July 28, 2015 |
In the more populist realm of the Mann Center for the Performing Arts, the Philadelphia Orchestra got back to its core purpose - playing an all-Beethoven concert, as opposed to accompanying a Lord of the Rings movie. The combination of good weather and a Saturday night slot (usually, it's week nights) showed how true classical concerts, even ones without cannons and fireworks, do what skeptics suspect isn't possible. Great music from another century not only sells, it excites, and not just the listeners who know it well.
September 18, 2014 |
Beethoven's Symphony No. 6 ("Pastoral") is usually about as safe as concert programming can be. Yet when the Chamber Orchestra of Philadelphia decided to opened its 50th season with Beethoven's celebration of nature and weather Monday at the Kimmel Center's Perelman Theater, it took one of the bigger chances of its recent history. Audiences here aren't used to hearing that music played by 35 or so players. But then, music director (and composer) Sir Dirk Brossé (newly knighted in his native Belgium)
January 25, 2014 |
You've never met anyone quite like Peter Serkin before. In his three-piece suit with white pocket square, he was a natty presence on the Perelman Theater stage Wednesday night. It was the playing that was rumpled. Not always. There were many moments of incredible polish, especially when it came to the pianist's approach to sound. He has that ability to conjure an instantly rounded tone without doing any violence to the start of the note. But all over - in Beethoven no less than in a contemporary score - Serkin, 66, occupied the space somewhere between an eccentric and outsider.
December 15, 2006 |
The more you admire Peter Serkin, the more likely he is to leave you exasperated. One of America's great pianists, he loves steering himself out of the mainstream, sometimes to artistic Valhalla, sometimes into the ozone. Both extremes were apparent in his Tuesday recital, presented by the Philadelphia Chamber Music Society. On the merit of his performance of Beethoven's fearsome Piano Sonata in B-flat major ("Hammerklavier"), the recital was among the great classical events of the waning year.
May 5, 2015 |
When you walk into a museum and find that your favorite Schieles and Munchs have all been rearranged to a particular configuration, you might wonder what the point is. Pianist Shai Wosner was a musical curator Friday night, but an inscrutable one, never explaining why he assembled the first half of his stunningly beautiful Philadelphia Chamber Music Society recital debut by interspersing Schubert impromptus with Chopin impromptus. Do they share more than a name? Actually, it was a gift that Wosner was mum about motivation, giving his American Philosophical Society listeners license for imagination, and before long, you wondered whether the point wasn't about these two composers but a triangulation to a third.
January 14, 2012 |
The old belief that conductors don't become truly great until age 60 has wilted with so many emerging young talents whose intense magnetism leaves you unable to immediately say where they stand on the greatness continuum. The latest is Robin Ticciati, the 28-year-old British conductor who has ducked intense media glare with regional positions leading the Scottish Chamber Orchestra and the Glyndebourne Touring Opera - while slowly making high-visibility debuts. The latest - with the Philadelphia Orchestra, which he conducted at the Kimmel Center Thursday night in Beethoven's Violin Concerto , with soloist Arabella Steinbacher, and Sibelius' Symphony No. 2 - was a huge success with the audience.
February 5, 2002 |
Andre Watts had planned a program of Chopin and Liszt for his recital Sunday at Verizon Hall, but changed to Beethoven and Chopin. The first would have been an essay on the rise and dominance of pianists and their idiom in the 19th century, but by prefacing Chopin with Beethoven, Watts may have been reminding listeners of music's ability to surmount and adapt in times of apparent crisis. To contemporaries, Beethoven's death in 1827 seemed to mean the end of music. What else could be said, after all?
May 13, 2015 |
Though Chamber Orchestra of Philadelphia began its 50th-anniversary season amid fears within the music community that there may not be a 51st, the official half-century celebration arrived Sunday at Verizon Hall with many visiting dignitaries and an air of solidity, both artistic and financial. Enjoyment was buoyed by relief. Music director Dirk Brossé promised an Organ Concerto but missed the deadline, and filled the slot with his own Philadelphia Overture and Barber's Toccata Festiva (with organist Alan Morrison often using demure tone colors to show just how wild this piece can be)
February 21, 2011 |
CAMDEN - In music, as in other areas of life, a young artist's ideal situation is one where successes are noticed and mistakes are understandable - one reason Symphony in C is worth the trip to Camden, both for musicians and audiences. When the flu sidelined the up-and-coming pianist Di Wu, her Saturday replacement, Sara Daneshpour, had a star-is-born opportunity. She at least had welcome exposure that will serve her well in future, not-so-last-minute engagements. Music director Rossen Milanov gave a highly considered performance of Wagner's Siegfried Idyll that might not have worked outside the resonant acoustic of the Gordon Theater.
March 15, 2015 |
Beethoven and Falla. Only one conductor would dare to pair such radically dissimilar composers with the Philadelphia Orchestra: the late Rafael Frühbeck de Burgos. Planned by him before his death last year, the program on Thursday fell to the orchestra's conductor in residence, Cristian Macelaru. He is as strong-minded as anyone standing before the orchestra this season and, overall, made the evening work in a manner hugely different from Frühbeck de Burgos'. Beethoven was represented by his least severe orchestral work, the Symphony No. 6 ("Pastoral")