December 12, 2005 |
Rest cures are needed this time of year for the ear-clogging effects of repetitive Christmas music. How many times can you hear "Have Yourself a Merry Little Christmas" without wanting to move into a cave until Easter? Trio Mediaeval's concert on Friday at St. Mark's Church was a more expedient way to go. The three Scandinavian women sang medieval music without accompaniment - and sometimes with the individual members scattered around the church. This was their first Philadelphia appearance, filling the void left by the popular, semi-retired, female early-music group Anonymous 4. Trio Mediaeval doesn't fill a church's acoustics as diaphanously as Anonymous 4, and on Friday, they sounded a bit tour-weary - the giveaway being phrase endings that sounded clipped and occasionally droopy.
December 1, 1997 |
When Harry Fisher speaks of his love for old music, he's not talking about Bob Dylan's acoustic period. You have to go back before that . . . waaaaay back. Like the 12th century. Very old music. Ancient music. Hence Musica Antiqua, the name of Fisher's group. The group has an unusually extensive repertoire of medieval music - the haunting, and highly improvisatory music of the Middle Ages, going back to the times of the Crusades, Sherwood Forest, Richard the Lion-Hearted and his evil brother John.
March 24, 2000 |
Fear for their eyesight. Trefoil, a hearty trio of medieval-music specialists performing at 8 p.m. tonight at Old St. Joseph's Church, aren't just singing some of the most intricate vocal music ever written: They are reading it off deeply enigmatic original notation. Some notes are square, others diamond shaped, and they're in all sorts of colors. Making matters more difficult, the vocal lines are, in one instance, strung decoratively around an etching of a harp. "It urges you to grope, to make music in a different way," said countertenor Drew Minter, who formed the group last summer with two of his students, Marcia Young and Philadelphia-based Mark Rimple.
December 21, 1989 |
Gifts of Christmas music are certain hits, but nothing is harder than choosing the right discs. The choice reflects the buyer's feelings about the holiday as much as the buyer's hopes about how the music will be received and used. Several kinds of music have grown around Christmas. There is deeply religious music inherent to the holiday - a Mass, an oratorio, a sacred service. For the devout, the range of records is vast. But for many, Christmas music is part of the season's atmosphere, an addition to the festive symbols of trees and decorations, candles and ribbon.
March 26, 1988 |
The two roles choruses have played through the centuries were combined by the Choral Arts Society in its concert last night at the Academy of Music. Choruses have traditionally been the voice of the people in church music, and, increasingly, the voice of vernacular interests in this century. Half of the ensemble's program was drawn from music based on religious texts or sacred expression, and the second half from settings of Whitman to spoken texts and music in praise of music itself.
June 21, 1995 |
Nobody needed a crystal ball to guess that the Three Tenors would sell. But what record mogul could have predicted the classical chartbusters of the last three years: "Chant," the Spanish monks' medieval music (EMI); "Vision," the anthems of Hildegard von Bingen, souped up with rhythm tracks (EMI); and the lugubrious Third Symphony by the obscure Polish composer Henryk Gorecki (Nonesuch). There's only so much you can do to schmaltz up the merchandising of one more Brahms' First Symphony.
April 12, 1996 |
Viola da gamba and banjo? Recorder and jaw harp? If these combinations sound like instrumental non sequiturs, you've probably not met Scott Reiss. In Reiss' world, musical borders don't exist except in the minds of the imaginatively challenged. Which is why he founded Hesperus, the three-musician ensemble that blends Renaissance music with Appalachian folk tunes, moves deftly from the written note to improvisation, and marries about 40 musical instruments from around the world.
November 3, 1994 |
In the 11th and 12th centuries, Christians, Jews and Muslims gathered in the medieval castles of Spain to hear songs and stories of saints, martyrs and citizens. On Saturday night, the medieval ensemble Altramar hopes to capture that feeling of unity by bringing music from the Spanish Golden Age to the Trinity Episcopal Church in Swarthmore. "There was a lot of cultural interaction taking place between the years 1000 and about 1220," said Chris Smith of the Bloomington, Ind., ensemble.
January 26, 1990 |
Riccardo Muti is back from Milan to conduct the Philadelphia Orchestra this weekend, but if your budget's shot, the Orchestra Society of Philadelphia is having a free concert Sunday. Muti's program at the Academy of Music this afternoon at 2 and tomorrow night at 8 includes a familiar piano concerto and overture as well as two rarely-heard showpieces. Romanian pianist Radu Lupu is the guest artist. He'll be performing the evergreen Grieg Piano Concerto. The concert opener is another audience favorite, Berlioz' bursting "Roman Carnival" Overture, the kind of spectacular that shows off the orchestra's brilliance.
June 14, 2010
Here's something not seen every day: a candidate running for office on a platform of vowing to wipe the office out of existence, and then resign. Meet John Kromer, a potential candidate for Philadelphia sheriff next spring. With Sheriff John Green's announcement that he will vacate the job, would-be sheriffs are working to whip up support for their candidacies. They include State Rep. Jewel Williams of North Philadelphia and Rodney Little, president of the Fraternal Order of Housing Police.