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Symphony
ZUILL PLAYS ZWILICH WITH SANTA ROSA SYMPHONY
by Steve Osborn
Sunday, March 28, 2021
The Santa Rosa Symphony took a cautious step toward the return of live music in their March 28 virtual concert by sharing the stage with an actual live soloist rather than an apparition. Star cellist Zuill Bailey was still masked, and his back was toward the equally masked and plexiglassed orchestra...
Chamber
ECLECTIC CELLO PIANO VIRTUAL RECITAL FROM TOMKINS ZIVIAN DUO
by Terry McNeill
Sunday, March 28, 2021
The venerable 41-year Redwood Arts Council Series in Occidental has joined the virtual recital world with low budget but artistically satisfying programs, mostly using videos filmed in the performer’s residences. March 28 saw the Tanya Tomkins-Eric Zivian duo present an eclectic program from their ...
Symphony
SANTA ROSA SYMPHONY HITS THE SWEET SPOT
by Steve Osborn
Sunday, February 28, 2021
Small orchestras can inhabit a sweet spot between chamber ensembles and full orchestras, but how well they hit that spot depends on the composer's orchestration and the players' ability to project. That dependence was on full display in the Santa Rosa Symphony's Feb. 28 concert, which featured three...
Chamber
NOVEL OBOE-HARPSICHORD RECITAL FROM AIKEN DUO IN UKIAH
by Terry McNeill
Sunday, February 21, 2021
Oboe and harpsichord recitals are a rare North Bay event, even in a pandemic environment where a formal hall setting isn’t available. So it was a delight Feb. 21 to experience on the Ukiah Symphony’s website a recital by Symphony oboist Beth Aiken and harpsichordist husband Tom. The Aiken home vis...
Symphony
A HEALTHY MIX OF TRANSCRIPTIONS AND ORIGINALS FROM THE SR SYMPHONY
by Steve Osborn
Sunday, January 24, 2021
Transcriptions and ascending arpeggios were the order of the day on Jan. 24, as the Santa Rosa Symphony performed uplifting works by Bach/Webern, Ellen Taaffe Zwilich, Marianna Martínes and Mozart. The concert video was made in Weill Hall on Jan. 9. The first transcription was Webern’s 1935 renderi...
Symphony
HEROIC EFFORT FROM THE SANTA ROSA SYMPHONY
by Steve Osborn
Sunday, December 13, 2020
December 13 was a rainy day, perfect for huddling indoors and watching a prerecorded “live” performance by the Santa Rosa Symphony. The program was expansive, with music from the 18th through 21st centuries, and the mood was festive, in keeping with the holiday season. There was something in the fea...
Symphony
MASKED SANTA ROSA SYMPHONY CARRIES ON BRILLIANTLY
by Steve Osborn
Sunday, November 15, 2020
In some ways the Santa Rosa Symphony’s Nov. 15 concert on YouTube resembled a Conceptual Art performance from the 1970s. On display were about 30 masked orchestral musicians playing six feet apart from each other on stage, some of them separated by plexiglass barriers. In the 1970s, the concept behi...
Chamber
SPLENDID STRINGS IN A SUNLIT GARDEN
by Abby Wasserman
Sunday, November 1, 2020
A sun-drenched autumn afternoon, a Marin County garden and six superb string players from the Santa Rosa Symphony were manna from heaven to a pandemic-weary audience starved for live music. The sextet of Santa Rosa Symphony musicians performed to a small group of 20 Nov. 1, the day after Halloween....
Chamber
EXAMPLARY QUARTET PLAYING IN MARIN GARDEN CONCERT
by Terry McNeill
Thursday, October 22, 2020
Taped video concerts have pretty much dominated the recent fare for classical music fans, but sporadic live music making can still be found in the North Bay with outdoor chamber music. Of course with the obligatory social distancing and often decorative facial masks. Four San Francisco Opera Orc...
Chamber
VIDEO CHAMBER MUSIC FROM LINCOLN CENTER IN GREEN'S BROADCAST
by Terry McNeill
Saturday, October 17, 2020
Along with hosting its resident the Santa Rosa Symphony, Weill Hall has contracted to produce sporadic virtual programs of classical music, and began Oct. 17 with a charming three-part concert from the Chamber Music Society of Lincoln Center in New York. Hosted with comely introductions by CMSLC di...
CHAMBER REVIEW

Dmitry Rachmanov playing in Forsyth Hall

VIGOR AND PIZZAZZ

by Terry McNeill
Sunday, February 1, 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.