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Recital
SLAM BANG SONORITY IN HAOCHEN ZHANG'S SCHROEDER RECITAL
by Terry McNeill
Sunday, March 19, 2017
Piano Competition winners are in ample supply, and it’s often a hit and miss proposition as to their sterling interpretative qualities. However, the quadrennial Van Cliburn Competition in Ft. Worth has continually produced top-level artists, and the 2009 winner Haochen Zhang proved a formidable per...
Symphony
FOREIGN AFFAIRS CHARACTERS OF THE BAROQUE
by Sonia Morse Tubridy
Sunday, March 12, 2017
Akademie für Alte Musik Berlin, known as Akamus, played a Weill Hall concert March 12 in a program called "Foreign Affairs -Characters of the Baroque.” The ensemble, that began in 1984, has 15 musicians led by concert master Bernhard Forck. Attired in elegant black with red accents, ranging from tie...
Recital
MUSCULAR PIANISM DOMINATES MILL VALLEY CHAMBER SOCIETY RECITAL
by Terry McNeill
Sunday, March 12, 2017
Piano recitals since the beginning of the genre open with finger pieces - Scarlatti or Soler Sonatas, Bach, a Mendelssohn Prelude and Fugue or perhaps Mozart or Haydn. Sarah Daneshpour’s March 12 opening work at the Mill Valley Chamber Music Society series abruptly avoided the norm with the 10-minut...
Recital
NOVEL HAYDN AND SCHUMANN IN YARDEN'S OAKMONT RECITAL
by Terry McNeill
Thursday, March 09, 2017
Israeli pianist Einav Yarden has been a frequent Sonoma County visitor, playing private recitals for Spring Lake Village and Concerts Grand, and twice performing for Music at Oakmont. The Berlin-based artist returned to Oakmont’s Berger Auditorium March 9 with a program that was neither for connois...
Chamber
CONSUMMATE ENSEMBLE FROM THE MIRÓ IN WEILL
by Sonia Tubridy and Nicki Bell
Sunday, March 05, 2017
A March 5 Weill hall audience of 350 leaned in to share an intimate musical space and to hear the Miró String Quartet’s sterling concert. Starting with Haydn's Op. 20, No. 4, the four musicians seemed to want listeners to be enveloped in their music. The Miró plays with the feat of being four dist...
Recital
BRILLIANT VIOLIN AND PIANO ARTISTRY CHARMS SCHROEDER HALL AUDIENCE
by Terry McNeill
Sunday, February 26, 2017
A tiny Schroeder Hall audience heard a flawless recital Feb. 26 by Yu-Chien Tseng, arguably the best recent local violin recital since Gil Shaham’s transversal of the complete Bach Suites in Weill and Frank Almond’s Oakmont recital in 2015. Muscular playing was the afternoon’s norm, and with pianis...
Chamber
MUSIC AND ART MELD IN ZUCKERMAN TRIO CONCERT
by Nicki Bell
Friday, February 24, 2017
A Feb. 24 Weill Hall concert by the Pinchas Zuckerman Trio juxtaposed formidable music making with palpable associations about visual art. Brahms’ C Minor "Sonatensatz” (Scherzo) is a short youthful work for violin and piano, and was an opening call to action. Lively and vigorous playing alternated...
Chamber
THREE BEETHOVEN TRIOS BEGUILE AUDIENCE IN FEB. 19 WEILL CONCERT
by Terry McNeill
Sunday, February 19, 2017
Chamber music concerts featuring one composer can be tricky, but the Han/Setzer/Finckel trio made a Feb. 19 Weill Hall audience of 500 hear and to a degree see the boundless creativity of Beethoven. The G Major Trio, Op. 1, No. 2, opened the afternoon’s Beethoven odyssey and one wonders why it is t...
Chamber
AUTHORITATIVE BARTOK HIGHLIGHTS TETZLAFF VIOLIN RECITAL
by Terry McNeill
Saturday, February 18, 2017
Christian Tetzlaff’s Feb. 18 violin recital rolled along with lively and fresh readings of Mozart, Beethoven and Schubert when the specter of Bartok’s granitic Second Sonata intervened. The sonic shock to the audience of 250 in Weill was palpable. Composed in 1923 the 20-minute two-movement work i...
Symphony
WHAT SOUND DO STAR-CROSSED LOVERS MAKE?
by Steve Osborn
Sunday, February 12, 2017
Valentine’s Day is just around the corner, so the Santa Rosa Symphony feted the occasion by telling and retelling the story of Romeo and Juliet, a tale ever the more poignant during our era of stark divisions. The first telling was from Berlioz; the second from Prokofiev. In between was Brahms’ monu...
RECITAL REVIEW
Oakmont Concert Series / Thursday, March 14, 2013
Nina Tichman, piano

