March 19, 1990 |
Everything has a downside, and the downside of our foretaste of spring was apparent Friday evening at Old Pine Street Church, where the Philadelphia Chamber Ensemble had to fight a muggy and oppressive atmosphere that sapped energy, shortened attention, muffled tone and warped intonation. Behind all that lay one of the ensemble's characteristically adventurous programs. Only one mainstream composer was included, and he was represented by an out-of-the-way corner of his output. That was the seldom-heard Trio in B flat for clarinet, cello and piano by Beethoven, masterfully played into the dull air by Donald Montanaro, Sang-Min Park and Kiyoko Takeuti.
February 2, 1990 |
It's a wonder how nimble-fingered Jay Ansill makes such elegant art from such simple materials. The cover of his brand-new Flying Fish album "Origami" displays Ansill's knack for turning a single, flat piece of paper into a nifty sculptural representation. The paper miniatures include a harp player, a fiddler, a guitar picker, a cellist and a pianist - all clues to the sounds that lie within. Now 28, the Philadelphia-born-and-bred Ansill has been practicing the Japanese art of origami paper folding since second grade, he says, and playing almost as long.
November 5, 1988 |
Flutist Carol Wincenc and harpist Nancy Allen emphasized the theatrical and the dramatic at Haverford College last night in a concert that let them show off their strengths as soloists and as a pair of musically sensitive colleagues. Virtuoso solos - Faure's Impromptu (Op. 86) for harp; Debussy's Syrinx for flute - were scattered among duets such as Bartok's Rumanian Folk Dances. Yet at the heart of the informal and feisty program was a musical and meditative piece - George Rochberg's Slow Fires of Autumn, written in memory of his son and inspired by a trip to Japan.
October 13, 1988 |
My friend Ron begged me not to tell you about McNally's Tavern because, as he put it, "Then everyone would know about it and that would spoil things. " I thanked Ron for the implicit compliment, but reminded him that people outside of Chestnut Hill have a right to know about McNally's, too. On the surface, neighborhood taverns and Chestnut Hill would seem as odd a combo as espadrilles and Fishtown. But Chestnut Hill has two good ones, Campbell's and McNally's. Today we'll sample McNally's.
July 16, 1988 |
Summer music is obvious, plain and loud, the stereotypical formula explains, in order to be heard in outdoor settings. The Philadelphia Orchestra moved against that formula last night when it presented its soloists at the Mann Music Center in music that was intimate, quiet and far from obvious. Riccardo Muti was conducting his final concert of the summer season, working with flutists James Galway and Murray Panitz and harpist Marilyn Costello. Galway and Costello played the Mozart Flute and Harp Concerto and Galway and Panitz played Cimarosa's Concerto in G for two flutes.
July 15, 1988 |
James Galway and principal harpist Marilyn Costello pair up tonight for Mozart's Concerto in C for Flute and Harp with the Philadelphia Orchestra at the Mann Music Center. Galway also will team up with Philadelphia Orchestra principal Murray Panitz in Cimarosa's Concerto in G for Two Flutes and Orchestra. That is promising teamwork, indeed. Both principals deserve the spotlight, which it nevertheless is generous of Galway to share. Adding to tonight's potential is the fact that Riccardo Muti conducts.
June 13, 1988 |
George Crumb's Federico's Little Songs for Children (1986) does not extend the territory of this major American colorist. But it takes a tiny piece of the literature so important to the composer - poetry by Federico Garcia Lorca - and with a superb confidence and economy of means captures the scent of childhood. Seven brief settings make up Federico's Little Songs for Children, which was composed in 1986 for the Jubal Trio. Typically, the music skirts Crumb's fearful borders of fantasy, but in this smaller piece there is a big dollop of humor thanks to the senorita seeking a husband in the first song, and the little boy's silly wishes in the seventh.
May 11, 1988 |
STROKING THE STRINGS of her harp is musician Joan Witte of Mount Holly, a member of the recently formed Washington Township Community Arts Orchestra. The orchestra will perform in the Renaissance Room of the Sons of Italy Lodge on Fries Mill Road Sunday. For information, call Sal Acerba at 629-1818.
April 19, 1988 |
The harp provided the focus for the latest concert by 1807 and Friends at the Center City YMHA last night - an actual harp in the first half of the program, and the idea of the harp in the second. Margarita Csonka provided the real harp, opening with Ned Rorem's 1975 Book of Hours, a suite of eight brief mood pieces named after the eight traditional services of the monastic office. Csonka and flutist David Cramer supplied an impeccable performance, but Rorem, usually so reliably serviceable a composer, must have been nodding in this case, for the piece left little to remember beyond the performers' flying fingers.
August 30, 1987 |
Last week, we directed you south to Argentina to see the penguins. This week, we have a northern trip to visit another cold-climate animal that everybody loves: the baby harp seal. Now that Canadian hunters are no longer clubbing the cuddly seals into fur coats, the way is clear for travelers to pet the pups. And the International Fund for Animal Welfare is trying to replace the fur industry on Prince Edward Island with a winter tourist industry so that the clubbing will never resume.