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Beethoven

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NEWS
December 17, 1993 | by Bill Wedo, Daily News Staff Writer
For a movie industry in which the flavors of the month are family entertainment and sequels, "Beethoven's 2nd" is a dream come true. Kids and dogs. From a previous hit movie. All over the screen. The good news is that, like the original "Beethoven," the sequel establishes a workable comfort zone for all ages. There's craftmanship involved in making a good family film - that is, one that keeps kids in their seats and adults from nodding off. Anyone can make bad ones - just ask Disney, which churned them out through the '70s.
NEWS
January 6, 1995 | by Gary Thompson, Daily News Movie Critic
"Immortal Beloved" is a movie about Beethoven's business manager. This may surprise those of you who'd been anticipating a bio of the great composer, and perhaps another virtuoso performance from leading man Gary Oldman as Ludwig von. Adjust your expectations. In its attempt to probe the mystery surrounding some of the composer's last writings, "Immortal Beloved" turns into a suspense thriller that follows Beethoven's longtime secretary Anton Schindler (Jeroen Krabbe) in his quest to discover the identity of the woman known in Beethoven's letters as "immortal beloved," to whom the composer left a portion of his estate.
ENTERTAINMENT
October 5, 1998 | By Daniel Webster, INQUIRER MUSIC CRITIC
For Karl Middleman, context is almost everything. The conductor of the Philadelphia Classical Symphony uses his concerts to explain the settings, the composer's life and times, and the plan behind the music. The orchestra plays examples to illustrate all that, and the stage is fronted by artwork to help the audience understand the period. On Saturday, Middleman took on Beethoven, mixing 100 minutes of music with 60 of commentary. Concerts were marathons in Beethoven's day, and the search for authenticity now may require programs of comparable length.
NEWS
October 11, 1989 | By Daniel Webster, Inquirer Music Critic
Because Beethoven returned again and again to a kind of music - piano sonatas, string quartets, trios - one or two of each genre tend to stand for the whole catalog. Audiences hear the same three piano sonatas, and the same two violin sonatas, from those who hope to be known as Beethoven performers without having to understand the whole musical landscape. In their Beethoven recital last night at the Port of History Museum, pianist Peter Serkin and violinist Young Uck Kim played some of the other violin sonatas, the relatively early ones that show Beethoven searching, testing, and growing.
ENTERTAINMENT
September 18, 1993 | By Lesley Valdes, INQUIRER MUSIC CRITIC
Beethoven was a dangerous man. Listen carefully to those Saturnian cellos and basses that initiate the finale of the Ninth Symphony. Listen to the way they soberly, somberly, reluctantly, edge us near, then veer away from, before ultimately plunging us forward into the symphony's unexpected chorus. Ferocious joy. Ferocious destruction is in this music, where the brass as often puncture as punctuate declarations of hope and aspiration. Beethoven was demonic, and no telling what worlds he could have overturned given a few more symphonies.
ENTERTAINMENT
December 11, 1988 | By Daniel Webster, Inquirer Music Critic
The Philadelphia Orchestra's biggest recording project has just been completed. The release, on EMI, encompasses Beethoven's nine symphonies, plus three of his overtures on six discs in a box. They represent performances and recordings between October 1985 and February 1988 and much more besides. They stand to Riccardo Muti as a summary of the transformation he has effected with this orchestra since he became music director in 1980. A Beethoven set may seem an unlikely choice for a conductor so deeply involved with Italian opera, but Muti has consistently presented himself as a man with wide enthusiasm and knowledge.
ENTERTAINMENT
May 4, 1996 | By Peter Dobrin, INQUIRER STAFF WRITER
The way Wolfgang Sawallisch was conducting, you might have thought that was Haydn on the program. But it was Beethoven, early Beethoven, and Sawallisch made his opinion clear that the composer's Symphony No. 1 in C major, Op. 21 has more in common with Haydn's symphonies than do any of Beethoven's written after his Second. With the Philadelphia Orchestra Thursday night at the Academy of Music, Sawallisch molded a Symphony No. 1 that was controlled, of medium tempo and, in every way, moderate.
