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Symphony
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
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...
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...
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.