September 29, 2000 |
Unintentional, perhaps, was the way in which Orchestra 2001 paid tribute to Aaron Copland Wednesday night. They set out to honor the 100th anniversary of the American icon's birth - coming Nov. 14 - with a sturdy performance of the 13-instrument version of Appalachian Spring. But even before they could get to it, Richard Danielpour's First Light for chamber orchestra announced its debt to Copland through conciliatory, even loving, gestures. Danielpour, who teaches at the Curtis Institute of Music and is riding a wave of popularity at the moment, also knit into the 1988 work considerable violence heightened by the snug acoustics of the Trinity Center for Urban Life - percussion violence, mostly, that was jarring.
September 28, 2009 |
If it were your job to find a new friend for classical music - say, someone from the pop-culture side of the fence who could bring in more friends - Alec Baldwin might not be your first pick. The actor seems to be in a good place now, what with a second shiny statue for his work on 30 Rock. And yet something about him - his recurrent bad-boy routine perhaps? - makes him an unlikely hero in the service of a delicate, perpetually fretting artform. But classical music has a way of picking its acolytes, as Baldwin found out. One minute, he's listening to Charles Dutoit lead the Philadelphia Orchestra in Carnegie Hall; the next he's standing in front of an orchestra himself.
February 10, 1996 |
Programming an entire evening of folk song, as the Philadelphia Singers did last night at Holy Trinity Church, is certainly casting a wide net. It's hard to think of a composer in the last 200 years who hasn't tangled with folk song at some point. The 30-member group and its director, David Hayes, found examples from England, France, Germany and America - all melodious, many familiar, most of fairly high quality. Nearly everyone can hum some folk song. Who hasn't heard, for example, "Simple Gifts," which Copland used in his Five Old American Songs?
December 10, 2014 |
A sweet-tempered program of old favorites? That's what the Curtis Chamber Orchestra appeared to have in store for its Philadelphia Chamber Music Society concert on Friday. But the program was actually a musical minefield - pieces much loved on recordings but rarely slotted comfortably into concerts with limited rehearsal. Surely, Copland's Appalachian Spring couldn't fall into that category, could it? Yes - the suite that was played at the Kimmel Center's Perelman Theater was in the original orchestration for 13 instruments, created when the composer was still calling the piece Ballet for Martha (as in Graham)
December 3, 2011 |
Classical warhorse repertoire needs to be programmed with the utmost care so as not to wind up in the glue factory - Dvorak's Symphony No. 9 ("New World") being a case in point. Though hardly the composer's best (that distinction falls to Symphony No. 7 ), the second-movement tune made it the victim of its own product placement in any number of commercials and films. Will we ever hear it with fresh ears? The Philadelphia Orchestra's guest conductor, Marin Alsop, gave the piece an optimum platform Thursday at the Kimmel Center by placing it alongside its grandchildren.
January 22, 2015 |
Only recently graduated from the Curtis Institute of Music, soprano Sarah Shafer has the luxury of a sympathetic local following for a voice that hasn't evolved to the point that it can keep up with her musical appetite. The recital Shafer chose for the Philadelphia Chamber Music Society on Tuesday at the American Philosophical Society was the sort that singers dream about delivering, with six song groups in four languages and all from different musical generations. Encompassing that had her pushing her voice in ways that sometimes sacrificed tone, diction, and pitch accuracy.
April 11, 1994 |
In giving Toby Olson's novel Dorit in Lesbos another life as an opera, it might have been possible to turn Dorit into a hysterical melodrama on the order of Elektra. The story, a look into the tangled relationships people make for themselves, is rife with powerful conflict. But Paul Epstein's music for the chamber opera, performed Friday by Temple University Opera Theater, went a long way in determining an emotional tone that was surely unsettling, yet never raised its voice above gentleness.
March 14, 1992 |
It does no good to mourn for a program not played, but the Philadelphia Orchestra, scrambling to substitute for a convalescing Wolfgang Sawallisch, replaced his intriguing program with a conventional one. Before he had to cancel because of surgery, music director-designate Sawallisch had planned the orchestra's first performances ever of Beethoven's Prometheus ballet and what would have been his first public thoughts about Copland's music....
November 3, 2012 |
Dance wends its way through the four pieces on the Philadelphia Orchestra's present program led by Giancarlo Guerrero - bolero, the Charleston, and Martha Graham. No actual dancers appear, but movement and stories are left behind - as in an elegant reading of Appalachian Spring , the 1945 version of the piece Copland first called Ballet for Martha . Thursday night in Verizon Hall, the winds (flutist David Cramer, oboist Peter Smith, clarinetist Ricardo Morales) were vehicles of sincerity and simplicity.
September 16, 2001 |
In an emotional roller-coasting event, the Philadelphia Orchestra's memorial concert scheduled for tonight will include the Fanfare for the Common Man of Copland, the funereal Adagio for Strings by Barber, and the ever-inspirational Pat Croce leading "America the Beautiful. " These works, among others, were chosen as balm for a nation grieving for the estimated 5,000 victims who are dead or missing after last week's terrorist attacks. Proceeds from the concert, whose time has been changed to 7 p.m., will go to the American Red Cross and the Twin Towers Emergency Fund, a drive established by Philadelphia's Police and Fire commissioners and the police and firefighters' unions to benefit families of New York emergency workers who died.