FRESH AND LIVELY HANDEL ORGAN CONCERTOS IN AGO ARTIST RECITAL
by James Harrod
Sunday, August 21, 2016
Organist Beth Zucchino played a delightful recital of three Handel concertos August 21 at the First Presbyterian Church in Santa Rosa. This was the third in a series of summer Sunday recitals featuring organists of the local chapter of the American Guild of Organists (AGO).
The program was three o...
INSPIRING INTERPRETATIONS IN DE SANTIS ORGAN RECITAL
by James Harrod
Sunday, August 14, 2016
Organist Greg de Santis played a delightful and expertly shaped recital of mostly familiar selections August 14 from the classical organ repertory at the First Presbyterian Church in Santa Rosa.
The program opened with Mendelssohnís C Minor Prelude and Fugue, Opus 37, No 1. The three preludes and ...
BALANCED VIRTUOSITY IN ATZINGER MMF RECITAL
by Terry McNeill
Saturday, July 16, 2016
Pianist Christopher Atzingerís Mendocino Music Festival recital July 16 in the small Preston Hall looked formidable on paper larded with what might be said to be ďnon festival, non summerĒ music.
There were no light Gershwin or Schubert dance works, and for some the six pieces from Brahmsí Op. 118 ...
OF ANGELS, DEMONS AND ENCORES
by Kayleen Asbo
Thursday, July 14, 2016
Each successive event at this summerís Mendocino Music Festival has brought an unfolding cornucopia of delights. Elements of the exceptional three previous classical programs coalesced July 14 into a magnificent and singular tour de force when pianist Robert Henry traversed the entire topography of...
AT THE BOUNDARIES OF MUSICAL EXPLORATION
by Sonia Morse Tubridy and Nicki Bell
Friday, May 06, 2016
On May 6 at Weill Hall, pianist Yuja Wang gave a much-anticipated recital of Brahms, Schumann and Beethoven. This young artist has been heralded internationally for her brilliant virtuosic technique and sensational performances. In this recital, her first to focus on a Beethoven sonata, she played h...
A WANDERING MILLER IN SCHUBERT'S AGELESS CYCLE
by Mark Kratz
Sunday, April 24, 2016
The Green Centerís Weill Hall is a Sonoma County treasure that allows North Bay audiences to enjoy the worldís finest musicians against the backdrop of our grapevine-covered hills. German baritone Matthias Goerne and pianist Alexander Schmalcz presented a recital of Schubertís song cycle "Die SchŲn...
EERIE SCHUBERT AND SOPORIFIC BRAHMS IN MIDORI RECITAL IN WEILL
by Terry McNeill
Saturday, April 23, 2016
California has long been a big part of Midori Gotoís career, and she now teaches and tours from the USC campus in Los Angeles. After never performing in Sonoma County, the violinistís area debut April 23 in Weill was a moderate success before an audience of 800 that included a large sprinkling of s...
CHRISTIE RETURNS TO SCHROEDER WITH THE FAMILIAR AND THE NEW
by James Harrod
Sunday, April 17, 2016
Organist James David Christie returned to Schroeder Hall on the SSU campus April 17 to play an awesome concert of Baroque music on the Hallís Brombough Opus 9 organ. The artist performed to a large appreciative and attentive audience, and presented both familiar and unknown musical selections from t...
OAKMONT 25TH ANNIVERSARY CONCERT FEATURES KAHANE'S SCHUBERT AND CHOPIN
by Terry McNeill
Sunday, April 10, 2016
Jeffery Kahane spreads his musical largess widely. Since leaving a Sonoma County residence for Colorado the pianist has returned often for performances, the most recent the wildly successful ChamberFest series at the Green Music Center last summer.
April 10 found him again in Sonoma County, this t...
LISZT AND CHOPIN THE VEHICLE FOR ELEGANT PIANISM IN WATTS' WEILL HALL RECITAL
by Nicki Bell
Friday, April 01, 2016
In the public eye for more than 50 years, Andre Watts is a legendary American pianist from the bygone era of William Kapell and Gary Graffman. Dressed in concert tails, old fashioned now to some, he reverted April 1 to a another long ago virtuosoís choice by bringing to his Weill Hall recital his o...
