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Symphony
SO CO PHIL BON VOYAGE CONCERT AN ODYSSEY OF CONTRASTING SOUND
by Terry McNeill
Friday, June 15, 2018
In a splashy bon voyage concert June 15 the Sonoma County Philharmonic Orchestra launched its June 17-25 Costa Rica tour, performing gratis in Santa Rosa’s Jackson Theater the repertoire for tour concerts in San José, Costa Rica’s capital, and in surrounding towns. Conductor Norman Gamboa pr...
Chamber
COMMANDING CHOPIN AND DEBUSSY IN SLV RECITAL
by Terry McNeill
Wednesday, June 06, 2018
Concerts at the classy Spring Lake Village Retirement Home in Santa Rosa have admission limited to residents and a few guests, but the chance to hear a first cabin North Bay pianist June 6 brought a Classical Sonoma reviewer into the audience of 100. The crowd numbers were unusually low due to a ba...
Recital
MUSICAL ALCHEMY INSIDE A HIDDEN GEM
by Kayleen Asbo
Friday, May 25, 2018
The Petaluma Historical Library and Museum is a hidden gem of Sonoma County, a gracious building that is one of Sonoma County’s loveliest venues for chamber music concerts, with a fine period piano particularly suited to Romantic music.  Of the surprisingly large array of festivities there, one of t...
Chamber
FINAL VOM MUSICIANS CONCERT IN SCHROEDER A SCHUBERT DELIGHT
by Terry McNeill
Saturday, May 12, 2018
It's rare to have the opportunity to compare in a short period two performances of the same major Schubert work, in this case the great B Flat Piano Trio, D. 898. The chance came May 12 when the Valley of the Moon Festival musicians played it in Schroeder, just over a month since the Hall’s residen...
Symphony
FERRANDIS BIDS ADIEU WITH MAHLER’S FINAL SYMPHONY
by Steve Osborn
Sunday, May 06, 2018
Sonoma State students in graduation robes posed for pictures and hugged each other at the university’s stone gates on Sunday afternoon, mirroring the prolonged farewells within the university’s Green Music Center, where Bruno Ferrandis bid adieu to the Santa Rosa Symphony after a dozen years at the ...
Symphony
SONIC SPLENDOR AT MARIN SYMPHONY SEASON FINALE
by Abby Wasserman
Tuesday, May 01, 2018
The Marin Symphony Orchestra ended the current season with a flourish, interpreting big and small works by Richard Strauss and Stravinsky. Strauss and Stravinsky were contemporaries for 40 years, but inhabited different worlds. Both composers were affected by cataclysmic changes and war, and musical...
Symphony
ORGAN SYMPHONY IN SSU ORCHESTRA CONCERT IN WEILL
by Terry McNeill
Sunday, April 29, 2018
Though Classical Sonoma seldom reviews student concerts, as ample North Coast concerts keep the staff of 11 reviewers busy. But the chance to hear the Sonoma State University Orchestra tackle St. Saëns’ majestic Organ Symphony April 29 was a rare opportunity and not easily to be missed. Avec l’...
Recital
HEAVENLY SCHUBERT AND DEMONIC CHOPIN
by Terry McNeill
Saturday, April 21, 2018
One of the anomalies in the long ago “Golden Era” of romantic pianism (about 1905 to 1940) is that the virtuoso giants of the time didn’t play Schubert. It took the German pianist Artur Schnabel to bring the beauties of Schuber’s work to the public’s attention, and now they seem to be on almost ever...
Symphony
SPLENDID JUPITER AND ZOOMING CONCERTO AT VALLEJO SYMPHONY SEASON FINALE
by Terry McNeill
Sunday, April 15, 2018
Over the past two years the Vallejo Symphony has made big changes, moving from a stark middle school auditorium to the snazzy remodeled 1911-era downtown Empress Theater, and engaging Marc Taddei as its seventh conductor. April 15 was the season’s final concert of the 86th season. In a programmin...
Chamber
VIRTUOSO CELLO AND GUITAR TRANSCRIPTIONS AT RAC SEBASTOPOL CONCERT
by Terry McNeill
Saturday, April 14, 2018
Listeners and yes even music critics usually prepare for a concert with research, checking recorded performances, looking at artist biographies and even reviewing sheet music. This was a difficult task for the April 14 Redwood Arts Council concert in Sebastopol’s Community Church, as the performers...
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.