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ECLECTIC PIANISM IN SPRING LAKE VILLAGE VIRTUAL RECITAL
by Terry McNeill
Wednesday, May 5, 2021
During the pandemic The Santa Rosa Symphony’s virtual concerts received their due in performance praise, but another series, Spring Lake Village, more quietly presented monthly virtual concerts to a select local audience. May 5 saw the latest event, produced by impresario Robert Hayden, and feature...
Symphony
SONIC CONTRASTS HIGHLIGHT SANTA ROSA SYMPHONY SPRING PROGRAM
by Terry McNeill
Sunday, April 25, 2021
In a curious mixture of compositions, the Santa Rosa Symphony’s penultimate virtual concert of the season April 25 unfolded in ways both highly satisfying and a bit perplexing. Directed by resident Music Director Francesco Lecce-Chong, the event followed a familiar format – several contemporary wor...
Symphony
ZUILL PLAYS ZWILICH WITH SANTA ROSA SYMPHONY
by Steve Osborn
Sunday, March 28, 2021
The Santa Rosa Symphony took a cautious step toward the return of live music in their March 28 virtual concert by sharing the stage with an actual live soloist rather than an apparition. Star cellist Zuill Bailey was still masked, and his back was toward the equally masked and plexiglassed orchestra...
Chamber
ECLECTIC CELLO PIANO VIRTUAL RECITAL FROM TOMKINS ZIVIAN DUO
by Terry McNeill
Sunday, March 28, 2021
The venerable 41-year Redwood Arts Council Series in Occidental has joined the virtual recital world with low budget but artistically satisfying programs, mostly using videos filmed in the performer’s residences. March 28 saw the Tanya Tomkins-Eric Zivian duo present an eclectic program from their ...
Symphony
SANTA ROSA SYMPHONY HITS THE SWEET SPOT
by Steve Osborn
Sunday, February 28, 2021
Small orchestras can inhabit a sweet spot between chamber ensembles and full orchestras, but how well they hit that spot depends on the composer's orchestration and the players' ability to project. That dependence was on full display in the Santa Rosa Symphony's Feb. 28 concert, which featured three...
Chamber
NOVEL OBOE-HARPSICHORD RECITAL FROM AIKEN DUO IN UKIAH
by Terry McNeill
Sunday, February 21, 2021
Oboe and harpsichord recitals are a rare North Bay event, even in a pandemic environment where a formal hall setting isn’t available. So it was a delight Feb. 21 to experience on the Ukiah Symphony’s website a recital by Symphony oboist Beth Aiken and harpsichordist husband Tom. The Aiken home vis...
Symphony
A HEALTHY MIX OF TRANSCRIPTIONS AND ORIGINALS FROM THE SR SYMPHONY
by Steve Osborn
Sunday, January 24, 2021
Transcriptions and ascending arpeggios were the order of the day on Jan. 24, as the Santa Rosa Symphony performed uplifting works by Bach/Webern, Ellen Taaffe Zwilich, Marianna Martínes and Mozart. The concert video was made in Weill Hall on Jan. 9. The first transcription was Webern’s 1935 renderi...
Symphony
HEROIC EFFORT FROM THE SANTA ROSA SYMPHONY
by Steve Osborn
Sunday, December 13, 2020
December 13 was a rainy day, perfect for huddling indoors and watching a prerecorded “live” performance by the Santa Rosa Symphony. The program was expansive, with music from the 18th through 21st centuries, and the mood was festive, in keeping with the holiday season. There was something in the fea...
Symphony
MASKED SANTA ROSA SYMPHONY CARRIES ON BRILLIANTLY
by Steve Osborn
Sunday, November 15, 2020
In some ways the Santa Rosa Symphony’s Nov. 15 concert on YouTube resembled a Conceptual Art performance from the 1970s. On display were about 30 masked orchestral musicians playing six feet apart from each other on stage, some of them separated by plexiglass barriers. In the 1970s, the concept behi...
Chamber
SPLENDID STRINGS IN A SUNLIT GARDEN
by Abby Wasserman
Sunday, November 1, 2020
A sun-drenched autumn afternoon, a Marin County garden and six superb string players from the Santa Rosa Symphony were manna from heaven to a pandemic-weary audience starved for live music. The sextet of Santa Rosa Symphony musicians performed to a small group of 20 Nov. 1, the day after Halloween....
CHAMBER REVIEW
SRJC Chamber Concerts / Friday, March 27, 2009
David Korevaar, pianist