Pianist Nina Tichman

TICHMAN IN COMMAND AT OAKMONT RECITAL

by Terry McNeill
Thursday, March 14, 2013

Attending a Nina Tichman recital is a warmly familiar experience, as the Cologne-based pianist plays nearly everything in the standard literature with a professional command and artistic probity. There is sentiment in her playing but not sentimentality, attention to detail that is never fussy, and interpretations of intriguing music that are sober and thoughtful.

In her fifth recital in the Oakmont Concert Series on March 14, Ms. Tichman programmed a lively first half consisting of unfamiliar Mozart, familiar Brahms and five Chopin Mazurkas. All the pieces had a dance theme, beginning with Mozart’s "Fragment of a Suite," K399, and the once-popular "Eine Kleine Gigue," K574. These are curious works, at first sounding like Bach but harmonically not Bach. They are improvisational, and Ms. Tichman played them with clear contrapuntal lines and incisive phrasing.

Five of Chopin’s magical Mazurkas came next, in B Major (Op. 41, No. 2), F-Sharp Minor (Op. 6, No. 1), F Minor (Op. Post.), C-Sharp Minor (Op. 50, No. 3) and the A-Flat Major Mazurka of Op. 59, No. 2. These small tone poems were lovingly played by Ms. Tichman, the highlights being the sad lament and captivating ending of the F-Sharp Minor, and the languorous C-Sharp Minor. Her touch and chordal voicing was delicate throughout. The final A-Flat Major Mazurka with its deceptive cadences was faultlessly performed, though the last four (dotted) chords were hurried.

Brahms’ 16 short waltzes, which ended the first half, were composed in the 1860s, in versions for four hands, two pianos and solo piano. Ms. Tichman brought a party approach to this perennially happy music, along with a transparent sound and a bit of Schubert in several of the waltzes.

Following intermission Ms. Tichman delivered a rarely-heard version of Schumann’s Symphonic Etudes, Op. 13. The sonic surprise was the inclusion of four of the five seldom-performed studies, interlarded among the standard 12 studies. In remarks to the audience of 150 in Berger Auditorium, Ms. Tichman named Brahms as the arranger of the studies. The additions make the work long; but it is a lovely length, where each mood and figuration varies considerably.

The opening theme was played mezzo forte (though often performed with an eerie pianissimo) and seamlessly moved into the demanding variations. Ms. Tichman chose four of the five posthumous variations, omitting the third and dropping the repeats in the first (Andante) and fourth (Allegretto). She lavished exceptional care on these short gems, overcoming a wide range of pianistic hurdles. Her staccato chord technique and wide skips for the left hand were accurate, and the perpetual motion segments posed no difficulty to her deft and polished technique. She doesn’t have a big sound, but it’s big enough.

The brilliant and arduous final study, an expansion of the march format in Schumann’s Op. 9 "Carnaval," was performed taking the two initial short repeats and with dramatic sforzandos and a driving momentum to a powerful finish.

No encore was offered, and applause was subdued, unexpected given the beauty and authority of the performances. A sixth engagement for this estimable artist at Oakmont would be welcome.