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An Evening of Romance: Piano Recital at the Ruth Asawa School of the Arts

December 5, 2014, was truly an evening of romance. Since I was performing, I am forced to skip myself in the review. I do believe it to be amoral to review myself, right?

Janet Lin (class of 2018) opened to recital with The Lark by Mikhail Glinka/Mily Balakrirev. Her interpretation was elegant both visually and musically. Her performance was as gracious as the piece itself. The piece was composed as a song and is very famous.

Rubina Mazurka (class of 2017) and Ms. Lin then performed Lindejara by Claude Debussy. The ensemble produced worked well, but there wasn't enough of the Eastern temper that would make the piece complete.

Roman Dimov (class of 2018) performed Sonata Op. 7; Allegro Moderato by Edvard Grieg. The spirit of the piece fit Mr. Dimov very well, and it was performed with proper emotions and tension. The piece is romantically rebellious and a certain spice of excitement was added to it by the performer.

Slavonic Dance Op. 72 #2; Allegretto grazioso by Anton Dvorak was performed by Gennadi Ryan (class of 2018) and Mr. Dimov. The piece is from a collection of 16 pieces, published in two cycles in 1878 (op.46) and 1886 (op.72). The piece, performed at a high level, was considered one of the most famous pieces of Dvorak.

Mr. Ryan then performed Prelude Op. 3, #2; Lento by Sergei Rachmaninoff. In his performance of the Prelude of the great Russian composer Rachmaninoff, Mr. Ryan manifested the grandeur of the piece.

Steve Fang (class of 2018) then performed The Nightingale; Lento a capriccio by Franz Liszt/Alexander Alyabyev. This is also originally a vocal piece, usually performed by stratospheric coloratura sopranos. Mr. Fang matched his good piano technique with the lightness of a nightingale's song.

Fantasie for a Musical Clock; Allegro by Wolfgang Amadeus Mozart, was performed by Mr. Fang and Simon Tabakh (class of 2018). Their performance of the Allegro movement was very interesting in the sense that you could hear different intonations from other known recordings of this piece.

Alice Kubo (class of 2016) performed Sonata Op. 28 #15 (Pastoral), Allegro by Ludwig van Beethoven. The quick runs in the piece were appropriately firm and light at the same time in the interpretation of Ms. Kubo.

Samba Lente; Tranquillo and Pambiche; Rioluto (from Eight Exotic Dances) by Jean Francaix was then performed by Ms. Kubo and Ms. Mazurka. These performers set a very entertaining dance mood.

Polonaise Op. 26 #1 was performed next by Ms. Mazurka, but I cannot write anything about this because it is me :) I hope it was good and you enjoyed it.

Presto agitato Op. 53 #3 (Song Without Words) by Felix Mendelssohn was performed by Desirée Phlegar (class of 2016). The voicing in the piece and the sudden dynamic changes were intriguing to the ear.

Nocturne Op. 9 #3 by Frederic Chopin was performed by Jessica Kur (class of 2016). Ms. Kur's interpretation of the piece being on a subconscious level gave the piece a rocking, human nature.

Ms. Phlegar and Ms. Kur then performed Fuga y Misterio by Astor Piazzola. The ensemble was good, and both parts stood out making the piece interesting.

Michael Wierenga (class of 2018) performed Nocturne Op. 48 #1. The gradual increase of tension growing up to the climax of the piece made it stunning to listen to. Mr. Wierenga maintained the character of the piece throughout the whole performance.

Next on the program came Mr. Wierenga and Jeffrey Qiu (class of 2017) performing Legends Op. 59 #6; Allegro con moto by Anton Dvorak. Mr. Qiu and Mr. Wierenga joined their forced in transferring the mysterious character of this legend.

Mr. Qiu followed performing Etude #10; Allegro agitato molto by Franz Liszt. Mr. Qiu's technique was great and the thoughts and emotions transferred to the music very well. The tension in the piece was never lost in Mr. Qiu's performance.

Jeremy Rosenstock (class of 2015) performed Sposalizio; Andante by Franz Liszt. He surprised the audience, using the deceptive tranquility of the composition to make the climax even more enthralling.

Romance; Andantino by Sergei Rachmaninoff was then performed by Mr. Rosenstock and Angela Rey (class of 2016). This is a difficult piece, and together they made it work very well. The audience could not tell how much effort was put into it.

Then, Ms. Rey performed Rapsodia Mexicana; Molto Moderato by Manuel Ponce. Ms. Rey portrayed the Mexican spirit of the piece with glamour. Let's admit, the piece was hard.

Iven Feng (class of 2015) then performed Un Sospiro; Allegro affetuoso by Franz Liszt. "Un Sospiro" translates as "sigh" from Italian. In this performance, you could hear sighs and suspirations expressed by the pianist.

The worthy conclusion on the program was Rondo in C Major Op. 73; Allegro maestoso by Frederic Chopin, performed by Mr. Feng and Jennica Li (class of 2015). Two seniors produced sounds portraying the light-hearted character of the music and it was just pleasant to listen to!


Special thanks to department head Ava Soifer for putting together this wonderful recital!


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