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Symphony
CONDUCTOR PLAYOFFS BEGIN IN SANTA ROSA
by Steve Osborn
Sunday, October 08, 2017
The Santa Rosa Symphony is calling 2017-18 “a choice season” because the next few months offer the audience and the symphony’s board of directors a chance to choose a new conductor from a pool of five candidates. Each candidate will lead a three-concert weekend set this fall and winter, with a final...
Symphony
DVORAK AND TCHAIKOVSKY ORCHESTRAL COLOR AT SO CO PHIL SEASON OPENER
by Terry McNeill
Saturday, September 30, 2017
A concert with curious repertoire and splashy orchestral color launched the 19th season of the Sonoma County Philharmonic Sept. 30 in Santa Rosa High School’s Auditorium. Why curious? Conductor Norman Gamboa paired the ever-popular Dvorak and his rarely heard 1891 trilogy In Nature’s Realm, with t...
Recital
ELEGANT PIANISM IN WATER MUSIC CHARMS HOUSE RECITAL AUDIENCE
by Terry McNeill
Sunday, September 03, 2017
A standard component of house concerts often involve listeners hearing the music but also smelling the lasagna and seeing the champagne in the adjacent kitchen. But it was not the case Sept. 3 at Sandra Shen’s Concerts Grand House Recital performance, as her riveting piano playing enthralled the sm...
Chamber
YOUNG MUSICIANS SHINE AT PIANO SONOMA CONCERT
by Lee Ormasa
Tuesday, August 01, 2017
The third in a series of four concerts by Piano Sonoma artists in residence, part of the Vino and Vibrato Series, was held August 1 in Schroeder Hall at the Green Music Center. Entitled “The Masters,” the program included works by Bach, Beethoven, Mozart and Haydn. Piano Sonoma is a summer artist-in...
Chamber
THRILLING PROGRAM CLOSES VOM CHAMBER FESTIVAL AT HANNA CENTER
by Lee Ormasa
Sunday, July 30, 2017
The finale of the two-week Valley of the Moon Music Festival closed July 30 with “The Age of Bravura” concert at the Sonoma’s Hanna Boys Center. The musical selections held to this year’s Festival theme “Schumann’s World - His Music and the Music He Loved.“ This summer Festival features chamber mus...
Chamber
PERIOD INSTRUMENTAL SOUND AT PENULTIMATE VOM FESTIVAL CONCERT
by Terry McNeill
Sunday, July 30, 2017
In the Valley of the Moon Chamber Music Festival’s penultimate concert July 30 the perennial issue of period and modern instruments was apparent. But only in the concluding Mendelssohn Trio, as the performances in the two first half works easily avoided instrumental comparisons. Clara Schumann’s t...
Chamber
ECLECTIC REPERTOIRE IN FETCHING VOM FESTIVAL CONCERT
by Terry McNeill
Saturday, July 22, 2017
One of the purposes of summer music festivals is to present unfamiliar music in an attractive and often small audience setting. The Valley of the Moon Music Festival delightfully met these requirements July 22 and 23 with two concerts in the small hall at Sonoma’s Hanna Boys Center. Classical Sono...
Recital
ADAMS' PHRYGIAN GATES HIGHLIGHTS MORKOSKI FESTIVAL PERFORMANCE
by Lee Ormasa
Saturday, July 22, 2017
Attendees at the Molly Morkoski Mendocino Music Festival recital July 22 were in for a treat, both pianistically and if they happened to buy a tasty cookie during intermission. The program included Beethoven’s Op. 27 Moonlight Sonata, Adams’ Phrygian Gates, a surprise add-on of Grieg’s Holberg Suit...
Symphony
SOARING VERDI REQUIEM CLOSES 31ST MENDOCINO FESTIVAL
by Lee Ormasa
Saturday, July 22, 2017
We speak frequently about how there is nothing like the experience of a live performance. Seldom was this truer than at the July 22 closing performance of the two-week Mendocino Music Festival. The Festival Orchestra, conducted by of Allan Pollack, joined with the Festival Chorus in a moving renderi...
Recital
ORGAN REGISTRATION MASTERY HEARD IN WALHAIN'S RECITAL
by Robert Young
Tuesday, July 18, 2017
A group of 65 lucky attendees July 18 had the pleasure of hearing Etienne Walhain’s recital at the Church of the Incarnation in Santa Rosa. Mr. Walhain is organist at the Cathedral of Notre Dame in Tournai, Belgium, and played to a varied program Bach, Franck, and Reger. He used the tonal resource...
RECITAL REVIEW

Lydia Artymiw Playing György Kurtag in Newman March 7

SHORT PIECES WITH A LONG REACH

by Terry McNeill
Sunday, March 07, 2010

It’s seldom that the high points of a piano recital are contained in repertoire that is short, dissonant, unfamiliar and mostly loud. At Lydia Artymiw’s March 7 recital for Concerts Grand in SRJC’s Newman Auditorium, the music of Kurtag and Messiaen had for this reviewer emotional impact far beyond their succinct duration and novel rhythms

Before a small audience of 63, Ms. Artymiw preceded the performance of three of Messiaen’s Vingt Regards sur l’Enfant Jésus with a cogent analysis of Regard de l’Etoile (Gaze of the Star), Regard de la Vierge (Gaze of the Virgin) and Premiere Communion de la Vierge (First Communion of the Virgin). The commentary was minus any puffery and crisply connected the composer’s beliefs as a Catholic mystic with his infatuation with bird call motifs in music. The actual playing was vivid and intense in its story telling. For some the expressive use of rubato may have distracted from the numerological aspects, especially in the Regard de la Vierge, but everywhere the angular motives and contrasting lines were played consummate clarity. Was this first performance of any major Messiaen piano work in the local area?

Hungarian composer György Kurtag began in 1973 his “Játékok (“Games”) as a counterpart to his countryman Bartok’s “Mikrokosmos,” and is still composing additions at age 84. Ms. Artymiw chose seven segments, some lasting only 20 seconds, and each was full of avant garde technical explorations and intriguing silences. In their unique way they are a delight to the ear, cleansing any resemblance to the anniversary year of Chopin and Schumann. The Helyettem kis virag (Lovely greetings to Grete Spinnrad) was particularly alluring.

But it was with Schumann that the recital ended, his Fantasiestücke, Op. 12, receiving a fanciful reading with convincing rhythmic vigor throughout. Ms. Artymiw often stretched the breaks between phrases a bit too long, but the conceptions were thoroughly planned and played with a masterful touch and tone. The opening Des Abends was a sensual night song, the In der Nacht had multiple layers of melodic beauty in one hand, and in Traumes Wirren Ms. Artymiw's right-hand rotation technique was flawless. It wasn’t Schumann for the conventional taste.

In the same vein, Mozart’s B-Flat Major Sonata, K. 333, the recital’s opening work, was performed with stylistic authority and Ms. Artymiw’s handling of the bold harmonies in the Allegro. Her right-hand passage work was pellucid, and the cadenza in the concluding Allegretto grazioso (yes, a cadenza in a piano sonata) had just the right voicing leading to its inception. Mr. Artymiw is not afraid of making Mozart muscular, and is never in a hurry to make her artistic points.

There was one encore, Mendelssohn’s Venetian Boat Song No. 2, Op. 30, No. 6. Here there was close attention paid to subtle changes in volume, and the right-hand trills in E Sharp and C Sharp positively shimmered. The final descent to the piannissimo F Sharp was played with a hint of mystery.

The reviewer is the producer of Concerts Grand, and Marin pianist Ken Iisaka contributed to the commentary.