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Friday, February 22, 2019
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 Recent Reviews
SYMPHONY
MENDELSSOHN'S SCOTTISH SAVES THE EVENING IN SRS WEILL CONCERT
by Terry McNeill
Monday, February 11, 2019
The audience entering Weill Hall for Santa Rosa Symphony concerts Feb. 9-11 were presented with a program that on first glance appeared a curious patchwork – a great symphony mixed with a seldom heard concerto and two disparate overtures, and a guest conductor unknown locally. Monday night’s concer...
RECITAL
INTRIGUING BELL-HAYWOOD RECITAL BEFORE FULL HOUSE IN WEILL HALL
by Abby Wasserman
Friday, February 08, 2019
A big portion of the capacity audience in Weill Hall February 8th came to hear violinist Joshua Bell’s virtuosity, and were treated as well to splendid playing from Sam Haywood, Mr. Bell’s regular pianist since 2010. The duo performed three engaging sonatas, highlighted by Mr. Bell’s sterling techn...
SYMPHONY
TRIPLE PLAY UKIAH SYMPHONY CONCERT AND TCHAIKOVSKY SERENADE
by Terry McNeill
Sunday, January 27, 2019
Over the years the Ukiah Symphony’s concerts have been in the Classical Sonoma Calendar sections, but rarely has this Orchestra, now in its 39th season, had a full winter season concert review. The provocative Jan. 27 program in Mendocino College’s Center Theater seemed a good reason to reacquaint ...
SYMPHONY
JACKSON THEATER WELCOMES A NEW RESIDENT ORCHESTRA
by Terry McNeill
Saturday, January 26, 2019
Moving to a permanent new performance venue can be a perilous undertaking for an orchestra, with different acoustics, the loyal audience finding the new spot and infrastructure challenges of lighting and lobby and backstage operations. In their first concert Jan. 26 in Windsor’s Jackson Theater the...
SYMPHONY
ECLECTIC PASSIONATE PROGRAMMING AT MARIN SYMPHONY CONCERT
by Abby Wasserman
Saturday, January 26, 2019
The Marin Symphony’s second Masterworks concert of the 2018-19 season featured works by John Adams, Sibelius and Brahms, a masterful assembly. In a spoken introduction before the program’s first half, conductor Alasdair Neale primed the audience for the “terra incognita” of Adams’ The Chairman Dance...
SYMPHONY
A SLICE OF HEAVEN FROM THE SANTA ROSA SYMPHONY
by Steve Osborn
Sunday, January 13, 2019
Under its vibrant new music director, Francesco Lecce-Chong, the Santa Rosa Symphony this past Sunday offered a nearly perfect afternoon of Mozart (Symphony No. 40) and Mahler (Symphony No. 4). While the two works share a common digit, the only element uniting them is genius. They made for a dazzlin...
RECITAL
KHOZYAINOV'S BRILLIANT PIANISM IN MILL VALLEY RECITAL
by Abby Wasserman
Sunday, January 13, 2019
In its third concert of the season the Mill Valley Chamber Music Society Jan. 13 presented Russian virtuoso Nikolay Khozyainov. His intelligent and sensitive interpretations, masterful pedal work, and virtuoso technique left the near-capacity audience in Mt. Tamalpais Methodist Church astounded and ...
CHAMBER
A COMPLETE MUSICAL PACKAGE IN ARRON'S OAKMONT RECITAL
by Terry McNeill
Thursday, January 10, 2019
Cellist Edward Arron has been a welcome artist at the Music at Oakmont series, and after his Jan. 10 recital it’s easy to understand his popularity. His artistry is a complete package, with potent instrumental technique wedded to integral musical conceptions. In a nearly flawless concert with pian...
CHORAL AND VOCAL
COMPELLING WEILL HALL MESSIAH ORATORIO FROM THE ABS
by Terry McNeill
Saturday, December 15, 2018
Each holiday season when a Classical Sonoma reviewer is assigned to cover a concert with Handel’s seminal Oratorio The Messiah, the question arises about what new commentary can possibly apply to the often performed choral work. Well, if it’s the American Bach Soloists performing the piece, written...
OPERA
PURCELL'S DIDO IN YOUTHFUL SSU OPERA
by Abby Wasserman
Wednesday, December 05, 2018
A doomed royal love affair, the theme of Purcell’s Dido and Aeneas, was brought to lovely life at Sonoma State University Dec. 5 in the school’s Schroeder Hall. Conducted by faculty member Zachary Gordin, who also played continuo, the performance was only the second opera production presented by the...
Local Concerts  
CHAMBER REVIEW
Sonoma State University Department of Music / Sunday, February 17, 2019
Trio Navarro. Marilyn Thompson, piano; Victor Romasevich, violin; Jill Rachuy Brindel, cello

Trio Navarro Feb. 17: V. Romasevich, M. Thompson, J. Brindel

UNEXPECTED ARENSKY AND MENDELSSOHN BY THE NAVARRO

by Terry McNeill
Sunday, February 17, 2019

The 100 people entering Schroeder Hall Feb. 17 for a Trio Navarro concert were handed a program that appeared to feature two popular piano trios, Mendelssohn and Arensky. But continuing the Navarro’s tradition of repertoire exploration, the pieces were not the usual first Mendelssohn and first Arensky, but the second from each composer, the C Minor (Op. 66) and F Minor (Op. 73), respectively.

But first came Haydn’s B-Flat Major Trio (Hob. XV:20), a short effervescent work that puts the lie to the contention that Haydn’s piano trios are accompanied solos. The opening allegro rustled along, bucolic and never demanding, contrasting pianist Marilyn Thompson’s long introduction to the andante with cellist Jill Rachuy Brindel and violinist Victor Romasevich playing variations. Mr. Romasevich played a lovely solo in the concluding finale.

