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NEWS
February 22, 2015 | By David Patrick Stearns, Inquirer Music Critic
Lars Vogt was well on his way to making a significant solo recital debut Wednesday at the American Philosophical Society when Beethoven's Piano Sonata No. 32 Op. 111 started coming unraveled. Problems began in the dense, first-movement exposition, when a memory lapse set in, one Vogt covered skillfully, but starting a spiral that eventually forced him to start over and leave the stage to grab the printed music. Also unfortunate: the piano's music stand had been removed, making page turns awkward.
ENTERTAINMENT
February 21, 2015 | By David Patrick Stearns, Inquirer Music Critic
Lars Vogt was well on his way to making a significant solo recital debut Wednesday at the American Philosophical Society when Beethoven's Piano Sonata No. 32 Op. 111 started coming unraveled. Problems began in the dense, first-movement exposition, when a memory lapse set in, one that Vogt covered skillfully, but starting a spiral that eventually forced him to start over and ultimately leave the stage to grab the printed music. Even more unfortunately, the music stand on the piano had been removed, making page turns awkward.
NEWS
February 18, 2015 | By Susan Snyder, Inquirer Staff Writer
Princeton University on Monday announced its largest gift in history: a rare book and manuscript collection - including the first six printed editions of the Bible - valued at nearly $300 million. The 2,500-volume collection, which includes an original printing of the Declaration of Independence and Beethoven's autographed music sketchbook, has been housed at Princeton's Firestone Library since 1959. That's when alum and Philadelphia native William H. Scheide moved it there from Titusville in Western Pennsylvania, the town where he was reared.
ENTERTAINMENT
February 17, 2015 | By David Patrick Stearns, Inquirer Music Critic
When, exactly, Rudolf Buchbinder moved into the front ranks of concert pianists is hard to pinpoint. He has been in evidence since entering (but not winning) the 1966 Van Cliburn Competition and has long insinuated himself through European-made recordings centering on Beethoven, Schubert, and Brahms. They exude solidity and remind you that the middle of the road can be as stimulating as the outer fringe. At 68, Buchbinder only now has made his solo recital debut here, presented Friday at the Kimmel Center by the Philadelphia Chamber Music Society.
ENTERTAINMENT
February 11, 2015 | By Peter Dobrin, Inquirer Music Critic
There was no Schubert, no Hugo Wolf. By starting with Beethoven and wending a pleasant path through Liszt, Satie and Frank Bridge, tenor Matthew Polenzani and pianist Julius Drake surveyed the lieder road less traveled. Not one of the composers on Friday night's Philadelphia Chamber Music Society recital in the Perelman would become best known for the genre; Liszt conquered the piano, Ravel the orchestra, and Beethoven, well, almost everything. And yet, what gems. Adelaide, Op. 46 , is a relatively early Beethoven work of great sophistication, an energetic burst of yearning in which the singer sees and hears his love object and nature as one. So, too, the performers.
NEWS
February 8, 2015 | By David Patrick Stearns, Inquirer Music Critic
"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...
NEWS
February 7, 2015 | By Peter Dobrin, Inquirer Music Critic
Most siblings look back on a childhood of pick-up football games and getting into scrapes together. Ashley, Daniel, and Andrew Hsu, on the other hand, may remember the time they played Beethoven's last three piano sonatas on a single program while still students at the Curtis Institute of Music. That time was Wednesday night in Field Concert Hall. They could have chosen a strand of Beethoven bagatelles, or taken turns with the Goldberg Variations, if the only point had been to play up the familial connection.
ENTERTAINMENT
January 31, 2015 | By David Patrick Stearns, Inquirer Music Critic
In a somewhat unconventional program, Yannick Nézet-Séguin led the Philadelphia Orchestra through the lighter side of Shostakovich - assuming there actually is one. Even when the composer seems to be kidding around, his music hints at something subversive, that the music means much more than it says, and what it says is always dangling out of reach. That's why you want to hear it again. The objects of curiosity Wednesday at the Kimmel Center were Shostakovich's seldom-heard Piano Concerto No. 2 and music for the film The Gadfly - paired with Beethoven's Symphony No. 5 - creating a provocative conclusion to the St. Petersburg Festival that could have been less convincing had performances not been so purposeful.
NEWS
January 25, 2015 | By Peter Dobrin, Inquirer Music Critic
Like a half-remembered dream, the opening of Beethoven's Opus 101 Piano Sonata in A Major arrives in bits and pieces. It seemed all the more like something emerging from the mists in pianist Jonathan Biss' carefully constructed Thursday night Philadelphia Chamber Music Society recital at the Kimmel. As the last piece on the program, the Beethoven looked back on everything that came before it. The incredible economy of the first movement was as concise as Schoenberg's Sechs Kleine Klavierstücke, Op. 19 , played earlier.
ENTERTAINMENT
January 8, 2015 | By David Patrick Stearns, Inquirer Music Critic
Hilary Hahn has been such a solid performer over the years that her cancellation of summer and fall concerts due to muscle strain seemed unthinkable. Sometimes, the more vague the cause, the scarier it is: Remember how Murray Perahia's years of physical problems began with a mere paper cut? Yet Monday's Philadelphia Chamber Music Society concert (which came roughly a month after Hahn resumed concertizing) showed her at full strength: She had to be, with Tchaikovsky's epic Piano Trio Op. 50 in a first-time collaboration with pianist Natalie Zhu (a longtime musical friend)
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