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Tuesday, February 09, 2016
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 Recent Reviews
RECITAL
BACH AND BUXTEHUDE ORGAN MASTERY IN MORGAN'S SCHROEDER RECITAL
by James Harrod
Sunday, January 31, 2016
Stanford University organist Robert Huw Morgan played an exciting and interesting program of Baroque music in Schroeder Hall January 31, performing the entire concert with faultless virtuosity. The recital’s program consisted of both familiar and unfamiliar selections, and his choices were familiar...
SYMPHONY
VSO SEASON FINALE FEATURES COMMANDING CONDUCTING
by Elizabeth Warnimont
Sunday, January 31, 2016
New Zealand conductor Marc Taddei led the Vallejo Symphony Jan. 31 in “The Composer's Muse,” a program that emphasized the uniqueness of each selection, in Vallejo’s Hogan Auditorium. An audience of nearly 350 was the largest in the past two seasons. The concert marks the last of three audition co...
SYMPHONY
SOLO AND ENSEMBLE BRASS PEAL POWERFULLY IN SO CO PHIL CONCERT
by Terry McNeill
Sunday, January 24, 2016
Known for its novel programming, the Sonoma County Philharmonic has frequently engaged local soloists, with flutist Kathleen Reynolds and pianists Lauren Xie and Marilyn Thompson coming quickly to mind. In their Jan. 23 concert, featuring German composers, conductor Norman Gamboa united a rare mid 1...
RECITAL
INSPIRED SCHUBERT IN BRILLIANT HAMELIN RECITAL IN WEILL
by Terry McNeill
Friday, January 22, 2016
In addition his brilliant pianism, Marc-André Hamelin has built a substantial international career by embracing unconventional repertoire and innovative transcriptions. Who else plays Catoire, Hofmann, Chopin-Godowsky, Dukas, Medtner and…Hamelin? So the Canadian’s Jan. 22 Weill Hall recital was a ...
CHORAL AND VOCAL
NEW ABS MARIN SEASON A BACH FEAST
by Joanna Bramel Young
Friday, January 22, 2016
Playing to a full house Jan. 22 at St. Stephen’s Church in Belvedere, the American Bach Soloists launched its twenty-seventh season with a program of four Bach Favorites - two delectable instrumental compositions sandwiched between a pair of cantatas that ABS had performed in its very first concert....
CHORAL AND VOCAL
MEDITATIONS ON THE ARTIST
by Mark Kratz
Sunday, January 17, 2016
Schroeder Hall's vocal recital Jan. 17 centered on the life of the artist, and tenor Nicholas Phan described the recital as “meditations on the artist” that highlighted the concepts of hypersensitivity and a sense of child-like wonder that many artists experience. The entire first half of the rec...
CHAMBER
PRIMA TRIO'S COLORFUL MIX AT MILL VALLEY CHAMBER
by Kate Gilpin
Sunday, January 17, 2016
Softly falling rain and a glimpse of rain-green trees through the windows of the Mount Tamalpais Methodist Church was the ideal background for a stunning Mill Valley Chamber Music Society performance Jan. 17. The Prima Trio, a young group comprising transplants from Armenia, Uzbekistan, and Russia...
CHAMBER
SCINTILLATING SCHUBERT IN WEILL
by Terry McNeill
Saturday, January 16, 2016
Audience members in Weill Jan. 16 that expecting a balanced, albeit conservative chamber music evening received a slight surprise with a scintillating Schubert Trio that upstaged two otherwise splendid works. Schubert a surprise? In the hands of violinist Joseph Swenson, cellist Carter Brey and en...
RECITAL
SUN'S WARM RECEPTION IN A CHILLY HALL
by Terry McNeill
Sunday, January 10, 2016
Program design for a piano recital is most often a decision to perform a few big sonatas and variations, sometimes by one composer, or a smorgasbord of shorter works. Sophia Sun chose mostly the latter in her local debut recital Jan. 10 before 150 in SRJC’s Newman Auditorium. Sponsored by the Sono...
SYMPHONY
PURE GOLD FROM CAROLINE GOULDING AND SANTA ROSA SYMPHONY
by Steve Osborn
Sunday, January 10, 2016
Could Mei-Ann Chen be a candidate to replace Bruno Ferrandis at the helm of the Santa Rosa Symphony when his contract expires at the end of the 2017-18 season? If so, she would be a strong contender. Her impressive guest conducting at the orchestra’s Jan. 10 concert at Weill Hall in Sonoma State’s G...
Local Concerts  
CHAMBER REVIEW
Green Music Center / Saturday, January 30, 2016
Valley of the Moon Festival Musicians: Monica Huggett, violin; Tanya Tomkins, cello; Eric Vivian, fortepiano; Jodi Levitz, viola

