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Symphony
CONDUCTOR PLAYOFFS BEGIN IN SANTA ROSA
by Steve Osborn
Sunday, October 08, 2017
The Santa Rosa Symphony is calling 2017-18 “a choice season” because the next few months offer the audience and the symphony’s board of directors a chance to choose a new conductor from a pool of five candidates. Each candidate will lead a three-concert weekend set this fall and winter, with a final...
Symphony
DVORAK AND TCHAIKOVSKY ORCHESTRAL COLOR AT SO CO PHIL SEASON OPENER
by Terry McNeill
Saturday, September 30, 2017
A concert with curious repertoire and splashy orchestral color launched the 19th season of the Sonoma County Philharmonic Sept. 30 in Santa Rosa High School’s Auditorium. Why curious? Conductor Norman Gamboa paired the ever-popular Dvorak and his rarely heard 1891 trilogy In Nature’s Realm, with t...
Recital
ELEGANT PIANISM IN WATER MUSIC CHARMS HOUSE RECITAL AUDIENCE
by Terry McNeill
Sunday, September 03, 2017
A standard component of house concerts often involve listeners hearing the music but also smelling the lasagna and seeing the champagne in the adjacent kitchen. But it was not the case Sept. 3 at Sandra Shen’s Concerts Grand House Recital performance, as her riveting piano playing enthralled the sm...
Chamber
YOUNG MUSICIANS SHINE AT PIANO SONOMA CONCERT
by Lee Ormasa
Tuesday, August 01, 2017
The third in a series of four concerts by Piano Sonoma artists in residence, part of the Vino and Vibrato Series, was held August 1 in Schroeder Hall at the Green Music Center. Entitled “The Masters,” the program included works by Bach, Beethoven, Mozart and Haydn. Piano Sonoma is a summer artist-in...
Chamber
THRILLING PROGRAM CLOSES VOM CHAMBER FESTIVAL AT HANNA CENTER
by Lee Ormasa
Sunday, July 30, 2017
The finale of the two-week Valley of the Moon Music Festival closed July 30 with “The Age of Bravura” concert at the Sonoma’s Hanna Boys Center. The musical selections held to this year’s Festival theme “Schumann’s World - His Music and the Music He Loved.“ This summer Festival features chamber mus...
Chamber
PERIOD INSTRUMENTAL SOUND AT PENULTIMATE VOM FESTIVAL CONCERT
by Terry McNeill
Sunday, July 30, 2017
In the Valley of the Moon Chamber Music Festival’s penultimate concert July 30 the perennial issue of period and modern instruments was apparent. But only in the concluding Mendelssohn Trio, as the performances in the two first half works easily avoided instrumental comparisons. Clara Schumann’s t...
Chamber
ECLECTIC REPERTOIRE IN FETCHING VOM FESTIVAL CONCERT
by Terry McNeill
Saturday, July 22, 2017
One of the purposes of summer music festivals is to present unfamiliar music in an attractive and often small audience setting. The Valley of the Moon Music Festival delightfully met these requirements July 22 and 23 with two concerts in the small hall at Sonoma’s Hanna Boys Center. Classical Sono...
Recital
ADAMS' PHRYGIAN GATES HIGHLIGHTS MORKOSKI FESTIVAL PERFORMANCE
by Lee Ormasa
Saturday, July 22, 2017
Attendees at the Molly Morkoski Mendocino Music Festival recital July 22 were in for a treat, both pianistically and if they happened to buy a tasty cookie during intermission. The program included Beethoven’s Op. 27 Moonlight Sonata, Adams’ Phrygian Gates, a surprise add-on of Grieg’s Holberg Suit...
Symphony
SOARING VERDI REQUIEM CLOSES 31ST MENDOCINO FESTIVAL
by Lee Ormasa
Saturday, July 22, 2017
We speak frequently about how there is nothing like the experience of a live performance. Seldom was this truer than at the July 22 closing performance of the two-week Mendocino Music Festival. The Festival Orchestra, conducted by of Allan Pollack, joined with the Festival Chorus in a moving renderi...
Recital
ORGAN REGISTRATION MASTERY HEARD IN WALHAIN'S RECITAL
by Robert Young
Tuesday, July 18, 2017
A group of 65 lucky attendees July 18 had the pleasure of hearing Etienne Walhain’s recital at the Church of the Incarnation in Santa Rosa. Mr. Walhain is organist at the Cathedral of Notre Dame in Tournai, Belgium, and played to a varied program Bach, Franck, and Reger. He used the tonal resource...
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.