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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
Spring Lake Village Classical Music Series / Wednesday, June 2, 2021
Gustavo Romero, piano

Pianist Gustavo Romero

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 North Texas at Denton. UT/Denton has America’s largest music school, and Mr. Romero has been on the faculty there for many years.

Mr. Romero often focuses on one composer a season, but here he began after a concise verbal introduction with Haydn’s great C Major Sonata (Hob. XVI:48), from 1789. The piano sound was bright and the tempos in the variations judicious. Alberti bass figures abounded in the finale and the artist’s phrasing captured the witty nature of the music. Mordents and turns were brisk. Exemplary.

Three Chopin works followed, beginning with the E Minor Nocturne, Op. Post., and the C Minor Mazurka from Op. 56, No. 3. Both were recital highlights. The rise and fall of phrase and lovely cantabile characterized the Nocturne with extended inter-section pauses. Careful pedaling allowed the phrases for overlap. Playing in the Mazurka produced a nostalgic dance of almost six minutes, underscoring the mystery of this wonderful piece.

Arguably one of the composer’s greatest works, the B Minor Sonata (Op. 58) received a thoughtful performance with attention to detail, occasional chord breaking, some inner voices and in the opening Allegro Maestoso a one-time score variant (not the rare variant that occurs before the two main theme statements). It might have been a tiny memory lapse, but doubtful, as the pianist’s concentration was palpable and convincing.

The chosen tempo in the Scherzo was moderate, and in the work’s marvelous central Largo Mr. Romero’s rich bass sound and pedal point were effective. He rightly made a big ritard before the coda, and the pensive last two chords were beautifully played.

The finale (Presto) was a little underplayed but the pianist found novel inner voices and his rhythmic control was firm. It was an interpretation of high artistry, well crafted, and perhaps lacking only the last bit of individuality, sonority and authority.

Two Paderewski works from Op. 14 were surprising programming, the Sarabande being played in the style of Couperin and Rameau. The bantamweight ending was charming, even more effective as the following Capriccio reflected Paderewski’s homage to Scarlatti. Mr. Romero’s cross hand technique was exact and his articulation in scales was clear.

With such interesting pieces the artist’s choice for a conclusion had to be unique, and Alfred Grünfeld’s transcription from Strauss’ operetta “Die Fledermaus” was just that – Soirée de Vienne, Op. 56. Mr. Romero played many of the repeated sections differently, a tradition from the romantic pianist era, and he was flawless in rapid chords, legato Arpeggios and contrary motion skips. The performance had just the right amount of schmaltz and Austrian seduction.