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Chamber
UNEXPECTED ARENSKY AND MENDELSSOHN BY THE NAVARRO
by Terry McNeill
Sunday, February 17, 2019
The 100 people entering Schroeder Hall Feb. 17 for a Trio Navarro concert were handed a program that appeared to feature two popular piano trios, Mendelssohn and Arensky. But continuing the Navarro’s tradition of repertoire exploration, the pieces were not the usual first Mendelssohn and first Aren...
Symphony
MENDELSSOHN'S SCOTTISH SAVES THE EVENING IN SRS WEILL CONCERT
by Terry McNeill
Monday, February 11, 2019
The audience entering Weill Hall for Santa Rosa Symphony concerts Feb. 9-11 were presented with a program that on first glance appeared a curious patchwork – a great symphony mixed with a seldom heard concerto and two disparate overtures, and a guest conductor unknown locally. Monday night’s concer...
Recital
INTRIGUING BELL-HAYWOOD RECITAL BEFORE FULL HOUSE IN WEILL HALL
by Abby Wasserman
Friday, February 08, 2019
A big portion of the capacity audience in Weill Hall February 8th came to hear violinist Joshua Bell’s virtuosity, and were treated as well to splendid playing from Sam Haywood, Mr. Bell’s regular pianist since 2010. The duo performed three engaging sonatas, highlighted by Mr. Bell’s sterling techn...
Symphony
TRIPLE PLAY UKIAH SYMPHONY CONCERT AND TCHAIKOVSKY SERENADE
by Terry McNeill
Sunday, January 27, 2019
Over the years the Ukiah Symphony’s concerts have been in the Classical Sonoma Calendar sections, but rarely has this Orchestra, now in its 39th season, had a full winter season concert review. The provocative Jan. 27 program in Mendocino College’s Center Theater seemed a good reason to reacquaint ...
Symphony
JACKSON THEATER WELCOMES A NEW RESIDENT ORCHESTRA
by Terry McNeill
Saturday, January 26, 2019
Moving to a permanent new performance venue can be a perilous undertaking for an orchestra, with different acoustics, the loyal audience finding the new spot and infrastructure challenges of lighting and lobby and backstage operations. In their first concert Jan. 26 in Windsor’s Jackson Theater the...
Symphony
ECLECTIC PASSIONATE PROGRAMMING AT MARIN SYMPHONY CONCERT
by Abby Wasserman
Saturday, January 26, 2019
The Marin Symphony’s second Masterworks concert of the 2018-19 season featured works by John Adams, Sibelius and Brahms, a masterful assembly. In a spoken introduction before the program’s first half, conductor Alasdair Neale primed the audience for the “terra incognita” of Adams’ The Chairman Dance...
Symphony
A SLICE OF HEAVEN FROM THE SANTA ROSA SYMPHONY
by Steve Osborn
Sunday, January 13, 2019
Under its vibrant new music director, Francesco Lecce-Chong, the Santa Rosa Symphony this past Sunday offered a nearly perfect afternoon of Mozart (Symphony No. 40) and Mahler (Symphony No. 4). While the two works share a common digit, the only element uniting them is genius. They made for a dazzlin...
Recital
KHOZYAINOV'S BRILLIANT PIANISM IN MILL VALLEY RECITAL
by Abby Wasserman
Sunday, January 13, 2019
In its third concert of the season the Mill Valley Chamber Music Society Jan. 13 presented Russian virtuoso Nikolay Khozyainov. His intelligent and sensitive interpretations, masterful pedal work, and virtuoso technique left the near-capacity audience in Mt. Tamalpais Methodist Church astounded and ...
Chamber
A COMPLETE MUSICAL PACKAGE IN ARRON'S OAKMONT RECITAL
by Terry McNeill
Thursday, January 10, 2019
Cellist Edward Arron has been a welcome artist at the Music at Oakmont series, and after his Jan. 10 recital it’s easy to understand his popularity. His artistry is a complete package, with potent instrumental technique wedded to integral musical conceptions. In a nearly flawless concert with pian...
Choral and Vocal
COMPELLING WEILL HALL MESSIAH ORATORIO FROM THE ABS
by Terry McNeill
Saturday, December 15, 2018
Each holiday season when a Classical Sonoma reviewer is assigned to cover a concert with Handel’s seminal Oratorio The Messiah, the question arises about what new commentary can possibly apply to the often performed choral work. Well, if it’s the American Bach Soloists performing the piece, written...
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.