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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
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.