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.
January 10, 2012 |
If you missed the introductory speeches, the Ching-Yun Hu piano recital Saturday at the William Way Center seemed so at home as to be a typical occurrence rather than the first in a new series of fine arts events. The program, held in the grand reception era of the pre-Civil War building at 1315 Spruce St. that once housed the Engineers' Club of Philadelphia, was smart and ambitious. The full-house audience knew what it was hearing, and the demographics were fairly close to, say, an Astral Artists event, though with more same-sex couples, as one might expect at Philadelphia's lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender community center.
January 9, 2012 |
Now in the 11th year of its sometimes existence, the East Coast Chamber Orchestra arrived for its annual tour with a strong sense of what's necessary to keep this high-spirited bunch in a state of optimal engagement. The 18-member conductor-less group consists of musicians who have other activities (Time for Three member Nick Kendall, for one) and so aren't about to converge for another Pachelbel's Canon . Friday's concert at the Independence Seaport Museum was a tortured but singular program that fully tapped the group's resources but was not ideal for workweek-weary subscribers of the Philadelphia Chamber Music Society.
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)
December 6, 2011 |
Were there a classical-music Mount Rushmore, Brahms would be as unreachably etched in stone as Bach and Beethoven. That vision of untouchable monumentality, however, wasn't supported by Saturday's Philadelphia Brahms Festival, which explored early works and lesser-known antecedents that gave the composer flesh, blood, and ancestry. Brahms might not have liked that. Modern musicians rage at him for destroying so many works of his that he considered substandard. He also revised published works later in life, contributing to the idea that he sprang upon the world fully formed.
February 2, 1989 |
What do Alexander the Great and Chris Kyvernites have in common? They share a common Greek heritage. They learned the value of wearing armor when going into battle. And for one day, at least, the conquering hero and the 9-year-old were speaking with one voice. Chris was one of 20 fourth graders at Caley Elementary School in Upper Merion who took on new identities Friday as part of a class project. He chose a famous character in history, read a biography, made a costume and made up a game to illustrate the character's life.
January 22, 2012
Sunday The quiet earth In Kenneth Lin's drama Fallow , an upper-class mother finds a packet of unsent letters from her son, who gave up the Ivy League life to become a migrant worker and beekeeper, and travels to rural California to confront the imprisoned men who killed him in a case of mistaken identity. As she reads, the events that led to the violence unfold. The play goes on at 2 and 7 p.m. Sunday at the People's Light & Theatre Company , 39 Conestoga Rd., Malvern, and continues on a Wednesday-through-Sunday schedule to Feb. 5. Tickets are $25 to $45. Call 610-644-3500.