Piedmont Post Tuesday November 5, 2002

Music Review by Henry Klyce

Joseph Gold's friend and musical collaborator, Kurt Rapf, presented him with a wonderful musical present on Sunday, October 27, in the form of a Concerto for Violin, Viola, and String Orchestra which saw its premier with the San Francisco Concerto Orchestra.

Written for and dedicated to Mr. Gold and his wife Debbie Dare, the Concerto Grosso demonstrated Mr. Rapf's firm grounding in the classical repertoire. A highly regarded Austrian composer, organist and harpsichordist with an impressive discography as a performer of both his own music as well as the Baroque and Classical literature, Mr. Rapf's concerto is neo-classical in style. But one also heard echoes of post-romantic Vienna, Mr. Rapf's native city, as well as the melodic invention of Alban Berg's 12 tone compositional techniques.

The concerto is music steeped in the rich culture of that extraordinary city, Vienna, where Mr. Rapf has played a prominent role in the city's music community for many years.

The violin was featured most prominently in the double concerto, with the viola frequently in the role of accompaniment and played admirably by Ms. Dare. But the focal point of the work was clearly Mr. Gold, presenting him with the opportunity to showcase the rich and often intense tonal qualities for which his playing is known.

In keeping with the style of the Concerto Grosso, there were few displays of virtuosity and only a short cadenza in the last movement. Geoffry Gallegos led the orchestra in a vigorous, well balanced reading. One can only hope this fine work has more opportunities to be heard in this country.

Mr. Gold and Ms. Dare will be playing the concerto again in Vienna on November 30 and December 1 at the Schoenbrun Palace, this time under Mr. Rapf's direction for its premiere performance in his country.

Family spins musical gold in Austria

-by Christina Engelbrand, staff writer
Review reprinted with permission

Concert violinist Joseph Gold of Piedmont knows how to plan a family activity. As musical director of a four-week music festival in Austria last month, he invited the other two members of the family string ensemble -- 18-year-old son Raphael and wife Debbie Dare -- to join him on the program of internationally resound music talent. . .

"It was politics, essentially, that got me the gig," Joseph said chuckling at the fortuitous coincidence that brought him to Schloss Matzen. Just as Joseph was beginning his portion of the concert and lecture event at Lobkowitz Palace in Vienna earlier this year, a non-violent political demonstration broke out.

"And he wasn't just playing in any room of the Palace. It was the Eroica room with Beethoven premiered his third Symphony," clarified Debbie, noting the historical significance of the setting.

"After (the demonstration) ended, I said to everyone: 'you've seen political fireworks now you'll hear musical fireworks' in my horrendous German," Joseph recalled.

According to Joseph, "the audience ate it up" and Richard Ginell, music critic for the Los Angeles Times, wrote about the episode.

Meanwhile Joseph came home to Piedmont to play fundraiser for the Piedmont High School music department.

Fox's father sought Joseph out after the concert and said his daughter and son-in-law owned a castle in Austria and were thinking about hosting a music festival.

"I knew exactly what I wanted to do," said Joseph. "I wanted every one of my musical friends in Europe to shine in a way in which they are unique. I would be musical catalyst by which they could shine."

Joseph says that three years into his second career as a concert violinist -- previously he was a music teacher in the San Francisco schools -- and as a tour organizer for European musicians coming to the United States, he has met with numerous musicians who channel their kind souls and generous hearts through their instruments and from sharing music is a passion.

"The people we were working with were so marvelous -- great musicians and so helpful," Joseph said. "They are the kind of musicians and gift of themselves for the betterment of society in general."

Included with Torrent in the 15 night series were organist-conductor Kurt Rapf of Vienna, pianists Stefano Fiuzzi of Florence, Marco Cadario of Milan, and flutist Marta Mazzini of Arezzo.

"That's one of the wonderful things about being a professional musician -- I've got friends every place in the world," Joseph said, who completed his fifth European tour this year. Joseph is proud to report that the festival was an unqualified success -- musically, artistically, and financially. He said that in addition to top-of-their-field musicians, the concerts were full of musical vitality and diverse programming.

"The audience will never go to sleep at one of my concerts. Never." said Joseph who participated in 13 of the originally programmed 15 concerts. The popularity of the series sparked duplicate concerts and an added bonus concert for enthusiastic audiences. The festival proved to be personally successful for Joseph is well. A woman who attended one of the concert wants me to do the same thing in castles in France," Joseph said with a gleam in his eye.

Like Father, Like Son

"It seemed like an incredible opportunity musically and educationally," remarked Raphael, who regularly performs with his parents as part of the California Pro Musica string quartet. He admits that initially he wasn't too keen on spending the summer before he starts college with his family in Austria.

"Then I rationalized it a little more," he shared, launching into a story about the second weekend of the festival when he played with guitarist Jaume Torrent, one of Spain's most important composers. "We rehearsed six hours a day and had to learn all the music in a week. He was really phenomenal," Raphael said of Torrent.

"I learned a tremendous amount about music, but also about having a good time and the culture in Austria," he added. It has been a big summer for Raphael, who played a Carnegie Hall in New York City with Berkeley's Young People's Youth Orchestra just before going to Austria.

And it has been a big summer for dad Joseph, who was asked to the musical director for the inaugural music festival at Schloss Matzen -- a castle outside Innsbruck owned by Marguerite Fox and Christopher Clump of Cafe Boujoulais in Mendocino -- after he made a splash in Vienna earlier this year.

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