March 13, 2016
Special live broadcast: 2-4 p.m. Sunday on WRTI-FM (90.1): More than 400 singers and Philadelphia Orchestra musicians fill the stage and the Conductor's Circle, as Yannick Nézet-Séguin marshals these tremendous forces in a performance of Mahler's Symphony No. 8, "Symphony of a Thousand. "
March 13, 2016 |
Always mighty, often amazing, the Mahler Symphony No. 8 unfolded Thursday with somewhat less than the supposed thousand musicians for whom the piece was ideally conceived. But you wouldn't have wanted more than the Philadelphia Orchestra's 420 singers and instrumentalists, who made as much sound as the Kimmel Center's Verizon Hall could hold. The first of four sold-out performances that promised to be (and were) the season's highlight, the event commemorated the 100th anniversary of the orchestra's U.S. premiere of the Mahler 8th under Leopold Stokowski.
March 6, 2016
Summer Music. It's March - in other words, not too early to be thinking about Marlboro Music, the musicians' retreat in Vermont. The cloistered gathering is less a programmed festival than a chance to overhear what about 80 resident artists have been working on. Pianist Mitsuko Uchida is director, and this year's composer-in-residence is Sofia Gubaidulina. You never know what artists and repertoire will appear on concerts, but that's part of the experience. This year, there are 12 concerts between July 16 and Aug. 14. Information: 215-569-4690 or www.marlboromusic.org . - Peter Dobrin A thousand voices sing.
February 14, 2016 |
Completion without finality is the curious fate of the Mozart Requiem . Left unfinished at the composer's deathbed, this touchstone choral work has been the ultimate unfinished masterpiece - which hasn't stopped many from trying, over the centuries. The latest completion, by Gregory Spears, is also among the boldest. It will be performed Thursday at St. Clement's Church by Seraphic Fire, the Florida-based choral group. "It doesn't pretend to be what it can never be. We will only get Mozart's music from Mozart," says Seraphic Fire artistic director Patrick Dupre Quigley.
February 3, 2016 |
For classical music geeks growing up in the post-'60s artistic tumult (at least, for one geek for whom I can personally vouch), grappling with the avant-garde meant hour after hour replaying the same LP: Berio's Sinfonia . Born of the progress and discord of the late 1960s, the Sinfonia was as much a journey inward — how does one test intellectual curiosity? — as an abrasive inquiry into where we were as a society. Where were we then, and where are we today? And what do music students make of it now?
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.