September 29, 2013 |
Beethoven's practicality-defying Symphony No. 9 rarely sits comfortably on orchestral programs: Not long enough to be heard by itself, the piece is so idiosyncratically monumental that finding suitable pairings is tough. A bookend approach with Beethoven's Symphony No. 1 is the easy way out. On Thursday, Yannick Nézet-Séguin opened the first subscription concert of his second Philadelphia Orchestra season determined not to make the Westminster Choir come all the way from Princeton just for Beethoven's final movement.
August 2, 2013 |
The paradox of grand, glitzy piano competitions is that contestants' musical personalities don't fully emerge until after the prizes are won and the stress of achieving them is past. Who - really - is Vadym Kholodenko, the 26-year-old gold medal winner of the recent 14th Van Cliburn International Competition? Philadelphia Orchestra audiences will be the first to find out when he plays his first (noncompetition) U.S. concerto performance at 8 p.m. Thursday at the Mann Center. This is a pianist who walked in with a strong inner identity and very much kept it intact.
July 19, 2013 |
PRINCETON - Known among classical piano insiders as a place to learn pain-free, injury-free keyboard technique, the Golandsky Institute is, for most of us, a welcome piano-recital festival during the slow summertime concert period, featuring its own pool of talent not often heard in these parts. Yet the Taubman Approach - the method championed by the institute's Edna Golandsky to promote ease of execution - seems not to encourage any sort of pianistic uniformity among its disciples.
June 22, 2013 |
The 32 Beethoven piano sonatas - often called the New Testament of keyboard music - track the epic journey from brash youth to Olympian serenity of one of Western Civilization's towering personalities. However tantalizing, the idea of hearing them all on a single day seems impossible. Surely, one wouldn't have expected such an endeavor from Stewart Goodyear, 35, the Curtis Institute graduate best known for Gershwin. Nonetheless, he'll perform all 32 sonatas Saturday in three chronological installments - 10 a.m., 3 p.m., and 8 p.m. - at Princeton's McCarter Theatre Center.
June 7, 2013 |
In 1973, when the Philadelphia Orchestra made history in China, Inquirer music critic Daniel Webster was there. Now David Patrick Stearns reports on the 2013 visit, building on this long relationship. BEIJING - The two concertmasters bowed together Thursday, the Philadelphia Orchestra's David Kim ceding the first-desk seat to the China National Symphony's Yunzhi Liu. Though the collaboration at the National Center for the Performing Arts (known as the Egg, a reference to its glass and titanium dome)
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.
May 4, 2013 |
Beethoven's cello sonatas are not often done as a complete, chronological cycle: They run too long for a single concert, but not long enough to fill two concerts without adding some of the composer's non-sonata cello works, diluting the sense of progression in his musical thought. When performed in close to optimum, single-concert circumstances by cellist Efe Baltacigil and pianist Benjamin Hochman on Thursday at the American Philosophical Society, the sonatas came off as a motley collection - verbose in the early works, oblique in the later ones, and with a clear-cut masterpiece in the middle, the Cello Sonata No. 3 (Op. 69 )
April 8, 2013 |
The Chamber Orchestra of Philadelphia migrated for the first time in its own subscription series Sunday from its usual Perelman Theater quarters to the larger Verizon Hall at the Kimmel Center, and with good reason: Beethoven's Symphony No. 9 . It's a piece that needs more room. Also significant, conductor laureate Ignat Solzhenitsyn (a much-seasoned Beethovenian) returned to conduct a smaller-scale, gently provocative performance that reminded you how seldom the composer's grandest symphony is heard with fine nuances.
January 31, 2013 |
The good salesman cloaks his charm in virtuous clothing. The great one lets you see the pitch, and yet through some act of charisma make you feel buoyed in having assented to both the sale and his crafty methods. You had to admire the way the St. Lawrence Quartet was selling it Tuesday night at the Perelman Theater. As the latest visitors in the Philadelphia Chamber Music Society's undeclared string quartet festival, the St. Lawrence's solicitousness extended beyond an extremely extroverted playing style to body language that, for two members, involved bouncing out of chairs or literally kicking up their heels.
November 9, 2012 |
THE RAREFIED world of classical music is the setting and the intimate "perfect square" of a string quartet the crucible for "A Late Quartet," a melodrama of love, lust, betrayal and Beethoven. It's a quiet film of tempestuous but predictable situations and emotions, a soap opera made watchable by its illustrious cast. Christopher Walken is Peter, the wizened cellist whose early-onset Parkinson's disease throws the famed Fugue Quartet into turmoil. Twenty-five years and 3,000 recitals into their history, things are changing, because "playing for much longer is not in the cards for me. " The maneuvering starts in an instant.