Home  Reviews  Articles  Calendar  Presenters  Add Event     
Choral and Vocal
A SEASONAL MESSIAH WITH BALANCE AND HEFT
by Terry McNeill
Sunday, December 10, 2017
The mid-December concert season seems for jaded reviewers to invariably include a Messiah performance, and perhaps a Messiah in a long string of similar and mundane performances. This was decidedly not the case when San Francisco’s Philharmonia Baroque mounted Handel’s eminent three-part 1742 Orato...
Symphony
ANDREW GRAMS FINDS HIS GROOVE SR SYMPHONY IN RACHMANINOFF
by Steve Osborn
Sunday, December 03, 2017
Last Sunday’s Santa Rosa Symphony concert featured two elegant and refined guests: music director candidate Andrew Grams and pianist Stewart Goodyear. Both displayed dazzling technique and consummate artistry, but Goodyear was the more consistent of the two. Some of Grams’ inconsistency may have st...
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 ...
CHAMBER REVIEW

Dmitry Rachmanov playing in Forsyth Hall

VIGOR AND PIZZAZZ

by Terry McNeill
Sunday, February 01, 2009

The Russian pianist Dmitry Rachmanov is a careful and attentive player with ample power when needed, and he brought these qualities to a Super Bowl-day audience Feb. 1 at SRJC’s Forsyth Hall. Though the repertoire was a little conventional, the performances were probing and memorable.

In several ways the opening work, Beethoven’s Variations in F, Op. 34, was the most finished presentation of the afternoon, the fifth recital in the current Concerts Grand season. All was in place – rhythmic control, subtle dynamics, and clear articulation. Each of these variations has an individual personality, elegantly brought out by the pianist. It was a rarely programmed piece played marvelously.

The afternoon’s cornerstone work, Schubert’s “Wanderer” Fantasie, D. 760, received all of Rachmanov’s pianistic artistry without being wholly successful. Make no mistake, the powerful momentum and drama needed in this work (which Schubert reportedly couldn’t play) were in place. What was missing was the comprehensive whole, the polish which Rachmanov lavished several years ago on works by Schumann and the Russian composer Nikolai Medtner in a Marin recital. Rachmanov had everything in hand with Schubert’s forward-looking work, including a secure octave technique, consummate phrasing and stamina to burn. After the recital the artist mentioned that it was only the second time he had ever played the great Fantasie in public, and pieces of that magnitude take time to gel. He has his arms around the Schubert, but it needs more refinement.

Following intermission two works were offered: Stravinsky’s Sonata from 1924 and the “Le Tombeau de Couperin” of Ravel. Stravinsky's thin-textured Sonata is in a Baroque style, though the Adagietto is florid and warm. Rachmanov’s playing here had solid rhythmic control and just the right amount of “detache” finger staccato. In the Ravel, the captivating and gentle outdoor-sounding Fugue in the final storm of the Toccata brought the small audience to its feet. The six pieces of “Le Tombeau” are Ravel’s homage to the 18th century and, like the Schubert, were played with urgency, if without the last measure of polish. The Rigaudon had the right dose of vigor and pizzazz, and the Minuet spotlighted the lyricism of the upper registers.

No encores were given, but Rachmanov enjoyed the acclaim and commentary of the piano cognoscenti after a recital filled with ardent and noble music.

The reviewer is the Producer of the Concerts Grand series.