Author Archives: Dr. Gary Lemco

Music of Jubilation: Symphony Silicon Valley Finale

Tatsuya Shimono

Conductor Tatsuya Shimono led the 2018-19 season finale of Symphony Silicon Valley on Saturday, June 1, at the California Theatre. The program featured choral music by Dvorak and Beethoven, featuring guest soloists and the gifted Symphony Silicon Valley Chorale, whose Music Director is Elena Sharkova. Besides the rarely performed 1891Te Deum of Antonin Dvorak, the powerful draw came in the form of Beethoven’s mighty 1824 Ninth Symphony, the “Choral.” Among the pedestals of Western Music, this last symphony of Beethoven casts a perpetual spell over performers and auditors alike, compelling us to examine the very foundations of the musical art.

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Archived in these categories: Choral, Classical Era, Orchestral, Romantic Era

Color Schemes: Symphony Silicon Valley review

“Favorite son” pianist Jon Nakamatsu joined conductor Tatsuya Shimono for a seamless performance of the ever-popular Rachmaninov Concerto No. 2 in C Minor, Op. 18, as part of the Symphony Silicon Valley series May 4-5 at the California Theatre, San Jose. The evening, however, began with an unusual appearance of a second conductor, Henry Mollicone, leading a performance of his own Kathy’s White Knight – A Tone Poem for Orchestra, a ten-minute excerpt from his The Adventures of Alice ballet. It seems Symphony Silicon Valley President Andrew Bales wished to recognize the Saratoga, CA composer, who has been too long neglected in the repertory, so he asked Mollicone to direct the piece, which pays homage at once to Lewis Carroll and to Mollicone’s wife, Kathy, since the lyrical motif in the score derives from an Alleluia for their wedding day. Brash and energetic, the music flared out in galloping measures as the White Knight fell from his steed – some may recall that Gary Cooper enacted the mock heroics in 1933 — big in the brass and percussion sections. The glamour of the sonority easily reminded us of the Hollywood scores of John Williams with perhaps less bluster. No less effective, the flute solo (Sarah Benton) and tender string melody that ensued might pay homage to another Hollywood composer, John Barry.  

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Archived in these categories: 20th Century, Concerto, Orchestral, Piano

The Jeweled Style — The Tetzlaff Piano Trio in Concert


Tetzlaff Piano Trio

There was thunderous applause at the end of the April 27 concert by the Tetzlaff Piano Trio at Herbst Theatre presented by San Francisco Performances. In response to the standing ovation the three musicians (violinist Christian Tetzlaff, cellist Tanja Tetzlaff and pianist Lars Vogt) played one encore – the third Dumka from Dvořák’s Piano Trio in E Minor, Op. 90. This piece was performed in protest against the earlier-in-the-day shooting at a synagogue in California and “to spread love and hope in the world.” The galvanized adulation of the audience came as a direct result of a previously performed work on the program by Dvořák, his 1882 Piano Trio in F Minor, Op. 65. This dark composition, a result of the composer’s reaction to his mother’s passing and the deep influence of the impassioned side of Johannes Brahms, made up the second half of the program, which had begun with Mozart’s 1786 Piano Trio in B-flat Major, K. 502 and the 1943 Shostakovich Piano Trio in E Minor, Op. 67.     

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Archived in these categories: Classical Era, Piano trio, Romantic Era

Versatile Palette: Pianist Nelson Goerner in Recital

Nelson Goerner

The San Francisco Bay Area seems to have become a mecca for keyboard talent of the first rank, as witnessed by the recent spectacular appearance of Argentine pianist Nelson Goerner at the Oshman Family JCC in Palo Alto, on Monday, April 15, under the auspices of Chamber Music San Francisco. Goerner presented to us a brilliant, architecturally balanced program of works from the Romantic era. His performances of Brahms, Beethoven, Schumann, and Chopin demonstrated his tonal and technical mastery in often seamless fluency, but more importantly extended the often salon-like sentiments of Brahms, Schumann, and Chopin into transcendent, epic visions of poignant, lyrical drama.

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Archived in these categories: Piano, Romantic Era

Passionate Probity: A Recital by Nikolay Khozyainov

In what soon evolved as a marathon display of keyboard prowess, Russian pianist Nikolay Khozyainov (b. 1992) quite overwhelmed a beguiled audience at Le Petit Trianon Theatre, Saturday, April 6 in a program of Chopin, Beethoven, and Rachmaninov that might have set new standards for passion and probity, thoughtful poetry and dazzling virtuosity.  With the final pages of the Rachmaninov Sonata No. 1 in D Minor, with its tolling bells and falling fifth, the inflamed auditors at this stupendous reading clamored for more evidence of this youthful artist’s digital arsenal, to which he responded with no less than four encores.

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Archived in these categories: Piano