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Recital
UNHURRIED COMMAND IN MENDO FESTIVAL RECITAL
by Terry McNeill
Thursday, July 17, 2014
Pianist Robert Schwartz opened Mendocino Music Festival’s piano series July 17 with a set of works in a recital made for keyboard connoisseurs. His success was doubly gratifying for the artist as he had played on the same stage at last year’s Festival, but had to cancel most of the recital due to il...
Recital
ELEGANCE AND INTROSPECTION
by Nicki Bell
Sunday, May 18, 2014
A May 18 Weill Hall audience was led by the hands and heart of Richard Goode to a quiet realm of the sublime with a performance of the masterful last three Beethoven Piano Sonatas. The program was billed as the first time the artist has toured with the Op. 109, 110 and 111 pieces, and these weighty...
Recital
PRISTINE CONTROL, SUBDUED EMOTION
by Terry McNeill
Sunday, April 27, 2014
Hilary Hahn’s April 27 Weill Hall recital found the violinist entering the stage without her instrument, beginning ten minutes of comments about the program. She does these introductions well, and most of the audience enjoyed the discourse comparing Schubert's Fantasia for Violin with Schoenberg’s t...
Recital
DRAMATIC DIVA SINGS WORKS OF AMERICAN COMPOSERS IN WEILL
by Vaida Falconbridge
Sunday, April 13, 2014
After opening her April 13 Weill Hall recital with the bright “The Year’s at the Spring,” probably Amy Beach’s best-known song, soprano Deborah Voigt paused for a moment to say to the audience, “When we were putting the program together, we had no idea it would be so apropos!” Continuing with the ...
Recital
RUSSIAN PIANIST, RUSSIAN MUSIC, RUSSIAN DRAMA
by Terry McNeill
Sunday, April 13, 2014
In the season’s penultimate Sonoma Classical Music Society concert on Sunday afternoon, April 13, Russian pianist Anastasia Dedik played an all-Russian program that was heavy on drama with just a modicum of lyricism. Two Rachmaninoff Etudes Tableaux opened the program, the E-Flat Minor from Op. 33 ...
Recital
WARM SPRING MUSIC AND ART IN CAS ORGAN RECITAL
by Jim Harrod
Sunday, March 23, 2014
Spring brought flowers and the virtuoso organist Faythe Freese to play a joyful recital on March 23 at Santa Rosa’s Resurrection Parish. Both the artist and the beautiful spring weather were most welcome, and the event was part of the Creative Arts Series. Ms. Freese, Professor of Organ at The Un...
Recital
MOK ONE SPEED AND ELEGANCE IN SRJC CHAMBER RECITAL
by Terry McNeill
Sunday, February 16, 2014
After a decade-long absence, Gwendolyn Mok returned to the SRJC Chamber Series Feb. 16 in a gem of a balanced and elegant piano recital. Before an audience of 140 in the College’s Newman Auditorium, the San Jose-based artist began with Beethoven’s early A Major Sonata, Op. 2, No. 2. She quickly cau...
Recital
HU'S ON FIRST, SECOND AND THIRD
by Terry McNeill
Thursday, February 13, 2014
Music at Oakmont in their eight-concert season features mostly instrumental ensembles, and rarely pianists. But when they do the pianists are pretty good. Ching-Yun Hu's performance Feb.13 in Berger Auditorium, for example, was at a first-cabin level of virtuosity. A conventional repertoire first h...
Recital
IMPECCABLE BEETHOVEN FROM THE ALEXANDER STRING QUARTET
by Terry McNeill
Sunday, February 09, 2014
In the classical music world, snazzy innovation and music puffery catch the headlines, but there is always a role for an instrumental group with long experience and impeccable artistic integrity. The Alexander String Quartet's Feb. 9 concert in the Sonoma Classical Chamber Music Series proved that d...
Recital
GALLIC PERFECTION
by Terry McNeill
Friday, November 22, 2013
Jean-Efflam Bavouzet has made French piano music a principal part of his career, but his artistry extends to far more than Gallic masterpieces, as he convincingly demonstrated in a Nov. 22 recital for the SRJC Chamber Concerts series. Before 180 in Newman Auditorium, Mr. Bavouzet opened with a spar...
RECITAL REVIEW
Concerts Grand / Sunday, February 19, 2012
Elizabeth MacDougall, piano

Elizabeth MacDougall Plays Debussy's Suite Feb. 19 at Mendocino College

MACDOUGALL'S PIANISM CHARMS MENDOCINO COLLEGE AUDIENCE FEB. 19

by Terry McNeill
Sunday, February 19, 2012

The adage that no woman is a prophet in her own home town was, as usual, proven false Feb. 19 when Ukiah native Elizabeth MacDougall gave a warmly satisfying piano recital in Mendocino College’s Choral Room under the auspices of Concerts Grand.

Ms. MacDougall’s artistry has long been admired in the Mendocino County community, and for this recital of three works her audience packed the small room and heard a committed and serious presentation, beginning with Bach’s G Minor English Suite, BWV 808. Ms. MacDougall is a thoughtful, focused player that pays attention to Bach’s pesky details and is liberal with repeats, though at times she lacks flamboyance. These salient qualities served her well in the set of dances that comprise the Suite. Her trills and turns throughout were clear, as was the articulation. The Courante was lovely with careful phrasing and, as with all the movements, she manages rock steady tempos. The Gigue sparkled and was judiciously played.

Debussy’s popular Children’s Corner Suite closed the first half and like the Bach Suite was prefaced by extended remarks from the artist. Composed in 1908 for his daughter, Debussy in six disparate movements encapsulates memories of his own childhood and suggests comparison with Schumann’s Kinderscenen and Faure’s Dolly Suite. The Dr. Gradus ad Parnassum section had clear chordal outlines and was built to a fine toccata-like conclusion, and Ms. MacDougall carried a relaxed approach into the famous Serenade for the Doll, heavily using the shift pedal and contrasting legato and staccato sections. The concluding Golliwog’s Cake Walk was played with spice, the jazzy harmonies accented and again the pace steady and deliberate.

Played from score as was the entire recital, Beethoven’s magnificent Sonata in E, Op. 109, comprised the entire second part. This restless but amiable work was played introspectively but without the wrenching espressivity that appears in the second movement's theme and six variations. Ms. MacDougall can spin a lovely cantabile and her pedaling was always clean, letting the music unfold naturally. What I missed was more flexibility in phrasing, as even the heavenly phrase that ends the work needed a more supple rhythm and touch.

Responding to a standing ovation, the pianist played Chopin's arristocratic C-Sharp Minor Waltz, Op. 64, No. 2

Ukiah musical benefactors Joan and George Louie underwrote the concert and hosted a lavish reception in their home, replete with music making at their two pianos and exceptional curry and dessert dishes. Praise for such musical support can go no higher.

The reviewer is the producer of the Concerts Grand series.