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SIX GUITARISTS IN UNIQUE NAPA RECITAL
by Gary Digman
Sunday, July 25, 2021
The first Napa Valley Guitar Festival was held at Napa’s First Presbyterian Church July 25, and featured performances from six classical guitarists. The Church is an iconic structure in downtown Napa, its huge white presence dominating the scene, and the white theme continues inside punctuated by be
Chamber
CLARA SCHUMANN TRIO COMMANDS VOM CHAMBER MUSIC CONCERT AT HANNA
by Terry McNeill
Saturday, July 24, 2021
The Valley of the Moon Chamber Music Series has begun several virtual and a few live concerts in its new seventh season, some broadcast from Sonoma’s Hanna Center Hall and some in posh local venues. July 24’s video had a small live audience and a well-produced video program of three works. Titled “
Chamber
EXEMPLARY QUARTET PLAYING IN MENDO FESTIVAL FT. BRAGG CONCERT
by Terry McNeill
Wednesday, July 21, 2021
Faced with the impossibility of presenting concerts in the iconic large white tent on the bluff, the Mendocino Music Festival opted to use Ft. Bragg’s Cotton Auditorium for ten events in the abbreviated 35th season. San Francisco’s Alexander String Quartet played July 21 to a fully masked audience
Chamber
ECLECTIC PROGRAMMING AT PIANOSONOMA CONCERT IN SCHROEDER HALL
by Pamela Hicks Gailey
Tuesday, July 20, 2021
After a dark year bereft of live performance, pianoSonoma launched July 20 the first Vino & Vibrato concert of the 2021 season in Sonoma State's Schroeder Hall, albeit sadly senza vino due to Covid protocols. Three exceptional musicians showered the audience with an interesting variety of pia
Chamber
RARELY-PLAYED SCHUMANN HIGHLIGHTS HEALDSBURG RECITAL
by Terry McNeill
Saturday, July 10, 2021
Brave New Music sporadically produces concerts in and around Healdsburg, and July 10’s violin recital in downtown St. Paul’s Church must have been one of the first post-lockdown, post-be-extra-careful classical music concerts in Sonoma County's summer season. New Music Founder Gary McLaughlin with
Chamber
ECHOS ON A WARM SUMMER NIGHT
by Abby Wasserman
Saturday, July 10, 2021
ECHO Chamber Orchestra’s first concert in a year and a half, “A Musical Promenade,” was a promenade indeed. When patrons arrived at San Anselmo’s First Presbyterian Church for the 6:00 performance July 10, they were funneled through the garden to the Duncan Hall patio, where folding chairs were set
Chamber
LONG DISTANCE LOVE BEGINS VOM SUMMER FESTIVAL
by Pamela Hicks Gailey
Thursday, June 24, 2021
The Valley of the Moon Music Festival offered a 7th season preview June 24 with a stunning online concert, aptly named Long Distance Love, featuring inspired performances of Beethoven's short song cycle An die ferne Geliebte,, and selections from Brahms’ beloved Liebeslieder Wal
Recital
ROMERO'S ARTISTRY IN SLV RECITAL PROGRAMMING AND PERFORMANCE
by Terry McNeill
Wednesday, June 2, 2021
Gustavo Romero has been an admired visitor to North Bay stages, playing over a decade recitals at Dominican University, the Music at Oakmont concerts and at the Spring Lake Village Concert Series. He returned June 2 to SLV in a virtual recital, videoed from his home concert hall the University of N
RUBICON'S VIRTUAL CONCERT A MALANGE OF CONTRASTS
by Terry McNeill
Sunday, May 16, 2021
The inaugural concert of a new Mendocino County chamber group is a reason for celebration, and the Rubicon Trio made the most of a mixed musical menu during a May16 virtual concert. Presented by the Ukiah Symphony Orchestra as the last in their “Salons with the Symphony” Series, the Rubicon began w
Recital
PIANO VIRTUOSITY IN YAKUSHEV'S REDWOOD ARTS RECITAL
by Nicki Bell
Sunday, May 16, 2021
Russian pianist Ilya Yakushev’s recital for the Redwood Arts Council was perhaps the local season’s virtual music at the greatest distance, as the filming May 16 came from a church in St. Petersburg. And good filming it was, with multiple camera viewpoints of the church, full and split screens and
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.