Advertisement
YOU ARE HERE: LAT HomeCollections

MUSIC REVIEW

Ventura Fest Showcases Masterful Pianist

May 10, 1997|JOSEF WOODARD | SPECIAL TO THE TIMES

Now in its third year, the Ventura Chamber Music Festival is on an upward trajectory. On Thursday night, Cuban-born pianist Santiago Rodriguez gave one of the festival's keynote concerts in the Church of Religious Science. Part of the charm was the hall itself, a mock-Mayan structure that is one of Southern California's choicest architectural curios.

More curiosity in the music would have been welcome. Rodriguez, a dazzling Romantic specialist, made substitutions in programming that lived up to the concert's externally imposed title, "Unrivaled Romantic Piano," but sacrificed diversity.

Baroque composer Soler was replaced with music by Spanish and Cuban Romantics, and movements from Stravinsky's "Petroushka" were replaced with Rachmaninov's dark-horse wonder, the Second Piano Sonata (the pianist cited an injured finger as the reason for this substitution).

Stylistic redundancy notwithstanding, Rodriguez displayed the mastery, and commanding balance of technical and expressive faculties, that legends are made of. He ennobled Schumann's episodic Carnaval, Opus 9, easily tracing the through-line connecting nearly two dozen vignettes, and burrowed deeply into two introspective Chopin Nocturnes and a Scherzo. As for Rachmaninov--one of Rodriguez's fortes--the pianist plumbed mystical depths and supplied requisite bravura.

* Santiago Rodriguez appears tonight at 8 with the Ventura Chamber Orchestra, Ventura Concert Theatre, 26 S. Chestnut St. $29 to $34. More daytime and evening events are scheduled through the weekend. (805) 648-3146.

Advertisement
Los Angeles Times Articles
|
|
|