Monica Huggett, Eric Zivian, Tanya Tomkins

SCHUMANN'S INTIMATE CONVERSATIONS IN SCHROEDER

by Sonia Morse Tubridy
Saturday, January 30, 2016

An ensemble of five outstanding musicians from Valley of the Moon Music Festival presented Jan. 30 a program "Schumann The Intimate Conversationalist" program to a rapt and delighted audience in Schroeder Hall.

On entering the hall there was on stage the sight of an exquisite Viennese fortepiano built in 1841. This instrument differs from a modern piano in many ways, including very little metal in its construction. The action and tone are lighter and the result is an instrument that blends wonderfully with string instruments. Cellist Tanya Tomkins and violist Jodi Levitz conversed with each other and the audience before the musical presentation, and they stated that Schumann wrote “music for the piano looms large" and "first radiance of new genius is found at the keyboard.” They explained that the three pieces on the program: Kinderszenen (1838), Trio in G Minor (1847) and Quintet, Opus 44 (1842) were written within ten years of the building of this piano and that this concert represented three aspects of Schumann's manifold compositional style.

Kinderszenen (Scenes of Childhood), a much beloved set of thirteen miniature poetic character pieces, were performed by pianist Eric Zivian. He played with fine expressiveness and intelligence, shaping each piece with subtle dynamics and great clarity. The gentle lyrical tone of this instrument that does not rely on power intensified the performance, the intimate conversation between composer and pianist reaching out to engaged listeners.

Ms.Tomkins and violinist Monica Huggett joined Mr. Zivian for the G Minor Trio. The violin and cello used gut strings and all instruments blended well with little vibrato use. This Trio heralds new compositional styles heading towards the 20th century with a spontaneous improvisatory feel replacing organized development of ideas. The first movement introduced an unusual trio sound in which the individual contrasting colors of the parts available with modern instruments were replaced by a communal blended sound based on the ideal in early music ensembles. One striking change was the subdued role of the piano in the ensemble, sometimes actually covered by the violin and cello. In this movement, surges of upward waves of sound in the piano supported passionate outbursts and singing string lines. The sound seems to emerge from a deep emotional place, almost diabolical at times, and with many small surprising gestures.

The second movement is a unique love duet filled with almost unbearable longing, the piano adding touches of bright highlights and filling in emotional moments in this conversation. A middle section was reminiscent of ominous realities before returning to the poignant love duet, ending with a musical sigh. Clara Schumann is said to have especially loved this trio and this afternoon’s performers were deeply engaged.

The short third movement features harmonically strange piano passages with the many long pedal markings working well on the fortepiano. A wild joyful tarantella balances the spooky outer sections which lead to the fourth movement marked Kraftig mit (humor). This last movement has a bit of everything: foot stomping folk vigor, lyrical cello passages turning the music sentimental, a vibrant march section and more. New ideas emerge and then disappear into familiar themes with new variations. The trio ends with bright optimism and the audience applauded enthusiastically.

After an intermission the musicians returned with violinist Carla Moore and Ms.Levitz for the Quintet in E Flat, one of the greatest in this genre. It took some adjusting to the lighter sound of this ensemble, in which the grand piano sounds usually heard were often in the background. The joy and exuberance of the first movement's opening were interrupted by contemplative and thoughtful piano statements with delightful amounts of rubato. There were the beloved cello/viola duos and a new take on the dark development section with strong string chords leading and piano passages a background rumble.

