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Friday, September 19, 2014
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 Recent Reviews
CHAMBER
POTENT STUDENT WORKS IN ARIADNE TRIO CONCERT
by Nicki Bell
Sunday, August 24, 2014
On a lovely August 24 afternoon the Trio Ariadne played the seventh of ten concerts inaugurating the opening of SSU’s Schroeder Hall in the Green Music Center. It was part of a celebratory splash to introduce the music community to this little jewel of a hall, the 250-seat capacity and acoustics pe...
CHAMBER
ACOUSTIC CLARITY AT LAST
by Terry McNeill
Sunday, August 24, 2014
After years of chamber music frustration in Sonoma State University's Ives and Weill halls, the Trio Navarro basked in acoustical clarity Aug. 24 at their debut concert in the university's new Schroeder Hall. The acoustics in Weill before small audiences, and with lush romantic chamber music, made ...
CHAMBER
FACULTY AND COMMUNITY MUSICIANS JOIN IN SCHROEDER CELEBRATION
by Terry McNeill
Sunday, August 24, 2014
Though many of the inaugural Schroeder Hall concerts had larger audiences than the Aug. 24 faculty and community musician event, few of them had such lovely music on display. Some of the best were first, with ravishing music from SSU guitarist Eric Cabalo and Santa Rosa Symphony violinist Eugenie W...
CHAMBER
VOCAL PYROTECHNICS LIGHT UP SCHROEDER HALL
by Terry McNeill
Sunday, August 24, 2014
What could end a wildly successful 10-concert inaugural weekend in SSU’s new Schroeder Hall? A resounding concert of manifold brass, organ and voice that turned out by a wide margin to be the overall audience favorite. The long Sunday evening event put on display every piece of Schroeder’s vaunted...
RECITAL
KAHANE RECITAL HELPS INAUGURATE SCHROEDER HALL
by Terry McNeill
Saturday, August 23, 2014
Jeffrey Kahane returns frequently to Sonoma County in conducting and concerto performance, but rarely in recital. Two past solo events come to mind, a "fantasy" program where the Copland outshone the Schumann and Chopin, and an uneven concert capped by Chopin's F Minor Ballade. A jammed Schroeder ...
RECITAL
HERE COMES THE ORGAN!
by James Harrod
Saturday, August 23, 2014
The rich sounds of Dutch Renaissance organ flutes, reeds, and mixtures sounded in Sonoma County August 23 when James David Christie inaugurated the new Schroeder Hall pipe organ installation at Sonoma State University. Under the performer’s experienced and sensitive touch, the Brombaugh Opus 9 mech...
CHORAL AND VOCAL
A FITTING OPENING FOR SCHROEDER HALL
by Terry McNeill
Saturday, August 23, 2014
A choral concert by the Sonoma Bach Choir was a fitting opening for the new Schroeder Hall at Sonoma State University on Aug. 23. After all, the idea for the Green Music Center came many years ago from Don Green, who at the time was singing in the Bach Choir, conducted then and now by Bob Worth. Th...
CHAMBER
UBER VIOLISTS AT MUSIC IN THE VINEYARDS
by Steve Osborn
Friday, August 08, 2014
Full disclosure. I'm an amateur--very amateur--violist, so Friday's Music in the Vineyards concert in Napa Valley was of particular interest to me. The program featured two sextets with prominent viola parts; a trio for viola, flute and piano; and the pièce de résistance: a quartet for four violas. ...
CHAMBER
PIANO SONOMA JAMS IN FINAL WEILL CONCERT
by Terry McNeill
Sunday, August 03, 2014
PianoSonoma concluded its artist-in-residence performances August 3 in a sparkling Weill Hall concert where mostly new music overshadowed conventional fare. Mendelssohn’s popular D Minor Trio began the program in a workmanlike performance that never quite caught fire. Tempos throughout were judici...
SYMPHONY
A FORCE TO BE RECKONED WITH
by Steve Osborn
Saturday, August 02, 2014
The audience filing into Saturday's National Youth Orchestra concert at Weill Hall in Rohnert Park was greeted by the sight and sound of 120 teenaged musicians furiously warming up and clad in a patriotic outfit of red pants and sneakers, white shirts and … black blazers, ties and scarves? So much f...
Local Concerts  
RECITAL REVIEW
Green Music Center / Sunday, September 14, 2014
Juho Pohjonen, piano

Pianist Juho Pohjonen

THE BALLADE OF JUHO POHJONEN

by Terry McNeill
Sunday, September 14, 2014

Planning a piano program around a single theme or name can be tricky because cutesy connections can easily displace artistic merit. Fortunately, Juho Pohjonen's Sept. 14 recital in the inaugural "Sundays at Schroeder" concert was a textbook example of a successful theme--ballades--supported by wonderful music.

Grieg's seldom-played G Minor ballade had perhaps the most convincing performance of the afternoon. Built on 14 variations on a Norwegian folk song, the work is the composer's best extended-form piano piece. Mr. Pohjonen played it in a unhurried way with careful control of dynamics and just a hint of sadness. Pedaling was precise, and even the three most extroverted variations were clearly phrased and articulated.

