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Symphony
SO CO PHIL BON VOYAGE CONCERT AN ODYSSEY OF CONTRASTING SOUND
by Terry McNeill
Friday, June 15, 2018
In a splashy bon voyage concert June 15 the Sonoma County Philharmonic Orchestra launched its June 17-25 Costa Rica tour, performing gratis in Santa Rosa’s Jackson Theater the repertoire for tour concerts in San José, Costa Rica’s capital, and in surrounding towns. Conductor Norman Gamboa pr...
Chamber
COMMANDING CHOPIN AND DEBUSSY IN SLV RECITAL
by Terry McNeill
Wednesday, June 06, 2018
Concerts at the classy Spring Lake Village Retirement Home in Santa Rosa have admission limited to residents and a few guests, but the chance to hear a first cabin North Bay pianist June 6 brought a Classical Sonoma reviewer into the audience of 100. The crowd numbers were unusually low due to a ba...
Recital
MUSICAL ALCHEMY INSIDE A HIDDEN GEM
by Kayleen Asbo
Friday, May 25, 2018
The Petaluma Historical Library and Museum is a hidden gem of Sonoma County, a gracious building that is one of Sonoma County’s loveliest venues for chamber music concerts, with a fine period piano particularly suited to Romantic music.  Of the surprisingly large array of festivities there, one of t...
Chamber
FINAL VOM MUSICIANS CONCERT IN SCHROEDER A SCHUBERT DELIGHT
by Terry McNeill
Saturday, May 12, 2018
It's rare to have the opportunity to compare in a short period two performances of the same major Schubert work, in this case the great B Flat Piano Trio, D. 898. The chance came May 12 when the Valley of the Moon Festival musicians played it in Schroeder, just over a month since the Hall’s residen...
Symphony
FERRANDIS BIDS ADIEU WITH MAHLER’S FINAL SYMPHONY
by Steve Osborn
Sunday, May 06, 2018
Sonoma State students in graduation robes posed for pictures and hugged each other at the university’s stone gates on Sunday afternoon, mirroring the prolonged farewells within the university’s Green Music Center, where Bruno Ferrandis bid adieu to the Santa Rosa Symphony after a dozen years at the ...
Symphony
SONIC SPLENDOR AT MARIN SYMPHONY SEASON FINALE
by Abby Wasserman
Tuesday, May 01, 2018
The Marin Symphony Orchestra ended the current season with a flourish, interpreting big and small works by Richard Strauss and Stravinsky. Strauss and Stravinsky were contemporaries for 40 years, but inhabited different worlds. Both composers were affected by cataclysmic changes and war, and musical...
Symphony
ORGAN SYMPHONY IN SSU ORCHESTRA CONCERT IN WEILL
by Terry McNeill
Sunday, April 29, 2018
Though Classical Sonoma seldom reviews student concerts, as ample North Coast concerts keep the staff of 11 reviewers busy. But the chance to hear the Sonoma State University Orchestra tackle St. Saëns’ majestic Organ Symphony April 29 was a rare opportunity and not easily to be missed. Avec l’...
Recital
HEAVENLY SCHUBERT AND DEMONIC CHOPIN
by Terry McNeill
Saturday, April 21, 2018
One of the anomalies in the long ago “Golden Era” of romantic pianism (about 1905 to 1940) is that the virtuoso giants of the time didn’t play Schubert. It took the German pianist Artur Schnabel to bring the beauties of Schuber’s work to the public’s attention, and now they seem to be on almost ever...
Symphony
SPLENDID JUPITER AND ZOOMING CONCERTO AT VALLEJO SYMPHONY SEASON FINALE
by Terry McNeill
Sunday, April 15, 2018
Over the past two years the Vallejo Symphony has made big changes, moving from a stark middle school auditorium to the snazzy remodeled 1911-era downtown Empress Theater, and engaging Marc Taddei as its seventh conductor. April 15 was the season’s final concert of the 86th season. In a programmin...
Chamber
VIRTUOSO CELLO AND GUITAR TRANSCRIPTIONS AT RAC SEBASTOPOL CONCERT
by Terry McNeill
Saturday, April 14, 2018
Listeners and yes even music critics usually prepare for a concert with research, checking recorded performances, looking at artist biographies and even reviewing sheet music. This was a difficult task for the April 14 Redwood Arts Council concert in Sebastopol’s Community Church, as the performers...
RECITAL REVIEW
Green Music Center / Sunday, October 08, 2017
Nikolay Khozyainov, piano

Pianist Nikolay Khozyainov

PIANISTIC COMMAND IN SCHROEDER RECITAL

by
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.