April 15, 2001 |
A first meeting with pianist Charles Rosen can seem momentous. In books, essays and recordings, he's a huge presence, crystallizing stray musical thoughts with realizations that set lightbulbs flashing over your head. He can make you feel as if you've acquired some sixth musical sense. So, upon seeing him in a chaotic backstage situation where somebody says, "Here! Meet Charles Rosen," it's easy to blurt out "Thanks for changing my life!" Embarrassed, Rosen looked to the floor in that particular instance and didn't say much.
November 13, 2011 |
The knighthood, the vast discography stretching from Monteverdi to Brahms, and the acclaim that has come with it are all tangible evidence that Sir John Eliot Gardiner, 68, is a pervasive presence throughout the European and American classical music world. Why, then, is he only now making his Philadelphia debut on a tour with his period-instrument ensemble, the Orchestre Révolutionnaire et Romantique? Why has he never been asked to guest-conduct the Philadelphia Orchestra? If ever there has been an alternative conducting career, it's his. "Think of conductors of my generation, Zubin Mehta, and musicians such as Pinchy Zukerman and Itzhak Perlman.
November 9, 2012 |
THE RAREFIED world of classical music is the setting and the intimate "perfect square" of a string quartet the crucible for "A Late Quartet," a melodrama of love, lust, betrayal and Beethoven. It's a quiet film of tempestuous but predictable situations and emotions, a soap opera made watchable by its illustrious cast. Christopher Walken is Peter, the wizened cellist whose early-onset Parkinson's disease throws the famed Fugue Quartet into turmoil. Twenty-five years and 3,000 recitals into their history, things are changing, because "playing for much longer is not in the cards for me. " The maneuvering starts in an instant.
January 27, 2011 |
A fleet, stealthy entrance. Then thunder. An unexpected shiver gives way to a warm gust. Salvation? No. Back into the abyss. Beethoven is the author of that emotional schematic - only the first two eventful minutes of his Piano Sonata in F minor (Op. 57), the "Appassionata. " But Jonathan Biss intensified it to a remarkable degree, giving him total ownership of the emotional centerpiece of his Philadelphia Chamber Music Society recital at the Perelman Theater Tuesday night. His concert - the Chamber Music Society's 1,000th since its founding 25 seasons ago - was thrilling, which was comforting in more ways than one. Biss, 30, has a career shifting into gear with commercial recordings, high-prestige appearances, and a recent appointment to the faculty of his alma mater, the Curtis Institute of Music.
March 11, 2011 |
The very idea of a chamber music gala is almost comically incongruous. Tiaras? War medals? At the Philadelphia Chamber Music Society? I don't think so. The PCMS is celebrating its 25th anniversary because it's a refuge from surface gloss, artistic shortcuts, and greatest hits. There's no lite version. The only evidence of gala-ness at the Wednesday anniversary concert at the Kimmel Center's Perelman Theater was a few extra gray suits in the audience for a program that had more collaborative elements than usual, but was fairly representative of what usually happens here.
April 24, 2009 |
In the tunnel of a Los Angeles freeway underpass, a bruised man crouches before a grubby street musician who coaxes ecstatic chords from a cello. Beethoven reverberates up from ground level, soaring above the gridlock and grime. Two birds, stand-ins for the soloist and his audience of one, ride the sound waves up to the clouds, spirits spiring. If only every sequence in The Soloist were that transcendent. Joe Wright's adaptation of the book by columnist Steve Lopez, about the newsman's encounters with Nathaniel Ayers, Juilliard-trained virtuoso sawing his instrument near L.A.'s Skid Row, is as flawed and fascinating as the men themselves.
February 21, 2011 |
Somebody in Verizon Hall tried to make Vladimir Jurowski shut up on Friday - and failed. One of the Philadelphia Orchestra's favorite guest conductors (among musicians and audiences), Jurowski was giving a preperformance explication of Prokofiev's Symphony No. 6 that was going on a bit longer than usual. Then from the hall, somebody began applauding, as if to say, "That's enough. " Coolly, the conductor explained why these matters are important, and assured the heckler, "The symphony is short.
June 7, 2013 |
In 1973, when the Philadelphia Orchestra made history in China, Inquirer music critic Daniel Webster was there. Now David Patrick Stearns reports on the 2013 visit, building on this long relationship. BEIJING - The two concertmasters bowed together Thursday, the Philadelphia Orchestra's David Kim ceding the first-desk seat to the China National Symphony's Yunzhi Liu. Though the collaboration at the National Center for the Performing Arts (known as the Egg, a reference to its glass and titanium dome)
April 16, 1990 |
Among Johann Nepomuk Hummel's 124 opus numbers are many pleasures, especially but not exclusively for the piano. Hummel (1778-1837) was a leading keyboard virtuoso, no small achievement since he grew up in the era of Mozart and Clementi, each of whom briefly taught him. As for his music, the public and professionals alike esteemed it, including Beethoven, who was Hummel's friend. Opportunities abound for chamber musicians to resuscitate some of these felicitous scores - as the Huntingdon Trio did in its Easter Sunday concert at the Ethical Society where it opened with Hummel's Grand Trio, Op. 93 in E-flat Major.
October 26, 2011 |
New companion pieces to long-established masterworks are arriving with increasing frequency, often with an inhibiting effect on the most strong-minded composer. But not Ellen Taaffe Zwilich. The 72-year-old author of numerous rock-solid concertos and chamber works was commissioned, partly by the Philadelphia Chamber Music Society, to write for the instrumentation of Schubert's Trout Quintet , and if anything, found an even more defined voice. At the Oct. 19 local premiere at the Kimmel Center by the Kalichstein-Laredo-Robinson Trio (augmented by violist Michael Tree and bassist Harold Robinson)