November 4, 1999 |
Tonight, the Academy of Music is hosting an unusual reunion. No, not between conductor Riccardo Chailly and the Philadelphia Orchestra. The 46-year-old Italian, well out of the blocks in the race for the Philadelphians' music director post, is only too happy to return to an orchestra he says he "loves with a great deal of passion. " The reunion is between Gustav Mahler and Edgard Varese. These two composers seem unlikely bedfellows at best. Mahler is the quintessential late Romantic, known for large-scale symphonies that call for massive instrumental forces, testing the limits of the conventional orchestra.
June 15, 2001 |
Alma Mahler (Sarah Wynter) wears a stunning red gown at the beginning of Bride of the Wind. By the end - some 17 years later in this very pretty, very shallow biopic - she's wearing a stunning blue gown. In between, the famed dame of early-20th-century Vienna marries composer Gustav Mahler, seduces painter Oskar Kokoschka, beguiles architect Walter Gropius and novelist Franz Werfel, befriends the artist Gustav Klimt, and gives birth to several children. But the woman who was muse, mother, and a musician in her own right remains no more than a striking beauty with a couple of drop-dead dresses.
July 23, 2001 |
IN ITS FINAL week in the PNC Concert Series at the Mann, the Philadelphia Orchestra is offering a Broadway evening, Finnish greats, and a mighty closing concert before heading to Saratoga, N.Y. Tonight One of America's finest singers, soprano Dawn Upshaw, will lavish her gorgeous voice on Broadway music favoritesby Copland, Bernstein, Sondheim, the Gershwins ("Someone To Watch Over Me") and more. David Alan Miller conducts this season must. Wednesday One of the orchestra's regular guests, Spanish conductor Rafael Fruhbeck de Burgos, takes the podium for the final two concerts.
February 13, 2008 |
The mark of a good Carl Nielsen performance is an experience fraught with paradox: The more you take it in, the less you understand it. Therefore, saying that Nielsen's Symphony No. 3 was hearteningly enigmatic at Monday's Kimmel Center performance by the Curtis Symphony Orchestra means it may be one of the best readings of the piece you'll ever hear. Conducted by Alan Gilbert (the New York Philharmonic director-designate and a Curtis alumnus), the orchestra played with all of its strengths at full throttle - meticulous control at softer volumes, wall-of-sound fortissimos and the willingness to realize what the conductor wants, unfiltered by some eternal institutional history (being students, they don't have one)
February 9, 2014 |
Based in the high-traffic musical world of London, conductor Vladimir Jurowski has the freedom to devise unconventional programs that can be heard as provocative studies in musical incongruity. What might J.S. Bach have in common with Gustav Mahler and Richard Strauss? Besides the obvious fact that Bach is pretty much the basis of everything after 1750? Such was the program Jurowski conducted with the Philadelphia Orchestra on Friday afternoon, which was, typical of him, played with an ultra-clear-eyed vision but, in this case, left you scratching your head.
November 12, 2005 |
The mythology of Gustav Mahler is still in a state of evolution, and that has a lot to do with how his Symphony No. 6 is heard and played. Though the symphony has long been a specialty of Christoph Eschenbach, he conducted it for the first time with the Philadelphia Orchestra on Thursday at the Kimmel Center, and not in ways I would have expected. The old view of Mahler has him haunted with boyhood aspirations to become a martyr and, later on, composing gargantuan symphonies as if being seized in a scruff-of-the-neck creative frenzy that ended only after many long movements requiring hundreds of performers were finished.
February 28, 1989 |
The Al in Gus and Al is a playwright named Albert Innaurato. He is fat and 40 and from South Philly, and he is going through a traumatic midlife crisis, which is caused by the fact that his plays keep getting panned. The resemblance to the real Albert Innaurato is, in a word, inescapable. The play is so personal that you hate to look, although Innaurato does his level best to make it fun. It has been mounted in the 75-seat studio theater at Off-Broadway's prestigious Playwrights Horizons.
December 31, 2004 |
After the Philadelphia Orchestra's Broadway-based sellout concert tonight led by Rob Fisher, the focus shifts into a much deeper world. Its four-concert "Late Great Works Festival" explores the passion of seven great composers in the final months - sometimes days - of their turbulent and often tragic lives. Some of these works are virtual signatures of their creator's souls, as these masters pondered the mysteries of life through their musical language. Led by Christoph Eschenbach, the festival begins Thursday with the last completed symphony by Gustav Mahler, his Ninth.
February 17, 1990 |
Novelist Somerset Maugham once had a character say that whenever he observed a grieving woman, he detected an element of insincerity to the genuine pain. This female reviewer pardons the sexist remark in order to explain similar feelings about Gustav Mahler. The man loves his suffering so much, the music strikes one as having a layer of insincerity to it. This is not to diminish the composer's gargantuan gifts - and gift for the gargantuan - which the Philadelphia Orchestra put on display yesterday afternoon at the Academy of Music.
January 23, 1993 |
Mozart and Mahler were the offerings of James DePreist and the Philadelphia Orchestra Thursday at the Academy of Music - well, not exactly Mahler. At his death Mahler left two of the five movements of the Symphony No. 10 in nearly full score, and the rest of the composition in varying states of completion. This performance version was completed in 1976 by English musicologist Deryck Cooke. There is no question, Cooke wrote in his estimable handbook Gustav Mahler: An Introduction to His Music (Cambridge University Press)