Alexander Kobrin and Boris Andrianov in Occidental (K. Broderson photo)
BRILLIANT RUSSIAN DUO IN REDWOOD ARTS COUNCIL OCCIDENTAL RECITAL
by Terry McNeill
Saturday, February 11, 2012
Itís a rare occurrence in a cello recital that each programmed piece was both a masterwork of the literature and flawlessly performed, admitting nothing but awe and warm satisfaction from even the most seasoned string aficionado.
Such was the thrilling Redwood Arts Council recital of Boris Andrianov Feb. 11 in Occidental's Performing Arts Center before a packed house of 200. How does a flawless cello recital unfold? First a powerful pianist is needed, and the Russian Virtuoso Alexander Kobrin is just that. Next, a serious and demanding program is expected. No David Popper or Julius Klengel pieces. Finally, the cellist has to have a powerful interpretative personality, similar to but distinct from artists such as Casals, Piatigorsky, Rostropovich and DuPre.
Mr. Andrianov has this artistic stature and proved it quickly in the evening's initial work, Beethoven's C Major Sonata of Op. 102. The haunting opening theme moved effortlessly into the lyrical second theme and Mr. Andrianov underscored the many subtle dynamic contrasts. The Montagnana cello seemed to ďgrowlĒ caressingly in the Adagio, preceding the introduction to the finale that alluded deftly to the first movement. Both artists securely built the momentum in a seamless partnership but kept distinct voices.
The first half closed with Brittenís Op. 65 Sonata in C, a commanding piece from 1961 in five disparate movements. The furious sections of musical interplay found Mr. Kobrin note perfect and never afraid of his left hand power, and Mr. Andrianovís cello rich in the bottom register. The pizzicato opening of the Scherzo was magical, the plucking in the cello expected but Mr. Kobrin elicited nearly identical sound from his hammered string piano! His running passages were always clearly articulated, continuing into a perfectly balanced slow march of the Lento, the cello played with mute. Here the performers made the music sound like it was composed by Shostakovich, becoming clangorous and sonically surprising with long finger-board slides from the cellist. Mr. Andrianov all evening exhibited consummate bow control and a jumping spiccato bow in the energetic fifth movement Marcia.
Schumannís three lush Op. 73 Fantasiestuck began the second part, the most popular piece on the program due partly to its many transcriptions for clarinet and French horn. But the tender and expressive sections sound perfect for the cello and Mr. Andrianov made the most of their romantic restlessness. The phrasing from both artists was patrician and the second part (Lebhaft leicht) elegant in every detail, especially in the pianistís velvet arpeggios.
Italian composer Giovanni Sollima (b. 1962) is a cello master and his Lamentatio (1997) is a tour de force for solo cello, requiring a brilliant technique of the performer. Mr. Andrianov played the eight-minute work fearlessly and with radiant tone and dead-on pitch, as he did throughout the concert. The audience appeared astonished and excited at the potent reading of an unfamiliar composition.
Ending the recital was a pillar of 20th-Century music for cello, Shostakovichís Op. 40 Sonata from 1934. Mr. Kobinís introductory remarks, referring to the composerís Fourth Symphony and opera Lady MacBeth of the Mtsensk from the same period, underscored the masterly invention of the opening Allegro. Here both musicians were interested in the long line, the contemplative first theme giving way to dramatic outbursts, always supported by Mr. Kobrinís powerful sound and infallible left-hand octaves. Mr. Andrianov carefully widened his vibrato with increasing volume, symmetrically narrowing it with lowered sonority. The cellist played with concentration, eschewing the physical flamboyance of Misha Maisky without giving up one iota of tonal opulence.
As in many Shostakovich works, the themes can be initially banal but always take on complexity and become unforgettable in context, especially when performed with this duoís artistry. The concluding Allegro was played with little string vibrato, beginning with mute but then quickly becoming vivacious and witty. This was playing with sweep and big gestures.
Mention needs to be made of the hallís piano, a less than professional instrument with limited treble sustain, slow key repetition, damper leakage in loud chords and muddy bass tones. Mr. Kobrinís approach was to give no quarter, making the inadequate instrument sing and roar as if it were without peer.
The two stellar Russians gave the finest cello recital in the North Bay since the Isserlis-Gerstein concert in Newman long ago. Their musical marriage was passionately united in the service of great music.