Home  Reviews  Articles  Calendar  Presenters  Add Event     
Wednesday, May 27, 2015
Reader Comments 0 new this week
We value your participation. Contribute by leaving a comment in the box following articles and reviews.
 Recent Reviews
SYMPHONY
SANTA ROSA SYMPHONY MASTERS MAHLER'S THIRD
by Steve Osborn
Sunday, May 03, 2015
Among Romantic symphonists, Mahler is the king of climaxes; he surges from one to the next orgiastically. His third symphony is a perfect example: It begins strong, fades to quietude, resurges to maximum amplitude, and repeats the process. For listeners willing to ride these waves, the experience ca...
CHORAL AND VOCAL
ABS CLOSES 26TH SEASON WITH POTENT BACH AND VIVALDI WORKS
by Terry McNeill
Friday, May 01, 2015
In a May 1 program that balanced vocal and instrumental virtuosity the American Bach Soloists closed their 26th season in grand style in Belvedere’s austere St. Stephen’s Church. Led by the indomitable conductor Jeffrey Thomas the first half of the program featured a rarely heard cello concerto, a ...
SYMPHONY
MOUNT TSUJII ERUPTS AT THE GREEN MUSIC CENTER
by Nicki Bell
Friday, May 01, 2015
A great painter changes the way we see and understand the world. The extraordinary Nobuyuki Tsujii, a 25-year-old Japanese pianist blind since birth, changes the way we hear music. He has a transformative power. Formidable technique, a staggering mastery of pianistic and tonal color, surprising temp...
RECITAL
WEILERSTEIN-BARNATAN DUO IN WEILL - REVIEW ONE
by Joel Cohen
Sunday, April 26, 2015
The MasterCard Performance Series in Weill Hall featured an April 26 recital by cellist Alisa Weilerstein and pianist Inon Barnatan. In Beethoven’s substantial D Major sonata, Op.102, No. 2, the duo were clearly at ease with both the technical demands of the writing and with each other. They show...
RECITAL
WEILERSTEIN-BARNATAN DUO IN WEILL - REVIEW TWO
by Robert Hayden
Sunday, April 26, 2015
This was one of those concerts which far exceeded my expectations. I have heard Alisa Weilerstein several times before, as a colleague in concerts with Jeffrey Kahane, but she has matured and is certainly now one of America’s pre-eminent cellists. Playing before a sadly half empty Weill Hall audie...
RECITAL
STELLAR TRIO PLAYS ICONIC CHAMBER WORKS IN WEILL HALL CONCERT
by Terry McNeill
Sunday, April 19, 2015
Virtuoso instrumentalists frequently get together in a trio for a few concerts with the resulting playing being exciting but the performance sounding a little unfinished. This was decidedly not what happened with the Mutter-Bronfman-Harrell Trio April 19 in Weill, as the two works on the program ha...
SYMPHONY
LUMINOUS SOUND IN SF SYMPHONY WEILL HALL CONCERT
by Terry McNeill
Thursday, April 16, 2015
Though the Santa Rosa Symphony is the Green Music Center’s resident orchestra, when the San Francisco Symphony plays Weill Hall they take total artistic ownership. In the penultimate of the four annual Bay Area run outs the SFS played a compelling program April 16 of four masterworks with flawless ...
SYMPHONY
WARM RAMADANOFF FAREWELL IN VSO'S MARE ISLAND CONCERT
by Elizabeth Warnimont
Sunday, April 12, 2015
Vallejo bid a fond farewell April 12 to a pillar of the arts community in a concert on Vallejo's Mare Island, as David Ramadanoff directed the Vallejo Symphony in his last concert as conductor. A polite but somber mood hung over Lander hall Sunday and was as pronounced as the notes produced by the ...
SYMPHONY
CONCERTO KÖLN DELIGHTS WITH RARELY-HEARD BAROQUE WORKS
by Joanna Bramel Young
Saturday, April 11, 2015
Weill Hall resonated April 11 with an agreeable group of Baroque works not often heard, though the composers are in fact well known. This assured, skilled plumbing of quiet corners of the repertoire is the specialty of Concerto Köln, based in Cologne, Germany, but received with pleasure throughout t...
CHAMBER
ANGLO BRITISH MUSIC AT OAKMONT VIOLIN RECITAL
by Terry McNeill
Thursday, April 09, 2015
In a balanced Music at Oakmont recital April 9 violinist Elena Urioste played an animated program featuring British and American composers, but with some compositional surprises. The first came with Paul Schoenfield’s Four Souvenirs, a suite of four pieces that combined several dance forms that wer...
Local Concerts  
SYMPHONY REVIEW
Mastercard Performance Series / Friday, May 08, 2015
Jeffrey Kahane, piano

Pianist Jeffrey Kahane

REFRESHMENT FOR OUR SPIRITS

by Sonia Tubridy
Friday, May 08, 2015

On Friday, May 8, Jeffrey Kahane delivered a tour-de-force piano recital at Weill Hall. The program consisted two great sets of variations for piano, Bach's brilliant Goldberg Variations and Beethoven's Opus 109 Sonata, whose third movement offers transcendent variations on a simple theme.

