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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
Recital
AUTHORITATIVE BEETHOVEN SONATA IN KLEIN'S OCCIDENTAL RECITAL
by Terry McNeill
Friday, October 8, 2021
People attending the first Redwood Arts Council Occidental concert in 20 months found a surprise – a luxurious new lobby attached to the Performing Arts Center. It was a welcome bonus to a recital given by pianist Andreas Klein where the music seemed almost as familiar as was the long shuttered hal
Symphony
MOVIE MUSIC ON THE WINDSOR GREEN IN SO CO PHIL SEASON OPENER
by Terry McNeill
Sunday, October 3, 2021
People approaching the Windsor Green bandstand Oct. 3 for the Sonoma County Philharmonic’s season opening concert had some cause for concern. After 18 months of silence would the all-volunteer orchestra have enough musicians for a big movie music program? After all, performers can move, retire, or
Symphony
SANTA ROSA SYMPHONY RETURNS IN TRIUMPH
by Steve Osborn
Sunday, October 3, 2021
It is often the case that a single piece or performer steals the show at a symphony concert, but at the Oct. 3 performance of the Santa Rosa Symphony, the show itself stole the show. The concert opened with a serene 1982 tone poem by Libby Larsen, followed by a masterful performance by soloist Julia
Symphony
TWO WIND SOLOISTS CHARM AT SSU ORCHESTRA CONCERT IN WEILL
by Terry McNeill
Sunday, September 26, 2021
The house of music has many rooms. That dusty adage was never truer than when Weill Hall Sept. 25 hosted a roaring New Orleans-style musical party, and less than a day later a mostly sedate Sonoma State University student orchestra performance. Before a crowd of 200 conductor Alexander Kahn led a
Other
CLEARY'S NEW ORLEANS BAND IGNITES PARTY FOR THE GREEN AT SSU
by Terry McNeill
Saturday, September 25, 2021
A dramatic and unique start to the new Green Music’s Center’ 2021-2022 season exploded in a “Party for the Green” Sept. 25, a New Orleans (NO) style commotion featuring Jon Cleary and his Absolute Monster Gentlemen band, inside and outside of Weill Hall. Beginning with a private gourmet dinner in t
GAULIST FLAVOR IN FINAL SF PIANO FESTIVAL CONCERT AT OLD FIRST
by Terry McNeill
Sunday, August 29, 2021
Final summer music festival programs are often a mix of what has come before, with the theme and even a featured composer taking a last stage appearance, with a dramatic wrap up composition. San Francisco’s International Piano Festival defied the norm August 29 with an eclectic French-flavored prog
SPARE DUO PRECEDES MYSTEROUS DUO AT DEN BOER RECITAL
by Terry McNeill
Friday, August 27, 2021
In a departure from usual summer festival fare Julia Den Boer played an August 27 virtual recital in the San Francisco Piano Festival’s 4.5 season with four works, all mostly quiet but all in separate ways insistently demanding of artist and listener. Throughout the 40 minutes there was nary a powe
HARMONIC COMPLEXITY IN PHILLIPS' ALL-GRIFFES RECITAL
by Terry McNeill
Friday, August 20, 2021
Charles Griffes’ piano music is similar to that of Busoni, Reger and even Poulenc, in that there is a sporadic flourish of interest with concerts and scholarly work, then a quick fade into another long period of obscurity. So, it was a delight to have an all-Griffes recital August 20 on the San F
Chamber
ONE PIANO, TWO PIANO, THREE PIANO, FORE
by Terry McNeill
Thursday, July 29, 2021
Schroeder Hall was nearly full July 29 for the final pianoSonoma concert of their season, and presumably the draw and highlight for many of the 150 attending was Bach’s Concerto for Four Pianos. And that performance was probably going to be a North Bay premiere. However, it wasn’t the highl
SYMPHONY REVIEW

Rubicon Trio

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 with the Op. 2 Buxtehude Trio Sonata. I can’t recall a Buxtehude piece on any North Coast program, save perhaps for a sporadic work at the Redwood Guild of Organist’s events. Pianist Ben Rueb had the continuo part, with violinist Jeff Ives and cellist Joel Cohen playing the themes, with Mr. Cohen’s instrument (originally a Gamba) adding warmth.

Each piece was recorded in a private home, and the Scherzo from Brahms’ Op. 87 Trio should have benefited from the piano’s sonic depth, generated by Mr. Rued using a rarely-encountered 278cm Fazioli. Alas, the performance was tame and felt underpowered, even allowing for the richness of the glorious middle section of the 1882 work.

Mr. Ives and Mr. Cohen played captivating duos in Suk’s Op. 23 Elegie, with Mr. Cohen’s wide vibrato perfectly suiting the lush music. The mood of nostalgia was effectively pierced by the demanding second theme, the Rubicon balancing well the contrasts. It was a concert highlight.

Mr. Ives’ introductory remarks mentioned his personal affinity for Haydn, so the ensemble playing of the second (Andante) and third (Allegro) movements of the D Major Trio (No. 38) were a lyrical success. The soft repeated chords and the slow march were well played, with accurate intonation. The single Prelude and Fugue section of Turina’s three-movement Op. 35 Trio sounded at times as a lament, with a strange "backwards" fugue at the end and a deceptively simple fantasy phrases featuring Mr. Cohen’s burnished long solo line.

Concluding was Rubicon’s playing of Paul Schoenfeld’s popular Café Music, a three-movement mélange of fetching jazz and swing rhythms written in 1987. The second Andante Moderato was given a good but at times less-than-buoyant reading. The adventuresome offbeat rhythms proved tricky to manage. Harmonic pointing in the playing was convincing.

The concert was initially marred by a 15-minute technical delay where alternating lack of sound and visuals irritated subscribers that posted comments on the video chat page. Equally pesky was the video being out of focus for the entire time, perhaps the result of the music being live and the recording tech not paying attention to the feed. Usually virtual concerts are taped to avoid this danger.