December 9, 2011 |
Intermission chatter at Wednesday's Christian Zacharias recital took on ominous tones when one sage pianophile observed, "He tends to take things to the extreme. " And what makes Zacharias one of the most fascinating elder-statesman keyboard personalities is that you never know which extreme he'll take. Or if you're going to like it. Possessed of effortless technique, decades of accumulated repertoire, huge intellect, and wide-ranging imagination, he has options. The first half of his Philadelphia Chamber Music Society concert at the Kimmel Center brought together C.P.E.
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.
November 27, 2011 |
Anne Lisette Boysen, 72, of Germantown, an artist, died of ovarian cancer Tuesday, Nov. 15, at Penn Hospice at Rittenhouse. Ms. Boysen's colorful paintings in oil, acrylic, and mixed media ranged in style from impressionistic landscapes to abstract florals. On her website, she wrote that she was "compelled" to paint. "Painting is my life, my work, and my fun. . . . When I camp, walk and bicycle, I can't help but feel inspired to continue the landscapes, and when my flowers bloom, feel inspired to do the florals.
November 17, 2011 |
If Philadelphia was foreign territory for Sir John Eliot Gardiner and his Orchestre Révolutionnaire et Romantique, their all-Beethoven program on Tuesday converted the Kimmel Center audience in a matter of minutes, judging from the long, loud applause. The period instruments and all-around revisionist approach represented by Gardiner & Co. aren't unknown here; Tempesta di Mare has the instruments, and Ignat Solzhenitsyn, with the Chamber Orchestra of Philadelphia, liked his Beethoven nearly as brisk as Gardiner does.
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 12, 2011 |
The old saying that great Beethoven pianists don't understand Chopin is largely untrue. Thanks to YouTube, aren't we thoroughly well-informed about everything? Well, art defies information. And at his annual sold-out Philadelphia Chamber Music Society recital Thursday, Richard Goode could have used a buffer zone between the two composers. The first half of the Kimmel Center concert had Goode on solid home territory with Beethoven and Mozart, whose Fantasy in C minor (K. 475 )
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)
October 25, 2011 |
With its recent tumult of labor strife and money woes, the Kimmel Center seems an unlikely site to stage a musical spring. Yet there it was last weekend, the irrepressible stirring of renewal. At Saturday morning's first Philadelphia Orchestra family concert this year, cellist John-Henry Crawford, 18, a Curtis student and winner in the orchestra's Albert M. Greenfield Student Competition, projected polished charisma and a singing sound in the first movement of Prokofiev's Symphony-Concerto . His was only one voice among a hundred the next afternoon at the season's first outing of the Curtis Institute of Music orchestra beyond its luxurious new tailor-built rehearsal room.
October 22, 2011 |
If anybody needed convincing that Lang Lang isn't just a pianist with hot fingers, cool clothes, and lots of self-promotion, positive proof came in both concertos he played with the Philadelphia Orchestra this week at Verizon Hall. Played on Thursday, Liszt's Piano Concerto No. 1 will also be heard by the masses at his Saturday concert and cinemacast with the orchestra, as well as at the Monday repeat screening. Beethoven's Piano Concerto No. 2 was reserved for the live-only audience on Friday at the Kimmel Center and for Tuesday, when he and the orchestra play Carnegie Hall.
September 30, 2011 |
There is a pixielike quality to the woman who opens the door to a high-in-the-sky condominium just off City Avenue in Bala Cynwyd. And no wonder: While she is officially Jane Norman, she is TV's Pixanne to the legions of young fans who joined her every weekday afternoon in her magic forest. For nearly two decades, first locally on WCAU-TV from 1960 to 1969, then nationally for seven more years when the show was syndicated, she was a kind of Pied Piper in green felt. Norman's close-cropped hair, her enviably slender body, and her sparkling spirit hark back to that woodland creature who made the world seem like a wonderful, magical place for kids.