Author Archives: Dr. Gary Lemco

Versatile Palette: Pianist Nelson Goerner in Recital

Nelson Goerner

The San Francisco Bay Area seems to have become a mecca for keyboard talent of the first rank, as witnessed by the recent spectacular appearance of Argentine pianist Nelson Goerner at the Oshman Family JCC in Palo Alto, on Monday, April 15, under the auspices of Chamber Music San Francisco. Goerner presented to us a brilliant, architecturally balanced program of works from the Romantic era. His performances of Brahms, Beethoven, Schumann, and Chopin demonstrated his tonal and technical mastery in often seamless fluency, but more importantly extended the often salon-like sentiments of Brahms, Schumann, and Chopin into transcendent, epic visions of poignant, lyrical drama.

Read full story
Archived in these categories: Piano, Romantic Era

Passionate Probity: A Recital by Nikolay Khozyainov

In what soon evolved as a marathon display of keyboard prowess, Russian pianist Nikolay Khozyainov (b. 1992) quite overwhelmed a beguiled audience at Le Petit Trianon Theatre, Saturday, April 6 in a program of Chopin, Beethoven, and Rachmaninov that might have set new standards for passion and probity, thoughtful poetry and dazzling virtuosity.  With the final pages of the Rachmaninov Sonata No. 1 in D Minor, with its tolling bells and falling fifth, the inflamed auditors at this stupendous reading clamored for more evidence of this youthful artist’s digital arsenal, to which he responded with no less than four encores.

Read full story
Archived in these categories: Piano

Joyful Atavism: Benjamin Grosvenor in Recital


Pianist Benjamin Grosvenor

British pianist Benjamin Grosvenor more than justified his celebrity among dominant virtuosos Tuesday, March 12 at the MacAfee Performing Arts Lecture Center, Saratoga, under the auspices of the Steinway Society the Bay Area. In a manner as astonishing technically as it proved intellectually aggressive, Grosvenor performed a marathon recital in the style of the “old school” grand masters – Hofmann, Backhaus, Wild, and Slenczynska – with music by Schumann, Janacek, Prokofiev, and Liszt that raised the roof to a degree that superlatives become trite. Even the two encores, respectively by Moszkowski (Etude in A-flat) and Ginastera, would have sufficed to establish Grosvenor’s mastery in scintillating and virile musicianship if the prior piece, his rendition of Liszt’s 1844 Reminiscences de Norma: Grande fantasia, had not generated enough kinetic energy to spin an infinite chorus of dervishes.  

Read full story
Archived in these categories: 20th Century, Romantic Era

San Francisco Symphony — Crouching Tigers, Gentle Dragons

Francoise-Xavier Roth

Making his debut with the San Francisco Symphony, guest conductor Francoise-Xavier Roth led a spectacularly successful concert Saturday, March 9 at Davies Hall of music by Schumann, Liszt, and Brahms. The relatively traditional, Romantic fare had the benefit of French pianist Cedric Tiberghien in the solo part of Liszt’s explosive Piano Concerto No. 1 in E-flat Major. Tiberghien’s remarkable panache in the Concerto warranted one encore, at which conductor Roth sat thoughtfully, the Oiseaux tristes from Ravel’s set of Miroirs.  

Read full story
Archived in these categories: Classical Era, Concerto, Orchestral

The Grand Line: Symphony Silicon Valley

Pianist Jon Kimura Parker

Happy is the ensemble that relishes its own sound. While only two staples of the Romantic style – the Brahms Piano Concerto No. 2 in B-flat Major, Op. 83 and the Dvorak Symphony No. 8 in G Major, Op. 88 – made up the program for Symphony Silicon Valley’s concert of January 19 at the California Theatre, conductor Daniel Meyer had the orchestra execute with the kind of sonorous homogeneity that allows the players themselves to enjoy the integration of their respective parts into an aesthetically satisfying whole. With the participation of this evening’s piano soloist, Jon Kimura Parker, in the Brahms, the collaboration found blissful expression in the program, designed to please an audience committed to the proven classics.

Read full story
Archived in these categories: Classical Era, Orchestral, Piano, Romantic Era