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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 ...
Symphony
CONDUCTOR PLAYOFFS BEGIN IN SANTA ROSA
by Steve Osborn
Sunday, October 08, 2017
The Santa Rosa Symphony is calling 2017-18 “a choice season” because the next few months offer the audience and the symphony’s board of directors a chance to choose a new conductor from a pool of five candidates. Each candidate will lead a three-concert weekend set this fall and winter, with a final...
Recital
PIANISTIC COMMAND IN SCHROEDER RECITAL
by Lee Ormasa
Sunday, October 08, 2017
Nikolay Khozyainov’s Oct. 8 debut at the Green Music Center’s Schroeder Hall was one of those rare moments in a young artist’s career when a performance approaches perfection. From the opening notes of Beethoven’s A-Flat Major Sonata (Op. 110) through a delightful recital ending transcription, the ...
RECITAL REVIEW
Green Music Center / Sunday, October 08, 2017
Nikolay Khozyainov, piano

Pianist Nikolay Khozyainov

PIANISTIC COMMAND IN SCHROEDER RECITAL

by Lee Ormasa
Sunday, October 08, 2017

Nikolay Khozyainov’s Oct. 8 debut at the Green Music Center’s Schroeder Hall was one of those rare moments in a young artist’s career when a performance approaches perfection. From the opening notes of Beethoven’s A-Flat Major Sonata (Op. 110) through a delightful recital ending transcription, the artist brought the good-sized Sunday afternoon audience along with him on a wonderful journey through a challenging and eclectic program.

Khozyainov’s personality shown throughout, although his physical relationship to the piano was reminiscent of Artur Rubinstein’s restrained body movements. For this pianist the playing was all in the fingers and feet, and whose alacrity was on constant display. There were no smudges or over pedaling as all the notes, chords and runs were clearly presented in a well thought out interpretation of each piece.

The Beethoven Sonata seemed to grab the audience’s attention from the first lyrical notes. While his playing was light-fingered in the faster sections, he never sacrificed warmth of instrumental tone. The effect was mesmerizing. His skills as a pianist combined with a youthful willingness to provide his unique interpretations on familiar repertory presaged what was to come.

Schumann’s C Major Fantasy, Opus 17, revealed a fresh approach to the 1836 work that is dedicated to Liszt. Choosing sharply contrasting tempos and dynamics, Mr. Khozyainov mounted an interpretation that resisting a common impulse to over-romanticize the composition. Here his fleet fingers produced dramatic effects without giving the impression that he was in any way rushing his performance. At the intermission which followed many audience members were involved in animated conversations and sharing their pleasure with the performances in the first half.

San Francisco composer Gordon Getty’s four short pieces piece followed intermission and was a complete change of pace. Each movement (First Adventure, Raise the Colors, Andantino and Scherzo Pensieroso) is a colorful study in minimalistic composition. Harmonically pleasing each in its own way, the movements were presented by Mr. Khozyainov as little musical picture boxes. Here the playing resembled a master pastelist’s knowing application of color and movement to a canvas. It was sonically breathtaking.

The program concluded with the Lisztian pyrotechnics of the 1863 Spanish Rhapsody. While actually not as rhythmically Spanish sounding as other of Liszt’s compositions written following his travels to Spain, the Rhapsody offers technical challenges that were laid to waste by the pianist’s formidable technical command. His fingers were so fast that he was able to create an almost glissando effect in several passages, and it gave the work an exciting interpretive stamp. Despite the Rhapsody’s technical demands and length, the artist’s energy never flagged, and the audience response was loud and long.

There was one encore, Liszt’s 1838 transcription of the Overture from Rossini’s 1828 opera William Tell. After the long three-minute introduction, the playing provided a musical adrenaline rush on which to end the concert, and the audience rose to their feet in thunderous applause.