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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...
CHAMBER REVIEW

Cellist Edward Arron

A COMPLETE MUSICAL PACKAGE IN ARRON'S OAKMONT RECITAL

by Terry McNeill
Thursday, January 10, 2019

Cellist Edward Arron has been a welcome artist at the Music at Oakmont series, and after his Jan. 10 recital it’s easy to understand his popularity. His artistry is a complete package, with potent instrumental technique wedded to integral musical conceptions.

In a nearly flawless concert with pianist Jeewon Park Mendelssohn’s charming Op. 17 Variations were elegantly played with increasing energy and virtuosity in the first five variations. Ms. Park’s fluent sale passages combined with the cellist’s expressive rhythms in fine ensemble, with the sixth variation a sublime and exalted song of harmonic richness where Mr. Arron held a long mid-register A note over the theme in the piano part. An exquisite reading.

Equally fine playing continued with Falla’s Suite Popular Española, originally a series of six songs transcribed for a cello-piano duo in the early 1920s. A Spanish flair is heard throughout the 14-minute work, and Mr. Arron altered his sound from the Mendelssohn, adopting a drier tone and less intense vibrato. Highlights of the playing were “Nana” (No. 2) and “Asturiana” (No. 5), the first a captivating slow lament with the cello in the high register, the second wavering between major and minor in lovely contrast. In “Canción” the cellist deftly leaned into notes for effect, and repeated the short figurations with judicious care. There were hints in the music of Falla’s tuneful ballets.

Following the Falla Mr. Arron left the stage to Ms. Park and Chopin’s G Minor Ballade, Op. 23. The accepted performance approach to this work is orchestral sonority and bravado in the Slavic tradition (Hofmann’s titanic 1937 Met Opera House version) but on this afternoon in the small Berger Auditorium Ms. Park surprisingly adopted a restrained interpretation with slow tempos, extended fermatas and modest drama. I suspect this novel realization of Chopin’s unfolding musical story found approval in many of the audience of 150, but the poky tempos lacked momentum and power at points, including the right-hand octave passages at the return of the second theme (though they were clearly played) and the long single note and octave runs in both hands in the coda. Romantic traditions in repeats, octave doublings and inner voices were outside of the pianist’s interest.

Brahms’ F Major Op. 99 Sonata occupied the entire second half, and the Arron-Park duo gave it the muscular momentum the work demands. Some of Ms. Park’s best playing of the afternoon came in this piece, with admirable textural clarity in the opening allegro vivace, and Mr. Arron’s masterful bowing technique at times generating a rumbling sound, as he alternated bow pressure in phrases. Fine ensemble characterized the adagio with it’s heart-on-sleeve melody and tiny artful instrumental crescendos and decrescendos.

The scherzo received an energetic reading with seamless connections between the wildly contrasting sections, and wonderful soft playing. The finale had the requisite majesty of conception, and its overall sprightly nature was helped by Ms. Park using a seco touch at times. Mr. Arron’s playing here clothed the always-vigorous Brahmsian themes in a beguiling lyricism. Again, he commands a decisive package of virtuosity and imagination.

The performance drew a standing ovation and one encore, Schumann’s Stücke Im Volkston, Op. 102, No. 5. It was an enchanting lullaby, delicate and warmly played.

Listeners that love the great Brahms Sonata can hear it locally again Feb. 10, when Amit Peled plays both Brahms Sonatas at 3 p.m. in the Occidental Performing Arts Center in the Redwood Arts Council series.