April 16, 2013 |
Often lost amid all the exactitude issuing from conservatories today is the reason we make music in the first place. It's not about being able to play all the notes or play them in tune. Interpretation has to mean something if it is to be worth the trouble, especially since the trouble is considerable. How fortunate, then, must be the students of Miriam Fried, the violin pedagogue who teaches at the New England Conservatory. On Sunday night, for the Philadelphia Chamber Music Society, she came to the Perelman Theater with one of her progeny - in fact, her prime progeny, pianist Jonathan Biss, who happens to be her son. Whatever their offstage dynamics may be, in terms of musical substance it was a performance of equals - if very different ones.
February 10, 2013 |
In Chopin, it's about liberty - or at least, liberties. But Emanuel Ax isn't taking them, not many and not to any great extent, which makes him a minor radical. The pianistic tradition in this repertoire of erasing bar lines, blurring note values, and delivering the listener to time-defying spaciousness goes back a century or more. In Thursday night's Philadelphia Chamber Music Society recital at the Perelman Theater, Ax neither floated nor dallied in his encore, the Nocturne No. 5 in F Sharp, Op. 15 No. 2 . You could have set your metronome to sections of Chopin's Piano Sonata in B Minor, Opus 58 . Shouldn't the sonata's last movement be terrifying, the unexpected climax of a four-movement bildungsroman?
October 28, 2012 |
In their Philadelphia debut Thursday night, the Modigliani Quartet seemed to need some time to size up the Perelman Theater. This was the first stop on a U.S. tour, and the Paris-based group, opening with Haydn in a Philadelphia Chamber Music Society appearance, was reasonably tight. But something clicked in the next piece, Schumann, and from then on, they - and you - felt surety about the quartet's personality. What kind of personality it was shifted throughout the evening. The opening of the Haydn, the String Quartet in G Major, Opus 76, No. 1 , put perfectly matched sounds on display with a figure that passed from cellist François Kieffer, to violist Laurent Marfaing, second violinist Loïc Rio, and first violinist Philippe Bernhard.
October 26, 2012 |
Ghosts of performers past stand guard over standard repertoire, and it takes a ruthless individualist to wave then off. But Nareh Arghamanyan never seemed to consciously repudiate her predecessors in an extraordinarily charismatic Philadelphia Chamber Music Society appearance Wednesday night at the American Philosophical Society. Rather, it was as if the 23-year-old Armenian-born pianist had never encountered them at all, and was interested only in her own personal communions with Bach, Schumann, and Rachmaninoff.
May 6, 2011 |
The last time we took any note of Roland Joffe, the director of "The Mission" and "The Killing Fields," it was through his take on the ugly genre "torture porn" titled "Captivity" back in 2007. To be fair, he followed that up with the lesbian murder mystery "You and I," which even fewer people saw. He's back in theaters and back in the world of period pieces with "There Be Dragons," a Spanish Civil War tale that tells the story of Josemaria Escriva, the founder of the Catholic Opus Dei organization.
May 6, 2011 |
If movies could be judged by good intentions alone, then Roland Joffé's There Be Dragons , a sweeping historical drama about war, Christian ethics, the nature of forgiveness, and sainthood, would be a masterpiece. Sadly, it's not. Far from it. There Be Dragons marks a return of sorts to Joffé's early career and his celebrated films about religion and the morality of war - The Killing Fields (1984) and The Mission (1986). It chronicles the life of St. Josemaría Escrivá de Balaguer (1902-1975)
April 18, 2011 |
The world-renowned Philadelphia Orchestra, long considered one of the best in the nation, will be filing for Chapter 11 bankruptcy protection - an apparent first in recent history for a major U.S. orchestra. Board chairman Richard Worley said that members made a nearly unanimous vote Saturday to file for reorganization in a federal bankruptcy court in Philadelphia after a "long meeting, thoughtful meeting, emotional meeting. " "We're running low on cash, we're running a deficit and we have to put ourselves in a position to attract investment funds to help us," Worley told reporters.
March 18, 2010 |
Let's make a sandwich. Take two helpings of Thelma and Louise, a dollop of Russ Meyer's sexploitation film The Big Dollhouse, put it all in between two slices of Quentin Tarantino, and for heaven's sake, don't forget the Miracle Whip. Leave it to Lady Gaga, with a little help from Beyonc?, to make a most innocuous American condiment suddenly so subversive. Because if you've seen the new video for their collaborative single "Telephone," which premiered March 11 (the "official explicit version," that is)
December 14, 2008 |
We at The Inquirer are big readers. Below are staff recommendations of much-enjoyed books, old and new. All prices are hardcover only. Nonfiction. Bill Marimow, editor of The Inquirer, writes: "I thoroughly enjoyed Truman by David McCullough [Simon & Schuster, 1,120 pp., $40]. It's an opus, but it was a highly readable, illuminating opus. " Nick Cristiano, copy editor and country/roots reviewer, likes Ted Gioia's Delta Blues (W.W. Norton, 448 pp., $27.95), about the blues, the people who invented the music, and the people who first carried it on. Foreign-affairs columnist Trudy Rubin recommends My Father's Paradise by Ariel Sabar (Algonquin, 325 pp., $25.95)
May 7, 2008 |
Opus, about the intrigues among musicians in a string quartet, has meant good things for Philadelphia's Arden Theatre Company ever since it came to life on Arden's stage two years ago, then moved on to a New York production. The vibe continues: On Monday night, the play's sound designer, Jorge Cousineau, won Off-Broadway's top theater award for his work on Opus. Cousineau, the busiest sound, light and multimedia designer for professional stages in metropolitan Philadelphia, was at Manhattan's Union Square Theatre for the announcement of the winners of the Lucille Lortel Awards - Off-Broadway's version of the Tonys, chosen by theater artists, journalists and others.