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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
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.