Pianist David Korevaar

KOREVAAR BALANCES THE POPULAR WITH THE UNKNOWN

by Terry McNeill
Friday, March 27, 2009

Pianist David Korevaar brought a curiously unbalanced program to the Santa Rosa Junior College Chamber Series on March 27 for the SRJC season’s final event. Unbalanced because the first half consisted of essentially unknown works, whereas the second half consisted of Schubert’s most popular piano sonata.

Korevaar, who teaches at the University of Colorado, began his recital in the half-full Newman Auditorium with Brahms’s Variations on a Hungarian Song, Op. 21, No. 2. A master of the variation form, Brahms wrote two big Paganini and Handel sets that have challenged pianists since the 1860s, but the variations here are shorter and less inspired. Unlike the Handel Variations, which only begin to sound like Brahms at the second variation, the Hungarian variations bear all the marks of the German master in the very first variation, right after the statement of the theme. Though the variations are not a subtle work, Korevaar played them convincingly, with a strong bass line and careful development of the complex theme.

Erno Von Dohnanyi, a Hungarian virtuoso who ended his career in Florida, composed his Variations on a Hungarian Folk Song in 1916, and there are echoes of Liszt, Brahms and Rubinstein in his 10 variations in classical form. The sound of chimes permeates several variations. Korevaar’s reliable octave technique served the digital demands in the ninth variation, and the concluding slow arpeggios of the tenth shimmered with rich colors.

A work probably unknown to the entire audience, Castelnuovo-Tedesco’s Piedigrotta (1924), closed the first half. Set out in five widely different movements, played here often without break, Piedigrotta is a Neapolitan rhapsody that makes virtuosic demands but delivers a piquant musical story. Opening with a lively tarantella, the work turns quickly to a nocturnal aria with references to Albeniz’s Iberia. Korevaar controlled the repeated chord figurations and swift hand crossings with ease, making the whirling and impulsive “Calasciunate” dance section an exciting blur of sound. These pieces, although not dissonant, reflect the harmonic language of impressionism and are close to Griffes’s The Fountain of the Aqua Paola. A lovely descending glissando introduces the final movement, where rapid repeated notes and minor seconds generate a giddy, wild ride all over the keyboard. A novel and provocative piece, Piedigrotta was thrillingly rendered by Korevaar to loud applause.

Schubert’s last sonata, in B-Flat (D. 960), was written shortly before the composer’ death in 1828, and has been a staple of non-Slavic pianists since the acclaim from performances by Schnabel in the 1920s. It’s a long haul, and in Korevaar’s reading the four movements lasted just over 45 minutes, with the deep and melancholic opening Molto Moderato running more than 19 minutes alone. Korevaar used the shift pedal continuously in the first two movements, juxtaposing a generally aggressive attack in the dramatic sections with the ethereal and constantly modulating melodies. The big sforzandos had punch, but a jarring break in the deeply felt first-movement texture — three bars of raucous un-Schubertian chords — were a mysterious intercession.

The Andante sostenuto was beautifully played, evoking a haunting and certainly religious feeling, the left-hand figures even and at times mesmerizing. The Scherzo, so different than what came before, was played with a light touch and a balance of off-beat accents and cheery frolic. The closing Allegro man non troppo was dramatic and boldly played, more in the style of Serkin’s persistence than Alfred Brendel’s nobility.

No encores were offered.

All in all, Korevaar performed an estimable recital, ultimately balancing three unfamiliar works with an aristocratic reading of Schubert’s sovereign sonata.