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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

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.