Brahms' four early Op. 10 ballades completed the first half. Here again the Finnish pianist played with stable chordal weighting and fastidious thematic voicing. The gentle D Major Andante featured good staccato playing in the middle section. The Intermezzo moved from darkness to a cantabile of radiant light in the concluding Romanza. The slow playing had sentiment without a hint of sentimentality. Everything in the four components of the ballade's ersatz sonata structure was always in place.

In contrast to the efforts of Brahms and Grieg, each of the four Chopin ballades tells a story. Here Mr. Pohjonen stumbled. He is an exemplar of his musical generation in that rubatos are tight, inner voices are absent, repeats are played the same way each time, and the vocal nature of Chopin's exquisite melodies is slighted. The pianist's technique, however, is well suited to the unfolding agitation of the ballades. The F Major and the A-Flat Major received the most convincing playing benefiting from small pedal effects, fast right-hand scales and engaging rhythms.

Less compelling were the bookend ballades, arguably among the pinnacles of Chopin's genius. In both the G Minor and F Minor, pianistic frenzy often displaced thematic ardor and grandeur. The intricate and tumultuous coda of the F Minor became jumbled in the artist's rush to secure a potent finish.

Responding to a standing ovation from the audience of 160, Mr. Pohjonen played a limpid Grieg lyric piece, Op. 43, No. 6, "To the Spring." His captivating performance ended with two beguiling arpeggiated chords and a crossover left-hand pianissimo F.

Events Calendar

CHAMBER
Redwood Arts Council
Saturday, September 20, 2014
7:30 PM - Occidental
Swensen-LaDeur Duo, violin and piano. Brenden Guy, clarinet
Debussy: Sonata for Violin and Piano and Images Book II for Piano; Bartok:Contrasts for Violin, Clarinet, and Piano and Sonata for Violin (excerpts) ...
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SYMPHONY
Sonoma County Philharmonic
Saturday, September 27, 2014
8:00 PM - Santa Rosa
Norman Gamboa, conductor. Michael d'Arcy, violin
Kabalevsky: Overture to Colas Breugnon; Prokofiev: Violin Concerto No. 2 i G Minor, Op.63; Tchaikovsky: Synphony No. 6 in B Minor, Op. 74 ("Patétique")...
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CHAMBER
Russian River Chamber Music
Saturday, September 27, 2014
7:30 PM - Healdsburg
Chamber Music Society of San Francisco. Natasha Makhijani, and Jory Fankuchen, violin; Clio Tilton,
Mozart: String Quartet in F Major, K. 590; Shostakovich: Piano Quintet in G Minor, Op. 57 No admission charge; donations gratefully accepted ...
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SYMPHONY
Marin Symphony
Sunday, September 28, 2014
3:00 PM - San Rafael
Alasdair Neale,conductor. Zuill Bailey, cello
Bernstein: Overture to the opera "Candide"; Saint Saëns: Concerto For Cello No. 1 in A Minor, Op. 33; Berlioz: Symphonie Fantastique...
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SYMPHONY
Sonoma County Philharmonic
Sunday, September 28, 2014
2:00 PM - Santa Rosa
Norman Gamboa, conductor. Michael d'Arcy, violin
Kabalevsky: Overture to Colas Breugnon; Prokofiev: Violin Concerto No. 2 in G Minor, Op. 63; Tchaikovsky: Symphony No. 6 in B Minor, Op. 74 ("Pathétique")...
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SYMPHONY
Marin Symphony
Tuesday, September 30, 2014
7:30 PM - San Rafael
Alasdair Neale, conductor. Zuill Bailey, cello
Bernstein: Overture to the opera "Candide"; St. Saëns: Cello Concerto No. 1 in A Minor, Op. 33; Berlioz: Symphonie Fantastique...
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RECITAL
Sonoma State University Department of Music
Saturday, October 04, 2014
7:30 PM - Rohnert Park
Pandit Laxmi Tewari, North Indian Classical singer. Other musicians TBA
Program TBA...
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CHAMBER
Absolute Music
Sunday, October 05, 2014
7:00 PM - Santa Rosa
String Circle: Joseph Edelberg and Kati Kyme, violin; Anthony Martin, viola; Thalia Moore, cello
Beethoven: Quartet in D Major, Op. 18, No. 3; Schubert: Quartet in A Minor (Rosamunde) Absolute Music: 3051 Las Mesitas Court, Santa Rosa, CA 95405...
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RECITAL
Sonoma State University Department of Music
Friday, October 10, 2014
7:30 PM - Rohnert Park
William Kanengiser, guitar
De Falla: La Danza del Molinero; Sor: Fantasie Elegiaque, Op. 59; Tárrega: Marieta, Lágrima, Maria; Turina: Fantasia (Sevilliana); Ernesto Garcia de Leon: Sonata No. 1 (Las Campanas); Léo Brouer: Two ...
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SYMPHONY
Santa Rosa Symphony
Saturday, October 11, 2014
8:00 PM - Rohnert Park
Bruno Ferrandis, conductor. Yevgeny Sudbin, piano
Strauss: Till Eulwnapiegel's Merry Pranks; Beethoven: E-Flat Piano Concerto (No. 5), Op. 73; Wagner: Overture to the Opera Tannhäuser; Bartok: Suite from "The Miraculous Mandarin"...
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