May 10, 2015 |
At what point does music become more of a tourist experience than art? Philadelphia Orchestra conductor-in-residence Cristian Macelaru walked all over such not-so-fine lines on Thursday at the Kimmel Center in a winningly idiosyncratic program bookended by two travelogues in sound from his native Romania - with folk elements cleaned and polished to a high gloss. Such music - Ligeti's Romanian Concerto and Enescu's Romanian Rhapsody Op. 11 No. 1 - can be a point of pride or a source of embarrassment to those who know the less-mediated roots of it all. But Macelaru had a whale of a time, also using these crowd-pleasing pieces for a more serious examination of great composers on the cusp of greatness with Dvorák's Violin Concerto featuring Sarah Chang, and Beethoven's Symphony No. 1 . Nothing trivial about that.
May 6, 2015 |
Three of the bigger musical personalities to come out of Astral Artists in recent years became a temporary piano trio Sunday afternoon in a concert titled "Encore!" Its significance wasn't lost on the audience at Trinity Center for Urban Life, which was packed despite the sublime weather. The program was what you'd expect from these strong-minded musicians - in that you really didn't know what to expect. Of course, any concert with violinist Kristin Lee, pianist Michael Mizrahi, and cellist Clancy Newman would program a modern work, and this one - Lonesome Roads by Dan Visconti, who has been tapped by Opera Philadelphia to write Andy: A Popera - has movements that can be performed in any order.
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.
April 12, 2015 |
I never know whether to laugh or scream when someone tells me that it was obviously a great concert because the musicians looked so happy. No one on stage looked particularly cheerful Friday afternoon after Paul Goodwin led Beethoven's Overture, "The Consecration of the House" with the Philadelphia Orchestra. Some of the musicians, in fact, looked downright put out. And yet, so terrific was Goodwin's sweep and detailing in the piece that it was a revelation. Musicians are sometimes the last to know how they sound.
April 3, 2015 |
Pianist Marc-Andre Hamelin has done greatly scintillating things in many corners of the piano repertoire. But is he a great pianist? That notion somehow seemed not on the table until his Philadelphia Chamber Music Society recital on Tuesday night when he played Schubert's Piano Sonata in B-flat at the Kimmel Center in ways that, at every turn, were utterly distinctive to him and rendered in a manner that could only have been cultivated over...
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")
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...
February 22, 2015 |
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.
February 21, 2015 |
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.