December 15, 2010 |
The best-of-the-year lists already have been written, but the Monday recital by cellist Alisa Weilerstein definitely belongs on one, no matter where it falls in the calendar year. A frequent concerto presence here, Weilerstein returned in a Philadelphia Chamber Music Society recital at the Perelman Theater - one not as consistently fine as her 2008 appearance at Reform Congregation Keneseth Israel in Elkins Park, but with greater successes in unexpected places. The second half had the fun stuff: Stravinsky's amiable Suite Italienne adapted from his ballet Pulcinella , and Rachmaninoff's plush, soulful Cello Sonata in G minor . Few Rachmaninoff performances achieve pianist Inon Barnatan's sense of weight while not covering up the cellist.
May 23, 2007 |
You'll never hear this from me, but certain quarters of the classical music community wonder if those all-too-durable Brahms concertos and symphonies deserve a rest - if only to give lesser-known Brahms a chance. That's what Ignat Solzhenitsyn laudably accomplished in the season finale of his Chamber Orchestra of Philadelphia Monday at the Kimmel Center - and nobody should have been surprised. The guy likes missions (Mendelssohn's early string symphonies, for one). Also, the size restrictions of Chamber Orchestra promise a sound envelope (leaner strings, more clear winds)
April 30, 2007
Mstislav Rostropovich, who died Friday, was more than a musician; he was a person who helped change the world. He used culture as a concrete, flesh-and-blood weapon against evil. Born in what was then the Soviet Republic of Azerbaijan in 1927, Rostropovich was, as a cellist and conductor, one of the giants of music. Seek out his 1959 recording of Dmitri Shostakovich's first Cello Concerto, made at Philadelphia's Broadwood Hotel with Eugene Ormandy and the Philadelphia Orchestra.
April 28, 2007 |
Irrepressible, effervescent and supremely brilliant, cellist/conductor Mstislav Rostropovich, 80, died in a Moscow hospital yesterday after an extended battle with intestinal cancer. Besides being one of the great cellists of the century, he premiered some 240 new works, including the Shostakovich Cello Concerto No. 1, now one of the most-played works of its kind, which he performed for the first time in the United States with the Philadelphia Orchestra in 1959. During that triumphant Cold War visit, he recorded the piece here with Eugene Ormandy conducting and the composer supervising, in what became an ongoing relationship both before and after his stormy 1974 departure from the Soviet Union.
November 21, 2006 |
No sensible up-and-coming cellist would make an important Philadelphia Orchestra debut under Alisa Weilerstein's circumstances. For starters, she has been shuttling between two orchestral tours - the New York Philharmonic in Japan and the Moscow State Symphony in North America. Then, she was committed to playing with Maxim Vengerov in Paris (this week) and London (next). But the few days in between those European capitals coincided with cellist Truls Mork's cancellations Friday and Saturday in Philadelphia.
September 21, 2006 |
Dutch cellist Pieter Wispelwey promises Philadelphia one of those infrequent encounters with a strong, well-chiseled personality who's familiar from recordings, but rarely seen Stateside, when he opens the Chamber Orchestra of Philadelphia season at the Kimmel Center Sunday and Monday. Wispelwey, 44, is at a point in his life where his performances of musically and psychologically complex works eclipse those of past masters, even Mstislav Rostropovich. Perhaps no cellist since Jacqueline du Pr? has had such a confiding relationship with the recording medium.
September 29, 2004 |
Most cities of cultural depth have a chamber orchestra that gives nice concerts of Handel, Haydn and Mozart. The Chamber Orchestra of Philadelphia can do that, but more than ever, it goes for singular options. The season-opening program on Monday, for example: Ignat Solzhenitsyn, who has recently ascended from principal conductor to music director, brought his revisionist sensibility to pieces you are accustomed to hearing in the posh sonority of the Philadelphia Orchestra. Mendelssohn's Symphony No. 3 ("Scotch")
December 9, 2000 |
Thanks to the tell-all nature of the information age, there should be no mysteries left unsolved in Shostakovich's Symphony No. 10. The often-tortured, seemingly coded messages of this composer's greatest symphony, which premiered in 1953 as the Soviet Union recovered from war, purges and famine, are revealed on three fronts: Solomon Volkov's book Testimony, which claims the second movement is a diabolical portrait of Joseph Stalin; a recently published...
December 7, 2000 |
Anybody who has a problem with the way Mstislav Rostropovich conducts the Philadelphia Orchestra in a program of Sergei Prokofiev and Dmitri Shostakovich tonight faces a formidable argument: His interpretations come straight from the mouths of the composers. He knew both - intimately. Shostakovich, particularly, was close. Rostropovich risked the wrath of the Soviet KGB when he smuggled out a microfilmed score of Symphony No. 13, then under scrutiny by censors, so that Eugene Ormandy could conduct the U.S. premiere here in 1970.
July 1, 2000 |
In this era of restless artistic ambition and a shortage of conductors with star power, the beloved violinist Itzhak Perlman may fill a void as he trades his bow for a baton. You can't blame him, considering how cruel time has been to his violin technique. But you can't blame audiences for being both skeptical, in the wake of cellist Mstislav Rostropovich's limited success in a similar endeavor, and encouraged, by Christoph Eschenbach's gratifying transformation from pianist to conductor.