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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
RECITAL REVIEW
Sky Hill Cultural Alliance / Sunday, September 22, 2019
Elizabeth Walter pianist

Elizabeth Walter Playing Mozart Sept. 22 in Petaluma

GINASTERA'S PERCUSSIVE SONATA SHINES IN WALTER'S PETALUMA RECITAL

by Terry McNeill
Sunday, September 22, 2019

Elizabeth Walter has had considerable impact on Petaluma’s classical music scene, actively promoting music programs in schools, producing concerts through her Sky Hill Cultural Alliance, and playing benefit concerts to raise funds for music in area schools. Sporadically she performs just for the music itself, and Sept. 22 found her in recital in the cozy Petaluma Historical Museum.

Programming four sonatas and playing from score throughout, the artist began with Mozart’s lyrical B Flat Sonata, K. 333, in a performance that featured relaxed tempos and conventional phrasing. The house piano has a bright and tonally thin top end that surprisingly added to the thematic and harmonic clarity. Trills in the charming andante cantabile were even, and in the extended rondo Ms. Walter departed from her temperate reading by letting in some musical “light” in the novel cadenza. The section is unique to Mozart’s 18 principal sonatas, and it was played with brio.

Beethoven’s early C Minor Sonata, Op. 13 (“Pathétique”) completed the first half, with Ms. Walter emphasizing some of the raw drama in the writing, with a judicious tempo in the opening grave-allegro. The held fermatas were loud and delicious. A strict tempo characterized the lovely adagio with just a little speed up in the middle, and steadfast rhythms in the rondo finale. Right-hand voices were underscored and sonic emphasis was changed where Ms. Walter wanted more sound in close hand positions.

In announcing Ravel’s Sonatine (a short sonata) from 1905, the pianist mentioned that it’s mostly a nostalgic minuet, and that her dog is named “minuet.” This playful work is seemingly uncomplicated, but the pianist’s measured rubato and direct approach lacked only richness of tone color, with the instrument both an ally and foe. The animé section had an elegant wash of sound.

A cornerstone in Ms. Walter’s repertoire, Ginastera’s Op. 22 Sonata, was the afternoon’s highlight, and extends the energetic Danzas Argentinas (composed 15 years prior) into a high-temperature percussive four-movement work of exceptional force. Ms. Walter rose to the occasion with the requisite contrary double octaves, heavy damper pedal and often-breathless potent speed. She caught the mystery of the rhapsodic adagio molto, and drove headstrong into the ostinato that concludes a wild sonic ride over fifteen minutes. There was introspection and also loud contrasts, and the small audience generated a resonant ovation at the final chord.

Ms. Walter’s pianism in this recital was secure and often forceful, and she eschewed histrionics and wayward realizations in favor of careful attention to the score and letting these majestic works unfold convincingly.