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Chamber
THE LINCOLN RETURNS WITH CLARKE'S PUNGENT TRIO
by Terry McNeill
Thursday, November 18, 2021
There were many familiar faces Nov. 18 during Music at Oakmont’s initial concert of the season, but perhaps the most necessary were the three musicians of the Lincoln Piano Trio, the Chicago-based group that has performed often in Oakmont since 2006. A smaller than unusual audience in Berger Audito
Chamber
THRILLING PIANO QUINTETS IN MILL VALLEY CHAMBER CONCERT
by Abby Wasserman
Sunday, November 14, 2021
The Mill Valley Chamber Music Society sprang back to life on November 14 when a stellar ensemble from the Manhattan Chamber Players, a New York-based collective, arrived to perform two piano quintets: Vaughn-Williams’ in C Minor (1903), little known and rarely performed; and Schubert’s in A Major D.
Chamber
MUSCULAR BRAHMS FROM IVES COLLECTIVE IN GLASER
by Terry McNeill
Sunday, November 14, 2021
Leaving SRJC’s Newman Auditorium for the first time in decades, the College’s Chamber Concert Series presented a season-opening concert Nov. 14 in Santa Rosa’s Glaser Center with the four-musician Bay-Area based Ives Collective. The season, the first given since 2020, is dedicated to Series Founder
Chamber
SPARKLING WIND, STRING, HARP MUSIC AT DEVON HOUSE GARDEN CONCERT
by Abby Wasserman
Saturday, October 9, 2021
Take a mild autumn evening, a garden gazebo with patterned rugs and lit with soft bulbs, shake in a fine chamber ensemble, add a rising new moon, and you have a recipe for the musical delight that violist Elizabeth Prior presented Oct. 9 in her Devon House Garden Concert series. The Marin Terra Li
Chamber
ONE PIANO, TWO PIANO, THREE PIANO, FORE
by Terry McNeill
Thursday, July 29, 2021
Schroeder Hall was nearly full July 29 for the final pianoSonoma concert of their season, and presumably the draw and highlight for many of the 150 attending was Bach’s Concerto for Four Pianos. And that performance was probably going to be a North Bay premiere. However, it wasn’t the highl
Chamber
PENULTIMATE VOM FESTIVAL CONCERT FEATURES GORGEOUS VOCALISM
by Pamela Hicks Gailey
Thursday, July 29, 2021
The 2021 Valley of the Moon Music Festival continued on July 29 with a sumptuous online offering of French songs, concluding with the second piano quartet by Fauré, Op. 45. Such a beautiful bouquet of video performances wonderfully filmed and recorded softened the disappointment of not being able to
Chamber
BOGAS' TENURE ENDS IN OUTDOOR GUALALA CHAMBER CONCERT
by Iris Lorenzfife
Sunday, July 25, 2021
The preconcert call that music lovers should gather at Gualala Arts July 25 to attend the final Roy Bogas and Friends Concert was not quite as dire as it sounded. It seems that a year of Covid 19 and an 88th birthday had combined to convince Mr. Bogas that he was working too hard. But with cellist P
Chamber
CLARA SCHUMANN TRIO COMMANDS VOM CHAMBER MUSIC CONCERT AT HANNA
by Terry McNeill
Saturday, July 24, 2021
The Valley of the Moon Chamber Music Series has begun several virtual and a few live concerts in its new seventh season, some broadcast from Sonoma’s Hanna Center Hall and some in posh local venues. July 24’s video had a small live audience and a well-produced video program of three works. Titled “
Chamber
RARE LANG SONGS SPARKLE AT VOM FESTIVAL VIDEO RECITAL
by Pamela Hicks Gailey
Wednesday, July 21, 2021
Unexpected pleasures are often the best. Valley of the Moon Chamber Festival presented a such a pleasure last week-a July 21 recorded performance by tenor Kyle Stegall and pianist Eric Zivian in another mini-recital (very mini-just 15 minutes!) of six songs by the nineteenth century German composer
Chamber
EXEMPLARY QUARTET PLAYING IN MENDO FESTIVAL FT. BRAGG CONCERT
by Terry McNeill
Wednesday, July 21, 2021
Faced with the impossibility of presenting concerts in the iconic large white tent on the bluff, the Mendocino Music Festival opted to use Ft. Bragg’s Cotton Auditorium for ten events in the abbreviated 35th season. San Francisco’s Alexander String Quartet played July 21 to a fully masked audience
CHAMBER REVIEW
Ukiah Symphony / Sunday, February 21, 2021
Beth Aiken, oboe and English horn; Tom Aiken, harpsichord

Tom Aiken and Beth Aiken

NOVEL OBOE-HARPSICHORD RECITAL FROM AIKEN DUO IN UKIAH

by Terry McNeill
Sunday, February 21, 2021

Oboe and harpsichord recitals are a rare North Bay event, even in a pandemic environment where a formal hall setting isn’t available. So it was a delight Feb. 21 to experience on the Ukiah Symphony’s website a recital by Symphony oboist Beth Aiken and harpsichordist husband Tom.

The Aiken home visuals were simple and concert dress was absent, but the six-foot Flemish single manual blue case harpsichord had a soundboard lavishly decorated with flower designs, and Ms. Aiken played both a conventional oboe and a baroque oboe, along with an English horn. Each of the composers in the 33-minute recital were mostly unknown to this reviewer, and each piece had announcements by the performers without attendant printed title information on the screen.

Beginning with Chris Lastovicka’s “Laska” the English horn sounded full in the small room, Ms. Aiken playing without score and with beguiling melancholy through the four minutes. Two works from Ross Edwards followed, one "Yanada" meaning moon in Australian Aboriginal language, the highlights being the long solo oboe line and high register upward scale passages, with several dark night visuals of animals and the moon. I think the animals were kangaroos. An odd juxtaposition of music and art.

Mr. Aiken performed a short solo by composer Edward Mclean, a fantasy-like first movement ("Brise") from his Sonata, and “Incantations.” A two-manual 18th Century German style instrument was used. The three-movement "Incantations" had fast second movement, though quite relaxed in tempo, and featured the Baroque oboe and a long plaintive introduction that reminded one of the haunting prelude to the third act of Wagner’s opera “Tristan and Isolde.”

Ms. Aiken played from score with lovely echo effects in combination with the harpsichord line. Instrumental balances in this work and throughout were excellent, and in the Andante finale’s lingering ending the feeling was peaceful with long-held oboe notes. According to the composer's comments, the solo oboe sections were based upon an interest in native American flute music.

The Aiken duo also performed Ennio Mariconne’s “Gabriel’s Oboe” from the 1986 British drama film “The Mission,” and here Ms. Aiken chose the Baroque instrument. Only three minutes in length, the performance was underscored by Mr. Aiken’s symmetrical chords and soft arpeggios.