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Monday, April 23, 2018
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 Recent Reviews
SYMPHONY
SPLENDID JUPITER AND ZOOMING CONCERTO AT VALLEJO SYMPHONY SEASON FINALE
by Terry McNeill
Sunday, April 15, 2018
Over the past two years the Vallejo Symphony has made big changes, moving from a stark middle school auditorium to the snazzy remodeled 1911-era downtown Empress Theater, and engaging Marc Taddei as its seventh conductor. April 15 was the seasonís final concert of the 86th season. In a programmin...
CHAMBER
VIRTUOSO CELLO AND GUITAR TRANSCRIPTIONS AT RAC SEBASTOPOL CONCERT
by Terry McNeill
Saturday, April 14, 2018
Listeners and yes even music critics usually prepare for a concert with research, checking recorded performances, looking at artist biographies and even reviewing sheet music. This was a difficult task for the April 14 Redwood Arts Council concert in Sebastopolís Community Church, as the performers...
CHAMBER
TRIO NAVARRO'S POPULAR FARE IN SCHROEDER HALL CONCERT
by Terry McNeill
Sunday, April 08, 2018
Long time Classical Sonoma readers may recall many Trio Navarro concert reviews that lauded their virtuosity and interest in rarely played repertoire. The April 8 concert in Schroeder Hall before 85 chamber music fans featured sterling performances but had a mostly conservative menu of popular trio...
RECITAL
KENNER'S ALL POLISH RECITAL HAS PADEREWSKI RARITY
by Abby Wasserman
Sunday, April 08, 2018
Kevin Kennerís April 8 recital at Dominican Universityís Angelico Hall had been advertised as all-Chopin, but he added a detour into another seminal Polish composer-pianist, Paderewski. Several of Mr. Kennerís teachers were Poles, he speaks Polish, and he navigated at the piano both composersí deman...
SYMPHONY
IT'S ALL ABOUT THE VOICE AT SANTA ROSA SYMPHONY
by Steve Osborn
Sunday, April 08, 2018
In an April 8 Santa Rosa Symphony concert filled to the brim with instruments--electric violin, vibraphone, marimba, xylophone, glockenspiel, keyboard samplers, harps, piano and myriad drums, gongs and bells, to say nothing of winds, brass and strings--the instrument that came out on top was the hum...
CHAMBER
VOM FESTIVAL TRIO CHARMS WITH CHAMBER MIX, AND HUMMEL
by Terry McNeill
Saturday, March 31, 2018
At the core of the group of Valley of the Moon Music Festival (VOM) musicians is an ensemble of trios and duos, and as a trio March 31 Festival founders cellist Tanya Tomkins and pianist Eric Zivian joined British violinist Monica Huggett for a chamber music concert in the Green Music Centerís Schro...
CHORAL AND VOCAL
GOOD FRIDAY REQUIEM FILLS INCARNATION
by Terry McNeill
Friday, March 30, 2018
Maurice Duruflťís short and intense Requiem has been heard in Santa Rosaís Church of the Incarnation before, but the March 30 Good Friday performance was stripped down in the number of performers, combining Cantiamo Sonoma and the St. Cecilia Choir with musical underpinning from organist Robert Youn...
SYMPHONY
HAMELIN'S HUSKY MOOD IN SCHROEDER RECITAL
by Terry McNeill
Sunday, March 25, 2018
Convention in piano recitals has the artist coming on stage and playing. Canadian pianist Charles Richard-Hamelin walked on Schroeder Hallís stage March 25 and didnít play for six minutes, chatting with the audience. A risk for some artists. Then most programs include a contemporary or rarely play...
RECITAL
VIRTUOSIC VARIATIONS IN MORGAN'S SCHROEDER ORGAN RECITAL
by Paul Blanchard
Sunday, March 18, 2018
Organist Robert Huw Morganís artistry spun through the web of early variation form in a Mar. 18 recital on Schroeder Hallís wonderful Brombaugh organ. Mr. Morgan, Stanford Universityís resident organist, performs a wide range of repertoire, but as he said in comments to the audience, he loves when h...
SYMPHONY
ORFF AND HINDEMITH SONIC SPLENDOR AT FINAL SO CO PHIL CONCERT
by Terry McNeill
Saturday, March 17, 2018
Sonoma County Philharmonic concerts are continually artistically successful but on the Santa Rosa High Schoolís stage the orchestra rarely numbers above 40, and in the 900-seat hall audiences can be scant. Violinists can be in short supply. An opposite scene occurred at the March 17/18 concert set...
Local Concerts  
RECITAL REVIEW
Mastercard Performance Series / Saturday, April 21, 2018
Louis Lortie, piano

Pianist Louis Lortie

HEAVENLY SCHUBERT AND DEMONIC CHOPIN

by Terry McNeill
Saturday, April 21, 2018

One of the anomalies in the long ago ďGolden EraĒ of romantic pianism (about 1905 to 1940) is that the virtuoso giants of the time didnít play Schubert. It took the German pianist Artur Schnabel to bring the beauties of Schuberís work to the publicís attention, and now it seems to be on almost every contemporary piano recital.

Louis Lortieís April 21 Weill Hall recital featured Schubertís 38-minute G Major Fantasy Sonata, D. 894, for the entire first half. Mr. Lortie gave the work a straightforward interpretation with a careful development of the long thematic lines. There were many small variations in dynamics in the opening molto moderato and in general a robust approach to phrasing and tempo. The playing had balance and, when needed, thrust. The andante was played lyrically and at time ďbouncyĒ with subtle adjustments in tempo, and the menuetto was played as a lively song, sunshine replacing the previous drama.

