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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

J. Guggenheim, C. Sindell and Hamilton Cheifetz March 8 at Spring Lake Village

FLORESTAN TRIO'S MENDELSSOHN AT SPRING LAKE VILLAGE CONCERT

by Terry McNeill
Friday, March 8, 2019

Spring Lake Village’s monthly concerts usually clock in under an hour, but the March 8 Florestan Trio’s performance was more extended as so much good music was on tap for the 125 residents attending at Santa Rosa’s premiere retirement residence facility.

Four short pieces made up the first half, beginning with Handel’s G Minor Passacaglia for violin and cello in an 1897 arrangement by Johan Halvorsen. The variations were briskly played with much pizzicato and high register violin sound from Carol Sindell. Catalan cellist Gaspar Cassadó’s transcription of the intermezzo from Granados’ Goyescas followed, which cellist Hamilton Cheifetz announced was a piece familiar to him for decades, but only recently learned. Mr. Cheifetz’ tone was round over pianist Janet Guggenheim’s tremolos in the bass, and the juxtaposition of instrumental sonority was fetching.

Mr. Cheifetz introduced the Haydn Divertimento (arr. Piatigorsky) by speaking about his teacher Janos Starker, and the three section work began with a slow adagio rich in bottom register cello sound. The concluding allegro was played vigorously and with a lilting character. Ms. Guggenheim was a fluent and attentive pianist in this sparkling music.

Mendelssohn’s ever-popular D Minor Trio, Op. 49, was the concert’s chief work, and received a reading with a range of moods. Slow arpeggios in the piano part supported the opening melodious theme from Mr. Cheifetz and the music was alternatively melancholy and dramatic, though the violin part was not prominent and not always clear. Ensemble in the andante’s heart-on-sleeve was excellent. Surprisingly Ms. Guggenheim found some inner voices in the yearning romanticism, but as throughout the 1839 work little interest was shown in extended ritards.

The scherzo always has an “only Mendelssohn could have written this” effect, and the Florestan played it very well with small murmurs of appreciation from the audience. Musical momentum carried into the dance-like finale but here clarity was cloudy as the piano part tended to overwhelm the strings, especially when the violin needed more sonic projection. Phrasing was conventional and the attractive second theme was warm and compelling. It was a muscular interpretation of the Mendelssohn first Trio that at the same time was tastefully orthodox.

Prior to the Mendelssohn Ms. Sindell and Ms. Guggenheim played the John Williams theme from the movie Schindler’s List, and the lament of the beguiling composition moved over a long line to a beautiful ending high e note in the violin.