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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

Lincoln Trio Nov. 7 at Spring Lake Village with Robert Hayden

LUMINOUS FAURE TOPS LINCOLN TRIO'S SPRING LAKE VILLAGE CONCERT

by Terry McNeill
Wednesday, November 7, 2018

Familiarity in chamber music often evokes warm appreciation, and it was thus Nov. 7 when the Chicago-based Lincoln Piano Trio made one of their many Sonoma County appearances, this time on the Spring Lake Village Classical Music Series.

Regularly presented by local impresario Robert Hayden, the Lincoln played an abbreviated program of four works, beginning with a short “Silver Dagger”, composed for them by Stacy Garrop. Pianist Marta Asnavoorian’s tapping the strings from above started the short, atmospheric work that featured Desíree Ruhstrat’s violin line sliding in and out of notes in the high register, and cellist David Cunliff playing an often drone-like underpinning and a slow dissonant folk tune wound around pedal point piano phrase. Curiously the work didn’t sound contemporary.

Fauré’s D Minor Trio, Op. 120, followed, and though not contemporary it was at the first notes of the allegro full of softly swirling echt harmonies and rhythms that one knew it was the product the French master. Fine ensemble playing was heard and the Lincoln built the many small climaxes deftly, with often modulations seamlessly unfolding. Beautiful playing followed in the andantino where Ms. Asnavoorian played the cantando espressivo theme with charming grace and didn’t cover her colleagues. The Lincoln captured the yearning sad character of the movement.

Ms. Ruhstrat and Mr. Cunliffe dug into their strings in the finale allegro in an approach that was never jocular, but close. Urgency and wonderfully lively rhythmic breaks characterized the performance, with much spontaneous excitement that developed in the five-minute movement. A convincing Fauré performance demands a refined sensibility and an urbane sound, and the Lincoln delivered it.

Joaquin Turina’s early F Major Trio has been a Lincoln specialty, played and recorded far less than the Op. 35 and Op. 76 Turina Trios. The four-movement piece at times has reference to the two Arensky and other Russian Trios, and the playing in the opening lento – allegro had strong thematic projection in the march-like themes, and pedal point in the piano part. Slow descending passages characterized the andante, a beguiling threnody. Ms. Aznavoorian’s octave playing was forceful, and the big climax had a Spanish sound. Unison string playing was very good, often in the higher registers, and the lively scherzo with pizzicato strings was surprisingly lightweight.

Muscular and loud playing was heard in the concluding andante grandiose, a fast and impulsive romp that had echoes of the music of Franck and Bizet. Fauré chamber compositions masterfully combine throttled excitement with elegance, and the Lincoln conveyed these characteristics perfectly. Applause was generous but not loud.

A short and intense work by Juan Antonio Cuellar, a Colombian composer associated with the University of Indiana, closed then program. It was a jerky piece, menacing, dissonant and replete with repetitive phrases. A samba rhythm rolled in and the Lincoln gave the interpretation instrumental power and excitement. The specter of Gustavo Dudamel’s athletic conducting and musical juice came to mind.

On the next day the Lincoln Trio played a slightly expanded version of this program in the Music at Oakmont Series in Berger Auditorium.