December 11, 2002 |
Distinctions, subtlety, nuance, inflection, all the stuff of intriguing music making was in ample supply when the Chamber Orchestra of Philadelphia explored Ligeti, Mozart and Mendelssohn in its concert at the Perelman Theater. Conductor Ignat Solzhenitsyn was making a point when he opened with Ligeti's Ramifications, music that demanded shadings of string intonation and attack far from the norm. The piece asked independence of each player from the others, to move through edgy clouds of sound to a bass solo, and finally to five bars in which all bows rested silently on the strings.
January 22, 2005 |
There's nothing subtle about tenor Salvatore Licitra, who made his Philadelphia recital debut Wednesday at Verizon Hall. "I'm looking to be great, like Pavarotti," the singer told an adoring audience. Whether Licitra achieves that greatness remains to be seen. Certainly he has many superstar attributes. His large, even voice has a middle register that is impressively baritone-like, with ringing top notes that only occasionally sound pushed. His delivery is passionate, his diction fine, and, as for personality, the talkative tenor had the Kimmel Center audience in his pocket from the beginning.
November 29, 1999 |
Chamber music played on period instruments asks listeners to examine more deeply the textures and linkages of the writing. The drama, the humor and theatricality are there in low and finely graded decibel counts as the players offer nuance instead of explosiveness. In its season-opening concert Friday at Bryn Mawr Presbyterian Church, Philomel played works for small groups of strings with recorder or flute, revealing moods from martial to poetic while pointing out the way composers adapted song to instrumental writing.
November 25, 2012 |
Hebron is a flash point of tension between Palestinians and Jewish settlers, and the city's streets are rubble-strewn relics of strife and of shops closed by a straitened economy. Parts of Hebron are probably frightening places to be at night, and schoolchildren darting into the sidewalkless streets gave me palpitations. "God forbid we should hit one of these kids," I thought. "We won't make it out of here alive. " My driver for the day, an Israeli Arab named Alexander, said he couldn't leave his car alone in Hebron for fear that it would be stoned.
July 1, 2016 |
History is as fresh as yesterday, still moving under the microscope, still capable of becoming something different when it is finally preserved forever in amber. The historical view of Buddy Ryan in this town has stabilized in the years since he was fired by Norman Braman in 1991. After 25 years, Ryan's varied and unpredictable personality has narrowed to the caricature of the wisecracking bully who united both a team and a city. That's true enough, looking through the other end of the binoculars, and Ryan, who died this week at 85 after going a full four quarters with cancer, would certainly approve the shorthand version of his biography with the Eagles.
June 5, 1999 |
It's not every cultural event at which you can debate vocal timbre with a man wearing a grass skirt and Hawaiian shirt while waiting in line to urinate in a sink. The man argued that the new Beach House on the Moon lacks the nuance of Jimmy Buffett's earlier work. But that could have been the $6 beers talking. No matter. As one might expect from someone who water-skis behind a seaplane and shows footage of it while playing "Why Don't We Get Drunk," Buffett's sold-out performance Thursday night at the Waterfront Entertainment Centre in Camden was not about nuance.
June 27, 2004 |
Life usually doesn't just dump truth on your plate, neat and simple. It usually comes with a side of nuance, garnished with paradox. It's better to savor that, not shun it. It's better to learn to digest paradox, rather than shove most of life's feast off your plate. Or so it seems to me. But not to others. They want their truths TV-dinner style, neat, clear-cut, predictable, peas here, Salisbury steak there. Ignoring complexity, willing away nuance, reducing hard situations to either/or choices - some people seem to think that's brave, rather than cowardly.
October 31, 1999 |
A partial list of the issues addressed on Rage Against the Machine's The Battle of Los Angeles: the exploitation of immigrant labor, the conviction of Mumia Abu-Jamal, persistent poverty despite economic boom times, and the legacy of white imperialism from Columbus' expedition to Vietnam, and Agent Orange. It's a regular hootenanny. Except for one thing: Rather than joining hands and singing in unison, the members of this L.A. foursome - whose early '90s work pioneered the rap/rock hybrid that gave the world Limp Bizkit - shout it all out. Theirs is an aggressive, hectoring activism, a nonstop assault in which nuance gets trampled in an adrenaline rush of emotion.
November 12, 1997 |
It could have been a 90-minute infomercial disguised as a rock-and-roll show. After all, Metallica has a new record to sell - the 13-song Re-Load, which hits stores on Tuesday. And yesterday afternoon in the CoreStates Center parking lot, this extraordinarily virtuosic hard-rock band faced more than 30,000 fans who hadn't paid a dime and were ready to lap up anything Metallica dished out. But rather than use its "Multimillion-Decibel March" to flog Re-Load, Metallica treated the enthusiastic audience to a throttling survey of neglected and rarely heard gems from all phases of its 15-year career.
February 28, 1994 |
We say of some composers that they are "ahead of their time," but Russian Anton Arensky (1861-1906) was "behind his time, which may be why we don't hear more about him," John Eaken quipped Friday night in the auditorium of the Free Library of Philadelphia. The violinist was on stage with members of the Eaken Piano Trio for a free recital, courtesy of the Musical Fund Society. Eaken described Arensky as "pure romantic," and said that, despite studies with the progressive Rimsky-Korsakov at St. Petersburg Conservatory, the composer kept harking back to simpler melodies and to his beloved muse, Tchaikovsky.