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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
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
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 REVIEW
Green Music Center / Sunday, May 9, 2021
St. Lawrence String Quartet. Geoff Nuttall and Owen Dalby, violin; Lesley Robertson, viola; Christopher Costanza, cello

St. Lawrence String Quartet

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 supplemented with interviews and commentary with GMC Executive Director Jacob Yarrow. A brisk tempo characterized the opening movement, with uncommon seating placing violist Lesley Robertson far right of the socially distanced masked foursome filmed in Stanford’s Bing Concert Hall.

Violinist Geoff Nuttall had a stylized approach to this lovely composition, with energetic movement of his legs complimenting his thematic projection. Attacks and releases throughout were precise, and the ending of the Adagio was played with a soft elegance. The Menuetto was rightly played as a Scherzo with light spiccato bowing and handsome ascending note phrasing.

The finale (Allegro ma non troppo) is mostly in G Minor, and received a lively reading with fast scale playing, short motifs and clear counterpoint. The big repeat was played softly with subtle duos from Mr. Nuttall and violinist Owen Dalby. A splendid performance of one of Haydn’s last quartets he composed as a set.

Interviews in the intermission revealed erudite commentary from each St. Lawrence member, with cellist Christopher Costanza (ZOOM from his home, as were each musician) speaking of how the composer deliciously treats the cantabile cello line in the C Major Quartet of Op. 20. All four movements in this work from 1772 are marvelous and received terrific playing, especially in the slow movement that starts in unison, always a little tricky to synchronize. The second movement featured Mr. Nuttall’s lyrical solo playing.

A fugue was heard in the finale, played by the St. Lawrence sotte voce nearly all the way through, but near the end suddenly erupting in volume. Here the momentum was palpable, the two violins lines often playing to the cello/viola lines with lots of descending scale passages. This seminal work clearly is special to the St. Lawrence, as it gives more attention to the cello and viola parts than in previous quartet writing that can be overly first-violin-centric.

The video concluded with an arrangement, written for the St. Lawrence, of Golijov’s traditional Yiddish song “Arum Den Fayer.” In four and one-half minutes there was a variety of music that had depth and at times a shimmering Czardas character. The Quartet members announced that it was a recent work with a connection to COVID 19, and the video was shot in a Stanford classroom. The slow section was especially convincing with Ms. Robertson’s wide vibrato playing and everywhere a noble and subtle instrumental intensity.

Daniel Greenhouse contributed to this review.