March 11, 2015 |
Performing incidental music from a movie or play in concert can be a gamble: Will a score never meant to engage the audience on its own hold the stage by itself? Tempesta di Mare played its hand deftly on Saturday night at the Kimmel Center's Perelman Theater, bringing verve, grace, and spark to music that wasn't always worthy of such treatment but did always benefit from it. The first half of the program was music heard in London theaters in the decades on each side of 1700.
March 11, 2015 |
'Someday My Prince Will Come" is, of course, the signature song from Walt Disney's Snow White and the Seven Dwarfs - the animated gem that enjoyed impressive box office at the Karlton, a second-run movie house at 1412 Chestnut St., way back in the spring of 1938. "Someday My Prince Will Come" could also serve as the new anthem for film lovers across Philadelphia and, in particular, Center City, which has fewer dedicated movie screens (14) than many suburban multiplexes.
March 9, 2015 |
Coming to a choice parcel on Chestnut Street just west of Broad: neither a chic new condominium nor another drugstore. The Prince Music Theater isn't going anywhere. The defunct theater in the center of town was sold Thursday to the Philadelphia Film Society - a transaction that not only gives the film group a new home, but also preserves the hall's role for arts groups that cannot afford pricier venues like the Kimmel Center. The theater has already reopened for business. Its first show under new ownership - The Last Jimmy , a hip-hop musical - is slated to open March 18. It will still be known as the Prince Theater for the time being.
March 6, 2015 |
Music at the rathskeller U-Bahn (1320 Chestnut St., 215-800-1079), the subterranean sibling of Bru next door, has much going on: arcade games, a stage where live acts will play at least three nights a week, and two bars. The idea is subway-station-style rathskeller, and owner Teddy Sourias and crew took a year to scoop out the basement space to yield 16-foot ceilings and create rustic finishings including a full stage and sound system and what appear to be railroad tracks on the walls.
March 5, 2015
D AN BERKOWITZ, 36, of Society Hill, is founder and CEO of CID Entertainment, a music company based in Philadelphia. CID (for Consider It Dan) is redefining the fan experience at live-music events. In January, it did its first "CID Presents" event, Luke Bryan's Crash My Playa, a four-night getaway/concert in Riviera Maya, Mexico. Q: What's the backstory behind CID Entertainment? A: I became tour manager in 2004 for a Philly band called The Disco Biscuits. I did packages for fans - transportation, tickets and hotel.
March 3, 2015 |
Any artistic cutting edge can come with the sensation of falling off a cliff. The listener is bewildered for a bit, until someone (often the composer) shows how the most forbidding concoctions have precedents in the past. Rarely, though, has the road map to such precedents been established with the concrete as it was in a talk before Bhob Rainey's Axon Ladder Friday at Vox Populi. Was this an advanced calculus class? At the same time such well-known composers as Stephen Hartke and Louis Karchin unveiled their response to the visual stimuli at the Barnes Foundation in a Network for New Music concert, Rainey was at the gallery wrestling with music based on mathematical abstractions of squid neurons so big they were studied in the pre-high-tech era. Some skepticism is warranted - attention-grabbing concepts don't necessarily unleash worthy music.
February 27, 2015
IT HAS BEEN said that there are no such things as problems, only opportunities. Well, here's an opportunity for Philadelphia to make lemonade out of a Broadway lemon. "Rocky," the musical based on the iconic 1976 rags-to-riches film about a ham-and-egg boxer from Kensington, closed its Broadway run last August, a mere five months after its much-hyped debut. But just because New York wasn't a hospitable host doesn't mean that Rocky Balboa's hometown couldn't be. From this vantage point, bringing the musical to Philly as a permanent attraction is a no-brainer.
February 27, 2015 |
Four contemporary classical composers walk into an art museum. No punch line. But after walking in, this quartet of composers eventually walked away having penned four new compositions, which Network for New Music will premiere Friday at the Barnes Foundation - amid the art and spaces that inspired them. The obvious historical precedent is Mussorgsky's Pictures at an Exhibition , a vivid series of musical evocations connected by a recurring promenade. Each of Network's new pieces assumes a different form, chamber-music instrumentation, and philosophy about using the eye to tease out a translation for the ear. "Music is the most incorporeal art, and, while we all accept that it is very much like a language, it is a non-representational one," said Stephen Hartke, who produced The Blue Studio , inspired by the cobalt walls in Matisse's Studio with Goldfish , which are the same shade as his own workroom in Los Angeles.
February 25, 2015 |
A leadership and administrative change in the School District of Philadelphia's venerable All City Music Festival could signal the start of the program's restoration. Project 440, the education group founded in 2006 by Philadelphia Orchestra assistant double bassist Joseph Conyers, is taking over management of the All City program from the School District. The legal aspects of the transfer may take months to complete, but a ceremonial handshake sealing the deal is planned on stage at this year's All City concert on Monday.
February 24, 2015 |
The songs that flügelhornist Hugh Masekela and singer-guitarist Vusi Mahlasela performed at the Annenberg Center on Saturday night were the sound track to the apartheid era, and thus dealt with grim themes: racial segregation, violence, imprisonment, and struggle. But the mood these two South African icons conjured was buoyant and celebratory, a vivid illustration of the role music played in lifting the spirits of South Africans during decades of oppression. The lighthearted mood could be summed up in Mahlasela's gallows humor, as he introduced a "very short song" called "Jailbreak," written by a friend during his prison term - then proceeded to scrape the strings of his guitar to simulate a sawing sound.