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Chamber
SPARKLING WIND, STRING, HARP MUSIC AT DEVON HOUSE GARDEN CONCERT
by Abby Wasserman
Saturday, October 9, 2021
Take a mild autumn evening, a garden gazebo with patterned rugs and lit with soft bulbs, shake in a fine chamber ensemble, add a rising new moon, and you have a recipe for the musical delight that violist Elizabeth Prior presented Oct. 9 in her Devon House Garden Concert series. The Marin Terra Li
Recital
AUTHORITATIVE BEETHOVEN SONATA IN KLEIN'S OCCIDENTAL RECITAL
by Terry McNeill
Friday, October 8, 2021
People attending the first Redwood Arts Council Occidental concert in 20 months found a surprise – a luxurious new lobby attached to the Performing Arts Center. It was a welcome bonus to a recital given by pianist Andreas Klein where the music seemed almost as familiar as was the long shuttered hal
Symphony
MOVIE MUSIC ON THE WINDSOR GREEN IN SO CO PHIL SEASON OPENER
by Terry McNeill
Sunday, October 3, 2021
People approaching the Windsor Green bandstand Oct. 3 for the Sonoma County Philharmonic’s season opening concert had some cause for concern. After 18 months of silence would the all-volunteer orchestra have enough musicians for a big movie music program? After all, performers can move, retire, or
Symphony
SANTA ROSA SYMPHONY RETURNS IN TRIUMPH
by Steve Osborn
Sunday, October 3, 2021
It is often the case that a single piece or performer steals the show at a symphony concert, but at the Oct. 3 performance of the Santa Rosa Symphony, the show itself stole the show. The concert opened with a serene 1982 tone poem by Libby Larsen, followed by a masterful performance by soloist Julia
Symphony
TWO WIND SOLOISTS CHARM AT SSU ORCHESTRA CONCERT IN WEILL
by Terry McNeill
Sunday, September 26, 2021
The house of music has many rooms. That dusty adage was never truer than when Weill Hall Sept. 25 hosted a roaring New Orleans-style musical party, and less than a day later a mostly sedate Sonoma State University student orchestra performance. Before a crowd of 200 conductor Alexander Kahn led a
Other
CLEARY'S NEW ORLEANS BAND IGNITES PARTY FOR THE GREEN AT SSU
by Terry McNeill
Saturday, September 25, 2021
A dramatic and unique start to the new Green Music’s Center’ 2021-2022 season exploded in a “Party for the Green” Sept. 25, a New Orleans (NO) style commotion featuring Jon Cleary and his Absolute Monster Gentlemen band, inside and outside of Weill Hall. Beginning with a private gourmet dinner in t
GAULIST FLAVOR IN FINAL SF PIANO FESTIVAL CONCERT AT OLD FIRST
by Terry McNeill
Sunday, August 29, 2021
Final summer music festival programs are often a mix of what has come before, with the theme and even a featured composer taking a last stage appearance, with a dramatic wrap up composition. San Francisco’s International Piano Festival defied the norm August 29 with an eclectic French-flavored prog
SPARE DUO PRECEDES MYSTEROUS DUO AT DEN BOER RECITAL
by Terry McNeill
Friday, August 27, 2021
In a departure from usual summer festival fare Julia Den Boer played an August 27 virtual recital in the San Francisco Piano Festival’s 4.5 season with four works, all mostly quiet but all in separate ways insistently demanding of artist and listener. Throughout the 40 minutes there was nary a powe
HARMONIC COMPLEXITY IN PHILLIPS' ALL-GRIFFES RECITAL
by Terry McNeill
Friday, August 20, 2021
Charles Griffes’ piano music is similar to that of Busoni, Reger and even Poulenc, in that there is a sporadic flourish of interest with concerts and scholarly work, then a quick fade into another long period of obscurity. So, it was a delight to have an all-Griffes recital August 20 on the San F
Chamber
ONE PIANO, TWO PIANO, THREE PIANO, FORE
by Terry McNeill
Thursday, July 29, 2021
Schroeder Hall was nearly full July 29 for the final pianoSonoma concert of their season, and presumably the draw and highlight for many of the 150 attending was Bach’s Concerto for Four Pianos. And that performance was probably going to be a North Bay premiere. However, it wasn’t the highl
RECITAL REVIEW
Spring Lake Village Classical Music Series / Wednesday, May 5, 2021
Dmitry Rachmanov, piano

Pianist Dmitry Rachmanov

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 featured Russian-American virtuoso pianist Dmitry Rachmanov in an eclectic hour-long recital of familiar but beautifully played compositions. The artist, faculty pianist at Cal State Northridge, is no stranger to Sonoma County audiences, as he has appeared on Concerts Grand, in a previous SLV engagement, and in an all Scriabin Weill Hall recital for SSU Prof. Marilyn Thompson’s piano course.

Mr. Rachmanov began with a work new to his catholic repertoire, Beethoven’s E Flat Sonata, Op. 81a (Les Adieux). He didn’t linger in the slow opening, and turned his warm tonal palette in the Adagio-Allegro to advantage, keeping the fast staccato chords clear. He brought out the melancholic nature of the following Adagio, and his subtle and balanced pianism perfectly depicted the triumphal finale. It was a joyous interpretation with carefully graded sonics.

Brahms’ Op. 118 “Six Pieces” were written fours years before his death, and their autumnal character always seems to me to need playing only late in the evening with no one about. Happily in the video this was possible in the artist’s playing of the first three in the set – A Minor and A Major Intermezzos and G Minor Ballade. The first had an explosive interpretation with grand sweep, and the A Major unfolded with tenderness and melodic charm. The pianist’s sensitive legato phrasing in the Ballade’s middle section contrasted the fiery nature of the two outer sections.

All through the video, filmed in Mr. Rachmanov’s home, the recorded sound was plangent and several camera angles were used. Visual fades were flawless. The concert instrument had a clarion sound, but was never overly bright in the home’s small space.

Two Chopin works of mostly opposite character came next, the B Major Nocturne of Op. 9, and the propulsive C-Sharp Minor Study, Op. 10, No. 4. Both received masterful playing with the Nocturne’s focus alternatively stormy and then full of vocal filigree. Rubatos were authoritative and sparse. The toccata-like Etude was surprising underplayed, the usual speed slowed for desired shape and clarity.

Russian composers completed the recital beginning with three Scriabin works – the two Impromptus from Op. 14, and the Prelude in F-Sharp Minor, Op.15, No. 2. Mr. Rachmanov has been a Scriabin champion since his student days and is a scholar of the composer’s unique chromatic harmonic music, and is now recording in New York the almost the entire corpus. The Op. 14 works (B Major and F-Sharp Minor) owe much to Chopin, and are seldom played. The pianist caught the wistful nostalgia of the B Major, and gracefully brought out rhythmic left-hand rocking figurations in the somber F-Sharp Minor. Lyrical harmonic progressions and brisk swirls of notes characterized the playing of the short Prelude, another uncommonly performed piece.

Mr. Rachmanov’s elegant and balanced playing was again heard in Rachmaninoff’s sweetly serene E-Flat Major Prelude from Op. 23. It’s softly ascending and descending motifs in the artist’s interpretation gave a serene charm to the Prelude composed in 1904, and the concert’s concluding Etude Tableaux (Op. 33, No. 7), in the same key as the preceding Prelude, was broadly conceived from the trumpet-like call to arms at the beginning to forte repeated chords leading to the end.

Perhaps lacking the last ounce of momentum, Mr. Rachmanov’s performance was still compelling and thoroughly captured the composer’s muscular conception.