February 8, 2006 |
The Philadelphia Orchestra has pulled its imminent world premiere of Bright Sheng's Concerto for Orchestra: Zodiac Tales, which was to have been unveiled Feb. 23 and repeated in four additional concerts in Philadelphia and New York. The piece, set to be led by music director Christoph Eschenbach on the orchestra's subscription, family and Access concerts, wasn't ready to be performed "in its current state," said Kathleen van Bergen, the orchestra's vice president for artistic planning.
May 26, 1991 |
The unspoken theme of the Philadelphia Orchestra's European tour is that of a long farewell. In many of the cities in which these concerts are given, the pairing of the orchestra with music director Riccardo Muti will be the last. Time mocks the careful plotting that lay behind the earlier tours. They were designed to identify Muti and the orchestra as one entity, inseparable and unimaginable individually. Now, the aim is the same, because the two have recorded together for 11 years, filling a substantial catalogue.
July 19, 2009 |
In the inky twilight of the English countryside, a young, well-dressed foursome strolled from the opera house to the edge of the lawn to gaze out on the bluish puffs of sheep dotting the horizon. Just having heard Falstaff, this quartet was clearly in a state of great contentment. Was it the Verdi, or their earlier picnic of wine and summer pudding? As hundreds streamed out of Glyndebourne Opera, the chatter testified that some had come for the singers, others for the score or the conductor.
July 10, 1993 |
The Philadelphia Orchestra played music for springtime Thursday at the Mann Music Center. Conductor Yuri Temirkanov brought out music that had almost passed to the pops repertoire as a preface to Shostakovich's Symphony No. 6. Shostakovich's symphonies carry messages that forever elude deciphering. The Symphony No. 6, however, comes close to being what it says it is: a cheerful, virtuosic, modern counterpart to Beethoven's Symphony No. 8. It may be that its good spirits keep it from being performed very often.
October 31, 1992 |
Like her writing for the large orchestra, Ellen Taaffe Zwilich's Concerto Grosso for chamber orchestra also has the ability to command attention. I think of it as pleasurable aggressiveness, the way composers such as Zwilich and Joan Tower seize and do not relinquish the airwaves in a concert hall. Their personalities are forceful, even oratorical, compared to, say, the musical personas of the Scotch composer Thea Musgrave and the late Polish composer Grazyna Bacewicz, whose music holds the attention by its very austerity and keenly developed lyricism.
July 22, 1995 |
The Philadelphia Orchestra ended the season with musical innovation and an experiment in video projection. Artistic director Charles Dutoit pressed the orchestra to the limit in this final week, leading an American premiere, reviving neglected songs and introducing Vitold Lutoslawski's Funeral Music. The climactic concert was Wednesday's. New works and new technology competed for attention. Montreal violinist Chantal Juillet played the American premiere of Berthold Goldschmidt's Violin Concerto, and mezzo-soprano Frederica von Stade sang some of the Songs of the Auvergne.
April 22, 1988 |
The Philadelphia Orchestra's Beethoven cycle, conceived for recordings and extended over two seasons, came to a climactic close last night with the performance of the Symphony No. 9. Music director Riccardo Muti was back with the orchestra to lead the work with the Westminster Choir and soloists Cheryl Studer, Delores Ziegler, Peter Seiffert and James Morris, all but Morris singing for the first time here. Predictably, this was not an ordinary reading. Muti had prepared the work using a photographic reproduction of the manuscript.
February 1, 1997 |
The Philadelphia Orchestra has played lots of concerts since its strike ended in November. But none of them with the same kind of ensemble precision the group regularly displayed before the 64-day work stoppage. Under a parade of guest conductors, the musicians have been performing on the same stage, but hardly singing from the same hymnal. Until yesterday. Music director Wolfgang Sawallisch was back atop the podium to perform with the orchestra in its first subscription concert together in many months.
August 3, 1990 |
The Philadelphia Orchestra's summer season at the Mann Music Center ended last night with a bang as center chairman Bernard M. Guth urged the crowd to write to Congress to support the National Endowment for the Arts. Closing concerts are usually the setting for nostalgic goodbyes, but Guth, speaking before the second half of the concert, told the crowd of more than 10,000 to "Say yes to the NEA. " He said that Philadelphia arts organizations had received about $3 million last year from the NEA, which, he said, "enriched the community both spiritually and economically.
March 3, 2001 |
More than one listener asked me: "Is it my imagination, or do the musicians look like they're not having much fun?" Strange things happen when a pianist leaves music to become a conductor (to use the witticism all good wags like to repeat). He forgets, or becomes unable, to convey finely etched interpretative ideas. He seems unaware of color. And, if he is Vladimir Ashkenazy on the podium, he leaves listeners wishing he were still back in front of the keyboard doing important things.