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Recital
GLITTERING PIANISM IN LI'S OAKMONT RECITAL
by Terry McNeill
Thursday, April 11, 2019
Piano prodigies have always been a fascination for the music public, and the greatest of them (some were Mozart, Mendelssohn, Liszt, Saint Saëns, Hofmann) went on to legendary fame. George Li, who made is local debut at a Music at Oakmont recital April 11, was a remarkable recent keyboard prodigy t...
Symphony
SO CO PHIL'S SEASON CLOSER WITH EXPANSIVE PROKOFIEV 5TH IN JACKSON
by Terry McNeill
Sunday, April 07, 2019
Closing their 20th season with their usual programming aplomb, the Sonoma County Philharmonic played a provocative set of concerts April 6 and 7 in the Jackson Theater, the Orchestra’s new home at the Sonoma Country Day School by the Sonoma County Airport. Local composer Nolan Gasser’s Sonoma Overt...
Choral and Vocal
SISTINE CHAPEL INSPIRATION FOR THE TALLIS SCHOLARS IN WEILL HALL
by Sonia Morse Tubridy
Friday, April 05, 2019
Returning to Weill Hall April 5 after a seven year absence, the ten singers of the Tallis Scholars brought the sacred choral tradition of Palestrina and his contemporaries to an audience of delighted music lovers. Under the direction of Peter Phillips, the 1973 founder of the group, the program was...
Symphony
AUTUMNAL SIBELIUS 7TH HIGHLIGHTS VSO'S SEASON CLOSING CONCERT
by Terry McNeill
Sunday, March 31, 2019
Closing their 87th Season March 30 and 31 the Vallejo Symphony has moved from a single weekend concert to a set of two, and the late March response was two full houses in the charming downtown Vallejo Empress Theater. Conductor Marc Taddei opened the Sunday program with a rousing performance of B...
Recital
SHARED INSTRUMENTAL BEAUTY IN VIEAUX-MEYERS WEILL HALL CONCERT
by Abby Wasserman
Saturday, March 30, 2019
Exciting timbral sound and intricate counterpoint, made possible when two artists with complementary instruments play together, were richly explored by violinist Anne Akiko Meyers and guitarist Jason Vieaux March 30 in Weill Hall. Whether in close harmony, or unison, or weaving separate melodies to...
Chamber
RARE MAHLER QUARTET AT MILL VALLEY CHAMBER CONCERT
by Abby Wasserman
Sunday, March 24, 2019
Piano quartets are relatively rare in the classical literature, and there are only about 40 compositions for the combination of piano, violin, viola and cello, mostly from the Romantic period of the mid to late 1800s. It therefore was special March 24 to hear three great works of this medium, perfor...
Symphony
AMERICAN CLASSICS SPARKLE UNDER KAHANE’S BATON
by Steve Osborn
Saturday, March 16, 2019
Jeffrey Kahane, the Santa Rosa Symphony’s former conductor, returned to the Weill Hall podium on Saturday night, and the results were expectedly wonderful. The concert of American classics was by turns playful (Gershwin’s “An American in Paris”), emotional (Barber’s violin concerto) and triumphant (...
Chamber
FLORESTAN TRIO'S MENDELSSOHN AT SPRING LAKE VILLAGE CONCERT
by Terry McNeill
Friday, March 08, 2019
Spring Lake Village’s monthly concerts usually clock in under an hour, but the March 8 Florestan Trio’s performance was more extended as so much good music was on tap for the 125 residents attending at Santa Rosa’s premiere retirement residence facility. Four short pieces made up the first half, be...
Chamber
TILDEN TRIO'S BOHEMIAN ENERGY AT DOMINICAN CONCERT
by Terry McNeill
Sunday, March 03, 2019
Hard on the heels of the Trio Navarro’s late February concert in Sonoma State’s Schroeder Hall, Northern California’s other premiere resident piano trio, the Tilden, played an equally convincing program March 3 in Dominican University’s Angelico Hall. Clearly each hall’s acoustics, stage pianos and...
Recital
24 SONGS IN A MENKE-THOMPSON RECITAL ODYSSEY
by Terry McNeill
Saturday, February 23, 2019
Sonoma County pop and country singing enjoys continued popularity but it rare to see a professional classical vocal concert announced. Diva Ruth Ann Swenson was once a local star, but she has long departed and not much virtuoso recital singing can be found in the North Bay. But the exception to th...
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.