May 8, 2016 |
The Philadelphia Orchestra's two-week John Williams festival ideally balanced the two lives of this hugely well-known, oft-awarded composer - and left you feeling that you knew the personality behind the music. Principal guest conductor Stéphane Denève integrated two Williams concertos into regular subscription concerts - showing how much they do belong there, especially with the deluxe treatment that came with the likes of James Ehnes, who played the Williams Violin Concerto at Thursday at the Kimmel Center with the insights and commitment he brings to better-known repertoire.
May 7, 2016 |
Somehow the words love fest don't cover it. Wednesday's one-night-only concert of John Williams film music by the Philadelphia Orchestra as part of its two-week Williams celebration was bound to be good box office, with an audience exuding good will accumulated from the many popular Stephen Spielberg films that he has scored. But what unfolded at the Kimmel Center was beyond what could have been anticipated. Planned to be two hours long, it went an for an extra half hour, with three encores led by the composer himself, who shared the conducting podium with Stéphane Denève, prompting some of the longest and loudest ovations I've heard at the Kimmel Center.
April 27, 2016 |
If John Williams is an alien presence on traditional symphonic programs, his concertos and overtures are like the friendly UFOs visiting Earth in Close Encounters of the Third Kind : They may not entirely fit in, but that's what makes their presence interesting. The composer has been the consistent musical voice of filmmaker Steven Spielberg for more than 40 years, an association that accounts for many of his 50 Oscar nominations and 22 Grammy Awards. For just as long, though, Williams has been writing classical concert works with an increasing assurance that's likely to be apparent in the Philadelphia Orchestra's John Williams mini-festival, which takes place over the next two weeks at the Kimmel Center.
January 31, 2015 |
In a somewhat unconventional program, Yannick Nézet-Séguin led the Philadelphia Orchestra through the lighter side of Shostakovich - assuming there actually is one. Even when the composer seems to be kidding around, his music hints at something subversive, that the music means much more than it says, and what it says is always dangling out of reach. That's why you want to hear it again. The objects of curiosity Wednesday at the Kimmel Center were Shostakovich's seldom-heard Piano Concerto No. 2 and music for the film The Gadfly - paired with Beethoven's Symphony No. 5 - creating a provocative conclusion to the St. Petersburg Festival that could have been less convincing had performances not been so purposeful.
April 30, 2013 |
Building a symphonic pops program around James Bond film music is fraught with danger, though not in ways thrill-seeking Bond fans might like. Though the John Barry scores to the earlier Bond films could not be more iconic, they also have the dimension of a Hollywood-studio set: Aside from the theme songs, the music introduces the action with a quick, arresting impression and stands back while the film takes care of the rest. So Michael Krajewski, music director-designate of Peter Nero and the Philly Pops, was right to stray from the central concept in his "Bond and Beyond" concert Saturday afternoon at the Kimmel Center.
December 9, 2012
Film New this week: Starlet (*** out of four stars) A young actress working in the porn biz befriends an elderly, isolated woman in this low-key, low-budget indie - a small, nicely observed film with surprising depth. - Steven Rea Music The Who Roger Daltrey and Pete Townshend took the band's most inspired rock opera, 1973's Quadrophenia, stripped away its chatty narrative, and let Townshend's most brutal, poignant songs of youth's wrongs and longings breathe with defiant, if aged, effervescence.
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 24, 2012 |
Was the thunder coming from inside the Gordon Theater on the Rutgers Camden campus or outside amid Saturday night's torrential rain? Both places. Pianist Di Wu, whom Philadelphia audiences know well from her years at the Curtis Institute and Astral Artists, played Rachmaninoff's Piano Concerto No. 2 with Symphony in C in a performance with a shameless taste for musical gestures of tidal wave proportions. Music director Rossen Milanov seemed to challenge her with big-boned phrasing that asked, "Can you top this?"
February 28, 2012 |
Max Raabe is having a most thrilling week. The dapper gentleman responsible for bringing the sounds of German cabaret, dance, and film music of the 1920s and 1930s to stages the world over just played his first show in Dallas. "Growing up in Germany, the only picture I have of this city was through '80s American television shows such as Dallas and Dynasty ," he says with a laugh. Days before the Texas gig, Raabe and his stalwart Palast Orchester played in Los Angeles, where they were greeted backstage by Mel Brooks, the legendary film director whose 1968 comedy classic The Producers featured the outrageously offensive German-themed tune "Springtime for Hitler.
September 24, 2010 |
WHAT DOES little Austin, Texas, have that Philadelphia needs? Until now, a festival celebrating (mostly local) music and alternative films, in the vein of Austin's acclaimed South By Southwest (SXSW). But this weekend, that's changing, as the first Philadelphia Film and Music Festival , going by the equally catchy abbreviation Philly F/M, percolates in numerous locations in Northern Liberties, Fishtown, Manayunk, Old City, University City and along South Street, delivering almost 300 bands (indie, heavy rock, Americana and hip-hop predominate)