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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

HALIDA DINOVA PLAYING SCRIABIN'S PRELUDE IN D AT JB PIANO

SHORT WORKS PROVE LONG ON CHARM

by Terry McNeill
Thursday, February 12, 2009

Russian pianist Halida Dinova returned to familiar territory on Feb. 12 — the recital stage at San Rafael’s JB Piano Emporium — and produced a concert short on major repertoire works but long on charm and drama. The small audience well knew what would be forthcoming: an evening of virtuoso playing, the best post-recital reception in Marin and a collegial atmosphere of shared musical delight.

The evening’s single work of extended duration, Haydn’s E-Flat Sonata (XVI 52), received a leisurely but sympathetic reading, surprising as the outer movements are usually played at high speed and the rhythmically complex Adagio given a greater dose of naughty humor. Dinova’s scales were masterful, never more so than in the finale, and the repeated note figures were brilliantly delivered. She nearly lost momentum several times in the first movement, overly prolonging the silences between the long phrases, but Haydn requires a delicate balance between artistic repose and ongoing urgency. The many hand crossings and off-beat accents were managed with perfection. Here and there little touches emerged — a rolled chord at the end of the Adagio, the elegant arpeggiated chords throughout the finale — and her crystalline scales were displayed throughout every passage, slightly staccato.

The rest of the recital consisted of twelve short works, perhaps a fitting farewell to a lengthy West Coast tour and a desire to disclose to local piano fans a wide variety of composers. She opened with two Chopin Waltzes from Op. 64, playing each with large tempo fluctuations that continued in a third and equally brilliant waltz, the E Minor, published after Chopin’s early death.

Debussy’s magnificent Reflet dans l’eau was the highlight of the concert, its arpeggios and cascading figurations resplendently performed. Dinova elicited an iridescent spectrum of color from the JB Emporium’s Grotrian 280 piano, both here and in a languorous but especially lovely Claire de lune.

Scriabin came next, the early Op. 11 Prelude in D properly wistful, and the composer’s most popular work, the thunderous Etude in D-Flat from Op. 12, which the dancer Isadora Duncan once described as a depiction of the suffering of the Russian people. Dinova playing of the Etude was dramatic without any pounding, even though she played the original version of the Etude score with the forte ending chords.

Tchaikovsky was also on the program, with the final two parts “The Seasons,” Op. 37b. Both the “Troika” and the concluding waltz “Christmas” were rendered with telling grace and rhythmic flexibility. Dinova’s supple left hand and chaste tone provided an object lesson that compositional mastery is most easily experienced in succinct pieces.

Four Rachmaninoff works ended the program, the most tempestuous being the E-Flat Etude Tableaux from Op. 33. Here all the elements were brought into sharp relief, and the broad melodic line was alternatively declamatory and elegiac. The three Preludes (Op. 23, No. 6; Op. 32, No. 5; and the popular Op. 23) seemed almost an anticlimax after the resounding Etude. Nonetheless, Dinova’s control of pianissimo and half pedal were breathtaking. One example: the last three chords of G-Major Prelude of Op. 32. Here each was invested with its individual personality, the pause between each was fragile, the melancholy palpable.

Two encores were offered, a Mendelssohn Scherzo with elfin octave playing, and Liszt’s transcription of Schubert’s song “The Miller and the Brook.” Curiously the last was unsuccessful, as Dinova’s attack was harsh, the nostalgic charm lost in clangor and a lack of repose.

Though Dinova’s selections were mostly brief, she is a pianist with formidable interpretative and technical powers, and her recital was equal to her memorable JB recital of 2006, when she conquered the audience with the complete Chopin Preludes.