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)
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.
March 8, 2015 |
For all of its reputed fabulousness, the Philadelphia Orchestra is also known for its winter contingency concerts. Most famously, Wolfgang Sawallisch once played Wagner on piano while weather-delayed orchestra musicians trickled in. On Thursday, music director Yannick Nézet-Séguin could not muster enough musicians for Vaughan Williams' Symphony No. 4 , so he substituted Ravel's Mother Goose Suite on four-hand piano with himself and none...
May 21, 2013 |
NEW YORK - The reaction to James Levine's return to conducting Sunday can only be described in Yiddish: Geschrei - an outcry like no other. Amid Levine's two years of surgeries, setbacks, and rehabilitation for back, spine, and other problems, many feared the beloved Metropolitan Opera music director would never again be seen alive, much less conducting a program of Wagner, Beethoven, and Schubert. But there he was, arriving onstage in Carnegie Hall with the Met Orchestra, riding a custom-made scooter with a rostrum that raised him, in the fashion of a hydraulic stage elevator, slightly above the orchestra.
February 8, 2015 |
"Maestros. Can't live with 'em, can't run a major orchestra without 'em," says Bernadette Peters in the Amazon.com miniseries Mozart in the Jungle . Well, the Philadelphia Orchestra temporarily did without a maestro on Thursday in a conductorless program of Mozart, Beethoven, and Grieg - all smartly chosen to accommodate a more communal form of music-making that string quartets know well, with the added charisma of the British piano goddess Imogen...
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?
June 5, 2015 |
VIENNA - The old saying "The past is a foreign country; they do things differently there" definitely applies to what was probably the most important concert of the Philadelphia Orchestra's 2015 European tour. This city, nurturer of composers from Haydn through Schoenberg, truly seems to have its time-warp zones, starting with the Musikverein, its famous concert hall, where capitulation to the past is necessary for any 21st-century orchestra playing a program of composers the Viennese claim as their own: Beethoven and Brahms and (to a lesser extent)
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.
February 24, 2012
IN CASE YOU haven't heard, yarn bombing is the new graffiti, and not just because it's cleaner and more environmentally-friendly. Yarn bombing is the act of knitting a cozy or warmer to spontaneously and secretly wrap around something in a public space.One famous examples of this guerrilla knitting is last April's bombing of the Rocky statue at the Philadelphia Museum of Art. To prove how mainstream the movement has become, it's moved into...
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")