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CHAMBER REVIEW
ChamberFest One - Sonoma State University / Wednesday, June 22, 2016
Jon Kimura Parker and Jeffrey Kahane, piano; Angelo Xiang Yu, violin; Aloysia Friedman, viola; Desmond Hoebig, cello; Peter Lloyd, double bass

Pianist Jeffrey Kahane

CHARM AND SMILES IN FIRST CHAMBERFEST CONCERT IN SCHROEDER

by Sonia Morse Tubridy
Wednesday, June 22, 2016

The Green Music Center’s summer ChamberFest, seven concerts in five days, opened June 22 to a jammed Schroeder Hall audience, and the initial concert was both delightful and exhilarating.

In its second year, the current Festival features the chamber music of Mozart, Schubert and Mendelssohn, all masters of melody and beauty of sound. In a spoken introduction, Festival Director Jeffrey Kahane said that if there existed no other chamber music, these three composers have written enough to satisfy generations.

The opening piece, a work of symphonic scope, was Schubert's great Fantasy in F Minor, D. 940, for piano four hands, written in 1828 (the year of his death). This is one of his most profound and beautiful creations, and pianists Jeffrey Kahane and Jon Kimura Parker did it full justice and more. These artists have collaborated for 30 years and it showed in the exquisite balance of parts and shared understanding. They played as one musical voice, melodies flying between their four hands. The piano became an entire orchestra with all its colors and instruments. The performance drew a standing ovation.

The Fantasy was followed by Mozart's B-Flat Major Sonata for Violin and Piano, K. 454. Mr. Kahane was joined by violinist Angelo Xiang Yu, playing a Stradivarius made in 1729. The music and the playing were full of lightness and charm mixed with operatic drama and excitement. Mr. Yu played with sweetness of tone and was matched by Kahane in all the subtle emotions and colors. It was a delight to hear this sonata in the hands of these masters of expressive nuance and color. The playing in the Largo/Allegro was like a conversation with bursts of laughter, and in the Andante it was touching in it's simple loveliness. The performers seemed to be completing each others thoughts as in a great opera duet, The last movement was a riot of fun, smiles abounding.

Schubert's ever popular ”Trout" Quintet, D, 667, is probably the single most played piece of chamber music despite its most unusual instrumentation, as it includes a double bass instead of a second violin. This creates a new and rich sound for the strings and moves the piano into a range of increased use of treble passages. In addition to the the expected four movements there is a theme and variations movement based on Schubert's famous lied, "Die Forelle". This was a captivating performance both visually and aurally. It sparkled. Every movement had breathtaking moments: the duets between violin and piano, the warm tones of the lower strings, the power of the ensemble and the delicate solo lines.

Joining Mr. Kahane and and Mr. Yu in the Quintet were Aloysia Friedman, viola, cellist Desmond Hoebig and double bassist Scott Pingel. The series continues with five more concerts in Schroeder, and a four-concerto finale with the Santa Rosa Symphony Sunday at 3 in Weill Hall.

Nicki Bell contributed to this review.