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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
Green Music Center / Sunday, May 9, 2021
St. Lawrence String Quartet. Geoff Nuttall and Owen Dalby, violin; Lesley Robertson, viola; Christopher Costanza, cello

St. Lawrence String Quartet

STYLISH HAYDN QUARTETS CLOSE GREEN ROOM SERIES

by Terry McNeill
Sunday, May 9, 2021

Completing the Green Music Center’s spring series series of “Green Room” virtual concerts, the St. Lawrence String Quartet played May 9 a lightweight program of two Haydn works. Lightweight perhaps, but in every way satisfying.

The G Major Quartet (Op. 76, No.1) began the music that was supplemented with interviews and commentary with GMC Executive Director Jacob Yarrow. A brisk tempo characterized the opening movement, with uncommon seating placing violist Lesley Robertson far right of the socially distanced masked foursome filmed in Stanford’s Bing Concert Hall.

Violinist Geoff Nuttall had a stylized approach to this lovely composition, with energetic movement of his legs complimenting his thematic projection. Attacks and releases throughout were precise, and the ending of the Adagio was played with a soft elegance. The Menuetto was rightly played as a Scherzo with light spiccato bowing and handsome ascending note phrasing.

The finale (Allegro ma non troppo) is mostly in G Minor, and received a lively reading with fast scale playing, short motifs and clear counterpoint. The big repeat was played softly with subtle duos from Mr. Nuttall and violinist Owen Dalby. A splendid performance of one of Haydn’s last quartets he composed as a set.

Interviews in the intermission revealed erudite commentary from each St. Lawrence member, with cellist Christopher Costanza (ZOOM from his home, as were each musician) speaking of how the composer deliciously treats the cantabile cello line in the C Major Quartet of Op. 20. All four movements in this work from 1772 are marvelous and received terrific playing, especially in the slow movement that starts in unison, always a little tricky to synchronize. The second movement featured Mr. Nuttall’s lyrical solo playing.

A fugue was heard in the finale, played by the St. Lawrence sotte voce nearly all the way through, but near the end suddenly erupting in volume. Here the momentum was palpable, the two violins lines often playing to the cello/viola lines with lots of descending scale passages. This seminal work clearly is special to the St. Lawrence, as it gives more attention to the cello and viola parts than in previous quartet writing that can be overly first-violin-centric.

The video concluded with an arrangement, written for the St. Lawrence, of Golijov’s traditional Yiddish song “Arum Den Fayer.” In four and one-half minutes there was a variety of music that had depth and at times a shimmering Czardas character. The Quartet members announced that it was a recent work with a connection to COVID 19, and the video was shot in a Stanford classroom. The slow section was especially convincing with Ms. Robertson’s wide vibrato playing and everywhere a noble and subtle instrumental intensity.

Daniel Greenhouse contributed to this review.