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Recital
DYNAMIC PIANISM IN YAKUSHEV MARIN RECITAL
by Terry McNeill
Sunday, January 23, 2022
Russian pianist Ilya Yakushev arrived Jan. 23 at his Mill Valley Chamber Music Society recital with the repute of playing loud and fast and delivering charming introductory musical remarks to his audience. He was true to form in Mill Valley’s Mt. Tamalpais Methodist Church, preceding Haydn’s sple
Symphony
THE SHOW MUST GO ON
by Steve Osborn
Sunday, January 9, 2022
The Jan. 9 Santa Rosa Symphony concert was supposed to feature the world premiere of Gabriella Smith’s first symphony, but it ended up featuring another type of premiere: a concert that was conceived, rehearsed and performed in less than eight hours. Symphony staff learned on Sunday morning that so
Choral and Vocal
AN OLD FRIEND RETURNS TO WEILL IN STERLING ABS MESSIAH PERFORMANCE
by Pamela Hicks Gailey
Sunday, December 19, 2021
A tremendous accomplishment by the American Bach Soloists Dec. 19 was near perfect performance of Handel's Messiah in Weill Hall. Long an annual tradition at San Francisco's Grace Cathedral, the ABS took to the road and delivered a Christmas gift of epic proportions to an obviously thrilled and enth
Symphony
SHOSTAKOVICH FIFTH THUNDERS AT WEILL HALL CONCERT
by Terry McNeill
Sunday, December 5, 2021
In a new season marketed as “Classical Reunion,” the Santa Rosa Symphony made a palpable connection with its audience at the early December set of three standing ovation concerts in Weill Hall. The December 5 concert, with 1,000 attending, is reviewed here. Vaughan Williams’ popular Fantasia on a T
Chamber
THE LINCOLN RETURNS WITH CLARKE'S PUNGENT TRIO
by Terry McNeill
Thursday, November 18, 2021
There were many familiar faces Nov. 18 during Music at Oakmont’s initial concert of the season, but perhaps the most necessary were the three musicians of the Lincoln Piano Trio, the Chicago-based group that has performed often in Oakmont since 2006. A smaller than unusual audience in Berger Audito
Symphony
NOSTALGIC BARBER KNOXVILLE AT SO CO PHIL JACKSON THEATER CONCERT
by Terry McNeill
Sunday, November 14, 2021
In their first Jackson Theater appearance of the new season the Sonoma County Philharmonic presented Nov. 14 a program devoid of novelty, but showcasing the “People’s Orchestra” in splendid performance condition after a long COVID-related layoff. Conductor Norman Gamboa drew a committed and boister
Chamber
THRILLING PIANO QUINTETS IN MILL VALLEY CHAMBER CONCERT
by Abby Wasserman
Sunday, November 14, 2021
The Mill Valley Chamber Music Society sprang back to life on November 14 when a stellar ensemble from the Manhattan Chamber Players, a New York-based collective, arrived to perform two piano quintets: Vaughn-Williams’ in C Minor (1903), little known and rarely performed; and Schubert’s in A Major D.
Chamber
MUSCULAR BRAHMS FROM IVES COLLECTIVE IN GLASER
by Terry McNeill
Sunday, November 14, 2021
Leaving SRJC’s Newman Auditorium for the first time in decades, the College’s Chamber Concert Series presented a season-opening concert Nov. 14 in Santa Rosa’s Glaser Center with the four-musician Bay-Area based Ives Collective. The season, the first given since 2020, is dedicated to Series Founder
Symphony
MONUMENTAL BRAHMS SYMPHONY HIGHLIGHTS MARIN SYMPHONY RETURN
by Terry McNeill
Sunday, November 7, 2021
In the waning COVID pandemic the Marin Symphony is one of the last Bay Area orchestras to return to the stage, and they did with considerable fanfare Nov. 7 before 1,200 in Civic Center Auditorium, with resident conductor Alasdair Neale leading a demanding concert of Brahms, Schumann and New York-ba
Symphony
APOLLO'S FIRE LIGHTS UP VIVALDI'S FOUR SEASONS IN WEILL
by Terry McNeill
Saturday, October 30, 2021
Long ago the Canadian violin virtuoso Gil Shaham played a program in Weill Hall of solo Bach, with a visual backdrop of slowly developing visuals, such as a pokey flower opening over four minutes. The Bach was sensational, and some in the audience liked the photos but many found them disconcerting,
RECITAL REVIEW
Redwood Arts Council / Friday, October 8, 2021
Andreas Klein, piano

Andreas Klein in Occidental

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 hall and adjacent art gallery. A happy return for all.

Sixty people heard the Germany-based artist give Bach’s Partita No. 2 a balanced reading, the articulation in the two-voiced Allemande clear and the Sarabande echoing some of the harmonies of the long opening Sinfonia. The concluding Capriccio was played quite fast “a la Argerich” and was on the edge of getting out of control, but never did. He took the big repeat and here the contrapuntal playing was the best in the work.

In his remarks to the audience the pianist spoke of his affection for Beethoven’s A Flat Sonata, Op. 110, and the composer’s tribulations during the early 1820s period. The first left-hand tremolos heralded a lyrical cantabile approach to this seminal piece, with a no pause coming before the Scherzo’s three fast runs and good control of the pesky right-hand figurations. Speed continued even into the short (Adagio) introduction to the glorious fugue, where Mr. Klein underscored the contrasts of the building drama with sporadic quiet phrases. Many fugues are not especially happy, but this one has joyous grandeur that the artist conveyed with authority right to the final descending and ascending forte runs. It was the recital’s highlight.

Following intermission, a raffle and announcements by RAC Music Director Sonia Tubridy, Mr. Klein turned to one of Chopin’s most performed works, the G Minor Ballade. The playing had a modern cast with little attention to drawn-out ritards, repeated sections and even single notes played differently, and little emphasis on the romantic themes seemingly written for a great Italian tenor. Octave playing was accurate but again lacked shaping. It was an effective but standard interpretation.

Prokofiev’s B Flat Sonata from 1942 ended the program, and the work is arguably the most popular piano sonata from the last Century. The percussive opening Allegro had some of the evening’s best playing, the stark harmonies lessened by flutter pedaling to effect sonic smudges and contrast. There was just the right amount of repose in the playing, something that continued with the lush Andante caloroso movement where Mr. Klein, using the shift pedal, produced sorrowful colorations in the haunting theme. Prokofiev can often be a romantic composer.

He certainly wasn’t in the famous Precipitato finale, and wanted the performer of this Sonata to play like a machine, with no alteration of speed and intensity. Mr. Klein complied, roaring through the Toccata with controlled abandon up to the three final Fortissimo chords. As always with this outburst of demonic pianistic energy, a loud standing ovation erupted.

No encore was offered. The season continues Nov. 14 at 4 p.m. with the Telegraph Quartet in
Sebastopol’s Community Church, playing music of Festinger, Bacewicz and Britten.