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Chamber
STYLISH HAYDN QUARTETS CLOSE GREEN ROOM SERIES
by Terry McNeill
Sunday, May 9, 2021
Completing the Green Music Center’s spring series series of “Green Room” virtual concerts, the St. Lawrence String Quartet played May 9 a lightweight program of two Haydn works. Lightweight perhaps, but in every way satisfying. The G Major Quartet (Op. 76, No.1) began the music that was supplement...
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...
RECITAL REVIEW

Anastasia Dedik April 13 in Sonoma

RUSSIAN PIANIST, RUSSIAN MUSIC, RUSSIAN DRAMA

by Terry McNeill
Sunday, April 13, 2014

In the season’s penultimate Sonoma Classical Music Society concert on Sunday afternoon, April 13, Russian pianist Anastasia Dedik played an all-Russian program that was heavy on drama with just a modicum of lyricism.

Two Rachmaninoff Etudes Tableaux opened the program, the E-Flat Minor from Op. 33 and the F Sharp from Op. 39. These are stormy pieces with broad rhythms and, in the latter, loud doubled staccato chords. These pieces have a lot of notes in a short span and were played aggressively throughout. The music was not helped by the Vintage House hall, its flat floor without stage generating muddy acoustics at any volume above mezzo forte.

Things brightened with a Prokofiev bagatelle, “Summer Fairy,” from his Op. 97 ballet “Cinderella.” Here Ms. Dedik accented Prokofiev’s mildly astringent harmonies. The short lyrical work was a pleasant surprise following the dense Rachmaninoff studies.

Another ballet transcription, Mikhail Pletnev’s selection of scenes from Tchaikovsky’s ballet “Nutcracker,” closed the first half with familiar melodies. The transcription is a charming virtuoso work of seven sections; Ms. Dedik played six. She stressed the left-hand rhythmic underpinnings of the stately opening March, and in the "Sugar Plum Fairy" and "Intermezzo" movements, she produced some of the day’s most elegant playing, the pure themes glowing and tranquil.

In the slow "Chinese Dance" and concluding "Pas de Deux" sections, the playing was most effective when Ms. Dedik did not force the tone. In the slow descending runs, the music unfolded naturally with rich low-register color.

Mussorgsky’s “Pictures at an Exhibition” filled the second half, and under the pianist’s fingers (and feet) it was an odyssey of sonority and contrast. She chose a theatrical and at times histrionic approach to the work that demanded every bit of pianistic drama her technique could provide. The repeated ”Promenade” effectively tied together the ten sections. Ms. Dedik is not a note-perfect pianist, but in the “Ballet of the Unhatched Canary Chicks” her playing gave the illusion of scattering motion and even joy. Her performance throughout this massive work stressed sonic power at the expense of small bits of musical humor and repose. But it’s that kind of piece, and the audience of 150 rose to congratulate the artist’s stamina and exciting virtuosity that amply captured Mussorgsky’s demanding score.

During the afternoon the barrage of often cloudy sound was in contrast to the Series’ last concert with the estimable Alexander String Quartet. Every note and phrase of their all-Beethoven concert was warm and distinct. Vintage House does favor string music over challenging solo piano repertoire.

Violinist Nigel Armstrong, a frequent performer on the Sonoma series, will conclude the season with a Mother’s Day recital on May 11 in the Jacuzzi Winery barrel room.