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Symphony
HEALDSBURG PHILHARMONIA PLAYS THE RAVEN
by Terry McNeill
Sunday, February 22, 2015
Les Pfutzenreuter is a conductor that gets around, moving from his Ukiah base at Mendocino College and the Ukiah Symphony to festival and concert appearances with many orchestras. February 22 found him with the Healdsburg Philharmonia in that City’s Raven Theater with works of Copland and Tcha...
Symphony
CHAMPAGNE ORGY OF SWISS ORCHESTRA'S SOUND IN WEILL
by Terry McNeill
Saturday, February 14, 2015
Orchestras on tour usually perform hefty display works to showoff their virtuosity and power. And so it was with the Orchestre de la Suisse Romande (OSR) Feb. 14 in Weill Hall. Big works, weighty display. And in a surprise the compositions by Stravinsky and Ravel in the second half did the rare th...
Symphony
LENGTH? HEAVENLY LENGTH AT SO CO PHIL CONCERT
by Terry McNeill
Saturday, February 14, 2015
A Bruckner Symphony performance can be a demanding task for both the orchestra and audience, as each of the nine are long and musically wandering. But not all that wander are lost, as the Sonoma County Philharmonic proved in their Feb. 15 concert in the Santa Rosa High School Performing Arts Center...
Symphony
BOLD OPERATIC AND SYMPHONIC CONTRASTS IN SF SYMPHONY CONCERT
by Nicki Bell
Thursday, February 12, 2015
Pianist Peter Serkin and San Francisco Symphony Laureate conductor Herbert Blomstedt pulled musical extremes together on Feb. 12 in Weill Hall Symphony concert where artistic experience was a defining factor. From the warmth and humor of Mozart’s F Major Piano Concerto, K. 459, to the turmoil, drama...
Symphony
A BANDONEONIST WALKS INTO A BAR ...
by Steve Osborn
Sunday, February 08, 2015
Seeing a bandoneón player in front of a symphony orchestra reminds one of the old joke about a kangaroo walking into a high-priced bar. The bartender says, "We don't get many kangaroos in here," to which the kangaroo replies, "With these prices, I can see why." Likewise, if a bandoneónist were to wa...
Chamber
INTENSE STRING PLAYING IN HEALDSBURG'S ALL-POLISH COMPOSER PROGRAM
by Nicki Bell
Wednesday, February 04, 2015
A surprise program change greeted a full house in Healdsburg’s SHED Grange Room Feb. 4 when the Szymanowski Quartet from Warsaw played an all-Polish composer concert. Judging by audience comments at intermission the displacement of an arrangement of a Mussorgsky work by Penderecki’s Third Quartet w...
Chamber
KNOTTY CELLO MUSIC THAT WAS (MOSTLY) EASY TO LOVE
by Terry McNeill
Sunday, February 01, 2015
Notable cello concerts have recently graced Sonoma County with Edward Arron’s Oakmont recital and Yo Yo Ma’s sterling solo outing in Weill. So it was not surprising that Sæunn Thorsteindóttir walked onto the Schroeder Hall stage Feb. 1 with pianist Elizabeth Roe and found a packed house of non-Supe...
Symphony
ZOOLOGICAL THEME RESOUNDS IN SPLENDID VSO HOGAN CONCERT
by Elizabeth Warnimont
Sunday, January 25, 2015
A pair of virtuosic young pianists wowed the crowd Jan. 25 at the Vallejo Symphony Orchestra concert in Vallejo’s Hogan Auditorium, and part of the proceeds from the mostly animal-themed music benefited the Humane Society of the North Bay. Symphony conductor David Ramadanoff warmed up the afternoon...
Chamber
SNAZZY CLARINET-PIANO WORKS IN MILL VALLEY CHAMBER CONCERT
by Terry McNeill
Sunday, January 25, 2015
Often international-level instrumental duos are pickup couplings, one virtuoso’s schedule meeting another’s with the resulting desultory concerts. An exception would be the violinist Anne Sophie Mutter with her long-time partner Lambert Orkis, and the Nakamatsu-Manesse Duo. The latter played a pro...
Recital
MESMERIZING BACH AND CASALS IN MA'S WEILL HALL RECITAL
by Terry McNeill
Saturday, January 24, 2015
Cellist Yo Yo Ma’s warm friendship with North Coast audiences entered a new chapter Jan. 24 in a standing-room only and stage seats Weill Hall recital. Playing three Bach Suites for solo cello, Mr. Ma could have echoed the young Liszt’s famous comment, “the concert is me.” But the concert was real...
CHAMBER REVIEW
Mill Valley Chamber Music Society / Sunday, March 25, 2012
Eroica Trio: Erika Nickrenz, piano; Susie Park, violin; Sara Sant'Ambrogio, cello

Eroica Piano Trio

EROICA PLAYS THREE TRIOS TO PACKED HOUSE IN MILL VALLEY CHAMBER CONCERT

by Elenor Barcsak
Sunday, March 25, 2012

To a packed house March 25 the Mill Valley Chamber Music Society presented their fourth season concert in the Mt. Tamalpais United Merthodist Church, and the Eroica Trio quickly established the "wow" factor in a program of Spanish, Russian and French music.

The opening Cassadó Trio, evoking a freshness in their demeanor that conveyed the music, from 1929, and its Iberian flavor. Pianist Erika Nickrenz’ technical proficiency sounded well in the large church space with even trills and able command of dynamics. Sara Sant'Ambrogio's lush cello line delivered the tango-like passages in the opening movement, balanced beautifully with the singing line from violinist Susie Park.

The playing in the second movement was more languid and projected a broader palette, and the pizzicato effects and rhythmic excitement from the cello were deft. The finale was playful in a dance mode, and foot tapping seemed to be infectious with the audience. There were glistening glissandos and clean scale passage playing from Ms. Nickrenz.

Spoken comments from Ms. Sant'Ambrogio announced the Shostakovich Second Piano Trio in E Minor, Op. 67, and the composition uses unique technical components and harmonics that require the fingers to create an eerie and ghostly sound. The second movement was not a typical playful scherzo, as this movement is impetuous with sarcastic undertones stealthy conveyed. The third movement is a Baroque passacaglia and Ms. Nickrenz displayed careful dynamic control and never covered her partners. The finale, with themes from Jewish tunes, saw the return of the passacaglia and was a highlight of the concert. Ending on a major chord, the work gave rise to hope.

Ravel's A Major Trio comprised the second half and was a refreshing glimpse into the Impressionistic world. The Eroica, now clad in royal red gowns, gave the impression of being considered classical music sovereigns. The instruments have long undulating melodic lines which were in constant balance, with lovely arpeggios. Each of the three movement are related thematically and in the elaborate finale Ms. Park's violin mimicked the rich vibrato from the cello and brought passion to this noble music. In the finale there were moments reminiscent of Debussy's "La Cathédrale Engloutie" (10th Prelude from his First book of Preludes) and a more moderate tempo than one might have wished for.

Following the Ravel there was a standing ovation and the demanded encore was a transcription for all three instruments by Ms. Sant'Ambrogio of the Saint-Saëns "Swan" from his 1886 Carnival of the Animals.