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Symphony
SOLO BRILLIANCE IN SANTA ROSA SYMPHONY CONCERT
by Terry McNeill
Saturday, February 17, 2024
Opera
OPERA GEMS IN COZY SEBASTOPOL THEATER
by Pamela Hicks Gailey
Friday, February 9, 2024
Choral and Vocal
LUSTROUS VOCAL SOUND AT KUZMA'S SCHROEDER RECITAL
by Pamela Hicks Gailey
Sunday, February 4, 2024
Symphony
HAYDEN'S SAXOPHONE CONCERTO AT SO CO PHIL CONCERT
by Ron Teplitz
Sunday, January 28, 2024
Chamber
SPIRITUAL STRING MUSIC IN BLACK OAK ENSEMBLE'S MARIN CONCERT
by Abby Wasserman
Sunday, January 28, 2024
Chamber
VIRTUOSIC HARP RECITAL AT SPRING LAKE VILLAGE SERIES
by Terry McNeill
Wednesday, January 24, 2024
Chamber
EMOTIONAL BLOCH PIECE HIGHLIGHTS PELED'S RAC RECITAL
by Peter Lert
Sunday, January 21, 2024
Chamber
OYSTER TRIO AT THE ROSE SIGNATURE SERIES
by Terry McNeill
Sunday, January 14, 2024
Chamber
CANTABILE CHARMS IN MIXED 222 GALLERY CONCERT
by Terry McNeill
Saturday, January 13, 2024
Choral and Vocal
A GRAND DIVA'S SHIMMERING AND PROVOCATIVE RECITAL IN WEILL HALL
by Pamela Hicks Gailey
Thursday, January 11, 2024
CHAMBER REVIEW
Spring Lake Village Classical Music Series / Wednesday, August 16, 2023
Dmitry Rachmanov, piano

PIANIST DMITRY RACHMANOV

POTENT SCRIABIN INTERPRETATIONS AT SPRING LAKE VILLAGE RECITAL

by Terry McNeill
Wednesday, August 16, 2023

Returning to Santa Rosa Aug. 16 after seven years, Los Angeles-based pianist Dmitry Rachmanov performed an eclectic program before a full-house of residents in the Spring Lake Village retirement home’s concert series.

The opening three works, two of Beethoven’s late Bagatelles (Op. 126, G Major and Minor) and Chopin’s popular A-Flat Ballade, were well played but disclosed the house piano’s dry and too bright top end, increased by the hall’s poor acoustics. The B Minor Bagatelle had the required profundity, and the Ballade was played more slowly than usual, with small decrescendos in repeated phrases and emphasis on the soft rocking motifs. Careful pedaling was on display.

Russian music comprised the bulk of the recital, and the artist, a Moscow native and now chair of keyboard studies at CSU Northridge, was firmly in control of three early Rachmaninoff works from Op. 3 (Morceaux de Fantaisie), six short Scriabin pieces and the monumental Fifth Sonata.

A relaxed mood characterized the Rachmaninoff Elegy and Mr. Rachmanov brought out the melancholy, a stark contrast with the following famous C-Sharp Minor Prelude (“Bells of Moscow”). Here again the tempos were moderate, and in the Prelude’s middle section there were small but admirable interpretative touches. The lyrical E Major “Melody” was a highlight, the harmonies the pianist caressed foreshadowed the big later sets of Preludes from Op. 23 and 32. Lovely playing.

Mr. Rachmanov has a world reputation with Scriabin, having recorded most of the composer’s music and edited scholarly editions of the scores. The meandering A Major Prelude, Op. 15, No. 1, did rove about, but the interpretation proved that all that wander are not lost. The Op. 14 Impromptu had a sad and improvisatory character, beautifully performed. Two Op. 42 Etudes followed, both with clean musical lines, even trills and careful phrasing. It was good to hear these studies rather than the more popular number five from the Op. 42 set of eight.

The Poem and Prelude from Op. 59 were perhaps an audience challenge, both played atmospherically in different ways. There was continual emphasis on projected single notes, and swirling repeated figurations in the Prelude that underscored the dissonances. Both are unique compositions, here ardently rendered.

The one-movement Sonata from 1908 was preceded by the artist reading the composers’ short poem from the Le Poéme de l’Extase, and then he dived headlong into the roaring seven-octave introductory bars. The work without a key signature has been a signature piece for Mr. Rachmanov, and he brought to bear rhythmic fluidity and a masterful sensitivity to chordal weighting. Over 12 minutes the potent music was played orchestrally with palpable contrasting sections and generated a standing ovation. The memorable main theme is marked Volando, and it indeed soared from the pianist’s sterling fingers and feet.

What encore could compete with such dynamic virtuosity? It was another masterwork with robust contrasts, Chopin’s Nocturne in B, Op. 9, No. 3. Here the artist made the most of the many key shifts, the stormy quality of the score, and the beguiling vocal fioratura.