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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

Tilden Trio

TILDEN TRIO'S BOHEMIAN ENERGY AT DOMINICAN CONCERT

by Terry McNeill
Sunday, March 3, 2019

Hard on the heels of the Trio Navarro’s late February concert in Sonoma State’s Schroeder Hall, Northern California’s other premiere resident piano trio, the Tilden, played an equally convincing program March 3 in Dominican University’s Angelico Hall.

Clearly each hall’s acoustics, stage pianos and group temperament contributed to subtle but discernable stylistic differences, with the Navarro perhaps more elegant and the Tilden more gregarious. Such differences in chamber music are always welcome.

Dvorak’s eminent E Minor “Dumky” Trio, Op. 90, was the afternoon’s highlight and drew an athletic reading that was alternatively fiery and gay, and then melancholic and sad. Each of the six movements was played with thematically contrasting motives, some rustic and toccata like, and the restless music from 1891 was never quiet for long. Violinist Sarn Oliver deftly changed his sound in fast passages from the opening lento maestoso – allegro to restless high register playing with eerie falling fifths and a “far away” unison string duo with cellist Peter Wyrick’s dark-hued sound. Strange modulations characterize one instrument’s following another with the Tilden’s performance full of folk-music charm laced with mastery of the work’s complex structure and lack of cyclic sonata form.

It was a propulsive reading with the dance aspects emphasized, all the more stark with many melancholic and rhythmic parts and ostinato playing in the andante moderato from pianist June Choi Oh. The counterpoint was everywhere clear and the Tilden’s conception of Dvorak’s greatest chamber work was extravagant and vital.

Mr. Oliver and Ms. Choi Oh opened the concert with Brahms’ great G Major Sonata, Op. 78. Judicious tempos were the rule of the performance and the violinist’s tonal projection was not large, but certainly big enough when the soaring melodic line demanded it. As in the Dvorak, Ms. Choi Oh was not a reticent pianist and in the desirable bass heavy lines toward the glorious ending of the vivace ma non troppo the playing has to reach majestic heights, and the duo captured them. There is a C-Sharp octave in the piano’s deep bass six bars before the end that for a moment covered the violin line, perhaps needed in a performance that nailed Brahms’ muscular genius, and here it was all of a piece.

Pianissimo and double stop playing in the laconic adagio was lovely, leading to a richly hued fermata at the end, and a seamless transition to the finale (allegro molto) where Mr. Oliver’s pliant phrasing and warm tonal color led inexorably to a quietly radiant finish. The duo was able to deftly connect the thematic relationships of the first and last movements in an interpretation ultimately more poetic than burley. It was a stylish and convincing reading.

Ending the first half was Suk’s early C Minor Trio, Op. 2, in a performance than could have been a North Bay premiere. There are echoes of Dvorak and Dohnanyi in the music but not a whiff of contemporary German or Russian composers. Ms. Choi Oh spoke from the stage about Suk and the influence of Dvorak and Brahms. The playing of the opening vivace ma non troppo had a healthy Bohemian glow with potent chords from the piano and the theme in the strings.

It was followed by the most “Dvorakian” adagio, the first charming theme played by the cello, and in subtle crescendo and decrescendo and enchanting unison playing from Mr. Wyrick and Mr. Oliver. At places it sounded lightly rhapsodic. A brisk tempo and syncopated rhythms were heard in the finale, with Ms. Choi Oh’s energetic playing carrying the agitated music to sparkling conclusion.

Applause from the 100 attendees was ample.