Kahane opened the recital with an impassioned reading of the Beethoven sonata. His performance was fast and full of fire, with moments of deep lyricism and the appearance of many surprising inner voices. The driving and startling prestissimo second movement led to the heart of the sonata, the theme and variations of the third movement, which is marked: "Songlike with greatest inwardness of feeling." The chorale-like theme is continuously transformed by the six variations, culminating in a glorious trill section that spins into new worlds of ecstatic imagination before dying back down to the original song and its simple humanity. In Beethoven's words: "Before my departure for the Elysian fields I must leave behind me what the Eternal Spirit has infused into my soul and bids me complete." Kahane gave us a glimpse of the beauty of that world and what lies beyond and within.

After intermission, the audience returned for the monumental and unequaled Goldberg Variations. In 1741, an insomniac Russian ambassador to Saxony, Count Keyserlingk, asked if Bach could write some “smooth and somewhat lively” pieces for his harpsichordist Johann Goldberg to play so the count “might be a little cheered up by them in his sleepless nights," according to Bach’s biographer Johann Forkel. What a humble origin for one of the greatest musical achievements in existence!

The opening Aria, a Sarabande, slow in triple meter, was lovely in its subtle timings and voicing, by turns simple, unassuming, highly ornamented and graceful. The bass and harmony line connect the following variations, much in the manner of a Chaconne. A desire for order and the logic of numbers governs the form of this work in multiple and overlapping ways. The variations are in groups of three, with the third variation being a canon progressively on the next larger interval (from unison to a ninth) as we move through the piece. Bach explores the many possibilities of complex polyphonic techniques; variations based on Baroque dances; feats of keyboard technique; and harmonic and rhythmic inventiveness. The last variation interweaves several German folksongs, one of which is about cabbage and turnips.

Kahane's playing was enthralling. It had great liveliness, speed and charisma, and also color and delightful keyboard gymnastics. He was master and friend of his instrument, able to use all a piano can offer, from cascades of joyous sounds to heartbreaking poignancy. The musical journey was enriched by awareness and glimpses of the connection between Bach and Beethoven. Kahane revealed himself as an artist of great intelligence and dazzling technique. In the words inscribed on the first edition of the Goldberg Variations, he offered "refreshment for the spirit." The audience emerged renewed and grateful.

Events Calendar

CHAMBER
Occidental Center for the Arts
Sunday, May 31, 2015
5:00 PM - Occidental
Amaryllis Trio. Sonia Tubridy, piano; Lisa Doyle,violin; Wendy Reynolds, cello
Music of Mozart, Piazzolla and Dvorak Admission is $10. Home-made refreshment for sale...
Details

CHORAL AND VOCAL
Sonoma Bach and live Oak Baroque Orchestra
Friday, June 05, 2015
8:00 PM - Rohnert Park
Bob Worth, conductor. Brian Thorsett (Evangelist)
Bach: St. John Passion Http://www.sonomabach.org/st-john-passion.html...
Details

YOUTH
Santa Rosa Symphony Youth Orchestra Ensembles
Saturday, June 06, 2015
7:00 PM - Rohnert Park
Performers: TBA
Program: TBA "Bon Voyage" concert for the Ensembles' international tour...
Details

CHORAL AND VOCAL
Sonoma Bach and Live Oak Baroque Orchestra
Saturday, June 06, 2015
3:00 PM - Rohnert Park
Bob Worth, conductor. Brian Thorsett, Evangelist
Bach: St. John Passion Http://www.sonomabach.org/st-john-passion.html...
Details

OPERA
Cinnabar Theater
Friday, June 12, 2015
8:00 PM - Petaluma
Mary Chan, conductor. Jo Vincent Parks and William Neely, baritone; Eileen Morris, Aurelie Veruni a
Verdi: Falstaff Tickets: $40 adult; $25 under 21; $9 middle and high school students (June 12 only). Other Performances: June 13 at 8; June 14 at 2; June 19 and 20 at 8; June 21 at 2; June 26 and ...
Details

OPERA
Cinnabar Theater
Saturday, June 13, 2015
8:00 PM - Petaluma
Mary Chun, conductor. For cast see June 12 entry
Verdi: Falstaff Tickets: 21 and under students: $25; Adults: $40...
Details

OPERA
Cinnabar Theater
Sunday, June 14, 2015
2:00 PM - Petaluma
Mary Chun, conductor. For complete cast please see June 12 entry
Verdi: Falstaff Tickets: $25 (under 21) and $40 (Adults)...
Details

OPERA
Cinnabar Theater
Friday, June 19, 2015
8:00 PM - Petaluma
Mary Chun, conductor. For complete cast see June 12 entry
Verdi: Falstaff Tickets: $40 adult; $25 under 21...
Details

OPERA
Cinnabar Theater
Saturday, June 20, 2015
8:00 PM - Petaluma
Mary Chun, conductor. For complete cast names please see June 12 listing
Verdi: Falstaff Ticket prices: $25 adult, $25 under 21...
Details

OPERA
Cinnabar Theater
Sunday, June 21, 2015
2:00 PM - Petaluma
Mary Chun, conductor. For complete cast names please see June 12 entry
Verdi: Flastaff Tickets: $40 adult, $25 under 21...
Details