The appetizer over, the Mendelssohn began with a wet, rich agitated string sound and a more leisurely tempo than expected with half-pedaled piano runs supporting a fine ensemble. The allegro energetico’s big false cadence before the end moved into a rush to the finish, an easy contrast to the lovely andante movement. Here Mr. Romasevich built many small climaxes in a romantic mix, all concluding with two shimmering pianissimo chords.

Mendelssohn writes scherzos like no other, and this five-minute movement was played in a pulsating rhythm with many repeated motifs and spiccato bow technique and humor. The Navarro again chose in the concluding allegro appassionato a tempo that was not racehorse, though surges of joy and vigor were everywhere, as was a hint of tragedy (but just a hint) in this virtuoso performance.

Following intermission I moved from the back of the hall to the second row, as piano legato is blurred way back in Schroeder, and much clearer up front with of course increased violin and cello volume. The more husky sound was welcome in the Arensky, a work from 1905 that has copious references to Chopin and especially Schumann. A quick tempo and meandering themes characterized the first movement, luxuriously harmonic but sharply different from contemporary Russians Tchaikovsky and Rubinstein, and the beguiling slow pace of the gold standard Borodin Trio’s recording from 1990. The accelerando at the end was explosive.

In the heart-on-sleeve romance the Navarro eschewed much rubati and kept the music from ever becoming cloying. A hard thing to do, given Ms. Brindel’s lovely ascending cello lines weaving about Mr. Romasevich’s elegant high register playing, and Ms. Thompson’s sensuous opening piano solo. The scherzo was dominated by both strings pizzicato that related to a waltz tune, with Ms. Thompson taking up rippling arpeggios in support.

Playing in the virtuosic closing variations (6) was at times in dance forms, nostalgic, and then busting out with fast scale playing and increased sonorities. Nothing was held back in this stirring performance where each variation had an individual character, with sprightly turns in the third and fifth. The Trio deftly played the surprising return of the first movement’s main theme with a subtle and slight change, making the composition’s quiet close all the more effective.


Events Calendar

RECITAL
Vocal Recital
Saturday, February 23, 2019
2:00 PM - Rohnert Park
Carol Menke, soprano; Marilyn Thompson, piano
Three songs each by Schumann, Fauré, and Strauss; four songs each by Turina and Robert Sheldon; Copland: four songs from "Twelve Poems of Emily Dickinson'; three songs on the text "Weep You No More" b...
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OTHER
Redwood Empire AGO
Sunday, February 24, 2019
2:00 PM - Santa Rosa
Richard Wayland, Janis Wilson, Dave Hatt and John Partridge
Composer's Forum...
Details

CHORAL AND VOCAL
Cantiamo Sonoma
Friday, March 01, 2019
8:00 PM - Petaluma
Cantiamo Sonoma. Carol Menke, director
Northern Lights: Music inspired by the heavens, written by Eriks Esenvalds, Ola Gjeilo, Arvo Pärt, Daniel Elder, Frank Ticheli, Rachmaninov, and TBA. Free will donation....
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CHAMBER
Dominican University of California Guest Concert Series
Sunday, March 03, 2019
3:00 PM - San Rafael
Tilden Trio. Sarn Oliver, violin; Peter Wyrick, cello; June Choi Oh, piano
Brahms: G Major Violin Sonata, Op. 78; Suk: Trio in C Minor, Op. 2; Dvorak; Trio No. 4 in E Minor ("Dumky"), Op. 90 Adults: $20; Seniors over 60: $17...
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SYMPHONY
Marin Symphony
Saturday, March 09, 2019
8:00 PM - San Rafael
Alasdair Neale, conductor. Marin Symphony Chorus
Prokofiev: Cantata "Alexander Nevsky"; Rossini: Overture to the Opera "William Tell"; Debussy: Three Nocturnes for Orchestra...
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SYMPHONY
Marin Symphony
Sunday, March 10, 2019
3:00 PM - San Rafael
Alasdair Neale, conductor. Marin Symphony Chorus
Rossini: Overture to the Opera "William Tell"; Prokofiev: Cantata "Alexander Nevsky"; Debussy: Three Nocturnes for Orchestra...
Details

CHAMBER
Music at Oakmont
Thursday, March 14, 2019
1:30 PM - Santa Rosa
Rachel Lee Friday, violin; David Kaplan, piano
Beethoven: F Major Sonata, Op. 24 ("Spring"); Janacek: Violin Sonata; Strauss: E-Flat Major Sonata, Op. 18 Music at Oakmont concerts are open to Oakmont residents and their guests...
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SYMPHONY
North Bay Sinfonietta
Friday, March 15, 2019
7:30 PM - Santa Rosa
Cynthia Weichel, conductor
Donizetti: Concertino for English Horn and Orchestra; Schubert: Overture in Italian Style, D. 590; Francesco Rosetti: Sinfonia di Caccia ("The Hunt"); Georg Gerson: Symphony in E Flat...
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SYMPHONY
Santa Rosa Symphony
Saturday, March 16, 2019
7:30 PM - Rohnert Park
Jeffrey Kahane, conductor. Elena Urioste, violin
Barber: Violin Concerto, Op. 14;Gershwin: An American in Paris: Copland: Symphony No. 3...
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CHORAL AND VOCAL
Marin Baroque
Saturday, March 16, 2019
8:00 PM - San Anselmo
Marin Baroque Chamber Choir and Orchestra. Daniel Canosa, director
Mozart: Vesperae solennes de Dominica, KV 321; additional music TBA Tickets: https://mozartmarch16.brownpapertickets.com/ $30: general, $25: senior, $15: student, Free: age 10and under ...
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