NEWS
October 18, 2006 | By David Patrick Stearns INQUIRER MUSIC CRITIC
No need for special Beethoven anniversaries: The classical music world is a continuing celebration of this pivotal composer, one who has been hugely stimulating of late. Christoph Eschenbach, Osmo V?nsk?, and especially Bernard Haitink have found new revelations in the symphonies, and fine piano sonata recordings are being made by Andr?s Schiff (ECM), Paul Lewis (Harmonia Mundi), and Fran?ois-Fr?d?ric Guy (Naive). On the evidence of Monday's Kimmel Center concert, the Chamber Orchestra of Philadelphia belongs in that august food chain.
NEWS
March 1, 2002 | By Daniel Webster FOR THE INQUIRER
Any composer who sets out to write a string quartet must make an accommodation with Beethoven. In 16 quartets, Beethoven ascended from virtuosity to eminence to transcendence. At the end, there seemed little room for improvement. Most composers make their Beethoven adjustments privately. But Ralph Shapey, the 81-year-old who has resisted easy accommodation to any form or dogma, is more public. The composer's Quartet No. 10 was played for the first time Wednesday by the Juilliard Quartet at the Kimmel Center's Perelman Theater, and he subtitled his three-movement work: "Ludwig and I. Es muss sein.
ENTERTAINMENT
March 30, 1986 | By Daniel Webster, Inquirer Music Critic
The Beethoven symphonies have long been regarded by conductors and audiences as the first works truly appropriate to the modern orchestra. Beethoven was a romantic, wrote big works and heard big sonorities, and orchestras have adopted him as their own, playing the later symphonies with forces that could also play Bruckner. The odd thing is that Beethoven's orchestras in Vienna and Leipzig were composed of a dozen violins, two desks of violas and cellos and pairs of winds. Those numbers suggest the strings must have been habitually overbalanced, by our standards, and the total sonority much more transparent.
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ARTICLES BY DATE
NEWS
July 3, 2016
Alternative July Fourth listening. No Sousa is heard in The National Anthems, a choral work by David Lang on the Cantaloupe label. Its text contains lines from the national anthems of every United Nations country, along with Lang's own poetic commentary, which unflinchingly addresses the anguish and violence that seem to be part of the formation and maintenance of any nation. Alternately halting and exclamatory, the rhetorical style uses minimalist repetition that becomes entrancing as it evolves, similar to the piece's disc-mate, the choral version of Lang's Pulitzer-winning The Little Match Girl Passion.
NEWS
April 17, 2016
1 p.m. Sunday on WRTI-FM (90.1): Vladimir Jurowski, one of the most sought-after conductors in the world, conducts the Philadelphia Orchestra in a program of works by Beethoven ( Piano Concerto No. 5, "Emperor," with pianist Yefim Bronfman), Janácek ( Taras Bulba ), and Miaskowsky ( Symphony No. 10 ).
ENTERTAINMENT
April 16, 2016 | By David Patrick Stearns, CLASSICAL MUSIC CRITIC
A mong the five of them, the Takács Quartet and its esteemed guest pianist Garrick Ohlsson have logged somewhere around 200 years of career mileage. So it's quite understandable they would need to do something grand, special, and risky, such as their current mini-tour with the infrequently heard Elgar Piano Quintet . Sold out for months, the Philadelphia Chamber Music Society concert Wednesday at the Kimmel Center's Perelman Theater no doubt made new friends for the piece and pushed the musicians into a state of inspired discovery.
