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 Recent Reviews
CHAMBER
SCHUBERT, MOZART AND MIRÓ IN CHAMBERFEST FIVE AT SCHROEDER
by Sonia Morse Tubridy
Saturday, June 25, 2016
SSU’s ChamberFest Program Five June 25 was humorously introduced by members of the Miró Quartet as a Schubert sandwich with Mozart French Horn filling.  The audience enjoyed the witty but also profoundly serious attitude. This would be a delicious treat presented by the musicians with zest. Both the...
CHAMBER
PENULTIMATE CHAMBERFEST CONCERT HAS LYRICAL POWER
by Sonia Morse Tubridy and Nicki Bell
Saturday, June 25, 2016
Program six June 25 of the summer ChamberFest at Schroeder was once again a concert memorable on its own but also, for those who attended the whole series, a beautiful finale to a grand and concentrated chamber music experience. Each concert illuminated the others and created musical and emotional c...
CHAMBER
EVEREST AND A MAGIC STEED
by Sonia Morse Tubridy
Friday, June 24, 2016
Program three of SSU’s ongoing ChamberFest, directed by Jeffrey Kahane, was an afternoon concert and opened with Mozart's E-Flat Divertimento string trio, K. 563, a piece in its own category and a first of its kind when composed by Mozart in 1776. Many string quartets by that time been composed and ...
CHAMBER
MENDELSSOHN, SCHUBERT AND MOZART AGAIN SOAR IN SCHROEDER
by Sonia Morse Tubridy and Nicki Bell
Friday, June 24, 2016
Program four of ChamberFest 2016 was the second June 24 concert in one day, and there was an abundance of musical offerings and enrichment. Jeffrey Kahane and Jon Kimura Parker started the evening in Schroeder with Mendelssohn's A Major Andante and Allegro Brilliant, Op. 92, for piano four hands. Th...
CHAMBER
ACROSS VAST SPACES
by Sonia Morse Tubridy
Thursday, June 23, 2016
Program number two of this summer’s ChamberFest at Schroeder Hall June 23 was all one could wish for, second to none. Jeffrey Kahane and Jon Kimura Parker returned to play together, this time on two pianos. As they engagingly explained, it is a completely different experience than playing four hands...
CHAMBER
CHARM AND SMILES IN FIRST CHAMBERFEST CONCERT IN SCHROEDER
by Sonia Morse Tubridy
Wednesday, June 22, 2016
The Green Music Center’s summer ChamberFest, seven concerts in five days, opened June 22 to a jammed Schroeder Hall audience, and the initial concert was both delightful and exhilarating. In its second year, the current Festival features the chamber music of Mozart, Schubert and Mendelssohn, all m...
OPERA
FROTHY FROLICKING AT CINNABAR'S MAGICAL FLUTE
by Terry McNeill
Saturday, June 11, 2016
Though having just two acts, Mozart’s Opera “The Magic Flute” encompasses a jumbled fairy tale plot with complicated staging and myriad performers in demanding vocal roles. Petaluma’s Cinnabar Theater took up the arduous challenge of this 1791 work, among Mozart’s last, in a series of performances ...
SYMPHONY
A SOUND TO BEHOLD
by Steve Osborn
Saturday, May 07, 2016
Concert titles are rarely specific, but the one for the Santa Rosa Symphony’s May 7 concert, “Jazzy Impressions,” is as literal as they get. The first half consisted of two American pieces influenced by jazz, and the second of two French works in the impressionist style. Pairing two similar pieces ...
RECITAL
AT THE BOUNDARIES OF MUSICAL EXPLORATION
by Sonia Morse Tubridy and Nicki Bell
Friday, May 06, 2016
On May 6 at Weill Hall, pianist Yuja Wang gave a much-anticipated recital of Brahms, Schumann and Beethoven. This young artist has been heralded internationally for her brilliant virtuosic technique and sensational performances. In this recital, her first to focus on a Beethoven sonata, she played h...
RECITAL
A WANDERING MILLER IN SCHUBERT'S AGELESS CYCLE
by Mark Kratz
Sunday, April 24, 2016
The Green Center’s Weill Hall is a Sonoma County treasure that allows North Bay audiences to enjoy the world’s finest musicians against the backdrop of our grapevine-covered hills. German baritone Matthias Goerne and pianist Alexander Schmalcz presented a recital of Schubert’s song cycle "Die Schön...
Local Concerts  
SYMPHONY REVIEW
ChamberFest Seven - Sonoma State University / Sunday, June 26, 2016
Santa Rosa Symphony. Jeffrey Kahane, conductor. Jon Kimura Parker and Jeffrey Kahane, piano; David Shifrin, clarinet; Benjamin Jaber, horn; Paul Neubauer, viola; Benjamin Bellman, violin

