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)
September 29, 2014 |
This year, the Philadelphia Orchestra's official opening night - the one that lets you mingle with the maestro at an "exclusive" reception topping out at $2,500 per ticket - doesn't come until a couple of weeks into the season. Actual music-making, though, began in Verizon Hall on Friday night, with no less a gala soloist than Lang Lang. Many listeners in these parts still think of the pianist as an aberrantly eccentric Curtis Institute of Music student, and, for better or worse, in the last decade and a half of his working with every major orchestra and conductor on earth, absolutely nothing has rubbed off on him musically.
September 18, 2014 |
Beethoven's Symphony No. 6 ("Pastoral") is usually about as safe as concert programming can be. Yet when the Chamber Orchestra of Philadelphia decided to opened its 50th season with Beethoven's celebration of nature and weather Monday at the Kimmel Center's Perelman Theater, it took one of the bigger chances of its recent history. Audiences here aren't used to hearing that music played by 35 or so players. But then, music director (and composer) Sir Dirk Brossé (newly knighted in his native Belgium)
September 10, 2014 |
Throughout much of Macy's department store in Center City, "20 percent off" signs added to the celebratory air of Symphony in C's concert on Saturday night, scheduled immediately after closing time, in yet another of its mountain-comes-to-Muhammad collaborations with the fabled Wanamaker organ. Known as one of the biggest and grandest working instruments of its kind, the Wanamaker organ is mostly heard as a musical world unto itself in noontime concerts that range from classical to show tunes.
August 24, 2014 |
The first Philadelphia Orchestra principal player to be hired during the tenure of music director Yannick Nézet-Séguin is an old friend of the orchestra. Israeli-born Nitzan Haroz will return to his former chair as principal trombonist effective immediately, the orchestra announced Thursday, four months after he won the audition. Haroz, 45, first came to the orchestra in the Wolfgang Sawallisch era, holding the principal spot from 1995 to 2012, then leaving to become principal of the Los Angeles Philharmonic for two years.