December 2, 2014 |
It was Pied Piper night at the Philadelphia Orchestra. The audience Friday at Verizon Hall gladly would have followed clarinetist Ricardo Morales out the doors and to any destination he proposed. Morales, principal clarinet since 2003, explored shadings of his instrument's eloquence in Debussy's Premiere Rhapsodie and brought the audience to its feet with the cascades of notes and theatrical flourishes that characterize Rossini's Introduction, Theme and Variations . Although the sheer jubilance and charm of the Rossini evoked that ovation, it was in the subtle and thoughtful Debussy piece that a range of the soloist's gifts could be savored.
November 27, 2014 |
The Philadelphia Orchestra will perform a free concert Tuesday at the Kimmel Center as part of the nationwide GivingTuesday campaign that seeks charitable contributions. Seating is general admission, and tickets may be reserved beginning at 8 a.m. Tuesday, at www.philorch.org . There will be holiday music in Commonwealth Plaza starting at 6 p.m., with opportunities to conduct the players. The Verizon Hall doors open at 7, and the 75-minute concert begins at 7:30. Music director Yannick Nézet-Séguin will lead the ensemble in seasonal favorites from Tchaikovsky, Leroy Anderson, and Brahms, plus works by Pulitzer Prize-winning Philadelphia composer Jennifer Higdon and others.
November 16, 2014 |
The fashion world has long popularized clothes that appear to be turned inside out. Why shouldn't the Philadelphia Orchestra do its own version of that every so often? How could that work? Dvorák's Symphony No. 8 was so significantly reimagined by guest conductor Jakub Hruša that you'd think the prevailing, mellifluous tradition of Wolfgang Sawallisch never existed. The music was a rougher ride but full of incident. Orchestral sonorities that are normally string-dominated shared the sound picture more equally with brass and winds.
November 12, 2014 |
Ah, that's more like it. The Chamber Orchestra of Philadelphia found its autumn-season legs, a little late, in a program featuring the orchestra's brilliant principal violist, Ayane Kozasa, and a surprise from music director Dirk Brossé - not the usual bonbon, but an Arvo Pärt piece that was the best thing on the program, and possibly one of the season's highlights. The Japanese-born, Curtis Institute-educated Kozasa may not be a revelation to juries of the competitions she has won, but she was new to this listener, having been deterred from her December 2013 Astral Artists recital by one of many blizzards.
November 11, 2014 |
China's global economic expansion has been slow to include a matching rise in cultural institutions among its exports, but Friday brought a major step toward changing that when a youthful orchestra from Beijing played an internationally televised concert at the Kimmel Center. The concert by the NCPA Orchestra had special resonance here, because the Philadelphia Orchestra played in 1973 in a nation that had once put its musicians in coal mines and closed universities and conservatories but was cautiously peering over its cultural wall.
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.