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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
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 REVIEW
Redwood Arts Council / Sunday, May 16, 2021
Ilya Yakushev, piano

Pianist Ilya Yakushev

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 close ups of the performer’s hands and face.

The sound in the opening Beethoven C Minor Sonata (Op. 13 “Pathétique”) was full of color, Mr. Yakushev playing the Grave section with measured clarity and the Allegro pulsing and explosive. The famous Adagio was played with beautifully voiced yearning. In the finale the pianist’s reading had plenty of drive, a powerful interpretation with imaginative phrasing.

Another Beethoven Sonata followed, the even more popular “Moonlight” from Op. 27, and the tempo was gently flowing but never languished. The Allegretto had the requisite dance character, and the concluding Presto Agitato had plenty of fire, opposite of the first movement, and had orchestral sonority combined with surprising clarity.

Chopin’s Op. 38 Ballade No. 2 is played less often than the bucolic third and the seminal G Minor and F Minor, but it is no less a creative triumph. Mr. Yakushev captured the folk–like material at the opening and the wild outbursts that subsequently occur. The range of his playing reflected gentleness, sadness and then sonic anger and furious scales passages fading back into an eerie quiet. It was a Russian specialty performance from the tradition of Anton Rubinstein.

A wide-ranging color and touch characterized the playing in Tchaikovsky’s Dumka, Op. 59, composed in 1886. The village dance piece had ample shimmer and rhythmic interest from Mr. Yakushev’s magical fingers (and feet), and was an emotional highlight of the recital.

The performance concluded with Liszt’s Valée de Obermann, No. 6 in the Swiss Années de Pèlerinage written over the period 1835-1852. The playing reflected all of the composer’s demons and angels, with pianistic simplicity, mystery and pure beauty often exploding into aural fireworks. Double octave accuracy and sparkling trill technique was admirable. This was passionate and brilliant pianism, the artist exploring the full range of his instrument.

Following the 4 a.m. (!) performance Mr. Yakushev answered audience questions in faultless English for the RAC video, accepting a tendered invitation for a personal appearance on the series’ Occidental stage in a future year.

Sonia Tubridy contributed to this review.