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Choral and Vocal
A SEASONAL MESSIAH WITH BALANCE AND HEFT
by Terry McNeill
Sunday, December 10, 2017
The mid-December concert season seems for jaded reviewers to invariably include a Messiah performance, and perhaps a Messiah in a long string of similar and mundane performances. This was decidedly not the case when San Francisco’s Philharmonia Baroque mounted Handel’s eminent three-part 1742 Orato...
Symphony
ANDREW GRAMS FINDS HIS GROOVE SR SYMPHONY IN RACHMANINOFF
by Steve Osborn
Sunday, December 03, 2017
Last Sunday’s Santa Rosa Symphony concert featured two elegant and refined guests: music director candidate Andrew Grams and pianist Stewart Goodyear. Both displayed dazzling technique and consummate artistry, but Goodyear was the more consistent of the two. Some of Grams’ inconsistency may have st...
Symphony
SONIC SPLASH AND ENSEMBLE DELICACY AT SO CO PHIL CONCERT
by Terry McNeill
Saturday, November 18, 2017
Franck’s wonderful D Minor Symphony is a rarity on today’s concert programs, and I can’t remember a North Bay performance in many years from any of the six resident area orchestras. So it was good to see the Sonoma County Philharmonic feature it in their Nov. 18 and 19 concerts at Santa Rosa High S...
Chamber
TETZLAFF QUARTET'S MASTERY IN MOZART AND SCHUBERT
by Terry McNeill
Saturday, November 11, 2017
German violin virtuoso Christian Tetzlaff presented a critically successful Weill Hall recital Feb. 18, and returned to the same venue Nov. 11 with his admirable Tetzlaff Quartet in a program of Berg, Schubert and Mozart. Clarity of ensemble has always been a hallmark of this Quartet, and contrapun...
Chamber
RAVISHING SHORT OPERAS FROM FRENCH TROUPE IN WEILL
by Terry McNeill
Friday, November 10, 2017
Standard Weill Hall fall and winter classical programs are pretty routine – symphonic music, chamber, solo recitals – so it was a rare treat Nov. 10 when just two works from the 17th century were gloriously presented. With such specialized compositions, period performers with commanding authenticit...
Symphony
MEI-ANN CHEN PROVES A WORTHY CONTENDER FOR SANTA ROSA SYMPHONY CONDUCTING POST
by Steve Osborn
Sunday, November 05, 2017
These days the focus of Santa Rosa Symphony concerts is as much on the conductor candidates as on the soloists. This past weekend’s concerts featured the second of those candidates, Mei-Ann Chen, along with pianist Nareh Arghamanyan, each of whom cut an imposing figure on the stage. Chen is diminut...
Symphony
TO RUSSIA WITH BRILLIANCE
by Terry McNeill
Friday, November 03, 2017
Russian pianist Denis Matsuev’s high velocity and frequently slam-bang virtuosity came to the Green Music Center last year with a thrilling and equally perplexing solo performance. So many in Weill Nov. 3 were interested to hear if his pianistic style would mesh well in a concerto, and with a fine ...
Symphony
THUNDEROUS TCHAIKOVSKY FOURTH OPENS MARIN SYMPHONY SEASON
by Terry McNeill
Tuesday, October 31, 2017
North Coast weather is turning cool and the nights longer, ideal for Tchaikovsky’s big boned symphonies. The Santa Rosa Symphony recently programmed the Fourth (F Minor Symphony) as did the San Francisco Symphony. Norman Gamboa’s Sonoma County Philharmonic just played the Tchaikovsky First, forgoi...
Recital
RESPIGHI'S PUNGENT SONATA HIGHLIGHTS KENNEY-GUTMAN RECITAL
by Terry McNeill
Sunday, October 29, 2017
Respighi’s B Minor Violin Sonata seems never to gain conventional repertoire status. Perhaps the great Heifetz recording is intimidating, and I can recall over many years just two local performances: Jason Todorov and William Corbett-Jones years go in Newman, and a titanic reading in March by Anne S...
Chamber
MIRÓ QUARTET AND JEFFERY KAHANE PROVIDE MUSICAL RELIEF FOR FIRE-RAVAGED SONOMA COUNTY
by Steve Osborn
Saturday, October 28, 2017
Sonoma County’s Green Music Center has stood silent but unscathed the past few weeks as the county begins to recover from the devastating fires that began on the evening of October 8, only a few hours after a Santa Rosa Symphony concert in the Music Center. Since then, concerts by the Symphony, the ...
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.