December 9, 2012 |
Sergei Rachmaninoff was well past the nervous breakdown that threatened to end his composing life when he finished his Symphony No. 2 . However, this 1907 lush, lyrical, hour-long piece was restored to its monumentally neurotic status in guest conductor Gianandrea Noseda's Friday outing with the Philadelphia Orchestra - in an all-Rachmaninoff program also featuring the debut of pianist Denis Matsuev. In the symphony, rhythms were nervous, almost terrifying. Orchestral choirs were constantly invading from the side door - dramatically poised against the backdrop of the composer's customary orchestral luster.
December 10, 1997 |
For me, Christmas is about sense-memory - mingling aromas of tangerines and pine needles in cold air, the smell of Mom's cookie kitchen-factory, all steamy and buttery. These are the holiday stimulants that most strongly evoke childhood's happiest moments. And of course, there is the music - the glorious performance of The Nutcracker and A Ceremony of Carols that conjure dressing up for first concerts. A touch of Vince Guaraldi and I am back in front of the television for a dose of A Charlie Brown Christmas and a cup of Dutch hot chocolate with my brothers and sisters.
February 19, 1997 |
Three festivals, a spotlight on first-chair musicians and expansion of the popular Classix Live programs will mark the Philadelphia Orchestra's 1997-98 season. Music director Wolfgang Sawallisch, who will lead 12 of the 31 weeks in his fifth season, announced the season yesterday from the Academy stage. He stressed two festivals, centering on Schubert's 200th birthday year and three January programs featuring eight principal players. Assistant conductor Andre Raphel Smith mentioned the third festival, "African-American Traditions," featuring Hannibal's colorful "African Portraits.
February 19, 1997 |
In an unprecedented plan, 14 orchestra members will be soloists with the Philadelphia Orchestra next season, music director Wolfgang Sawallisch said yesterday in announcing details of the 1997-98 season. Under poster-sized photographs of orchestra members, which hung over the stage at the Academy of Music, Sawallisch unveiled plans for a three-week festival of concertos next January that will feature many of the principal players he has engaged in his five years as music director.
January 17, 1995 |
Dutch conductor Hans Vonk will become music director of the St. Louis Symphony Orchestra at the start of the 1996-97 season, the symphony announced yesterday. Vonk will succeed Leonard Slatkin, who will leave the post after the 1995-96 season to lead the National Symphony Orchestra in Washington. Vonk, who will conduct the Philadelphia Orchestra in concerts this week, flew to St. Louis from Philadelphia for the announcement yesterday, cutting short a rehearsal of Richard Wernick's Symphony No. 2, which will be premiered Thursday at the Academy of Music.
October 3, 1992 |
To paraphrase poet W.H. Auden: You don't have to see the results of a person's livelihood to know if his profession is indeed his calling. You can tell even as he approaches his work "from the look on his face. " I couldn't see Hans Vonk's face Thursday night when he led the Philadelphia Orchestra in the Bruckner Symphony No. 6 in A major. But I'm sure the Dutch conductor had what Auden calls that rapt "eye on the object" look - for the music issuing forth under his waving arms spoke of conviction, of a passionate belief.
September 26, 1992 |
The trumpet has sounded through much of composer Donald Erb's music, naturally enough, since he began his musical life as a trumpeter. In his Concerto for Brass and Orchestra which had its local premiere Thursday in the Philadelphia Orchestra's concert at the Academy of Music, the trumpet is again the spokesman, the referee and probably the most rounded character in the busy and sometimes risible drama of the music. The work was the centerpiece of the concert conducted by Hans Vonk.
February 24, 1992 |
The Philadelphia Orchestra will premiere three commissioned works next season as it plays its interim year without a music director. Wolfgang Sawallisch, music director-designate, and Riccardo Muti, conductor laureate, will each conduct four weeks of the subscription series in spring 1993, and Sawallisch will lead the orchestra on a three-week Asian tour in May and early June. Sawallisch also will conduct the opening gala Sept. 15, 1992, when pianist Emanuel Ax will be soloist in the Beethoven Concerto No. 5 and a "Come and Meet the Music" concert, March 15, 1993.
February 12, 1991 |
The "unplayable music" that thrice defeated the Philadelphia Orchestra was finally performed in its entirety here over the weekend, thanks to conductor Gunther Schuller's indomitable desire to play it. But its six-year saga had a curiously inconclusive ending. Schuller and a 50-member string orchestra played Milton Babbitt's Transfigured Notes in concerts Friday and Saturday at Jordan Hall of the New England Conservatory of Music. The concerts had the air of an epochal event, a sense (encouraged by Schuller)