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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
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.