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Chamber
SONGS AND ECHOES OF HOME IN AIZURI QUARTET CONCERT
by Abby Wasserman
Sunday, March 08, 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...
Choral and Vocal
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...
Chamber
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...
Chamber
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...
Chamber
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...
BROWNE, PAREMSKI HEAD STELLAR CAST AT SANTA ROSA SYMPHONY CONCERT
by Steve Osborn
Sunday, February 09, 2020
The Feb. 9 performance by the Santa Rosa Symphony offered a healthy dose of 21st century music firmly bound to the 19th. Matt Browne’s first symphony, “The Course of Empire”—based on a series of five paintings by Thomas Cole, who founded the Hudson River School of American painting in the 1820s—emp...
FRENCH ORCHESTRAL MUSIC A FIRST FOR THE SO CO PHILHARMONIC
by Terry McNeill
Sunday, February 02, 2020
Over many years the Sonoma County Philharmonic has played little French music, but perhaps this oversight was corrected Feb. 2 in a splendid all-Gallic program Feb. 1 and 2 in the Jackson Theater. Classical Sonoma reviewed the Sunday afternoon concert. In his eighth conducting season with the So C...
Symphony
POLISH MUSICAL WORLDS GLOW BRIGHT IN NFM WROCLAW WEILL PERFORMANCE
by Sonia Morse Tubridy
Saturday, February 01, 2020
The NFM Wroclaw Philharmonic, with conductor Giancarlo Guerrero, gave a concert of enormous energy and emotional impact on Feb.1 to a small audience in Weill Hall. This orchestra has been a major cultural force in Poland since 1949, playing under many renowned conductors and has been committed to pr...
Opera
EXTRAVAGANT ARIAS IN NEXT GENERATION TENORS GALA VALLEJO CONCERT
by Mark Kratz
Saturday, February 01, 2020
“Beautiful, strange, and unnatural…” said orchestra conductor Thomas Conlin when speaking of the tenor voice. One of the coveted voice types of the opera world, the tenor voice is known for it’s piercing tones and soaring, unnatural high notes. The iconic image of the Pagliacci clown (in the famed...
RECITAL REVIEW
Sonoma Classical Music Society / Sunday, April 13, 2014
Anastia Dedik, piano

Anastasia Dedik April 13 in Sonoma

RUSSIAN PIANIST, RUSSIAN MUSIC, RUSSIAN DRAMA

by Terry McNeill
Sunday, April 13, 2014

In the season’s penultimate Sonoma Classical Music Society concert on Sunday afternoon, April 13, Russian pianist Anastasia Dedik played an all-Russian program that was heavy on drama with just a modicum of lyricism.

Two Rachmaninoff Etudes Tableaux opened the program, the E-Flat Minor from Op. 33 and the F Sharp from Op. 39. These are stormy pieces with broad rhythms and, in the latter, loud doubled staccato chords. These pieces have a lot of notes in a short span and were played aggressively throughout. The music was not helped by the Vintage House hall, its flat floor without stage generating muddy acoustics at any volume above mezzo forte.

Things brightened with a Prokofiev bagatelle, “Summer Fairy,” from his Op. 97 ballet “Cinderella.” Here Ms. Dedik accented Prokofiev’s mildly astringent harmonies. The short lyrical work was a pleasant surprise following the dense Rachmaninoff studies.

Another ballet transcription, Mikhail Pletnev’s selection of scenes from Tchaikovsky’s ballet “Nutcracker,” closed the first half with familiar melodies. The transcription is a charming virtuoso work of seven sections; Ms. Dedik played six. She stressed the left-hand rhythmic underpinnings of the stately opening March, and in the "Sugar Plum Fairy" and "Intermezzo" movements, she produced some of the day’s most elegant playing, the pure themes glowing and tranquil.

In the slow "Chinese Dance" and concluding "Pas de Deux" sections, the playing was most effective when Ms. Dedik did not force the tone. In the slow descending runs, the music unfolded naturally with rich low-register color.

Mussorgsky’s “Pictures at an Exhibition” filled the second half, and under the pianist’s fingers (and feet) it was an odyssey of sonority and contrast. She chose a theatrical and at times histrionic approach to the work that demanded every bit of pianistic drama her technique could provide. The repeated ”Promenade” effectively tied together the ten sections. Ms. Dedik is not a note-perfect pianist, but in the “Ballet of the Unhatched Canary Chicks” her playing gave the illusion of scattering motion and even joy. Her performance throughout this massive work stressed sonic power at the expense of small bits of musical humor and repose. But it’s that kind of piece, and the audience of 150 rose to congratulate the artist’s stamina and exciting virtuosity that amply captured Mussorgsky’s demanding score.

During the afternoon the barrage of often cloudy sound was in contrast to the Series’ last concert with the estimable Alexander String Quartet. Every note and phrase of their all-Beethoven concert was warm and distinct. Vintage House does favor string music over challenging solo piano repertoire.

Violinist Nigel Armstrong, a frequent performer on the Sonoma series, will conclude the season with a Mother’s Day recital on May 11 in the Jacuzzi Winery barrel room.