Home  Reviews  Articles  Calendar  Presenters  Add Event     
Symphony
THE SHOW MUST GO ON
by Steve Osborn
Sunday, January 9, 2022
The Jan. 9 Santa Rosa Symphony concert was supposed to feature the world premiere of Gabriella Smith’s first symphony, but it ended up featuring another type of premiere: a concert that was conceived, rehearsed and performed in less than eight hours. Symphony staff learned on Sunday morning that so
Choral and Vocal
AN OLD FRIEND RETURNS TO WEILL IN STERLING ABS MESSIAH PERFORMANCE
by Pamela Hicks Gailey
Sunday, December 19, 2021
A tremendous accomplishment by the American Bach Soloists Dec. 19 was near perfect performance of Handel's Messiah in Weill Hall. Long an annual tradition at San Francisco's Grace Cathedral, the ABS took to the road and delivered a Christmas gift of epic proportions to an obviously thrilled and enth
Symphony
SHOSTAKOVICH FIFTH THUNDERS AT WEILL HALL CONCERT
by Terry McNeill
Sunday, December 5, 2021
In a new season marketed as “Classical Reunion,” the Santa Rosa Symphony made a palpable connection with its audience at the early December set of three standing ovation concerts in Weill Hall. The December 5 concert, with 1,000 attending, is reviewed here. Vaughan Williams’ popular Fantasia on a T
Chamber
THE LINCOLN RETURNS WITH CLARKE'S PUNGENT TRIO
by Terry McNeill
Thursday, November 18, 2021
There were many familiar faces Nov. 18 during Music at Oakmont’s initial concert of the season, but perhaps the most necessary were the three musicians of the Lincoln Piano Trio, the Chicago-based group that has performed often in Oakmont since 2006. A smaller than unusual audience in Berger Audito
Symphony
NOSTALGIC BARBER KNOXVILLE AT SO CO PHIL JACKSON THEATER CONCERT
by Terry McNeill
Sunday, November 14, 2021
In their first Jackson Theater appearance of the new season the Sonoma County Philharmonic presented Nov. 14 a program devoid of novelty, but showcasing the “People’s Orchestra” in splendid performance condition after a long COVID-related layoff. Conductor Norman Gamboa drew a committed and boister
Chamber
THRILLING PIANO QUINTETS IN MILL VALLEY CHAMBER CONCERT
by Abby Wasserman
Sunday, November 14, 2021
The Mill Valley Chamber Music Society sprang back to life on November 14 when a stellar ensemble from the Manhattan Chamber Players, a New York-based collective, arrived to perform two piano quintets: Vaughn-Williams’ in C Minor (1903), little known and rarely performed; and Schubert’s in A Major D.
Chamber
MUSCULAR BRAHMS FROM IVES COLLECTIVE IN GLASER
by Terry McNeill
Sunday, November 14, 2021
Leaving SRJC’s Newman Auditorium for the first time in decades, the College’s Chamber Concert Series presented a season-opening concert Nov. 14 in Santa Rosa’s Glaser Center with the four-musician Bay-Area based Ives Collective. The season, the first given since 2020, is dedicated to Series Founder
Symphony
MONUMENTAL BRAHMS SYMPHONY HIGHLIGHTS MARIN SYMPHONY RETURN
by Terry McNeill
Sunday, November 7, 2021
In the waning COVID pandemic the Marin Symphony is one of the last Bay Area orchestras to return to the stage, and they did with considerable fanfare Nov. 7 before 1,200 in Civic Center Auditorium, with resident conductor Alasdair Neale leading a demanding concert of Brahms, Schumann and New York-ba
Symphony
APOLLO'S FIRE LIGHTS UP VIVALDI'S FOUR SEASONS IN WEILL
by Terry McNeill
Saturday, October 30, 2021
Long ago the Canadian violin virtuoso Gil Shaham played a program in Weill Hall of solo Bach, with a visual backdrop of slowly developing visuals, such as a pokey flower opening over four minutes. The Bach was sensational, and some in the audience liked the photos but many found them disconcerting,
Chamber
SPARKLING WIND, STRING, HARP MUSIC AT DEVON HOUSE GARDEN CONCERT
by Abby Wasserman
Saturday, October 9, 2021
Take a mild autumn evening, a garden gazebo with patterned rugs and lit with soft bulbs, shake in a fine chamber ensemble, add a rising new moon, and you have a recipe for the musical delight that violist Elizabeth Prior presented Oct. 9 in her Devon House Garden Concert series. The Marin Terra Li
CHAMBER REVIEW
Redwood Arts Council / Sunday, March 28, 2021
Tanya Tomkins, cello; Eric Zivian, piano

Eric Vivian and Tanya Tomkins

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 Berkeley studio, the fourth RAC event of the season.

As usual the musical mix was intriguing. Over the recent Beethoven anniversary year Mr. Zivian essayed the 32 Beethoven Sonatas using pianos of the composer’s period, and in this recital he chose the popular D Minor work from Op. 31 (“Tempest”) and caught the mystery in the opening Largo-Allegro’s recitatives. Playing from score and with feet in socks, the pianist made the most of the limited dynamic contrasts available in this fortepiano, albeit aided by amplification.

Tempos throughout were judicious with occasional rolled left-hand chords adding interest, juxtaposed with the piano’s inherent lack of sustain in the many arpeggios. Scale playing was clean in the final Allegretto and the forte descending passage a few bars before the end was played with sprightly two hands rather than in single-hand octaves. A nice touch.

Ms. Tomkins introduced and played a six-minute Offenbach work, Les Larmes de Jacqueline (Jacqueline’s tears), Op. 76, No. 2, with Mr. Zivian. It’s almost always played with orchestra, and here the cellist drew long phrase endings from her instrument, tasteful vibrato and underscored the many modulations. This piece richly wanders about with at times schmaltzy yearning and elegant low register music for the cello. Perhaps this was a North Coast premiere performance?

Mr. Zivian played an 1841 piano (Rausch, made in Odessa) for this work and the following Rubinstein Melodie, Op. 3, No. 1, in the cellist David Popper’s transcription. In the spoken introduction Ms. Tomkins mentioned the cello had two gut strings, and Mr. Zivian clarified that the composer of the Melodie was not the Polish pianist Artur Rubinstein, who did not compose. It’s understandable that this identification is often made, but also sad as Artur was but an important 20th Century pianist, and Anton was the second greatest pianist in history. Most people today would not recognize the once popular Melodie, or even McDowell’s To A Wild Rose. Times have changed. The middle section transition was all Popper, and Ms. Tomkins closed with lovely ascending phrase with a double stop.

Concluding was Beethoven’s D Major Sonata from 1815, Op. 102, No. 2, and Mr. Zivian returned to his 1798 instrument. This quirky work was played that way in the opening Allegro con Brio with many tempo changes and explosive phrasing. Playing from score, Ms. Tomkins playing in the Adagio brought a deep sadness to the slow march, morphing into lyrical sections that were characterized by “luftpause” cessations. The piano line everywhere blended well with the cello.

A complex fugue unfolded in the finale (Allegro), the playful counterpoint impressive where the major interest is mostly with the cello. The ending was stylish, tying up a movement of contrasts so different from the preceding C Major and A Major Beethoven Sonatas. There were charming bits of humor from the playing of both instruments in the final movement.

During the video there were numerous visual dropouts and still frames, but the audio was clear and without distortion. Series producer Sonia Tubridy led a Q and A with the artists following the Sonata.