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A dazzling recital

Misha Dacic plays Rachmaninoff with soul,


Sergei Rachmaninoff (1873-1943) was a product of the golden age of Russian romanticism. He studied piano with Alexander Siloti (who later taught at New York's Julliard School) and composition with Alexander Taneyev and Anton Arensky (a pupil of Tchaikovsky). Rachmaninoff achieved international success as a pianist, conductor, and composer. Following the 1917 Revolution, Rachmaninoff left Russia for the West. (Beverly Hills, California and Switzerland would become his primary residences.) Although his performing career would prosper, exile did not fuel Rachmaninoff's creative energies. He composed only five works -- all major scores -- between 1918 and 1943. Yet his music has become a pillar of the pianistic repertoire. (His Piano Concerto No 3 has become a standard competition piece.) Concert performances and recordings abound, but all too often Rachmaninoff's music is played in a mechanical, note perfect, superficial manner. When a pianist brings depth and creative imagination to Rachmaninoff's scores, there is cause for celebration. Misha Dacic did that and more at his recital on 6 December 2003 at the Steinway Concert Hall in Coral Gables, Florida, USA, presented by Patrons of Exceptional Artists.

Dacic hails from the former Yugoslavia. He is a formidable piano virtuoso. (He counts Kemal Gekic, Lazar Berman -- one of Russia's great pianists -- and Frank Cooper among his teachers.) Dacic possesses a remarkable technique. He truly commands the keyboard. His technical facility is astounding but, more importantly, he is a sensitive, poetic artist.

His Rachmaninoff group brought some of the most purely beautiful pianism in recent seasons. Dacic offered the Romance in F Minor Op 10 No 6 and two examples of the nearly lost art of the piano transcription -- The Little Island (arranged by the octogenarian pianist Earl Wild) and Melody (transcribed by the brilliant Russian virtuoso Arcadi Volodos). Dacic produced a series of pianistic pastels like a flowing multi-colored fountain. Every detail was exquisitely brought to life. Dacic played this music with idiomatic romanticism and true Russian soul! Rarely have the melancholy and nostalgia of Rachmaninoff's music been brought to life with such emotional fervor and beauty!

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Copyright © 15 December 2003 Lawrence Budmen, Miami Beach, USA


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