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Choral and Vocal
SILVER ANNIVERSARY BACH RECITAL AT INCARNATION'S EVENSONG SERVICE
by Terry McNeill
Sunday, December 4, 2022
Symphony
JOY, LOVELY DIVINE SPARK!
by Steve Osborn
Sunday, December 4, 2022
Other
DINOVA PIANISM CHARMS SATED AUDIENCE AT J-B MARIN RECITAL
by Terry McNeill
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Symphony
SHOSTAKOVICH 5TH A TRIUMPH FOR SSU ORCHESTRA
by Terry McNeill
Saturday, November 19, 2022
Choral and Vocal
SONOMA BACH'S WORLD IN SCHROEDER HALL CONCERT
by Pamela Hicks Gailey
Saturday, November 19, 2022
Recital
ASSERTIVE PIANISM IN YAKUSHEV'S OCCIDENTAL RECITAL
by Terry McNeill
Sunday, November 13, 2022
Symphony
SPARKLING PONCHIELLI AND IMPOSING SCHUMAN AT SO CO PHIL CONCERT
by Terry McNeill
Saturday, November 12, 2022
Chamber
CONTRASTS GALORE AT THE VIANO'S CONCERT AT THE 222
by Terry McNeill
Friday, November 11, 2022
Symphony
SANTA ROSA SYMPHONY STOMPS ALONG TO MARSALIS VIOLIN CONCERTO
by Steve Osborn
Sunday, November 6, 2022
Choral and Vocal
TRAVELS WITH SEBASTIAN IN SONOMA BACH'S OPENER IN SCHROEDER
by Pamela Hicks Gailey
Saturday, October 29, 2022
RECITAL REVIEW
Mendocino Music Festival / Thursday, July 14, 2022
Spencer Myer, piano

Spencer Myer July 14 in Preston Hall

AGGRESSIVE PIANISM IN MYER'S MENDO FESTIVAL RECITAL

by Terry McNeill
Thursday, July 14, 2022

Indiana-based pianist Spencer Myer has been a welcome Mendocino Music Festival performer since 2010, and he renewed his personal connection with North Coast piano buffs July 14 in a short recital in Mendocino’s Preston Hall.

The afternoon was a mixed success, with Beethoven’s E Minor Sonata (Op. 90) opening the program before 75 listeners. In his remarks from the stage the artist mentioned the 1814 work as a threshold to the majestic five late Sonatas, and in many ways the opening movement playing reflected the drama that was to begin with the Op. 101 Sonata in A. There was assertive half pedaled scale playing and the Hall’s instrument (a rare Falcone 225) had a bright top end carried overly well. The lyrical Rondo unfolded in a straightforward manner, without much warmth of subtlety or phrase.

Throughout the recital Mr. Myer was in an exuberant mood, playing with considerable volume that in the small space produced more than adequate sound, and for the first few rows of attendees sitting seven feet from the piano, quite a sonic impact for some. In Debussy’s early Pour le Piano Suite the big march and glissandos were well played, and Mr. Myer built the stately chords of the Saraband with admirable control. There was clarity in the brilliant concluding Toccata, at a fast clip throughout, and the thunderous final four chords rang out and generated loud applause.

Following a brief pause Mr. Myer spoke of Chopin’s Impromptus and began with the A Flat that received a noisy, punched out performance that at the chosen tempo almost went off the rails. But not quite, and the added trill in the sostenuto and an inner voice in the recapitulation were welcome. The F Sharp was played aggressively with the final two chords fortissimo.

With the foregoing intense playing the G Flat (Op. 51) was a surprise, the pianist capturing the work’s nostalgia in a judicious tempo, albeit with limited rubato and limited tonal color. It was a nice contrast to the final C Sharp (Op. 66) performance, played very fast and lacking in clarity. Perhaps ratcheting back the tempo, or better articulation, would have made the popular work with the poetic middle section more convincing.

Two great Granados pieces from Goyescas ended the recital, El Amor y la Muerte and Los Requiebros, played from score. The playing in the first had the requisite Spanish flavor and rhythms but was too loud, the splendid operatic themes played with bass-heavy chords and a lovely mysterious ending. Mr. Myer let some air into the Requiebros (“flattery”) and charm returned to his playing, as did off-beat accents and perfectly graded decrescendos and piquant Catalan harmonies.

An encore was offered, the softly lilting E Flat Intermezzo from Brahms’ Op. 117, and the reading eschewed the usually-heard folk song dreaming and had a husky character and dynamic contrasts.