November 16, 2014 |
The fashion world has long popularized clothes that appear to be turned inside out. Why shouldn't the Philadelphia Orchestra do its own version of that every so often? How could that work? Dvorák's Symphony No. 8 was so significantly reimagined by guest conductor Jakub Hruša that you'd think the prevailing, mellifluous tradition of Wolfgang Sawallisch never existed. The music was a rougher ride but full of incident. Orchestral sonorities that are normally string-dominated shared the sound picture more equally with brass and winds.
February 7, 2014 |
As Andre Watts nears his 70th birthday (a bit more than two years away), he seems at odds with what he's expected to be and what he's evolving toward as a senior artist. Watts' longtime concerto repertoire doesn't go as well as it once did. And in his recital on Tuesday presented by the Philadelphia Chamber Music Society, he played a program full of conceptual unity, though not always trusting the music to carry the day. Three Scarlatti sonatas, Mozart's Rondo in A minor , and Beethoven's Piano Sonata Op. 10 No. 3 showed composers from distinctively different worlds using the keyboard with similar register contrasts (the delineation of which is a Watts specialty)
February 5, 2013 |
Classical musicians tend to wear their mileage proudly. Conductors supposedly hit their stride at age 60, probably because they no longer care what people think of them, while pianists continue practicing their art without the pitch worries that plague senior violinists. Two opposite maturity scenarios unfolded Friday as the Philadelphia Orchestra revved up for this week's Florida tour with frequent guest conductor Rafael Frühbeck de Burgos, 79, and one of Philadelphia's proudest exports, pianist Andre Watts, 66, in a Beethoven/Hindemith program.
June 25, 2010 |
Though pianist Andre Watts is one of the most immediately identifiable figures in classical music, even his more devoted admirers could easily have failed a blindfold test at his Wednesday performance of Beethoven's Piano Concerto No. 4 at the Mann Center. Watts' consistent artistic manner in the past is a hallmark of the Van Cliburn generation, which in some quarters carried the belief that you hit a high mark with a great piece of music, then strive to maintain it in subsequent performances (rather than evolving and changing with age)
November 3, 2009 |
Europeans felt Beethoven's death meant the end of music, but the evolving piano and a new generation of virtuosos to exploit it so expanded music's horizons that some listeners wondered what Beethoven might have imagined had he had a 9-foot Bechstein at home. Those horizons lighted Sunday's Kimmel Center recital by Andre Watts, who balanced Schubert and Liszt in a thoughtful illustration of the directions music took as the futurists and the multivoiced piano rolled over earlier musical, mechanical and sonic limitations.
July 23, 2007 |
You're playing Rachmaninoff's Piano Concerto No. 2 for the 1,473d time. How can you keep the music alive and fresh - with that just-composed feeling? One way, pianist Andr? Watts and the Philadelphia Orchestra showed Friday night at the Mann, is for soloist and orchestra to lose contact with each other and end up at an important arrival point at different times. It's a rare thing to hear in a big, professional orchestra, but it happens, and when it happens it's a harrowing moment.
March 5, 2005 |
Those who seek safety in their symphonic presentations could have wondered if they really do want what they want while at the Philadelphia Orchestra's Thursday concert. No doubt with the best of intentions, guest conductor Andreas Delfs presented an old-fashioned, relentlessly nice program. Comprising a Weber overture, a standard-repertoire concerto, and that well-oiled symphonic machine, Mendelssohn's Symphony No. 3 ("Scotch"), the lineup was almost exactly what Wolfgang Sawallisch, in one of his music-director exit interviews two years ago, said the orchestra didn't need in the future.
March 4, 2005 |
We enjoy celebrating homegrown artists, and a visit by pianist Andre Watts is always a treat. He'll collaborate with the Philadelphia Orchestra, led by German conductor Andreas Delfs, who debuted with the orchestra in 1998. Watts has changed his Mozart Concerto choice to No. 9, considered the first mature one of Mozart's 27 and full of sprightly solo challenges written to display the composer's keyboard gifts. Delfs will also lead the moody Overture to Weber's "Die Freischutz" and Mendelssohn's impressions of a trip north which became his Third Symphony, called the "Scottish" (2 p.m. today, 8 p.m. tomorrow and Tuesday, Verizon Hall, Kimmel Center for the Performing Arts, Broad and Spruce streets, $9-$76.
December 10, 2004 |
Years back, when Andre Watts was in a flurry of recording activity, he was asked how his interpretations changed. Being a feet-on-the-ground Philadelphian, he offered an answer that wasn't about his spiritual evolution. "I don't think I've changed at all," he said. Some artists hit the mark, are happy with it and stay there. Lately, however, Watts has had health problems and, as a new member of the Indiana University faculty, is keeping different company. That's bound to be reflected in his playing.
September 26, 2003 |
Conductor Christoph Eschenbach will open and close this weekend's Philadelphia Orchestra program with works by Hector Berlioz, celebrated for the 200th anniversary of his birth this year. The maestro will share the stage with two superb soloists, both audience favorites. Philly has loved pianist Andre Watts since his debut two generations ago, and each return visit is a communion between old friends. He's chosen the sparkling Second Piano Concerto by Camille Saint-Saens, who was one of the most astonishing of all child prodigies.