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Chamber
YOUNG MUSICIANS SHINE AT PIANO SONOMA CONCERT
by Lee Ormasa
Tuesday, August 01, 2017
The third in a series of four concerts by Piano Sonoma artists in residence, part of the Vino and Vibrato Series, was held August 1 in Schroeder Hall at the Green Music Center. Entitled “The Masters,” the program included works by Bach, Beethoven, Mozart and Haydn. Piano Sonoma is a summer artist-in...
Chamber
THRILLING PROGRAM CLOSES VOM CHAMBER FESTIVAL AT HANNA CENTER
by Lee Ormasa
Sunday, July 30, 2017
The finale of the two-week Valley of the Moon Music Festival closed July 30 with “The Age of Bravura” concert at the Sonoma’s Hanna Boys Center. The musical selections held to this year’s Festival theme “Schumann’s World - His Music and the Music He Loved.“ This summer Festival features chamber mus...
Chamber
PERIOD INSTRUMENTAL SOUND AT PENULTIMATE VOM FESTIVAL CONCERT
by Terry McNeill
Sunday, July 30, 2017
In the Valley of the Moon Chamber Music Festival’s penultimate concert July 30 the perennial issue of period and modern instruments was apparent. But only in the concluding Mendelssohn Trio, as the performances in the two first half works easily avoided instrumental comparisons. Clara Schumann’s t...
Chamber
ECLECTIC REPERTOIRE IN FETCHING VOM FESTIVAL CONCERT
by Terry McNeill
Saturday, July 22, 2017
One of the purposes of summer music festivals is to present unfamiliar music in an attractive and often small audience setting. The Valley of the Moon Music Festival delightfully met these requirements July 22 and 23 with two concerts in the small hall at Sonoma’s Hanna Boys Center. Classical Sono...
Recital
ADAMS' PHRYGIAN GATES HIGHLIGHTS MORKOSKI FESTIVAL PERFORMANCE
by Lee Ormasa
Saturday, July 22, 2017
Attendees at the Molly Morkoski Mendocino Music Festival recital July 22 were in for a treat, both pianistically and if they happened to buy a tasty cookie during intermission. The program included Beethoven’s Op. 27 Moonlight Sonata, Adams’ Phrygian Gates, a surprise add-on of Grieg’s Holberg Suit...
Symphony
SOARING VERDI REQUIEM CLOSES 31ST MENDOCINO FESTIVAL
by Lee Ormasa
Saturday, July 22, 2017
We speak frequently about how there is nothing like the experience of a live performance. Seldom was this truer than at the July 22 closing performance of the two-week Mendocino Music Festival. The Festival Orchestra, conducted by of Allan Pollack, joined with the Festival Chorus in a moving renderi...
Recital
ORGAN REGISTRATION MASTERY HEARD IN WALHAIN'S RECITAL
by Robert Young
Tuesday, July 18, 2017
A group of 65 lucky attendees July 18 had the pleasure of hearing Etienne Walhain’s recital at the Church of the Incarnation in Santa Rosa. Mr. Walhain is organist at the Cathedral of Notre Dame in Tournai, Belgium, and played to a varied program Bach, Franck, and Reger. He used the tonal resource...
Opera
DONIZETTI'S DON PASQUALE HAS LYRICAL CHARM IN MENDOCINO FESTIVAL PRODUCTION
by Elly Lichenstein
Friday, July 14, 2017
Mendocino Music Festival's production of Donizetti's beloved opera buffa Don Pasquale - a one-night affair July 15 that was presented in an enormous tent on a greensward overlooking the Pacific Ocean - delighted an audience of more than 600 while doing some real justice to this frothy gem of commedi...
Recital
NOVACEK'S 2ND HALF TRIFECTA SCORES AT MENDO MUSIC FESTIVAL
by Terry McNeill
Thursday, July 13, 2017
Modern classical piano recitals are in two parts, with longer and perhaps more profound music proceeding perhaps shorter and usually stimulating lighter fare. In John Novacek’s July 13 Mendocino Music Festival recital the best playing came unexpectedly in the eight abbreviated works comprising the ...
Recital
STYLUS AND PLAYING FANTASTICUS IN YOUNG'S ORGAN RECITAL
by Paul Blanchard
Sunday, June 25, 2017
Organist Robert Young gave a wonderful tour through the stylus fantasticus (fantastic style) organ literature June 25 playing a recital on the Casavant organ at Church of the Incarnation in Santa Rosa. Mr. Young recently became the organist at the Church and previously served for 20 years as Music D...
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.