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Recital
ECLECTIC PIANISM IN SPRING LAKE VILLAGE VIRTUAL RECITAL
by Terry McNeill
Wednesday, May 5, 2021
During the pandemic The Santa Rosa Symphony’s virtual concerts received their due in performance praise, but another series, Spring Lake Village, more quietly presented monthly virtual concerts to a select local audience. May 5 saw the latest event, produced by impresario Robert Hayden, and feature...
Symphony
SONIC CONTRASTS HIGHLIGHT SANTA ROSA SYMPHONY SPRING PROGRAM
by Terry McNeill
Sunday, April 25, 2021
In a curious mixture of compositions, the Santa Rosa Symphony’s penultimate virtual concert of the season April 25 unfolded in ways both highly satisfying and a bit perplexing. Directed by resident Music Director Francesco Lecce-Chong, the event followed a familiar format – several contemporary wor...
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....
RECITAL REVIEW
Oakmont Concert Series / Thursday, March 14, 2013
Nina Tichman, piano

Pianist Nina Tichman

TICHMAN IN COMMAND AT OAKMONT RECITAL

by Terry McNeill
Thursday, March 14, 2013

Attending a Nina Tichman recital is a warmly familiar experience, as the Cologne-based pianist plays nearly everything in the standard literature with a professional command and artistic probity. There is sentiment in her playing but not sentimentality, attention to detail that is never fussy, and interpretations of intriguing music that are sober and thoughtful.

In her fifth recital in the Oakmont Concert Series on March 14, Ms. Tichman programmed a lively first half consisting of unfamiliar Mozart, familiar Brahms and five Chopin Mazurkas. All the pieces had a dance theme, beginning with Mozart’s "Fragment of a Suite," K399, and the once-popular "Eine Kleine Gigue," K574. These are curious works, at first sounding like Bach but harmonically not Bach. They are improvisational, and Ms. Tichman played them with clear contrapuntal lines and incisive phrasing.

Five of Chopin’s magical Mazurkas came next, in B Major (Op. 41, No. 2), F-Sharp Minor (Op. 6, No. 1), F Minor (Op. Post.), C-Sharp Minor (Op. 50, No. 3) and the A-Flat Major Mazurka of Op. 59, No. 2. These small tone poems were lovingly played by Ms. Tichman, the highlights being the sad lament and captivating ending of the F-Sharp Minor, and the languorous C-Sharp Minor. Her touch and chordal voicing was delicate throughout. The final A-Flat Major Mazurka with its deceptive cadences was faultlessly performed, though the last four (dotted) chords were hurried.

Brahms’ 16 short waltzes, which ended the first half, were composed in the 1860s, in versions for four hands, two pianos and solo piano. Ms. Tichman brought a party approach to this perennially happy music, along with a transparent sound and a bit of Schubert in several of the waltzes.

Following intermission Ms. Tichman delivered a rarely-heard version of Schumann’s Symphonic Etudes, Op. 13. The sonic surprise was the inclusion of four of the five seldom-performed studies, interlarded among the standard 12 studies. In remarks to the audience of 150 in Berger Auditorium, Ms. Tichman named Brahms as the arranger of the studies. The additions make the work long; but it is a lovely length, where each mood and figuration varies considerably.

The opening theme was played mezzo forte (though often performed with an eerie pianissimo) and seamlessly moved into the demanding variations. Ms. Tichman chose four of the five posthumous variations, omitting the third and dropping the repeats in the first (Andante) and fourth (Allegretto). She lavished exceptional care on these short gems, overcoming a wide range of pianistic hurdles. Her staccato chord technique and wide skips for the left hand were accurate, and the perpetual motion segments posed no difficulty to her deft and polished technique. She doesn’t have a big sound, but it’s big enough.

The brilliant and arduous final study, an expansion of the march format in Schumann’s Op. 9 "Carnaval," was performed taking the two initial short repeats and with dramatic sforzandos and a driving momentum to a powerful finish.

No encore was offered, and applause was subdued, unexpected given the beauty and authority of the performances. A sixth engagement for this estimable artist at Oakmont would be welcome.