March 29, 2015 |
After the bold individualism in his Philadelphia Orchestra program last weekend, conductor Gianandrea Noseda's Mahler Symphony No. 5 Thursday night arrived with high expectations. Audiences come to this piece loaded for bear, spiritually speaking. Its "Adagietto" is nothing if not classical music's great inspirational altarpiece. Noseda, though, was doggedly earthbound (his eyes often score-bound). His was a rather objective view. He passed over chances for wrenching moments of transition in the first movement, and led the "Adagietto" with momentum held in higher esteem than spiritualism.
February 26, 2015 |
The world is impossible to imagine without Mahler's Symphony No. 4 , though its well-deserved ubiquity didn't stop Chamber Orchestra of Philadelphia from indulging in amiably quixotic time travel back to when Mahler approved a parlor-size reduction, perhaps because options for hearing the large-orchestra version were limited. The 12-musician version - not counting the conductor or vocal soloists in the final movement - was made by Arnold Schoenberg's student Erwin Stein for strings, winds, percussion, piano, and harmonium - in a program that included a 14-string version of Schoenberg's challenging Verklarte Nacht . The concert was pleasing and never embarrassing (as the Mahler could have been)
November 2, 2014 |
Unless he had monitored his audience's vital signs just before the end of Mahler's Symphony No. 2 , Philadelphia Orchestra conductor Yannick Nézet-Séguin could hardly have predicted the emotional fever that greeted the final ecstatic chords at the Kimmel Center on Thursday. The sense of release at the end of 90 minutes of Mahler's incremental structuring almost guarantees a momentous response, but this performance made its effect on emotional terms as well as on orchestral virtuosity.
October 8, 2014 |
When H. John Henry was a boy in Erie, Pa., his family owned an ice-cream shop. "My father made all the ice cream, and it was all great," the Camden resident, 80, recalls. "One day I'd have some vanilla, and the next day, maybe I'd have some maple walnut. That's kind of what my life has been. A taste of this, a taste of that. " That's not the half of it. Henry graduated from Penn, served in the Air Force, and sold Bibles door-to-door before becoming active in downtown Camden's artsy community of the late 1960s.
November 6, 2013 |
After Mahler, Jewish composers never turned back. In earlier times, from Mendelssohn's symphonic rigor to Offenbach's comic lyricism, Jewish composers had little sense of collective identity. But the arrival of folk and ethnic music as a basis for large-scale classical works in Mahler's time allowed a new kind of voice. It was readily identifiable in numerous guises on Sunday at Network for New Music's concert "Songs of Promise. " Jewish American composers - Richard Wernick, Daniel Asia, George Rochberg, Shulamit Ran, and Philip Maneval offered music as eager to challenge as it was to communicate.
May 6, 2013 |
A concert or a sports victory? The Philadelphia Orchestra performance on Friday felt like the latter at the close of the Mahler Symphony No. 1 , with each of the principal players being cheered like Olympic gold-medal winners, the biggest applause being reserved for music director Yannick Nézet-Séguin. Though Bach's St. Matthew Passion was his greatest artistic feat so far this season, this Mahler concert was perhaps Nézet-Séguin's biggest audience success - in a symphony that can more or less play itself, but is hardly fail-safe.
November 12, 2012 |
Above all else, she makes a beautiful sound. Some singers are willing to forgo sound quality to put emotion behind a text. But in her Friday-night recital for the Philadelphia Chamber Music Society at the Perelman Theater, mezzo-soprano Bernarda Fink swathed story after story in an unfailingly civilized tone. Argentinean with Slovenian roots, Fink has the twin virtues of richness and clarity. Often it was impossible to separate her polish from that of her pianist, Anthony Spiri. In the fourth in a set of Schumann songs on texts by Nikolaus Lenau, "The Herdsgirl," Fink's sound was nearly indistinguishable from Spiri's right hand, so neatly matched were they in pitch and color.
April 24, 2012 |
Many a demographic is super-served throughout the year on the Philadelphia film festival calendar. Cineastes with particular interests are catered to by the Latin American, Jewish, Terror, Gay & Lesbian, Science, Asian American and Animation film festivals, among others, not to mention the overarching Philadelphia Film Festival, which will take place in October this year. Add another group of movie buffs to the list: music fans. Starting this week, the inaugural XPN Music Film Festival will take place in University City, with 20 movies screening, mostly at the Annenberg Center on the University of Pennsylvania campus.
March 16, 2012 |
Morris Goldman, 93, formerly of West Mount Airy, a cofounder of the Orchestra Society of Philadelphia, died Saturday, Feb. 11, of respiratory failure at the University of Wisconsin Hospital in Madison. Former Inquirer music critic Daniel Webster described the society in a 1996 report as "one of the city's noncommercial treasures. " Mr. Goldman's son, Robert, said in an interview that his father "had an abiding love of classical music," though he had no formal training after high school.
November 17, 2011 |
As the 19th century hurried to a close, European composers seemed driven to fill its last years with song. Angelika Kirchschlager underlined that point in her recital Tuesday with pianist Warren Jones at the Perelman Theater. Almost their entire program was drawn from those closing years in songs by Brahms, Hugo Wolf, Mahler, and Reynaldo Hahn that showed both a cohesive tradition and energized prospects for change. Tracing such intangibles is not the strength of many singers, but with this mezzo-soprano each song seemed important in itself and also as a pylon marking some intricate shift in an imposing stylistic continuum.