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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
CHAMBER REVIEW
Brave New Music / Saturday, July 10, 2021
Gary McLaughlin, violin; Rose McCoy, piano

Violinist Gary McLaughlin

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 his long-time pianist Rose McCoy presented a formidable program centered around two big sonatas, interlaced with four short works seemingly on the menu to give relief on a hot afternoon day, albeit with St. Paul’s good air conditioning that was thankfully pretty quiet.

Kreisler’s slow, mournful Grave march opened with Mr. McLaughlin’s rich low-end violin sonority just right, generating applause from the 35 attending.

Beethoven’s A Minor (Op. 23) Sonata followed, a three-movement work less popular than the neighboring “Spring” Sonata, but hardly less important. Playing from score as he did throughout, the violinist caught the slightly subdued drama of the opening movement and the duo’s flexibility of phrase and tiny rubatos were effective, as were the descending flourishes in both instruments.

Ms. McCoy’s clear articulation (with a tubby lower register piano, oddly placed at far left of the chancel) in the “q and a” Andante, Scherzo second movement spotlighted the fugal motifs, and the trills in both instruments added interest. There was humor in the off-beat accent playing.

The finale showed how the composer just can’t let go of an idea, and the playing reminded one of the piano sonatas of the period (“Tempest”) and had ample momentum, as did this splendid piece over a concise 23 minutes. It didn’t sound long at all.

After a short intermission Schumann’s A Minor Sonata, Op. 105, was heard and was with the concert’s highlight. With rich romantic legato throughout it was a big contrast to the Beethoven, and I cannot remember a North Bay performance of this work in many years. The duo had the surging emotion well in hand, though with a wide violin vibrato intonation could be pesky in the top range. Tempos and instrumental balances were fine. The performance in the Allegretto was a delight, but not note perfect.

What a pleasure was the concluding Lebhaft, the music making demands on both players in a menacing, rumbling race-horse tumult leading to a strong up scale, down scale ending. This ending is common in chamber music (example: Louis Vierne’s Piano Quintet) but no less exciting for it. There was loud applause.

Of the shorter works, Amy Beach’s affecting Romance was an antidote to the Schumann Sonata’s excitement, but clearly equally rich harmonically. In fact it was a little underplayed with less than full vibrato, but it was played with careful attention to detail and brimming with subtle charm.

Balcom’s popular Graceful Ghost Rag concluded the concert in a slow hothouse tempo befitting the Healdsburg heat wave, and Mr. McLaughlin’s double stops never faltered, albeit with a sharp and thin upper register tone. The fetching work featured the concert’s first pizzicato string playing and again exemplary accents in Ms. McCoy’s piano artistry. This work, in its original piano setting or in transcriptions, seldom fails to delight an audience, and at the last lugubrious notes silence ensued, and then a standing ovation.

The concert repeats at 4:30 July 18 at the Paul Mahder Gallery in downtown Healdsburg. Financial donations are requested.