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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...
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...
Opera
PURCELL'S DIDO IN YOUTHFUL SSU OPERA
by Abby Wasserman
Wednesday, December 05, 2018
A doomed royal love affair, the theme of Purcell’s Dido and Aeneas, was brought to lovely life at Sonoma State University Dec. 5 in the school’s Schroeder Hall. Conducted by faculty member Zachary Gordin, who also played continuo, the performance was only the second opera production presented by the...
Symphony
SANTA ROSA SYMPHONY HERALDS THE HOLIDAYS
by Steve Osborn
Sunday, December 02, 2018
Antlers are typical headgear during the holiday season, but the ushers and one bassist at the Santa Rosa Symphony concert on Dec. 2 sported apples atop their heads. The red fruits were festive but perplexing until the orchestra began Rossini’s “William Tell” overture, at which point even the dull-wi...
Symphony
A HERO'S ODYSSEY IN SO CO PHIL CONCERT
by Art Hofmann
Sunday, November 18, 2018
The audience at the Sonoma County Philharmonic’s Nov. 18 concert was warned at the outset that the old Santa Rosa High School auditorium boiler was turned off, and there was a steady eminently audible tone in the hall. Conductor Norman Gamboa said the tone was an A, a high one. But there it was, a...
Recital
MTA BENEFIT CONCERT FEATURES FAURE, DVORAK, JANACEK AND BARBER WORKS
by Terry McNeill
Sunday, November 11, 2018
In a splendid concert Nov. 11 the Music Teachers Association of California, Sonoma County Chapter, presented their sixth annual benefit concert before 40 avid listeners in the Santa Rosa home of Helen Howard and Robert Yeats. Highlights of the performances, involving eight musicians in various perf...
Recital
SERKIN'S SINGULAR MOZART AND BACH PLAYING IN WEILL RECITAL
by Terry McNeill
Friday, November 09, 2018
Returning to Weill Hall following a fire-related recital cancellation in 2017, pianist Peter Serkin programmed just three works in his Nov. 7 concert, three masterworks that challenged both artist and audience alike. It needs to be said at the outset that Mr. Serkin takes a decidedly non-standard a...
Chamber
LUMINOUS FAURE TOPS LINCOLN TRIO'S SPRING LAKE VILLAGE CONCERT
by Terry McNeill
Wednesday, November 07, 2018
Familiarity in chamber music often evokes warm appreciation, and it was thus Nov. 7 when the Chicago-based Lincoln Piano Trio made one of their many Sonoma County appearances, this time on the Spring Lake Village Classical Music Series. Regularly presented by local impresario Robert Hayden, the Lin...
Symphony
PEACE AND LOVE FROM THE SANTA ROSA SYMPHONY
by Steve Osborn
Sunday, November 04, 2018
Before the Santa Rosa Symphony’s Nov. 4 performance of Leonard Bernstein’s “Symphonic Dances from West Side Story,” Symphony CEO Alan Silow took a moment to acknowledge the victims of the Pittsburgh synagogue attack and to observe that music offers a more peaceful and loving view of the world. Mr. ...
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.