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Opera
SPARKLING CIMAROSA OPERA HIGHLIGHTS MENDOCINO MUSIC FESTIVAL
by Kathryn Stewart
Friday, July 13, 2018
The Classical music era was a time of extraordinary innovation. Dominated by composers from the German-speaking countries, the period witnessed the handiwork of masterpieces by two classical giants, Haydn and Mozart. Both composers put forth a tremendous catalog of masterful works and perhaps to our...
Symphony
!PURA VIDA! A SONIC TRIUMPH FOR SO CO PHIL IN THRILLING COSTA RICA TOUR CONCERT
by Terry McNeill
Tuesday, June 19, 2018
Long anticipated events, such as a great sporting game, gourmet feast, holiday trip or a concert, occasionally fall way short of expectations. The results don’t measure to expectations. With the Sonoma County Philharmonic’s Costa Rica concert June 19, the performance exceeded any heated or tenuou...
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...
CHAMBER REVIEW
Sonoma State University Department of Music / Sunday, October 23, 2016
Trio Navarro and Friends. Kathleen Reynolds, flute; Jill Rachuy Brindel, cello; Roy Zajac, clarinet; Marilyn Thompson, piano

(L to R) J. Brindel, K. Reynolds, M. Thompson and R. Zajac Oct. 23

TASTY TRIO NAVARRO CONCERT WITH SRS WIND VIRTUOSI

by Terry McNeill
Sunday, October 23, 2016

SSU’s resident Trio Navarro has a long history of presenting diverse programs in the piano trio format, with occasional out-of-area artists joining the mix. This familiar configuration was altered in an Oct. 23 Schroeder Hall concert with the deletion of the violin part and the addition of two sterling local wind players.

The “newbies” jumped right in with pianist Marilyn Thompson in a transcription of Fauré’s six-part Dolly Suite, Op. 56. In the opening “Berceuse” the flute (Kathleen Reynolds) and clarinet (Roy Zajac) parts carried perfectly to the audience of 125, the rich lines covering a tinckeling piano part. The balance improved in the “Mi-a-ou” and “Le Jardin de Dolly” movements, the first with a boisterous ending and the second wholly belonging to Mr. Zajac with his rendering a lovely theme taken from the same composer’s A Major Violin Sonata.

This was everywhere a fetching performance, especially in the “Tendresse” part that featured a slow and melancholic flute-clarinet interplay. The fast Chabrier-like finale (Le Pas Espagnol) was dominated by the piano part and brought the beguiling music to a chirpy end.

Trio co-founder cellist Jill Rachuy Brindel stepped out of her customary ensemble role to play Beethoven’s C Major Sonata, Op. 102, No. 1. Ms. Brindel’s performance was never forceful in power or tone, but featured a focused and lyrical sound that in the Andante-Allegro sporadically was covered in the low register by the piano. This is a piece far removed from the composer’s preceding and dramatic A Major Sonata, but some of it’s energy spilled over into the concluding Allegro Vivace. The duo’s deliberate tempo and strong accents highlighted the movement that had accurate instrumental pitch and elegant phrasing.

French composer Phillipe Gaubert, an early 20th Century colleague of flute master Georges Barrère, wrote his delectable “Trois Aquarelles” for flute, cello and piano, and the work is atmospherically French. Ms. Reynolds, principal Santa Rosa Symphony flutist, played extravagantly in the “Par un clair matin” with a rippling piano part and the cello line uncovering mild dissonances. Ms. Brindel’s vibrato widened and became richer in the “Soir d’automne” with a chaste minor-key ending.

An outdoor and waltz-like “Pipes of Pan” character was heard in the concluding “Sérénade” with Ms. Thompson’s rippling Arpeggios gently supporting the other two instruments.

Mr. Zajack, also a SRS principal, rejoined Ms. Thompson and Ms. Brindel to cap the afternoon with Nino Rota’s Trio, a 16-minute work from 1973 that is individual in ways that the composer’s 150 film scores are not. The Allegro was played percussively and in spots the pace was quite pushed. Unlike this movement, the following Andante had references to seamless film music with lush romantic themes, many slow climaxes and colorful melodies projected by Mr. Zajac and echoed by Ms. Brindel. It was some of the most choice playing of the day.

The concluding Allegrissimo was indeed light and “kittenish,” one instrument playing catch up to another with frequent tasty interjections. It’s derivative music in many ways, with touches of Milhaud and even a lighter sardonic Shostakovich, but no less enjoyable for that. The ensemble was assured and elicited and noisy ovation.