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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...
Symphony
THRILLING SANTA ROSA SYMPHONY PERFORMANCE IN AN EMPTY WEILL HALL
by Steve Osborn
Sunday, October 11, 2020
Viewers of the Santa Rosa Symphony’s inaugural socially distanced YouTube concert on Oct. 11 could be forgiven for thinking they had stumbled upon a performance of Verdi’s “Un Ballo in Maschera” (A Masked Ball), given that the string players in the opening shot all wore black masks. The sole excepti...
Symphony
BROWN VIDEO GALA LAUNCHES SANTA ROSA SYMPHONY SEASON
by Terry McNeill
Saturday, September 12, 2020
Similar to many North Coast musical organizations the Santa Rosa Symphony has scheduled a series of virtual concerts on video, spotlighting sections of the orchestra and the exuberant activities of its conductor Francesco Lecce-Chong. However, as an introduction to the season, a Sept. 12 gala vide...
SONGS AND ECHOES OF HOME IN AIZURI QUARTET CONCERT
by Abby Wasserman
Sunday, March 8, 2020
From the first richly layered harmonies of Dvořák’s Cypresses, the Aizuri Quartet held the March 8th audience at Mt. Tamalpais Methodist Church in thrall. The church was more than half full, a good crowd considering present anxiety about the spread of the coronavirus. Taking precautions, the M...
COLORFUL BORN BACH AT AGAVE BAROQUE'S SCHROEDER HALL CONCERT
by Sonia Morse Tubridy
Friday, February 28, 2020
Bach’s obituary records that “Johann Sebastian Bach belongs to a family that seems to have received a love and aptitude for music as a gift of Nature to all its members in common.” Agave Baroque presented their Feb. 28 concert, Born Bach, as a partial musical story of several generations in this rem...
ECLECTIC VIOLIN AND PIANO WORKS IN VIRTUOSIC MILL VALLEY RECITAL
by Abby Wasserman
Sunday, February 23, 2020
Blending virtuosity with sublime artistry, violinist Alexander Sitkovetsky and pianist Wu Qian gave the Mill Valley Chamber Music Society audience many thrills February 23, performing four muscular and soulful works by four composers from four countries: de Falla, Schumann, Stravinsky, and Grieg. T...
PREMIER OF KAIZEN AND DRAMATIC MOZART HIGHLIGHT ECHO CHAMBER CONCERT
by Abby Wasserman
Sunday, February 16, 2020
As concertgoers took their seats in San Anselmo’s First Presbyterian Church for ECHO Chamber Orchestra’s February 16 program, they were surprised to see at center stage two bass drums, a tom-tom, bongos, high hat and cymbals. It was the occasion of the world premiere of "Kaizen," composed and perf...
BEETHOVEN'S VALENTINE'S DAY GIFT IN RAC SEBASTOPOL RECITAL
by Terry McNeill
Friday, February 14, 2020
Continuing a season of Redwood Arts Council successes, the Kouzov Duo performed an eclectic Valentine’s Day concert in Sebastopol’s Community Church before an audience of 125. Beethoven’s charming Op. 66 Variations on Mozart’s “Ein Mädchen oder Weibchen” from the opera the Magic Flute was a bouncy ...
LUSH BACH PERFORMANCE IN DENK'S WEILL HALL RECITAL
by Terry McNeill
Thursday, February 13, 2020
Memorable artistic interpretations of musical masterpieces are often at extremes, and with the Bach’s Well-Tempered Clavier (WTC - Book I) that Jeremy Denk played in Weill Hall Feb. 13, the pianist was only sporadically at unique or ebullient musical ends. But his playing wasn’t exactly at opposite...
CHAMBER REVIEW

HALIDA DINOVA PLAYING SCRIABIN'S PRELUDE IN D AT JB PIANO

SHORT WORKS PROVE LONG ON CHARM

by Terry McNeill
Thursday, February 12, 2009

Russian pianist Halida Dinova returned to familiar territory on Feb. 12 — the recital stage at San Rafael’s JB Piano Emporium — and produced a concert short on major repertoire works but long on charm and drama. The small audience well knew what would be forthcoming: an evening of virtuoso playing, the best post-recital reception in Marin and a collegial atmosphere of shared musical delight.

The evening’s single work of extended duration, Haydn’s E-Flat Sonata (XVI 52), received a leisurely but sympathetic reading, surprising as the outer movements are usually played at high speed and the rhythmically complex Adagio given a greater dose of naughty humor. Dinova’s scales were masterful, never more so than in the finale, and the repeated note figures were brilliantly delivered. She nearly lost momentum several times in the first movement, overly prolonging the silences between the long phrases, but Haydn requires a delicate balance between artistic repose and ongoing urgency. The many hand crossings and off-beat accents were managed with perfection. Here and there little touches emerged — a rolled chord at the end of the Adagio, the elegant arpeggiated chords throughout the finale — and her crystalline scales were displayed throughout every passage, slightly staccato.

The rest of the recital consisted of twelve short works, perhaps a fitting farewell to a lengthy West Coast tour and a desire to disclose to local piano fans a wide variety of composers. She opened with two Chopin Waltzes from Op. 64, playing each with large tempo fluctuations that continued in a third and equally brilliant waltz, the E Minor, published after Chopin’s early death.

Debussy’s magnificent Reflet dans l’eau was the highlight of the concert, its arpeggios and cascading figurations resplendently performed. Dinova elicited an iridescent spectrum of color from the JB Emporium’s Grotrian 280 piano, both here and in a languorous but especially lovely Claire de lune.

Scriabin came next, the early Op. 11 Prelude in D properly wistful, and the composer’s most popular work, the thunderous Etude in D-Flat from Op. 12, which the dancer Isadora Duncan once described as a depiction of the suffering of the Russian people. Dinova playing of the Etude was dramatic without any pounding, even though she played the original version of the Etude score with the forte ending chords.

Tchaikovsky was also on the program, with the final two parts “The Seasons,” Op. 37b. Both the “Troika” and the concluding waltz “Christmas” were rendered with telling grace and rhythmic flexibility. Dinova’s supple left hand and chaste tone provided an object lesson that compositional mastery is most easily experienced in succinct pieces.

Four Rachmaninoff works ended the program, the most tempestuous being the E-Flat Etude Tableaux from Op. 33. Here all the elements were brought into sharp relief, and the broad melodic line was alternatively declamatory and elegiac. The three Preludes (Op. 23, No. 6; Op. 32, No. 5; and the popular Op. 23) seemed almost an anticlimax after the resounding Etude. Nonetheless, Dinova’s control of pianissimo and half pedal were breathtaking. One example: the last three chords of G-Major Prelude of Op. 32. Here each was invested with its individual personality, the pause between each was fragile, the melancholy palpable.

Two encores were offered, a Mendelssohn Scherzo with elfin octave playing, and Liszt’s transcription of Schubert’s song “The Miller and the Brook.” Curiously the last was unsuccessful, as Dinova’s attack was harsh, the nostalgic charm lost in clangor and a lack of repose.

Though Dinova’s selections were mostly brief, she is a pianist with formidable interpretative and technical powers, and her recital was equal to her memorable JB recital of 2006, when she conquered the audience with the complete Chopin Preludes.