Pianists Jon Kimura Parker and Jeffery Kahane and the SR Symphony in Weill Hall June 26

CHAMBERFEST ENDS WITH SUMPTUOUS ALL-MOZART CONCERT IN WEILL

by Terry McNeill
Sunday, June 26, 2016

SSU’s ChamberFest concluded its second season June 26 with what was predicted to be a capstone concert, the last in a sterling series of seven devoted to Mozart, Schubert and Mendelssohn. And the all-Mozart concert in Weill Hall came close to being the most memorable of all, but not quite.

Before an appreciative audience of 1,000 and a large compliment of Green Music Center benefactors and CSU officials, two works comprised the first half and were the afternoon’s triumphs. David Shifrin was the soloist in the A Major Clarinet Concerto, K. 622, playing an elongated instrument and with lovely controlled phrasing, and easily fitting conductor Jeffrey Kahane’s judicious tempos with a reduced-personnel Santa Rosa Symphony.

In this work the wind section, especially the bassoons of Carla Wilson and Shawn Jones, negated the need for brass and timpani, and Mr. Shifrin’s rich bottom register carried well, and he nailed the notes in the big leaps. This clarity and protracted phrasing also characterized the lament of the Adagio, recalling the music of Mozart’s “Grand Partita” in palpable longing and variety of expression. The return of the first theme in pianissimo was captivating, and the clarinetist’s full tone was never harsh or coarse. He alternated masterfully staccato notes with a seamless legato in the finale. The applause was robust.

Concluding the first half violinist Benjamin Beilman joined colleague violist Paul Neubauer in the E-Flat Major Sinfonia Concertante, K. 364, again ably conducted by Mr. Kahane. Here horns were added to the mix and the long introduction to the soloist’s entry presages a special experience. And so it was, the soaring themes and exquisite instrumental blend brought the word “sublime” to mind.

In the Andante longer unison duos, often over horns, prevailed, and Mr. Neubauer’s rich low register sang out. He often deferred to Mr. Beilman with his eyes, but never with his bow. In the cadenza there was a quasi question-and-answer interchange with impeccable instrumental concordance, perhaps bringing a tear of joy to some eyes. It was simply radiant playing from the duo that reflected either copious rehearsal, or consummates artistry, or both.

The Presto finale was never too fast and Br. Beilman’s thin but often brilliant sound stood out from the orchestral fabric. It was a glorious performance of two voices as one, and elicited a standing ovation.

Conducting sans baton the entire afternoon, Mr. Kahane drew focused and supportive playing from the 26-musican orchestra, and long-time observers of his podium work (at least from his tenure at the SR Symphony) noticed stylistic changes. There is now less total body podium movement and his deft direction now comes from eye, head and evocative hand movements. He clearly knows how to command an ensemble and obtain the sonic balances he wishes.

The two works after intermission, a horn concerto (K. 412/K. 514) and the sterling E-Flat Major two piano concerto, were both effective and convincing but had less exalted performances than the first-half works. In the short two-movement D Major horn work soloist Benjamin Jaber played capably but with a muffled sound in scales and limited virtuosity and thematic projection. However, Mr. Jaber endeared himself to the audience with his stage presence: scoping out sections of the hall, flipping a black shoulder cloth right and left, and exhibiting harmless gestures with his uncommonly not shiny instrument.

Finishing the concert and ChamberFest was the K. 365 Concerto, to many the best two-piano with orchestra work ever composed. The lids were off both concert pianos and Jon Kimura Parker and Mr. Kahane (conducting from the piano stage left) did artistic battle with the seminal score, flügel a flügel.

