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Chamber
EXAMPLARY QUARTET PLAYING IN MARIN GARDEN CONCERT
by Terry McNeill
Thursday, October 22, 2020
Taped video concerts have pretty much dominated the recent fare for classical music fans, but sporadic live music making can still be found in the North Bay with outdoor chamber music. Of course with the obligatory social distancing and often decorative facial masks. Four San Francisco Opera Orc...
Chamber
VIDEO CHAMBER MUSIC FROM LINCOLN CENTER IN GREEN'S BROADCAST
by Terry McNeill
Saturday, October 17, 2020
Along with hosting its resident the Santa Rosa Symphony, Weill Hall has contracted to produce sporadic virtual programs of classical music, and began Oct. 17 with a charming three-part concert from the Chamber Music Society of Lincoln Center in New York. Hosted with comely introductions by CMSLC di...
Symphony
THRILLING SANTA ROSA SYMPHONY PERFORMANCE IN AN EMPTY WEILL HALL
by Steve Osborn
Sunday, October 11, 2020
Viewers of the Santa Rosa Symphony’s inaugural socially distanced YouTube concert on Oct. 11 could be forgiven for thinking they had stumbled upon a performance of Verdi’s “Un Ballo in Maschera” (A Masked Ball), given that the string players in the opening shot all wore black masks. The sole excepti...
Symphony
BROWN VIDEO GALA LAUNCHES SANTA ROSA SYMPHONY SEASON
by Terry McNeill
Saturday, September 12, 2020
Similar to many North Coast musical organizations the Santa Rosa Symphony has scheduled a series of virtual concerts on video, spotlighting sections of the orchestra and the exuberant activities of its conductor Francesco Lecce-Chong. However, as an introduction to the season, a Sept. 12 gala vide...
SONGS AND ECHOES OF HOME IN AIZURI QUARTET CONCERT
by Abby Wasserman
Sunday, March 8, 2020
From the first richly layered harmonies of Dvořák’s Cypresses, the Aizuri Quartet held the March 8th audience at Mt. Tamalpais Methodist Church in thrall. The church was more than half full, a good crowd considering present anxiety about the spread of the coronavirus. Taking precautions, the M...
COLORFUL BORN BACH AT AGAVE BAROQUE'S SCHROEDER HALL CONCERT
by Sonia Morse Tubridy
Friday, February 28, 2020
Bach’s obituary records that “Johann Sebastian Bach belongs to a family that seems to have received a love and aptitude for music as a gift of Nature to all its members in common.” Agave Baroque presented their Feb. 28 concert, Born Bach, as a partial musical story of several generations in this rem...
ECLECTIC VIOLIN AND PIANO WORKS IN VIRTUOSIC MILL VALLEY RECITAL
by Abby Wasserman
Sunday, February 23, 2020
Blending virtuosity with sublime artistry, violinist Alexander Sitkovetsky and pianist Wu Qian gave the Mill Valley Chamber Music Society audience many thrills February 23, performing four muscular and soulful works by four composers from four countries: de Falla, Schumann, Stravinsky, and Grieg. T...
PREMIER OF KAIZEN AND DRAMATIC MOZART HIGHLIGHT ECHO CHAMBER CONCERT
by Abby Wasserman
Sunday, February 16, 2020
As concertgoers took their seats in San Anselmo’s First Presbyterian Church for ECHO Chamber Orchestra’s February 16 program, they were surprised to see at center stage two bass drums, a tom-tom, bongos, high hat and cymbals. It was the occasion of the world premiere of "Kaizen," composed and perf...
BEETHOVEN'S VALENTINE'S DAY GIFT IN RAC SEBASTOPOL RECITAL
by Terry McNeill
Friday, February 14, 2020
Continuing a season of Redwood Arts Council successes, the Kouzov Duo performed an eclectic Valentine’s Day concert in Sebastopol’s Community Church before an audience of 125. Beethoven’s charming Op. 66 Variations on Mozart’s “Ein Mädchen oder Weibchen” from the opera the Magic Flute was a bouncy ...
LUSH BACH PERFORMANCE IN DENK'S WEILL HALL RECITAL
by Terry McNeill
Thursday, February 13, 2020
Memorable artistic interpretations of musical masterpieces are often at extremes, and with the Bach’s Well-Tempered Clavier (WTC - Book I) that Jeremy Denk played in Weill Hall Feb. 13, the pianist was only sporadically at unique or ebullient musical ends. But his playing wasn’t exactly at opposite...
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.