with double stops. The ostinato piano part supported Ms. Scott’s virtuosic and propulsive playing, especially in fast repeated notes. The duo made the thick textures and frantic momentum palpable, and received a loud ovation.

No encore was played.

The Shostakovich Sonata, with Fauré’s First Sonata, will be played Sept. 9 in a recital in the Occidental Performing Arts Center in Occidental.