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Symphony
SANTA ROSA SYMPHONY PREMIERES DAUGHERTY SKETCHES OF SONOMA COUNTY
by Steve Osborn
Sunday, May 8, 2022
Chamber
BRAHMS-ERA TRIOS HIGHLIGHT OAKMONT CHAMBER CONCERT
by Nicholas Xelenis
Thursday, May 5, 2022
Chamber
CHAMBER GEMS OF BRAHMS IN TRIO NAVARRO'S SCHROEDER CONCERT
by Judy Walker
Sunday, May 1, 2022
Recital
UNIQUE ELEGANCE IN GALBRAITH GUITAR RECITAL
by Gary Digman
Friday, April 29, 2022
Symphony
VSO'S ELEGANT PASTORAL SYMPHONY SHINES IN EMPRESS RETURN
by Terry McNeill
Sunday, April 24, 2022
Choral and Vocal
A SPIRITUAL FAURE REQUIEM IN GOOD FRIDAY CANTIAMO CONCERT
by Pamela Hicks Gailey
Friday, April 15, 2022
Symphony
LUSH ORCHESTRA PLAYING IN SO CO PHIL-LLOYD MEMORIAL CONCERT
by Terry McNeill
Sunday, April 3, 2022
Chamber
DISPARATE TRIOS IN HOLLYWOOD PIANO TRIO'S 222 CONCERT
by Terry McNeill
Saturday, April 2, 2022
Chamber
TANGO IMMERSION IN MILL VALLEY CONCERT
by Abby Wasserman
Sunday, March 27, 2022
Recital
ALLURING GLASS WORKS IN WEILL RECITAL
by Terry McNeill
Friday, March 25, 2022
REVIEW
Julia Den Boer / Friday, August 27, 2021
Julia Den Boer, piano

Julia Den Boer August 27

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 powerful forte or flying scale passage to be heard, most music being built on small clusters of notes with often wide separation between. Rebecca Saunders’ “Mirror, Mirror on the Wall” (1994) was played in a pointillistic character, the short beginning leading into a long section of sharply jabbed notes, extended pauses and slow repeated phrases. Ms. Den Boer’s right-hand leaps to the top keyboard notes were accurate, and low bass notes were played almost inaudibly. There was mystery in this piece, but I quickly wondered where the musical thread was going.

Anthony Braxton’s “Composition No. 5” was remarkedly similar in scope and style, only occasionally leavened by lyrical passages and tonal shimmer. The wide distance between top end and bottom end notes provided interest, and Ms. Den Boer, playing from score, mastered the tricky time signatures and hesitations.

“Oiseaux tristes” from Ravel’s 1905 set Miroirs was a welcome respite as the melancholy nature of “Sad Birds” was an antidote to the equally dilatory works preceding it. It was played with a light touch and less than usual damper pedal, as was the concluding work, Janácek’s impressionistic set “In the Mist.” Ms. Den Boer gave the work from 1912 an ardent reading, never needing to push the tempo through the 15 minutes of luxurious yet flexible music. Her playing underscored the ambiguity of the whole tone scale composition and displayed the most refined pianistic tone colors of the recital.