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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
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.