The second movement with it's solemn, staggering march led through different moods to the wild and furious episode in which an astonishingly intense viola rendition of the main theme leads back to quiet and peace. The Scherzo was taken at a breathtaking tempo with exuberance and power in which the viola part was once again an exciting driving force. The last movement was a demonstration of the new kind of beauty to be heard when the piano is not the main part but often a quiet and more bell-like presence. There was much charm in the trading of melodies and the brisk tempo gave great broad gestures to this grand finale.

Applause was plentiful for this fresh, enlightening and moving experience of Schumann's genius and humanity.

Nicki Bell contributed to this review.

Events Calendar

OTHER
Mythica Foundation for the Arts
Wednesday, February 10, 2016
10:00 AM - Petaluma
Kayleen Asbo, piano; Bonnie Brooks, mezzo soprano; Julija ZIbrat, violin
Dante and The Soul's Journey: The Divine Comedy through Art, Music and Storytelling. A three week lecture series on the Inferno using live performances of classical music across the centuries to illum...
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RECITAL
Music at Oakmont
Thursday, February 11, 2016
1:30 PM - Santa Rosa
Joel Fan, piano
Ginastera: Sonata No. 1, Op.22; Peixun Chen: Autumn Moon Over the Still Lake; Jianzhomg Wang: Liuyang River, Plum Blossom; Liszt: Sonata in B Minor Concerts are open to Oakmont residents and their in...
Details

RECITAL
Mastercard Performance Series
Friday, February 12, 2016
7:30 PM - Rohnert Park
Cameron Carpenter, organ
The International Touring Organ. Music TBA...
Details

CHAMBER
Green Music Center
Saturday, February 13, 2016
3:00 PM - Rohnert Park
Musicians from the Valley of the Moon Festival: Christine Brandes, soprano; Tanya Tomkins, cello; Ax
Schubertiade: Selected Lieder; Sonatina in A Minor for Violin and Piano; Piano Quartet in A Major, D. 667 ("Trout")...
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SYMPHONY
Mastercard Performance Series
Sunday, February 14, 2016
3:00 PM - Rohnert Park
Philharmonia Baroque. Nicholas McGegan, conductor. Susan Graham, mezzo-soprano
Handel: "Scherza infida" and "Dopo notte" from the opera Ariodante; "Ombra mai fu" and "Se barmate" from the opera Xerxes; Suite in D Major (Water Music); Royal Fireworks music...
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CHAMBER
Saint Valentine's Day Concert
Sunday, February 14, 2016
3:00 PM - Petaluma
Elizabeth Walter and Marilyn Thompson, piano; Carol Menke and Eileen Morris, soprano; other performe
Brahms: Liebeslieder Walzes, Op. 52; Liszt: Liebestraume No. 3; Dvorak: Selections from Slavonic Dances; works by Handel, Hindemith, Sheldon and Thomson. $25 general admission ...
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SYMPHONY
Santa Rosa Symphony
Saturday, February 20, 2016
8:00 PM - Rohnert Park
Bruno Ferrandis, conductor. Rachel Barton Pine, violin
Beethoven: Violin Concerto in D Major, Op. 61; Bruckner: Symphony No. 9 in D Minor...
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SYMPHONY
Santa Rosa Symphony
Sunday, February 21, 2016
3:00 PM - Rohnert Park
Bruno Ferrandis, conductor. Rachel Barton Pine, violin
Beethoven: Violin Concerto in D Major, Op. 61; Bruckner: Symphony No.9 in D Minor ...
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CHAMBER
Creative Arts Series
Sunday, February 21, 2016
3:30 PM - Santa Rosa
Lyle Sheffler, guitar
Music of Villa-Lobos, Tansman, Albeniz, Barrios, De Falla and Granados Suggested Donation: $1...
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CHAMBER
Dominican University of California Guest Concert Series
Sunday, February 21, 2016
3:00 PM - San Rafael
San Francisco Chamber Players. Dan Carlson, violin.Jay Fellows, viola; Peter Wyrick, cello; June Ch
Enescu: Concert Piece for Viola and Piano; Beethoven: Cello Sonata in A Major, Op. 69; Brahms: Piano Quartet in G Minor, Op. 25 #18 general; $15 seniors; students under 18 free...
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