Author Archives: Roger Emanuels

Brahms in Rome

A spectacular all-Brahms concert in Rome with pianist Yefim Bronfman and the Orchestra dell’Accademia Nazionale di Santa Cecilia conducted by Daniele Gatti offered the Piano Concerto No. 2 and Symphony No. 2 at the Sala Santa Cecilia on May 5. Arriving by bus in a torrential rainstorm, it nevertheless was exciting to see the Auditorium at the famed Parco della Musica, a huge modern building that contains several concert venues north of the city center.

Of interest to this retired orchestra player was the concert etiquette of the orchestra. Unlike symphony orchestras in the United States, here the players do not enter the stage early to tune and warm up. There is no pre-concert noodling in front of the entering public as in the USA. At four minutes after the announced concert time the players file on stage to continuous applause. They take their seats and the concertmaster begins the formal tuning process.

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Archived in these categories: Cello, Concerto, Orchestral, Piano, Romantic Era


Pianist Kate Liu performs for Aptos Keyboard Series

A rich program of classic works was on the menu for The Aptos Keyboard Series at St. John’s Episcopal Church in Aptos on January 13. Pianist Kate Liu took advantage of the warm acoustics of the church to create an atmosphere of quiet moods and colorful displays of sounds. Beethoven’s late Sonata No. 31, Op. 110, engages the listener much as do the same composer’s late string quartets, with tuneful passages and complex textures. Ms. Liu emphasized the lyrical qualities throughout with a beautiful singing tone. Even the fugue subjects were clearly apparent in the final movement. Two Beethoven characteristics were plumbed for dramatic tension, that is, the dynamic contrasts between loud and soft, and the use of silences. Actors know that a quiet delivery can demand more attention from the audience than a forceful one. And musicians know that a quiet phrase draws the listener into the action. This was a technique used by Ms. Liu throughout her program.

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


Carmel Bach Festival 2018 — Monday Chamber Concerts

Monday Chamber Concerts at the Bach Festival

The large orchestra and chorus concerts of the Carmel Bach Festival at Sunset Center get all the glory. Or, so I thought, until attending the chamber recitals offered on Monday, July 16. It turns out these recitals are playing to capacity audiences, people eager to hear smaller musical forces in intimate settings. Having enjoyed many daytime Bach Fest activities in the past, I decided to gorge myself with all three recitals today. All of them will be repeated again on Monday, July 23. Read full story

Archived in these categories: Carmel Bach Festival


Horszowski Trio at the Trianon Theater in San Jose

The San Jose Chamber Music Society presented a superb concert of the Horszowski Trio on November 12 at the Trianon Theater in San Jose. The program leaned heavily on the early Romantic period with trios by Schumann and Mendelssohn. But the central work was the world premiere of Night Migrations by Lisbon-born Andreia Pinto-Correia, commissioned by Chamber Music America for the Horszowski Trio. Read full story

Archived in these categories: 21st Century, Chamber music, Piano trio, Romantic Era


Auryn Quartet at Trianon Theatre

A gorgeous and unified sound was the hallmark of the Auryn Quartet appearance at the Trianon Theater, presented by the San Jose Chamber Music Society on October 22. Formed in 1981, the Quartet has had no change of personnel in its 35 years. They perform in major concert halls and music festivals around the world and produce award-winning recordings, including complete quartets of Haydn, Beethoven, Schubert and others. They are familiar to San Jose audiences by their performances of Beethoven quartet cycles presented in 2014 and 2015 by the SJCMS. On this visit they played quartets by Debussy, Mozart and Grieg. Read full story

Archived in these categories: Chamber music, Classical Era, String quartet