May 7, 1991 |
Dvorak's Stabat Mater is unaccountably a rarity in music here. Its performance Sunday by the Choral Arts Society was, in my memory, the first with orchestra rather than organ only. Why such a piece falls out of repertoire is difficult to guess. Its two- hour length fits modern concert format; its unhurried music ennobles chorus and orchestra, and offers four soloists ample chance for display. This reading, at the Lutheran Church of the Holy Communion, constituted something of a rediscovery, and a feather in conductor Sean Deibler's cap for bringing the work back.
March 21, 1998 |
Since George Rochberg's 80th birthday is three months or so away, Orchestra 2001 played a prelude to that event, honoring the composer by performing works for eight and nine players last night at Swarthmore College's Lang Concert Hall. Conductor James Freeman led both, probably signifying nine and eight as apt anniversary year numbers. Both works are much larger than their forces would suggest. The Chamber Symphony for nine players and the Octet: A Grand Fantasia, develop tightly formed ideas through broad sonorities and intriguing rhythms, weaving them in canon form into pieces of monumental stature.
November 13, 1987 |
The London Philharmonic's visits here are unfortunately infrequent, for the orchestra travels with a tradition of notable playing and exalted conducting. The ensemble played last night at the Academy of Music, but circumstance had put the orchestra in the position of having left at home the conducting that had customarily gilded its name. Klaus Tennstedt, now conductor laureate, had intended to lead this tour, but his health prevented it. Semyon Bychkov, Buffalo Philharmonic conductor and now conductor designate of the Orchestre de Paris, has stepped in, but the relation of conductor with orchestra was still tentative, and the results were uniformly dull.
December 13, 2001 |
There was no "Auld Lang Syne," not even "Auld Lang Lang Syne. " The Philadelphia Orchestra has never performed with more feeling, precision and interpretive mastery than they did last night, playing as though it was the last concert they'd ever give. And it was - the last in the Academy of Music after 101 years and more than 10,000 concerts. They'll come back to play the annual Academy gala, coming from the Kimmel Center for one night before the swells dance the night away in a hotel ballroom.
June 1, 1988 |
The Philadelphia Orchestra, after finding it difficult to resist buying furs and leathers, landed in Brazil yesterday with considerably more baggage than it had before. Exiting Argentina, where it performed four concerts last week, the orchestra looked like Hells Angels gone middle class, trailing a leather- jacket smell that proved almost as intoxicating as the Brazilian coffee the players will savor for the rest of the trip. Music director Riccardo Muti and his troops also are savoring the heady aroma of triumph as they enter the last week of this South American tour.
May 16, 1988 |
A major regional premiere topped the bill for the concert yesterday evening by the Choral Arts Society and the Performance Organization orchestra at the Academy of Music - but the balance of the program proved noteworthy as well. Sean Deibler directed the combined ensembles in the Pennsylvania premiere of Harmonium, by John Adams, a half-hour cantata from 1981 that is already known here through broadcasts and a phonograph recording by the San Francisco Symphony. As the composer's first work for voices with orchestra, it can be seen as a sort of dry run for Nixon in China, Adams' opera that aired on public TV last month.
September 27, 1990 |
Stravinsky's seminal chamber piece L'Histoire du Soldat (The Soldier's Tale) is so compelling musically, one tends to overlook that it was intended for musicians, actors and a narrator. No one element was considered more important than another in the minuscule theatrical production Stravinsky and friends took on the road in 1918, when he was in exile from Russia after the revolution. And although it is occasionally mounted as theater or dance, the genius of The Soldier's Tale lies hardly in the language or plot of this simplified arrangement of the Faust fable, but in its bold, blunt score.
March 31, 1989 |
The Minnesota Orchestra that played at the Grand Opera House Wednesday night is a long stride ahead of the one that performed here in 1985. The drabness that had descended on the ensemble's playing under Neville Marriner's direction has given way to a spirited freshness that typifies the work of the present music director, Edo de Waart. In three seasons, de Waart has also guided some key personnel changes, including that of concertmaster, which have made further impact on the quality of the playing.
March 4, 2002 |
With the Lab?que sisters taking a swipe at Berio in the big hall, and Orchestra 2001 doing a quite credible job with Lutoslawski's Venetian Games in the small hall, all the Kimmel Center needed Saturday night was a little Xenakis playing in the basement and Philadelphia's new arts center might have been mistaken for Paris or Darmstadt. An exaggeration, but only a small one, since Orchestra 2001 has had a lot to do with the city's evolving sophistication with contemporary music.
July 2, 1988 |
What is left to say about the Beethoven Violin Concerto? That it is noble, that it is moving, that we may be a little tired of hearing this rock of ages? Last night Cho-Liang Lin played the Beethoven to a more than usually appreciative audience at the Mann Music Center. And as customary with this fine young musician, he gave it a songful, deeply committed interpretation. Lin's bow arm is so accomplished and his sense of color so refined that one is often struck by the purity of his tone on all four strings.