Aizuri String Quartet — Fabulous Artistry

Aizuri String Quartet

The Aizuri String Quartet presented a most impressive concert Thursday on March 5 at Peace United Church in Santa Cruz as part of the Distinguished Artists series. The quartet draws its name from the unique Japanese wood block prints usually in Prussian Blue color and quite valuable. Members of this superb quartet based in NYC are Miho Saegusa and Emma Frucht violins, Ayane Kozasa viola and Karen Ouzounian cello. 

The concert program consisted of Antonín Dvořák’s Cypresses; Lembit Beecher’s These Memories May Be TrueArmenian Folk Songs by Soghomon Soghomonian, an ordained Armenian priest commonly known as Komitas. These five works were based on Armenian folk songs and arranged by Sergei Aslamazian. At the Purchaser’s Option by Rhiannon Giddens and the String Quartet in D minor Op. 56, Voices Intimae, by Sibelius concluded the innovative program. 

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Archived in these categories: 20th Century, Chamber music, Romantic Era

Ehnes Quartet in Beethoven Quartet Cycle

Ehnes Quartet

On Tuesday January 28, 2020 the Ehnes Quartet continued its cycle of the complete Beethoven String Quartets in Miami. Each year it has played a program of the Beethoven Quartets, with the final concert of the series to be played next year to coincide with the Beethoven Anniversary. James Ehnes formed the quartet a few years ago with violinist Amy Schwartz Moretti and violist Richard O’Neill after discussing the idea with Robert deMaine, now Principal Cellist of the Los Angeles Philharmonic, after a rehearsal. James says ,”The amazing thing is that we both had the same idea – that we wanted it to be with Amy and Richard.”

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Archived in these categories: Chamber music, Classical Era

New York Philharmonic Quartet in Miami

 On Sunday January 5, 2020, the New York Philharmonic Quartet
and Joseph Kalichstein played a beautiful concert of Mozart, Dvorak
and Shostakovich at Florida International University’s Wertheim
Concert Hall in Miami to a large, most appreciative audience.

The quartet is comprised of four of the Philarmonic’s principal
musicians – Concertmaster Frank Huang, Principal Associate
Concertmaster Sheryl Staples, Principal Viola Cyntia Phelps, and
Principal Cello Carter Brey.

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Archived in these categories: 20th Century, Chamber music, Classical Era, Romantic Era

A Steinway Celebration

Linda Mehrabian, Lucy Faridany, Judy Lee & Patty Pai

On January 25, at the Unitarian Universalist Church of the Monterey Peninsula, we heard a very special concert celebrating the renovation of a splendid 115-year-old Steinway 6’4″ grand piano originally donated by parishioner Harry Ogden in 1992. This instrument was recently totally rebuilt and refinished thanks to donations from church members.

This concert was a standing-room-only sellout — there were not enough printed programs so latecomers had to share. But for those of us fortunate enough to squeeze into the limited space, it was a very rewarding concert. The featured artists on this occasion were pianist Lucy Faridany, cellist Linda Mehrabian, and vocalists Jody Lee and Patty Pai.

We heard some unusual repertoire — how often have you heard works combining voice, cello and piano? Well we heard several of them during this concert by composers Fauré, César Franck, Debussy and Poulenc. Singers Lee and Pai impressed us with their lovely voices, superb musicianship and lovely shaping of phrases.

Cellist Linda Mehrabian has a beautiful rich sound and charmed us with her elegant playing in works by Gabriel Fauré and Ralph Vaughan Williams.

The player with the largest role during the concert was Lucy Faridany, who always impresses us with her ability to get to the heart and soul of any work she performs. There is a naturalness to her playing, whether supporting others in ensemble playing or as a soloist, for on this occasion she performed Chopin’s Fantasie-Impromptu and Waltz in E Minor, Op. Posth, and and then blew us away with a powerful performance of Rachmaninoff’s Prelude in G Minor, Op. 23, No. 5.

We can hope that there will be many more concerts in the Church’s Music Series.


Archived in these categories: Cello, Chamber music, Piano, Vocal

[email protected] – Risen from the Tomb

The [email protected] Focus series launched a most successful concert of Russian music – that of Shostakovich and Tchaikovsky – Saturday, November 8, graced by the presence of a host of gifted musicians, perhaps first among them pianist Ignat Solzhenitsyn, son of the  internationally distinguished author, Alexander Solzhenitsyn. Under the rubric “Art Under a Tombstone,” the concert, accompanied by a lecture the night preceding, meant to revive the Russian sense of spiritual authenticity after years of political and cultural repression by the Soviet regime.  The program, held at St. Bede’s Episcopal Church, Menlo Park, proffered a wonderfully vibrant Hamburg Steinway for the two featured pianists, Solzhenitsyn and Gloria Chien, to ply their extraordinary gifts. And despite a somewhat dry acoustic in the hall, each of the three works on the program – the Shostakovich Piano Trio in C Minor, Op. 8; the Shostakovich Seven Romances on Poems by Aleksander Blok, Op. 127; and Tchaikovsky’s Piano Trio in A Minor, Op. 50 – achieved a pungent and lyrical illumination that took the modest but thoroughly enthralled audience by storm.

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Archived in these categories: 20th Century, Chamber music, Piano, Romantic Era