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Recital
BRILLIANT VIOLIN AND PIANO ARTISTRY CHARMS SCHROEDER HALL AUDIENCE
by Terry McNeill
Sunday, February 26, 2017
A tiny Schroeder Hall audience heard a flawless recital Feb. 26 by Yu-Chien Tseng, arguably the best recent local violin recital since Gil Shaham’s transversal of the complete Bach Suites in Weill and Frank Almond’s Oakmont recital in 2015. Muscular playing was the afternoon’s norm, and with pianis...
Chamber
THREE BEETHOVEN TRIOS BEGUILE AUDIENCE IN FEB. 19 WEILL CONCERT
by Terry McNeill
Sunday, February 19, 2017
Chamber music concerts featuring one composer can be tricky, but the Han/Setzer/Finckel trio made a Feb. 19 Weill Hall audience of 500 hear and to a degree see the boundless creativity of Beethoven. The G Major Trio, Op. 1, No. 2, opened the afternoon’s Beethoven odyssey and one wonders why it is t...
Chamber
AUTHORITATIVE BARTOK HIGHLIGHTS TETZLAFF VIOLIN RECITAL
by Terry McNeill
Saturday, February 18, 2017
Christian Tetzlaff’s Feb. 18 violin recital rolled along with lively and fresh readings of Mozart, Beethoven and Schubert when the specter of Bartok’s granitic Second Sonata intervened. The sonic shock to the audience of 250 in Weill was palpable. Composed in 1923 the 20-minute two-movement work i...
Symphony
WHAT SOUND DO STAR-CROSSED LOVERS MAKE?
by Steve Osborn
Sunday, February 12, 2017
Valentine’s Day is just around the corner, so the Santa Rosa Symphony feted the occasion by telling and retelling the story of Romeo and Juliet, a tale ever the more poignant during our era of stark divisions. The first telling was from Berlioz; the second from Prokofiev. In between was Brahms’ monu...
Chamber
GOOD OLD WINE IN GOOD OLD BOTTLES AT VOM CONCERT
by Jeff Chan
Saturday, February 11, 2017
February 11 was the first day of sunshine in Sonoma County after nine days of rain, but a nearly full house of music lovers chose to spend their afternoon in Schroeder Hall instead of being outside, soaking up the warm sun. There were two equally compelling reasons to attend this concert, which fea...
Symphony
FUNG TRIUMPHS IN SHOSTAKOVICH CONCERTO WITH VSO
by Elizabeth Warnimont
Sunday, January 29, 2017
The Vallejo Symphony Orchestra presented their season’s second concert Jan. 29 in Vallejo’s Hogan Auditorium, devoted to early Haydn, middle Shostakovich and Beethoven’s ground-breaking “Eroica” Symphony. In remarks to the audiences of nearly 400, Conductor Marc Taddei characterized Haydn’s Sympho...
Chamber
ENSEMBLE PERFECTION IN KLR TRIO'S 40TH ANNIVERSARY CONCERT
by Terry McNeill
Sunday, January 29, 2017
Longevity has its place in classical music. Composers and especially conductors live a long time, and venerable piano trios can linger for years. One can recall the great Cortot-Thibaud-Casals staying on the international scene for decades, and more recently Stern-Istomin-Rose, Oistrakh-Oborin-Knu...
Symphony
SUBLIME MOZART CLARINET CONCERTO TOPS SO CO PHIL CONCERT
by Terry McNeill
Saturday, January 28, 2017
Sonoma County Philharmonic’s long history of featuring soloists from the neighborhood struck gold again Jan. 28 with a ravishing Mozart Clarinet Concerto performance with soloist Roy Zajac. Before an audience of 300 the Santa Rosa High School hall the A Major Concerto (K. 626) unfolded gracefully w...
Recital
RISKY SPEED IN POTENT LUO RECITAL
by Terry McNeill
Sunday, January 22, 2017
Each half of pianist Wei Luo’s Schroeder Hall recital Jan. 22 contained beguiling interpretations and consummate technical command of Shostakovich and Albeniz works, but each half finished with less than exalted playing. Two of Shostakovich’s Op. 87 Preludes and Fugues opened the recital, from the ...
Recital
COLORFUL SCHUBERT AND CHOPIN WARM WEILL HALL IN AX RECITAL
by Nicki Bell
Friday, January 20, 2017
On a stormy winter evening Jan. 20 a rainbow of colorful Schubert and Chopin music came from the fingers, feet and heart of pianist Emanuel Ax.  Playing at the Weill Hall for the first time, this recital was a tribute to beauty in the arts. It conveyed the value and glory of balance, lyricism and el...
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.