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Choral and Vocal
TRAVELING CHORISTERS SO CO DEBUT IN TWO BIG CANTATAS
by Pamela Hicks Gailey
Saturday, June 25, 2022
Opera
VERDI'S THEATRICAL LA TRAVIATA TRIUMPHS AT CINNABAR
by Terry McNeill
Sunday, June 19, 2022
Symphony
CLOUDS AND PASSION: MARIN SYMPHONY'S STELLAR CONCERT
by Abby Wasserman
Sunday, June 19, 2022
Symphony
MARIACHI MEETS ORCHESTRA AT THE SANTA ROSA SYMPHONY
by Steve Osborn
Sunday, June 12, 2022
Choral and Vocal
RARE MOZART COUPLING COMPLETES SONOMA BACH'S SEASON IN SCHROEDER
by Pamela Hicks Gailey
Saturday, May 28, 2022
EXOTIC RUSSIAN MUSIC FEATURED IN MV PHIL CONCERT
by Abby Wasserman
Thursday, May 19, 2022
Symphony
SANTA ROSA SYMPHONY PREMIERES DAUGHERTY SKETCHES OF SONOMA COUNTY
by Steve Osborn
Sunday, May 8, 2022
Chamber
BRAHMS-ERA TRIOS HIGHLIGHT OAKMONT CHAMBER CONCERT
by Nicholas Xelenis
Thursday, May 5, 2022
Chamber
CHAMBER GEMS OF BRAHMS IN TRIO NAVARRO'S SCHROEDER CONCERT
by Judy Walker
Sunday, May 1, 2022
Recital
UNIQUE ELEGANCE IN GALBRAITH GUITAR RECITAL
by Gary Digman
Friday, April 29, 2022
CHAMBER REVIEW
ChamberFest Four - Sonoma State University / Friday, June 24, 2016
Jon Kimura Parker and Jeffrey Kahane, piano; Laura Reynolds, oboe; David Shifrin, clarinet; Douglas Brown, bassoon; Benjamin Taber, horn; Angelo Xiang Yu, violin; Hai-Ye Ni, cello

Oboist Laura Reynolds

MENDELSSOHN, SCHUBERT AND MOZART AGAIN SOAR IN SCHROEDER

by Sonia Morse Tubridy and Nicki Bell
Friday, June 24, 2016

Program four of ChamberFest 2016 was the second June 24 concert in one day, and there was an abundance of musical offerings and enrichment. Jeffrey Kahane and Jon Kimura Parker started the evening in Schroeder with Mendelssohn's A Major Andante and Allegro Brilliant, Op. 92, for piano four hands. This was announced as a piece previously unknown to the performers and they happily shared their pleasure in the new discovery.

The Andante opening flowed in alternating phrases, the pianists negotiating the limited personal space gracefully, two backs leaning over one keyboard and arms moving in and out of each other's way. The humorous Allegro sections made frequent use of the charming light staccato Mendelssohn loves and then liquid legato on the full toned house piano. This Brilliant lived up to its name and both musicians conveyed a sense of truly enjoying each other's company and the music. After much applause the stage was reset for Mozart's E-Flat Major Quintet for Piano and Winds, K. 452.

Clarinetist David Shifrin spoke to the audience of the five musician’s experience of playing Mozart’s music, and that this quintet from 1784 is said to have been the composer’s favorite composition and it did much to further the development of woodwind quintets. Warm opening chords established the mood of personal and shared joy in music, not directed outwards at others but drawing others into the shared circle. Laura Reynolds' oboe phrasing soared and Mr. Shifrin's clarinet had a vocal character. The tones from hornist Benjamin Jaber cushioned the music and heralded visions of distant places while Douglas Brown’s bassoon joined the counterpoint.

In this world of diverse natural sound Mr. Kimura Parker's playing contrasted the brilliant string and ringing sounds. At the heart of the work the Larghetto moves and beguiles. Entrances were perfectly aligned, tutti crescendos swelled and solo sections featured the individual sonorities of the ensemble. The concluding Rondo was a  cheerful happy-go-lucky celebration. As usual, opera with it's dramatic and comic aspects is never far from Mozart's sensibility, and Papageno from ”The Magic Flute” could have been waiting in the wings.

To complete the evening Mr. Kahane was joined by violinist Angelo Xiang Yu and cellist Jai-Ye Ni for Schubert's B-Flat Trio, Op. 99.  The words 'greatest" and "most beloved" had been used to describe some of the ChamberFest pieces, and here was another that could claim such a distinction. Schubert's first movement started in a sprightly tempo, sometimes urgent, sometimes relaxed, the themes ranging from heroic to achingly lovely. The piano line sparkled over pulsing strings. Ms. Ni’s cello playing rose to the challenges of balancing the other parts and provided pizzicatos that reverberated with power and delicacy combined. The combination of Mr. Yu's artistry and the lovely Stradivarius violin he plays gave moments of otherworldly sensations. Sometimes a single held note seemed to contain limitless possibilities, and the passing of melody from one instrument to the next was always gracious and satisfying.

A beautifully shaped Andante started with gorgeous piano phrases in its soft range, onto which the cello's simple melody floated effortlessly. Ms. Ni's cello sighed and longed, the fragility of life and love audible in her playing and visible in her face. The music passed from instrument to instrument, gathering intensity for a more rhythmical Spanish style interlude and returned at a whisper of sound. Here Mr. Yu played at the edge of silence with a stunningly pure tone.

Full of humor and drama, the Scherzo fulfilled its mission of jolting listeners out of any reveries. The fast tempo elected allowed effective occasional ritardando. Motives bounced around, from tiptoeing to stamping.  This movement was full of dynamic surprises and capricious changes. More straightforward, the Rondo, Allegro vivace started with a simple melody and continued through dozens of scene changes as if this were a show with acrobats, dancers, jugglers and clowns all coming and going. Grand unison motifs led to delicate dances. Ringing bells in the music appeared and disappeared. Wandering modulations teased and left one guessing. A wild ending completed the wanderings.

This great trio was played with passion and intelligence, and the captivated audience gave thanks with abundant applause and bravos.