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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
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.