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Chamber
PERFORMER AS PROMOTER: CLARA SCHUMANN AND MUSICAL SALONS CLOSE VOM FESTIVAL
by Pamela Hicks Gailey
Sunday, July 28, 2019
The July 28 closing performance of the Valley of the Moon Chamber Music Festival could have been subtitled "Friends", as it was devoted to works by both Clara and Robert Schumann, and those of their friends and protégés Brahms and virtuoso violinist Joseph Joachim, with whom Clara toured extensively...
Chamber
ROMANTIC CHAMBER WORKS HIGHLIGHT VOM FESTIVAL AT HANNA CENTER
by Sonia Morse Tubridy
Saturday, July 27, 2019
Now in its 5th season the Valley of the Moon Chamber Music Festival presented July 27 a concert titled “My Brilliant Sister,” featuring Fanny Mendelssohn Hensel’s compositions for combinations of voice, fortepiano and strings. Fanny and her brother Felix were close, and Felix occasionally published ...
Symphony
ROMANTIC DREAMS AT THE MENDOCINO MUSIC FESTIVAL
by Kayleen Asbo
Wednesday, July 24, 2019
Romanticism, contrary to many popular perceptions, wasn’t simply about diving into the habitat of the heart. Romanticism began as a literary movement that elevated the power of nature as a transcendent force and sought with keen nostalgia to rediscover the wisdom of the past. The Romantics in both l...
Chamber
CHAUSSON CONCERTO SHINES IN A VISIONARY'S SALON
by Steve Osborn
Sunday, July 21, 2019
Ernest Chausson’s four-movement Concerto in D Major for Violin, Piano, and String Quartet (1891) is neither concerto nor sonata nor symphony, but it somehow manages to be all three, especially when played with fire and conviction by an accomplished soloist. Those incendiary and emotional elements w...
Chamber
EUROPEAN SALON MUSIC CAPTIVATES AT VOM FESTIVAL CONCERT
by Pamela Hicks Gailey
Sunday, July 21, 2019
Two stunning programs of 19th and 20th century chamber music were presented on July 21 and 28 as part of the Valley of the Moon Music Festival at the Hanna Center in Sonoma. Festival founders and directors pianist Eric Zivian and cellist Tanya Tompkins were both on hand to contribute brilliantly at ...
Chamber
ECLECTIC INSTRUMENTAL COMBINATIONS IN VOM FESTIVAL CONCERT
by Sonia Morse Tubridy
Saturday, July 20, 2019
A Lovely summer afternoon in Sonoma Valley, an excellent small concert hall, enthusiastic audience, exciting musicians and creative programming with interesting story lines. All these were combined July 20 at a Valley of the Moon Festival concert titled “An Italian in Paris.” This is the fifth seaso...
Opera
'ELIXIR' A WELCOME TONIC IN SPRIGHTLY ANNUAL MMF OPERA
by Terry McNeill
Friday, July 19, 2019
In most of the Mendocino Music Festival’s 33 seasons a single evening is given over to a staged opera, with bare bones sets, lighting, costumes, minimal cast and short length. No Wagner or Verdi here, no multiple acts and complicated production demands. Light and frothy are the usual, and so it wa...
Recital
PUNGENT WALTZES AND VIRTUOSITY IN LADEUR'S SLV RECITAL
by Terry McNeill
Wednesday, July 17, 2019
San Francisco based pianist Jeffrey LaDeur has become one of the most sought-after North Bay virtuosi, and cemented that reputation July 17 in a short but eclectic recital in Santa Rosa’s Spring Lake Village Chamber Music Series. Before 140 in the Village’s auditorium Mr. LaDeur began with Schubert...
Choral and Vocal
NOBLE BRAHMS REQUIEM PERFORMANCE CLOSES SONOMA BACH'S SEASON
by Pamela Hicks Gailey
Saturday, June 01, 2019
Sonoma Bach, conducted by Robert Worth, presented a truly grand finale to their 2018-19 "Light Out of Darkness" season in two sold out Schroeder Hall performances June 1 and 2. The program "A Human Requiem" was received rapturously with a well-deserved standing ovation for the main work, Brahms' ...
Chamber
THREE SONG CYCLES HIGHLIGHT VIBRANT SLV RECITAL
by Pamela Hicks-Gailey
Wednesday, May 08, 2019
An ambitious recital of vocal and piano music was presented May 8 at Santa Rosa’s Spring Lake Village by mezzo-soprano Kindra Scharich and pianist Jeffrey LaDeur. The duo engaged the enthusiastic audience with scholarly friendliness and artistry in performances of Beethoven's short cycle of six song...
RECITAL REVIEW
Dominican University of California Guest Concert Series / Sunday, November 15, 2015
Mikola Suk, piano

Pianist Mikolya Suk

SIC TRANSIT GLORIA SIGISMUNDI

by Terry McNeill
Sunday, November 15, 2015

One often hears of yet another new fiery Russian pianist, and the mental picture is of a 16-year old with octaves and temperament to burn. But older Russian artists can command a virtuoso’s seat the piano, as aptly proved by Mykola Suk in his recital Nov. 15 before 150 in Dominican University’s Angelico Hall.

Seventy years is of little consequence when a pianist has the vision and technique of Mr. Suk, and the recital juxtaposed two familiar works with several “old ghosts” in the repertoire.

Familiarity was contained in Beethoven’s “Moonlight” and Liszt’s “Dante” Sonatas. Both were played with exceptional attention to pianistic details, and the Liszt work (Fantasia Quasi Una Sonata: Apres une lecture de Dante) has been a specialty for the artist. It was not note perfect playing but Mr. Suk’s powerful octaves and tremolos in the treble gave the work the needed free rhapsodic character.

Unfolding at a moderate tempo the Beethoven C-Sharp Minor Sonata had many interesting touches: novel broken chords, unusual slight end-of-phrase pauses and avoidance of ritards. The Allegretto was played demurely and omitted any nod to the dance textures.

Mr. Suk tore into the Presto Agitato finale and played it with dramatic staccato chords and tumult when it was necessary, but also with blurred right hand scales and substantial damper pedal.

Two rarely-heard works, Beethoven’s improvisatory Op. 77 Fantasia and Hummel’s La Contemplazione (Op. 107, No. 3) passed without making much of an impression in the all-fantasy program, but Thalberg’s Moses In Egypt Fantaisie, Op. 33, a paraphrase from Rossini’s opera, certainly did. The late Raymond Lewenthal resurrected the piece and sporadically it appears on a festival or scholarly program. Here it had center stage.

Mr. Suk’s passage work with countless arpeggios and Rossini’s luscious tunes were impressive, and the loud repeated chords were telling. One has to either like opera paraphrases or not. I do. And Mr. Suk sits at the instrument (like Thalberg) with little extraneous motion. It’s all business for him, and one can be happy to have heard the “Moses” in such an artistic performance before it settles again into obscurity.

There was no encore.