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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
CHAMBER REVIEW

Dmitry Rachmanov playing in Forsyth Hall

VIGOR AND PIZZAZZ

by Terry McNeill
Sunday, February 1, 2009

The Russian pianist Dmitry Rachmanov is a careful and attentive player with ample power when needed, and he brought these qualities to a Super Bowl-day audience Feb. 1 at SRJC’s Forsyth Hall. Though the repertoire was a little conventional, the performances were probing and memorable.

In several ways the opening work, Beethoven’s Variations in F, Op. 34, was the most finished presentation of the afternoon, the fifth recital in the current Concerts Grand season. All was in place – rhythmic control, subtle dynamics, and clear articulation. Each of these variations has an individual personality, elegantly brought out by the pianist. It was a rarely programmed piece played marvelously.

The afternoon’s cornerstone work, Schubert’s “Wanderer” Fantasie, D. 760, received all of Rachmanov’s pianistic artistry without being wholly successful. Make no mistake, the powerful momentum and drama needed in this work (which Schubert reportedly couldn’t play) were in place. What was missing was the comprehensive whole, the polish which Rachmanov lavished several years ago on works by Schumann and the Russian composer Nikolai Medtner in a Marin recital. Rachmanov had everything in hand with Schubert’s forward-looking work, including a secure octave technique, consummate phrasing and stamina to burn. After the recital the artist mentioned that it was only the second time he had ever played the great Fantasie in public, and pieces of that magnitude take time to gel. He has his arms around the Schubert, but it needs more refinement.

Following intermission two works were offered: Stravinsky’s Sonata from 1924 and the “Le Tombeau de Couperin” of Ravel. Stravinsky's thin-textured Sonata is in a Baroque style, though the Adagietto is florid and warm. Rachmanov’s playing here had solid rhythmic control and just the right amount of “detache” finger staccato. In the Ravel, the captivating and gentle outdoor-sounding Fugue in the final storm of the Toccata brought the small audience to its feet. The six pieces of “Le Tombeau” are Ravel’s homage to the 18th century and, like the Schubert, were played with urgency, if without the last measure of polish. The Rigaudon had the right dose of vigor and pizzazz, and the Minuet spotlighted the lyricism of the upper registers.

No encores were given, but Rachmanov enjoyed the acclaim and commentary of the piano cognoscenti after a recital filled with ardent and noble music.

The reviewer is the Producer of the Concerts Grand series.