SFCV Reviews Music At Kohl Mansion Concert with Joyce Yang

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The ASQ and Joyce YangThe San Francisco Classical Voice has a wonderful new review of Sunday’s Music at Kohl Mansion performance with pianist Joyce Yang:

“Take a well-established, internationally acclaimed string quartet and add a brilliant young pianist who was not even a glimmer in the eyes when the quartet was founded. Throw them in a 100-year-old ballroom of a Tudor mansion, fill it with an audience elbow-to-elbow, then shake things up a bit. What cocktail could you possibly end up with? Such was the recipe of the sold-out concert at Kohl Mansion Sunday evening of San Francisco’s own Alexander String Quartet with the renowned pianist Joyce Yang.

The ongoing collaboration between the venerable Alexander String Quartet and pianist Joyce Yang is a rare exception to the cliche. They have been performing together for several years, and have just recorded Schumann and Brahms quintets on a soon-to-be-released CD…

“On Sunday, the mutual affection and respect between the quartet and Yang were evident in their performance of the titanic Brahms Piano Quintet, Op. 34, in F Minor. From the opening in unison to the passionate, angst-laden first theme, their vision was as one, singularly focused on the drama and story. Yet, as the music progressed, individual voices and characters were quite evident and leaped out of the tapestry, creating an illusion of vivid three-dimensionality. At the recapitulation of the first moment where the first theme returns, it was as if the floodgates of angst had burst open, creating its own climatic moment, with the air resonating and shivering in desperation. With every phrase and every breath, layers upon layers of passionate energy were laid down, creating an edifice of massive proportions. …

“The evening began with a colorful yet loving reading of Schumann’s Fantasiestücke, Op. 12, one of three works so titled. Here, Yang was probing vivid colors and emotional extremes depicted by Florestan and Eusebius. The opening Des Abends depicted dreamy colors, reminiscent of a slowly rotating kaleidoscope, and was followed by a passionate and exuberant reading of Aufschwung. The manic Eusebius and contemplative Florestan were engaged in effervescent conversations. …

“The quartet noted that the concert itself was also a release party for the aforementioned CD, soon to be released. As a teaser encore, the quartet and Yang gave a particularly exuberant and thrilling rendition of the Scherzo movement of Schumann’s Piano Quintet, Op. 44. If the performance was any indication of what is on the CD, it should be on the shelf of all chamber music lovers. I truly hope that the collaboration between Joyce Yang and the Alexander String Quartet will continue, as it’s a match like no other.” — Ken Iisaka, San Francisco Classical Voice

Read the full rave review on SFCV.org

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