November 8, 2014 |
The concerto portion of any Philadelphia Orchestra program tends to be blessedly predictable. Not this week. Three different organ concertos are scheduled on successive days through Saturday - not small amiable specimens by Handel, but large modern works, only two of three calling themselves concertos. First up was Joseph Jongen's 1927 Symphonie Concertante , a work written for the Wanamaker organ down the street at Macy's but not performed there until 2008. The difference at the Kimmel Center on Thursday was that you could actually hear this ambitious four-movement piece - in contrast to the wildly reverberant acoustic at Macy's.
November 4, 2014 |
With its recent national tour with Branford Marsalis, 90-plus albums available on Amazon.com, and a 50th-anniversary concert next May featuring a new organ concerto from its recently knighted music director, Dirk Brossé, the Chamber Orchestra of Philadelphia would seem to have arrived at its landmark birthday due for a well-earned victory lap. Yet at its season-opening concert last month, board president Susan Schwartz McDonald looked out at...
October 26, 2014 |
One of the reliably intriguing aspects of Vladimir Jurowski's visits to the Philadelphia Orchestra podium is the difficulty of telling from the written program the reason for assembling these particular pieces. The "why" becomes crystal clear, but only as the program is played, as it did Thursday night when the orchestra's great bearer of artistic purpose remade the ensemble three times over before our ears. Opening, it was an impressively tight new music ensemble. Then it was pared down to a lithe Mozart orchestra.
October 25, 2014 |
Enjoy spooktacular sounds and artistry, in your favorite costume, Saturday at the Philadelphia Orchestra's Halloween Fantastique with Cirque de la Symphonie at the Kimmel Center for the Performing Arts. The orchestra will perform 10 pieces including Danny Elfman's Batman movie theme. Other featured works include Adam Glaser's "March of the Little Goblins," French composer Hector Berlioz's "March to the Scaffold" from Symphonie Fantastique , and Rimsky-Korsakov's "Dance of the Tumblers" from The Snow Maiden . Cirque de la Symphonie will perform acrobatic dance, and kids are encouraged to come in their Halloween costumes.
October 22, 2014 |
With Vivaldi's music claimed by baroque-performance specialists in recent years, does that mean we have to wait for one of them if we're going to hear his many concertos outside of recordings? Though she's clearly a generalist, cellist Hai-Ye Ni stepped up as guest soloist and leader of Chamber Orchestra of Philadelphia in a five-concerto baroque-to-classical program with nothing not to like anywhere. It was a chronological journey that cut a path from Vivaldi to Haydn's Cello Concerto in C major - a great idea, since listeners so easily take genial Haydn for granted, and this concert showed from whence he came.
October 22, 2014 |
Since the Philadelphia Orchestra exited bankruptcy more than two years ago, several key financial indicators have brightened. Obligations associated with the orchestra's Chapter 11 settlement have been paid off, income from concerts is growing nicely, and annual fund-raising is improving more than nicely. "It was really a remarkable year," board chairman Richard B. Worley said at Monday's annual meeting of the Philadelphia Orchestra Association at the Kimmel Center. As part of its recovery plan, the orchestra established a "bridge/recovery/transformation" fund, and fans have come to the rescue.
October 19, 2014 |
The Philadelphia Orchestra was on much newish ground Thursday with familiar composer names but not familiar pieces, chief among them that woolly bear of a choral work, the Glagolitic Mass of Leos Janacek. I looked forward to seeing the facial reactions of the listeners around me to a piece so singular in the choral literature that you might not know what hit you. The piece is primitivistic yet modern, devotional yet secular, and so impulsive that even seasoned Janacek lovers are hard-pressed to know what comes next.
October 11, 2014 |
The program could easily be titled Tortured Beginnings. Khachaturian's Piano Concerto went so badly that the composer was found after the premiere hugging a birch tree while weeping. Rachmaninoff fled from the badly played premiere of his Symphony No. 1 with plugged ears. When both works arrived Wednesday in the Philadelphia Orchestra's Kimmel Center concert, you could understand how awful things happen to such good pieces. Rachmaninoff didn't yet know how best to sequence his musical ideas.
October 9, 2014 |
"GOOD evening and welcome to the Philadelphia Orchestra and the Kimmel Center. At this time, we request you kindly turn your cellphone on . " Believe it or not, that's what concertgoers will be hearing (or words akin) at a series of shows, starting with the Free College Concert Oct. 14, then continuing with subscription concerts Oct. 16-18, as the orchestra introduces "LiveNote," an "interactive concert guide for mobile devices. " Loaded as an application onto an iOS (iPhone)
October 8, 2014 |
The purity and severity of a strings-only orchestra sooner or later is a siren call to most classical composers, but an entire program of such works by Orchestra 2001, performed Sunday at Swarthmore's Lang Concert Hall, showed how difficult this high-exposure medium - no winds to soften timbres or brass to add muscle - can be for all concerned. Robert Capanna, Andrew Rudin, Aaron Jay Kernis, and Andrea Clearfield were all represented in "Five Philadelphians" (the fifth is percussionist Angela Zator Nelson)