March 7, 2009 |
Encountering Mahler's Das klagende Lied for the first time in its Philadelphia Orchestra debut this week, audiences are likely to wonder where this 70 minutes of engrossing music, written 130 years ago, has been hiding for so long. The consolation is that, however belatedly, the piece rarely makes as strong an impression as it did Thursday under guest conductor Vladimir Jurowski. Speculation runs high as to how this candidate for the Philadelphia Orchestra music directorship fares outside the Russian repertoire for which he has a natural affinity.
February 3, 2009 |
Think of a music-director search as a train. One minute everyone is on board, heading down one track with all deliberate speed, then a switch is thrown that causes a sudden change in direction. At the moment, the Philadelphia Orchestra's search is headed this way: Look for an announcement sometime this season that gives Charles Dutoit, 72, the full title of music director for a short and finite period. Dutoit, currently chief conductor and artistic adviser, would succeed Christoph Eschenbach, who left the post last year and currently is leading the orchestra on a three-week, 14-concert European tour through the Canary Islands, the Iberian peninsula and Central Europe.
January 14, 2009 |
Though the classical music world has long lamented what might have been had Wolfgang Mozart lived beyond age 35, it doesn't often look closely at what really was - at least prior to the decade that produced his oft-heard masterpieces. And there are knowledgeable people who claim that early Mozart is best. I wouldn't go that far, but I was happy to see the Chamber Orchestra of Philadelphia delving into earlier symphonies and concerts (written from ages 16 to 21) Monday at the Kimmel Center, though that happiness didn't exactly survive the performances.
November 27, 2008 |
Harry Rosen, 84, of Center City, a former typesetter and music director, died of complications from heart failure Monday at Hahnemann University Hospital. A native of New York City, Mr. Rosen was an Army rifleman in Italy during World War II. After his discharge, Mr. Rosen, who had been a cantor in Orthodox congregations in his youth, was accepted at the Juilliard School. He hoped to study piano and conducting, but had to help support his family so he became a typesetter, said his wife, Sylvia Weinstock Rosen.
October 6, 2008 |
While the New York Philharmonic awaits new blood with the arrival next season of Alan Gilbert, who it has on the podium now is hardly a compromise. True, tour appearances are deceptive. But the one Friday night at the Kimmel Center with outgoing music director Lorin Maazel attested to a wise steward in sync with an ensemble of generally high standards. In this orchestra, as in all large American orchestras, the triumph of job security sometimes causes the listener to wince at spotty cases of players who have stayed too long.
August 26, 2008 |
The Philadelphia Orchestra burned through a lot of music-director prospects last season. At the outset, in September, the roster brimmed with nearly a half-dozen conductors whose reputations or previous visits raised expectations. Then they conducted here. And that was that. Among players, the tantalizing rumor is circulating that the candidate pool has been winnowed down to one: God. With such Talent not on the roster at CAMI or any of the other classical-talent agencies, the orchestra might think back a mere five years for a reality check to the conductor before last.
May 20, 2008 |
What future title, if any, Christoph Eschenbach will hold with the Philadelphia Orchestra is unclear. Pianist-in-residence might be the most valuable one to the city's musical health. Eschenbach's last moments on stage at Verizon Hall as the orchestra's music director came not Saturday night on the podium in broad-shouldered Schubert, but Sunday afternoon at the keyboard in the most intimate and powerful message of his tenure. The three-hour concert, billed as "Christoph Eschenbach and Friends" and produced by the Kimmel Center, presented him as conductor in one work and as pianist in several distinct roles - as a nearly mind-reading accompanist, as a chamber music player whose ideas melded pleasingly with those of his partners, and as a soloist of great interpretive sophistication.
May 18, 2008 |
Did Christoph Eschenbach know what he was walking into in 2001 when he was appointed Philadelphia Orchestra music director? Did anybody? Could anybody? When discussing orchestra politics a few weeks back, he admitted he'd never encountered anything like it, but rejected my comparison to Viennese intrigue. "Viennese intrigue," he said, "is transparent. " There's nothing transparent about the Eschenbach era - a time of numerous crosscurrents, no one of which defines why it was one of the shortest and messiest in Philadelphia Orchestra history.
September 21, 2007 |
Last night's first scheduled subscription concert was the opening night of the Philadelphia Orchestra's new season. Unless you count the event the orchestra calls "opening night," which is Sept. 29. But if you want to get technical about it, opening night really was Wednesday - a concert that did not appear on the orchestra's Web site calendar at all. In Verizon Hall, at a special invitation-only performance for donors, Christoph Eschenbach opened his last season as music director.
September 5, 2007 |
Southern New Jersey's most symphonic misnomer finally has been laid to rest: As of today, the Haddonfield Symphony is rechristened Symphony in C. With a core audience in Cherry Hill, growing interest from Philadelphia and a home concert hall at Rutgers University in Camden, orchestra officials are engineering an identity change that consigns to history geographic allegiances to Haddonfield. The new name conspicuously lacks any neighborhood-orchestra aura; players are under-30 conservatory students and graduates from the Juilliard School, Curtis Institute, Temple University and elsewhere.