NEWS
March 23, 2016 | By David Patrick Stearns, CLASSICAL MUSIC CRITIC
Symphony in C leapt off the deep end at Gordon Theater at Rutgers University-Camden. It was an all-Beethoven program that might have been business as (fairly) usual for the Philadelphia Orchestra but that was formidable for this postgraduate young-artist orchestra and its guest pianist, Drew Petersen. The Piano Concerto No. 5 ("Emperor") and Symphony No. 3 ("Eroica") are a lot of heroics for a Saturday night. Nobody seemed in over their head, but the concerto performance showed how valid access points to Beethoven can be somewhat shallow while still working on their own level.
NEWS
March 20, 2016 | By David Patrick Stearns, Classical Music Critic
He stood before the Philadelphia Orchestra with the face of an anguished god, saying little with his partially paralyzed mouth, much through his hands, and more through his eyes - behind thick, sometimes askew glasses. In 1962, Otto Klemperer, one of the great conductors of the 20th century, returned to the Philadelphia Orchestra after an absence of more than 25 years, having suffered a brain tumor, a stroke, severe bipolar disorder, and third-degree burns from setting himself on fire by smoking in bed. "His beat was slurred.
NEWS
March 13, 2016
Mapping a Musical Partnership. Pianist Maurizio Pollini and conductor Claudio Abbado began performing together in the 1960s, an association that lasted five decades. DG has packaged eight discs' worth of music taken from recordings released between the 1970s and late '90s - all five Beethoven concertos, the two of Brahms, Schumann, plus works of Bartók, Schoenberg, and Luigi Nono. What's captured in Pollini & Abbado: The Complete Deutsche Grammophon Recordings is variable. The Schumann concerto might have more revealing interpreters than Pollini.
NEWS
February 21, 2016
Symphony 101. An audience of mice. A symphony of motifs. And an entire world of music opens up to the young reader in Welcome to the Symphony: A Musical Exploration of the Orchestra Using Beethoven's Symphony No. 5 by Carolyn Sloan. The book, with illustrations by James Williamson, takes the vantage point of small, furry listeners who have come to hear Beethoven and discuss what it all means. We learn who the concertmaster is and what he or she does, what dynamics and tempos are, how a theme works in a piece of music, and a little something about the history and function of the instruments of the orchestra.
NEWS
February 14, 2016 | By Peter Dobrin, CLASSICAL MUSIC CRITIC
Can Beethoven's Piano Concerto No. 5 (the "Emperor") possibly have anything new to report from within its familiar folds of opulent pianism and orchestral tranquillity? There's more there, it turns out, than the mere prettiness that has made the piece the one concerto to know if you're going to know only one concerto. Leading the Philadelphia Orchestra Thursday night in Verizon Hall, Vladimir Jurowski deployed a wondrous paradox. He reduced the size of the ensemble and paid scrupulous attention to limiting the length of notes.
NEWS
January 22, 2016 | David Patrick Stearns, Music Critic
In nearly every genre, Ludwig van Beethoven wrote some grand but close to unperformable masterpieces - such as his opera, Fidelio . Despite being revised, retitled, and decked with four different overtures, Beethoven's brilliant operatic "shipwreck" (as the composer called it) defies easy performance solutions. "You'll never get your arms around it," star conductor Simon Rattle once said after multiple encounters. Yet Grand Harmonie, a group of young performers doing the piece at 7:30 p.m. Saturday at Princeton's Richardson Auditorium, is attempting to do so with instruments authentic to Beethoven's time, starting with what's often the sticking point: French horns.
ENTERTAINMENT
January 16, 2016 | By David Patrick Stearns, STAFF MUSIC CRITIC
Some programs in the Philadelphia Orchestra's three-week Music of Vienna Festival could have happened anywhere in the season. But Wednesday night's program at the Kimmel Center was much more adventurous than that. With engaging recklessness, the concert was designed to show Vienna as a center for music both great and silly. Music director Yannick Nézet-Séguin's program was bookended by waltz king Johann Strauss, with Beethoven's Piano Concerto No. 4 and two piggyback works: Gustav Mahler's orchestral transcription of Beethoven's String Quartet No. 11 Op. 95 ("Serioso")
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