December 21, 2009 |
After beating the last notes of The Nutcracker on Friday night, Pennsylvania Ballet music director Beatrice Jona Affron got up on stage to take a bow with the dancers, gestured to the orchestra pit, and directed applause to the musicians. But many were already packing up, and few, if any, looked up to acknowledge what everyone else in the room seemed to know: that Tchaikovsky's score is perhaps this work's primary source of magic. "Music," Balanchine said, "is the floor we dance on. " And yet in the case of this Pennsylvania Ballet production, running through Dec. 31, it's the weak spot.
August 26, 2009 |
To 3 1/2 decades of Philadelphia Orchestra listeners, he was the mysterious Swan of Tuonela, the soul of serenity in Dvor?k's "New World" Symphony. Louis Rosenblatt, 81, an English hornist of unfailing equanimity and expressivity, died Monday at Abington Memorial Hospital after enduring several bouts of cancer, said his wife, Renate. English hornists begin life as oboists, and it was so for Mr. Rosenblatt, whose destiny with the more throaty member of the oboe family seemed more like the instrument's pursuit of him than the other way around.
April 29, 2005 |
Anybody who has spent time in the theater knows about production numbers choreographed around a star with great presence but limited mobility. Scenery, chorines and lighting effects swirl about, but at the core, not much is happening. Though rather higher on the artistic food chain, composer Nicholas Maw attempted something similar in his English Horn Concerto, which had a muted world premiere Wednesday by the Philadelphia Orchestra. Despite the composer's restless sense of invention, this new work commissioned for the orchestra's English hornist Elizabeth Starr Masoudnia seemed to fool few. The compositional voice one has come to love from Maw's Violin Concerto and the opera Sophie's Choice was there in full, and that alone made the piece hugely welcome.
April 22, 2005 |
A world premiere is rare, and one for an English horn soloist even rarer. But after 10 seasons as a superb practitioner of the instrument for the Philadelphia Orchestra, Elizabeth Starr Masoudnia will come center stage for the English Horn Concerto by British-born composer Nicholas Maw. It's all in the family, as the orchestra's assistant conductor, Rossen Milanov, also will lead one of my favorite works, the rhapsodic "Walk to the Paradise Garden"...
March 2, 1999 |
French impressionism molded the chamber music by various Philadelphia Orchestra musicians and guests Sunday afternoon at the Academy of Music ballroom. Francaix, Ravel, Poulenc and Debussy were the choices in this single program that balanced song and taxing instrumental works. It may not be fruitful to trace parallels between these composers and the wildly popular impressionist painters on constant tour. Technical brilliance is a characteristic shared by all, but emphasis, sources and influences seem difficult - or futile - to match.
August 4, 1996 |
Symphonie Fantastique is a great way to open a season. It's the apex of musical storytelling. It's the apex of musical autobiography: Berlioz's quest for his mortal beloved (Harriet Smithson) turned into a tonal nightmare. Woodwinds screech and violins are beaten with their own sticks during the finale, in which the beloved has become a murderous, sluttish shrew. Bassoons make a jumbled frenzied caricature of the once lovely tune with which the flute first defined her; basses work overtime; four sets of kettle drums bang out the climaxes.
March 9, 1996 |
Relache has worn serious, even angry faces in performance, but for its midwinter concerts, the ensemble's music was grinning ear to ear. The group offered three premieres in its program last night at the Independence Seaport Museum, all of them aglow with high spirit and underlaid with humor. The ensemble has explored many kinds of contemporary work, but a few years ago found its niche in music which is akin to jazz. Its composers propose intriguing frameworks within which the players can improvise and expand.
February 24, 1996 |
Other than the occasional snippet here and there rising out of the orchestral texture, solo English horn is a rare bird. Elizabeth Starr, the Philadelphia Orchestra's new solo English hornist, gave a close-up glimpse of the alto member of the oboe family Wednesday night in a recital at the Philadelphia Art Alliance. The concert, part of a series that highlights the orchestra's newest members, featured two works written for English horn, and three others originally written for other instruments.
January 28, 1992 |
Orchestra 2001's concert Sunday afternoon at the University of the Arts' Laurie Wagman Hall provided a homecoming of sorts for Ann Hobson Pilot, the Philadelphian who has been principal harpist of the Boston Symphony since 1980. A trio from the harp repertory - Ravel's Introduction and Allegro, William Grant Still's Ennanga and Walter Piston's Fantasy for English Horn, Harp and Strings - formed the core of the program, which was nicely balanced with recent music by Thomas Whitman and James Matheson.
December 31, 1991 |
Rhadames Angelucci, 76, a member of a musically gifted South Philadelphia family who went west to become principal oboist with the Minnesota Orchestra, died Sunday at St. Mary's Hospital in Minneapolis. Mr. Angelucci was one of three sons of a French-horn player who went through the Curtis Institute of Music and found careers with major American orchestras: His brother Adelchi played bassoon in the Philadelphia Orchestra, and Ernani played French horn in the Cleveland Orchestra.