March 27, 2010 |
Few composers so readily lend themselves to immersion experiences as J.S. Bach. In contrast to chronological Beethoven cycles that often feel like a musical diary, Bach's Six Partitas From Clavier-?bung I - played Thursday at the American Philosophical Society by Lithuanian pianist Andrius Zlabys - show one of Western civilization's most artistically inventive minds repeatedly exploring a formal idea. But as much as they also create an unusually satisfying six-pack, they felt somewhat compromised when shoehorned into the single evening presented by the Philadelphia Chamber Music Society.
June 8, 1992 |
The winds of the orchestra provide a pastoral background for the lark- violin in Ralph Vaughan Williams' The Lark Ascending, played yesterday afternoon by the Concerto Soloists Chamber Orchestra of Philadelphia at the Church of the Holy Trinity on Rittenhouse Square. Flute, oboe, clarinet and horn tended to their solos with an ease and joy that has characterized much of the group's solo playing this year. But while playing without a conductor, as they often do, the Concerto Soloists also achieved something in this, the last concert of the year, that is a rarity for them - a unity of sound and agreement on interpretation throughout the ensemble.
March 19, 1987 |
Halftime at Archbishop Kennedy High School, and the minds and bodies of 13 girls fused into a synchronized servant of music and meter. As the boys' basketball team headed for the locker room, Kennedy's varsity cheerleading team ran onto the court. There, the girls prepared - as they did at every home basketball game this past season - for the Eastern Pennsylvania Cheerleading Invitational tournament that will be held Saturday at Pennsylvania State University's Ogontz Campus in Abington.
July 10, 1995 |
The boss is back in town. Wolfgang Sawallisch, the Philadelphia Orchestra's music director, has jetted in from Europe to make his first-ever appearances at the Mann Music Center. He'll lead all three concerts in this fifth PNC Bank summer concert series, with six of the nine works also traveling on the orchestra's European festival tour in late August. We'll get a first look at another Munich native, violinist and newly appointed first concertmaster Erez Ofer, who makes a special appearance this week (though he doesn't officially replace acting concertmaster William de Pasquale until the European tour)
March 25, 2000 |
David Robertson makes no secret of how happy he is to be with the Philadelphia Orchestra. The guest conductor all but skipped off the stage, bear-hugged violin soloist Nikolaj Znaider, tossed his almost-blond hair around, and smiled as if it were his birthday party. "He's from Santa Monica," said one of the matinee ladies Friday at the Academy of Music, perhaps by way of explanation. Everyone seemed charmed. Good thing, too, because the program he inherited from the canceled Franz-Welser Moest visit is less than charming, even if it adds up to an enlightening cross-section of music from pre-World War II Europe: Kurt Weill's 1929 Threepenny Opera suite, Shostakovich's 1939 Symphony No. 6 and - in Robertson's addition to the program - Prokofiev's 1939 Violin Concerto No. 2. What the program didn't add up to was a clear artistic profile of the 41-year-old Robertson, who is being eyed for the music directorship of the orchestra.
March 30, 1990 |
The American premiere of George Crumb's latest composition, Quest, has been scheduled by Speculum Musicae for tonight's all-Crumb concert at the Settlement School. Guitarist David Starobin has the featured role in the piece, which is scored for harp, two percussionists, double bass and saxophone. Starobin said Crumb planned five movements for the work but had completed only three; these, all slow movements, will be heard tonight. Two movements received their world premiere in Amsterdam, Netherlands, in December; the third was finished three weeks ago. "It's an amazingly beautiful piece," Starobin says of Quest, adding that when it was performed in Amsterdam, it received a long standing ovation.
July 13, 1989 |
"Liberation" movements in the second half of this century have the nasty habit of equaling or surpassing the level of oppression sown by the regimes they overthrow. Despite its formidable public relations machine, it is clear that the Sandinista government in Nicaragua boasts as many corpses as Somoza did. And no one can witness Deng's brand of "liberation" without nostalgically wondering whether Chiang Kai-shek's deposed republic could have produced debacles worse than Tienanman Square.
May 18, 1996 |
In the 19th century, Americans would take photographic portraits of their dead loved ones and proudly display them. Now, choreographer Bill T. Jones displays our dying fellows on video, breaking more recent taboos that have made dying invisible. In the time of AIDS, as Jones well knows, showing instead of hiding is urgent. Still/Here, his epic work about confronting death, particularly premature death, is Jones' deeply felt response to the 1988 death of his partner, Arnie Zane, and his own HIV-positive status.
April 17, 2012 |
By turning toward conducting, Joshua Bell appears to have become a born-again violinist. His arrival as music director of the Academy of St. Martin in the Fields on Monday at the Kimmel Center might have suggested that he's moving away from the repertoire and art on which he made his name — as so many have before him. Paradoxically, however, the opposite has happened. Though Bell has long been one of the most consistent of A-list violinists, recent Philadelphia Orchestra concerto appearances suggested that he had grown a bit comfortable, his playing lacking immediacy aside from his self-authored cadenzas.
December 12, 2006 |
You need time to craft a dance video work full of exquisite detail and uncompromising clarity. Tokyo's Leni-Basso Dance Company and Group Motion collaborated for more than a year on Rondo (2005), seen last weekend in its Philadelphia premiere at WinterFest, at the Community Education Center in West Philadelphia. The work was the centerpiece of a show featuring works that combine video with live dance. Choreographer Akiko Kitamura and videographer Akihiko Kaneko approach dance and video as interdependent media.