The long road to the finish underscored what musicians often say about the Schubert sonatas: itís a heavenly length, and itís not the musicís immediate impact but the journey that in the end counts. I thought it slightly risky to program the piece, which is exciting but difficult to sustain, but the audience of 350 was convinced and provided the artist with extended loud applause.

Four Chopin works occupied the second half, two Mazurkas and two extended but different dramatic compositions, both composed in 1841. Here the pianist was less successful in getting to the heart of Chopinís music as did he so well with the Schubert.

Each Mazurka, the F Minor (Op. 7, No. 3) and the Op. 59, No. 3 (F-Sharp Minor), was played in a big-boned style with little attention to internal phrase rubato and the little shifts in instrumental color. This isnít saying that the dance character of both wasnít displayed, but that the interpretations tended to be overly forceful and lacking in repose and charm. Polish dances do contain charm as well as Slavic effervescence.

The F Minor Fantasy performance was a program highlight, as Mr. Lortieís energetic mood captured the musicís demonic character, and he gave each modulation in the march-like passages individual and potent sound. Occasionally the Hallís acoustic shortcomings in fast legato passagework made the pianistís runs blurred, but his admirable octave technique never failed him. The chorale was played in a beautiful contrast, and the return of the main theme was carried with left-hand pedal point and a tiny pesky memory lapse. Overall it was a rushed and over-pedaled reading that was also everywhere dramatically convincing.

Ending the recital with a great Polonaise, in this case the F-Sharp Minor Op. 44, was a surprise programming choice and not an ordinary recital closer. It was played with firm rhythmic drive and had a majestic climax and lots of volume.

Returning to the stage Mr. Lortie continued the afternoonís fast virtuosity with two Chopin studies, the Op. 25 A Flat (ďAeolian HarpĒ) and the popular showoff C-Sharp Minor, Op. 10, No. 4. The first encore missed the elegance and craft of a slower tempo, and the latter demonstrated the artistís penchant, at lest at this recital, for finger agility and velocity in Chopinís marvelous music.

Events Calendar

SYMPHONY
Symphony of the Redwoods
Saturday, April 28, 2018
7:30 PM - Fort Bragg
Allan Pollack, conductor. Annelle K. Gregory, violin
Beethoven: Symphony No. 2 in D Major, Op. 36; Bruch: Scottish Fantasy in E-Flat Major, Op. 46 ...
Details

SYMPHONY
College of Marin Orchestra
Saturday, April 28, 2018
7:30 PM - Kentfield
Jim Stophder, conductor
Smetana: Polka (from the opera The Bartered Bride); Bartůk: Romanian Folk Dances; DvorŠk: Symphony No. 6 in D Major, Op. 60 (Allegro non Tanto only); Brahms: Intermezzo in A Major, Op. 118, No. 2 (arr...
Details

SYMPHONY
Marin Symphony
Sunday, April 29, 2018
3:00 PM - San Rafael
Alasdair Neale, conductor. Zuill Bailey, cello
R. Strauss: Serenade for Winds, Don Quixote; Stravinsky: Scherzo Š la Russe, Suite from the Ballet "Firebird"...
Details

SYMPHONY
Symphony of the Redwoods
Sunday, April 29, 2018
2:00 PM - Fort Bragg
Allan Pollack, conductor. Annelle K. Gregory, violin
Beethoven: Symphony No. 2 in D Major, Op. 36; Bruch: Scottish Fantasy innE-Flat Major, Op. 46 ...
Details

SYMPHONY
Marin Symphony
Tuesday, May 01, 2018
7:30 PM - San Rafael
Alasdair Neale, conductor. Zuill Bailey, cello
Stravinsky: Scherzo Š la Russe, Suite frotte Ballet "Firebird"; R. Strauss: Don Quixote, Serenade for Winds...
Details

SYMPHONY
Santa Rosa Symphony
Saturday, May 05, 2018
8:00 PM - Rohnert Park
Bruno Ferrandis, conductor. Jan Mikusek, cymbalom
Michal Rataj: Temporis for Cymbalom and Orchestra; Mahler: Symphony No. 9...
Details

CHAMBER
MUSA
Saturday, May 05, 2018
8:00 PM - San Anselmo
MUSA Baroque Orchestra. Derek Tam, Director
The Birth of the String Symphony. Music of CPE Bach and Mendelssohn (TBA) ...
Details

SYMPHONY
Santa Rosa Symphony
Sunday, May 06, 2018
3:00 PM - Rohnert Park
Bruno Ferrandis, conductor. Jan Mikusek, cymbalom
Michal Rataj: Temporis for Cymbalom and Orchestra; Mahler: Symphony No. 9...
Details

RECITAL
Redwood Empire AGO
Sunday, May 06, 2018
3:00 PM - Santa Rosa
REAGO Members Recital and Reception. Performers TBA
Music TBA...
Details

YOUTH
Marin Music Chest
Sunday, May 06, 2018
2:30 PM - San Anselmo
Elek Yozie (viola) of Mill Valley; Dheyan Lim (violin) of Mill Valley; Sophie Liu (violin) of Greenb
Scholarship Winners Concert. The free concert is open to the public and showcases the talents of 14 young classical musicians honored with 2018 Marin Music Chest Scholarship awards. ...
Details