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Recital
HEROIC LIM PERFORMANCE AT STEINWAY SOCIETY RECITAL
by Abby Wasserman
Sunday, September 18, 2022
Chamber
SURPRISING IVES TRIO AND SONGS AT VMMF'S HANNA CENTER
by Terry McNeill
Sunday, July 24, 2022
Chamber
SEMINAL SCHUBERT CYCLE PERFORMANCE FROM STEGALL-ZIVIAN AT VMMF
by Pamela Hicks Gailey
Saturday, July 23, 2022
Opera
MARIN'S STRIPPED-DOWN OPERA CHARMS
by Abby Wasserman
Sunday, July 17, 2022
Chamber
MOZART AND BRAHMS AN AUSPICIOUS COUPLE AT VMMF FESTIVAL
by Terry McNeill
Sunday, July 17, 2022
Chamber
CLARINIST HOEPRICH'S VIRTUOSITY IN VMMF OPENING CONCERT
by Pamela Hicks Gailey
Saturday, July 16, 2022
Recital
AGGRESSIVE PIANISM IN MYER'S MENDO FESTIVAL RECITAL
by Terry McNeill
Thursday, July 14, 2022
Opera
SONOROUS WAGNER GALA AND CAPACITY CROWD AT VALLEJO'S EMPRESS
by Pamela Hicks Gailey
Saturday, July 9, 2022
Choral and Vocal
TRAVELING CHORISTERS SO CO DEBUT IN TWO BIG CANTATAS
by Pamela Hicks Gailey
Saturday, June 25, 2022
Opera
VERDI'S THEATRICAL LA TRAVIATA TRIUMPHS AT CINNABAR
by Terry McNeill
Sunday, June 19, 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.