In a late afternoon recital, we had an opportunity yesterday to hear a performance by two relatively new arrivals on the Monterey Peninsula, cellist Janneke Hoogland and pianist James Neiman. They performed works for cello and piano by J.S. Bach, Mendelssohn, Beethoven and Rachmaninoff for a capacity audience of family, friends and residents of Del Mesa Carmel.
As we frequently observe, the Monterey Peninsula through its inherent charm and natural beauty constantly attracts new and interesting people who enrich our community in a variety of ways. Yesterday we bore witness to how two professionally trained instrumental musician newcomers joined forces to produce an afternoon of chamber music on a very high professional level.
Cellist Janneke Hoogland, a graduate of the San Francisco Conservatory and the Eastman School of Music in Rochester, NY, recently relocated to Carmel as a new Del Mesa resident, joining her father, Jan Hoogland. After more than 20 years of study, teaching and performing full time in Rochester, Janneke’s relocation here promises to develop in new directions, since she will undoubtedly continue to share her talents and expertise in concerts with new ensembles and orchestras locally.
Pianist James Neiman, who relocated to the Monterey Peninsula approximately two years ago has already made a name for himself in performances of chamber music locally. Neiman, who has had professional training at the highest levels from some of the most prestigious teachers on the west coast, comes from a very musical family. Although Neiman could have had a professional career as a pianist, he elected a career in mathematics and computer science. However, during his technically oriented career, he continued over several decades to appear in piano recitals, chamber music performances and concerto solo appearances.
The concert began with a performance of three movements from J. S. Bach’s Suite No. 3 in C in C Major for unaccompanied cello. This was our introduction to Hoogland’s rich, resiny sound, masterful technical mastery, and her thorough knowledge of 18th century performance practice and style. Neiman joined her in the second work on the program, one of the Songs Without Words, Op. 109, by Mendelssohn. Speaking from the stage, Hoogland told us that this piece was composed specifically for cello and piano and had no relationship to the larger body of single works for piano solo, also known as Songs Without Words. We can assume that most of us in the audience were hearing this particular Mendelssohn work for the first time and we were moved by its charm and intensity.
The concert continued with a charming performance of Beethoven’s Sonata in D Major, Op. 102, No. 2. Although not as daring as Beethoven’s Piano Sonata, Op. 101, it still engaged our attention in its design and opportunity to bring out the best in the two performers. Especially engaging was the final Allegretto Fugato movement. Hoogland and Neiman impressed us with their instrumental mastery and their ensemble skills in passing the baton back and forth as each of them had moments of foreground and background importance,
The concert ended with a lovely performance of Rachmaninoff’s Vocalise in an arrangement by cellist Leonard Rose. This beautiful work exists in a number of charming arrangements, and the one we heard on this occasion is right up there with the best of them. Hoogland’s rich tone and elegant shaping of phrases, with Neiman’s rich accompaniment contributed to a very moving and satisfying performance. We look forward to further collaborations between these talented musicians.
Yesterday was the first time in over twenty years that I have attended a concert at Del Mesa. I hope that this venue will continued to attract other musical ensembles. We were also impressed with the loving care given to the promotion and setup arrangements for this concert thanks to the organizational skills of Laurie McNamara.