Cutoffs throughout were quick and tempos always fast, but it’s a work that can accept such a quick pace. The danger with fast tempos, especially from Mr. Kahane’s pianism, is blurring in scale passages. After five years in Weill it’s no secret to performers that capturing a clear legato in chamber music is difficult, the opposite of symphonic music (the balcony is best) and most solo piano and violin recitals.

A highlight of the piece was the fetching and harmonically daring Andante with stellar long-phrase playing from oboist Laura Reynolds, flutist Stacey Pelinka and Ms. Wilson’s bassoon. Here instrumental detail was distinctly heard.

The excitement of the concluding Rondo was diminished by too much speed for the needed clarity, and a surprisingly underplayed cadenza. It’s a place for some pianistic showmanship, and in the ascending three sets of 11-note groups for each piano just before the end there wasn’t spark and growl to the soloist’s performance. Obviously on this occasion Mr. Kahane and Mr. Kimura Parker wanted a seamless and symmetrical rendition of Mozart’s magical score, but the most resplendent moments were from the composer and not the soloists. Sui generis.

Audience reaction was immediate and intense, with loud “bravos” and multiple curtain calls. It was also an outpouring of gratitude for Mr. Kahane’s visionary artistic accomplishment with ChamberFest.

Sonia Morse Tubridy contributed to this review.



Events Calendar

RECITAL
California Summer Music - Irene Sharp, Director
Tuesday, July 05, 2016
8:00 PM - Rohnert Park
CSM faculty in this concert will include violinists Wendy Sharp, Robin Sharp and James Stern, violis
Program TBA All CSM concerts are free and open to the public...
Details

CHORAL AND VOCAL
Sonoma Bach - Midsummer Nights Sings
Wednesday, July 06, 2016
7:00 PM - Petaluma
Sanford Dole, conductor. Workshop participants
Brahms: Ein Deutsches Requiem, Op. 45 Tickets: $15 General and $10 Students $45 General and $30 Students for a 4-session pass **When ordering the 4-session pass, order the July 6 $45/$30 package...
Details

CHORAL AND VOCAL
Sonoma Bach
Wednesday, July 06, 2016
7:00 PM - Petaluma
​Workshop participants. Sanford Dole, conductor

Brahms: Ein Deutches Requiem, Op. 45 *This event is not a concert, it is a workshop for singers...
Details

CHAMBER
California Summer Music - Irene Sharp, Director
Thursday, July 07, 2016
8:00 PM - Rohnert Park
CSM Faculty (see July 5 Concert listing)
Program: TBA All CSM concerts have no admission charge...
Details

CHAMBER
Mendocino Music Festival
Saturday, July 09, 2016
2:30 PM - Mendocino
Geoff Nuttall, violin; Stephan Prutsman, piano.
Bach: Violin Sonatas $12 to $39...
Details

CHAMBER
California Summer Music - Irene Sharp, Director
Saturday, July 09, 2016
8:00 PM - Rohnert Park
CSM Faculty Performers are listed at July 5 Calendar entry
Program: TBA Admission is free...
Details

OTHER
Mendocino Music Festival
Sunday, July 10, 2016
6:00 PM - Mendocino
Festival Orchestra, Alan Pollack, conductor. Stephan Prutsman, piano.
Program: TBA $12 - $49...
Details

RECITAL
Mendocino Music Festival
Monday, July 11, 2016
2:30 PM - Mendocino
Gloria Cheng, piano
Program: TBA $12 - $29...
Details

CHAMBER
California Summer Music - Irene Sharp, Director
Monday, July 11, 2016
8:00 PM - Rohnert Park
CSM faculty for this concert can be found in the July 5 concert listing
Program TBA Admission is free...
Details

CHAMBER
Mendocino Music Festival
Tuesday, July 12, 2016
2:30 PM - Mendocino
Calder String Quartet. Benjamin Jacobson and Andrew Bulbrook, violin; Jonathan Moerschel, viola; Er
Program: TBA $12 to $39...
Details