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Opera
'ELIXIR' A WELCOME TONIC IN SPRIGHTLY ANNUAL MMF OPERA
by Terry McNeill
Friday, July 19, 2019
In most of the Mendocino Music Festivalís 33 seasons a single evening is given over to a staged opera, with bare bones sets, lighting, costumes, minimal cast and short length. No Wagner or Verdi here, no multiple acts and complicated production demands. Light and frothy are the usual, and so it wa...
Recital
PUNGENT WALTZES AND VIRTUOSITY IN LADEUR'S SLV RECITAL
by Terry McNeill
Wednesday, July 17, 2019
San Francisco based pianist Jeffrey LaDeur has become one of the most sought-after North Bay virtuosi, and cemented that reputation July 17 in a short but eclectic recital in Santa Rosaís Spring Lake Village Chamber Music Series. Before 140 in the Villageís auditorium Mr. LaDeur began with Schubert...
Choral and Vocal
NOBLE BRAHMS REQUIEM PERFORMANCE CLOSES SONOMA BACH'S SEASON
by Pamela Hicks Gailey
Saturday, June 01, 2019
Sonoma Bach, conducted by Robert Worth, presented a truly grand finale to their 2018-19 "Light Out of Darkness" season in two sold out Schroeder Hall performances June 1 and 2. The program "A Human Requiem" was received rapturously with a well-deserved standing ovation for the main work, Brahms' ...
Chamber
THREE SONG CYCLES HIGHLIGHT VIBRANT SLV RECITAL
by Pamela Hicks-Gailey
Wednesday, May 08, 2019
An ambitious recital of vocal and piano music was presented May 8 at Santa Rosaís Spring Lake Village by mezzo-soprano Kindra Scharich and pianist Jeffrey LaDeur. The duo engaged the enthusiastic audience with scholarly friendliness and artistry in performances of Beethoven's short cycle of six song...
Symphony
ALEXANDER TORADZE DELIVERS A LESSON IN SERENITY
by Steve Osborn
Sunday, May 05, 2019
An entire concerto movement consisting of serene piano melodies over a soothing backdrop is probably not the first thing that springs to mind when seeing Shostakovichís name on an orchestra program, but thatís exactly what pianist Alexander Toradze delivered--twice--at Sundayís Santa Rosa Symphony c...
Symphony
MARIN SYMPHONY SEASON CLOSES WITH AUTUMNAL ELGAR AND THEATRICAL BEETHOVEN
by Abby Wasserman
Sunday, April 28, 2019
Mozartís enchanting Overture to his opera The Magic Flute, a miniature tapestry of gems from the 1791 work, opened the Marin Symphonyís final concert of the 2018-2019 season. Under conductor Alasdair Neale, the playing of the sprightly seven-minute piece by a reduced-size classical ensemble sparkled...
Recital
SHAHAM-EGUCHI DUO'S EXCITING MUSICAL GENEROSITY IN WEILL
by Abby Wasserman
Friday, April 26, 2019
Violinist Gil Shaham may be the most modest virtuoso on the concert stage today, and it is the great music he most wishes to put forward, never himself. Generosity, a quality he is known for, was abundantly clear in Weill Hall April 26 when he performed, with pianist Akira Eguchi, a generous program...
Recital
GLITTERING PIANISM IN LI'S OAKMONT RECITAL
by Terry McNeill
Thursday, April 11, 2019
Piano prodigies have always been a fascination for the music public, and the greatest of them (some were Mozart, Mendelssohn, Liszt, Saint SaŽns, Hofmann) went on to legendary fame. George Li, who made is local debut at a Music at Oakmont recital April 11, was a remarkable recent keyboard prodigy t...
Symphony
SO CO PHIL'S SEASON CLOSER WITH EXPANSIVE PROKOFIEV 5TH IN JACKSON
by Terry McNeill
Sunday, April 07, 2019
Closing their 20th season with their usual programming aplomb, the Sonoma County Philharmonic played a provocative set of concerts April 6 and 7 in the Jackson Theater, the Orchestraís new home at the Sonoma Country Day School by the Sonoma County Airport. Local composer Nolan Gasserís Sonoma Overt...
Choral and Vocal
SISTINE CHAPEL INSPIRATION FOR THE TALLIS SCHOLARS IN WEILL HALL
by Sonia Morse Tubridy
Friday, April 05, 2019
Returning to Weill Hall April 5 after a seven year absence, the ten singers of the Tallis Scholars brought the sacred choral tradition of Palestrina and his contemporaries to an audience of delighted music lovers. Under the direction of Peter Phillips, the 1973 founder of the group, the program was...
CHAMBER REVIEW
Trio Ariadne / Friday, October 11, 2013
Elizabeth Joy Roe, piano; Carol McGonnell, clarinet; Saeeunn Thorsteinsdottir, cello

Trio Ariadne in Weill Hall (N. Bell photo)

THREE TRIOS, THREE CENTURIES, ONE ADIADNE

by Nicki Bell
Friday, October 11, 2013

The Ariadne Trioís Oct. 11 Weill Hall Concert was pure delight, with performances of two staples of the chamber music repertoire and an exciting dark horse from the 20th Century. Three trios, three centuries.

In a teaching residency at Sonoma State University that includes activity in area schools, the Ariadne played a concert was their local first public performance. A large audience included many of students and from the first note electricity ripped through the hall. This trio looks and sounds like they are having the most wonderful time - passionate, playful, energetic, sensuous, with worlds of color and contrast, mood changes, melancholy, tenderness and driving jazzy rhythms. It was all there throughout the evening.

The Ariadne plays with great sensitivity to each other, their phrasing and tonal blending and contrasts bringing each line to life. There was a play going on before us, all in sound and movement.

Beethovenís B-Flat Major Trio (Opus 11) was written in 1798 and composed for the then novel combination of clarinet, cello and piano. The first movement's passionate spirit pounces, rushes, and its playful frolic giving way to a tender and sensuous second movement where the clarinet and cello beautifully match singing vocal lines. The third movement, using an operatic aria theme well known at the time, goes through numerous variations with each exploring different musical aspects.

The concertís second trio, Robert Muczynski's Fantasy Trio (Opus 26) from 1970, was an exciting contrast and "a bit of Americana" in the words from the stage of pianist Elizabeth Joy Roe. Its jazzy, jagged rhythms evoked Copeland and Bernstein. In the second movement, cellist Sśunn Thorsteindottir handled the plaintive melody with a perfect blending of passion, sweetness andintensity. As in the Beethoven, there were many memorable moments between clarinetist Carol McConnell and Ms. Thorsteindottir. In the third movement, the trio was in no way daunted by all the syncopations and off-beat accents. Their rhythmic precision, ensemble, abundance of color and dramatic dynamics in this virtuosic powerhouse of a piece were brought off with great panache.

Brahmsí Trio in A Minor, Opus 114, was written late in the composerís life, when he had stopped writing music. But meeting the virtuosic clarinetist Richard Muhlfeld, who Brahms called ďdear nightingale,Ē inspired memorable clarinet music. All the richness, lyricism, soulfulness, dark beauty and complexity of Brahms are here. Great momentum and passion characterized the first movement; the cohesion between all three instruments had an exquisite, ethereal, pure tranquility. Ms. Roe's playing had a large palette of colors, perfectly chosen rubatos, rich tone, and beautifully turned phrases that were wonderfully demonstrated in the closing third movement.

This was a concert of three brilliant musicians performing three splendid trios, all beautifully played.