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ENTERTAINMENT
December 4, 1993 | By Daniel Webster, INQUIRER MUSIC CRITIC
Handel's Messiah may be the most elastic work in the repertoire. It has been stretched and compressed to meet the musical tastes and social values of eras stretching back 250 years. Handel, of course, changed the work almost for every performance. Since then, the work has gone through times of solemn grandeur, periods of inflated piety and recently through a lean time when only eremites could sing it. The current state of the oratorio was demonstrated last night by the Philadelphia Singers at the Academy of Music.
NEWS
December 9, 1989 | By Lesley Valdes, Inquirer Music Critic
The holiday season is upon us, with a flurry of Messiahs descending. Whether Handel's pious, blazing optimism can warm us as securely as it has listeners in centuries past is arguable given its ubiquity. But the Philadelphia Singers' annual presentation of the oratorio last night at the Academy of Music made an excellent, perhaps even model, start for the legions soon to follow the inexorable Christmas march. The Singers' agility and characteristic clarion-clear tone are conducive to the authentic-leaning interpretations of Handel now in fashion.
NEWS
October 22, 2001 | By David Patrick Stearns INQUIRER MUSIC CRITIC
Every so often, coincidences collide with a precision that reminds that fate has ways of taking good care of you. Now that music lovers are going to concerts again after the disasters of Sept. 11, what greeted them at the Church of St. Luke and the Epiphany on Saturday was "Great Hymns and Anthems of the Church" by the Philadelphia Singers. It was much needed. Remarkably, the program was planned months ago, and it seemed, before Sept. 11, an odd plan. Hymns are the music of everyday people in church services.
ENTERTAINMENT
October 17, 1992 | By Daniel Webster, INQUIRER MUSIC CRITIC
Program-making is a craft too little regarded by musicians. Programs tend toward formulas, toward random selections or to gatherings of music that, like an acrostic, deliver an encoded message. Neither trait flawed the Philadelphia Singers' concert last night at the Church of the Holy Trinity. Conductor David Hayes, in his first full season as music director, assembled works that proclaimed themselves but, without a word needing to be said, declared a magical relationship between baroque and romantic composers.
ENTERTAINMENT
May 1, 2013 | By David Patrick Stearns, Inquirer Music Critic
When first heard, Alfred Schnittke's Choir Concerto seems like an unapproachable musical anomaly - a piece that crashed into the repertoire with undeniable greatness but with challenges so steep that performers might not know where to start. Yet the Philadelphia Singers took the piece out of its ivory tower Sunday and put it where it belongs: In your face. When he wrote the piece in the 1980s, Schnittke was known for uninhibited explosiveness in symphonic works and operas that symbolized the old Soviet Union breaking free of Brezhnevian torpor and propelling itself toward a long-delayed arrival in the musical vanguard.
ENTERTAINMENT
December 17, 2014 | By Peter Dobrin, Inquirer Music Critic
In the wake of leadership changes and the loss of funding from a major supporter, the Philadelphia Singers has decided to cease operations. The city's pioneering professional chorus will sing its last notes at a May concert, and then the organization will dissolve. The chorus was founded in 1972. The Philadelphia Singers' board voted to shut down after learning in November that the William Penn Foundation had turned down a request for a three-year grant for general support; after its executive director resigned; and in view of $125,000 in debt, said Michael Martin Mills, board vice president.
ENTERTAINMENT
March 31, 2015 | By David Patrick Stearns, Inquirer Music Critic
Can something be unprecedented without being radical? Even in a town that, musically speaking, has seen a bit of everything? Such was the weekend's "Myths and Magic" program by the Philadelphia Singers that featured two genre-fusing works from different eras that seemed to belong together - and perhaps no place else. Gian Carlo Menotti's all-but-forgotten neo-madrigal work The Unicorn, the Gorgon, and the Manticore stood well alongside the Jake Heggie/Gene Scheer choral opera The Radio Hour (heard here in its East Coast premiere)
ENTERTAINMENT
October 30, 2012 | By David Patrick Stearns, Inquirer Music Critic
Great music often takes on shades of its surroundings, which is why at least two weekend concerts seemed to be issuing veiled warnings about the impending storm. The end of the world was the topic of the Buxtehude Consort's program Saturday at St. Paul's Episcopal Church in Chestnut Hill. No mentions of hurricanes were heard, but "Heaven, earth, air and sea prepare themselves to exact revenge" was how G.F. Telemann (1681-1767) began one of his cantatas, and you know he wasn't just riffing on Weather Channel hysteria.
NEWS
May 22, 2016
Grand memorial. One of the more ambitious projects in the final seasons of the Philadelphia Singers under David Hayes was the 1958 Randall Thompson Requiem, a recording of which, made a year before the 2015 disbanding, is just out now on the Naxos label. This unaccompanied work for double choir has a freewheeling range of texts, traditional and otherwise, with music that certainly defies Thompson's image as a feet-on-the-ground Aaron Copland-era composer. At times, you wonder what Thompson was thinking by writing some of the more animated (and hard to tune)
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NEWS
August 11, 2016 | By David Patrick Stearns, MUSIC CRITIC
Temple Painter, 83, who earned the moniker "Mr. Harpsichord of Philadelphia" for his performances with the Philadelphia Orchestra and Chamber Orchestra of Philadelphia, died Saturday, Aug. 6, at Hahnemann Hospital of cancer-related illness. "He was a kind, gentle person with a tremendous musical gift," said his longtime friend and colleague, the composer Harold Boatrite. "He would play a concerto with one group and get in a cab to the next venue to play a different concerto with another group.
NEWS
May 22, 2016
Grand memorial. One of the more ambitious projects in the final seasons of the Philadelphia Singers under David Hayes was the 1958 Randall Thompson Requiem, a recording of which, made a year before the 2015 disbanding, is just out now on the Naxos label. This unaccompanied work for double choir has a freewheeling range of texts, traditional and otherwise, with music that certainly defies Thompson's image as a feet-on-the-ground Aaron Copland-era composer. At times, you wonder what Thompson was thinking by writing some of the more animated (and hard to tune)
NEWS
July 17, 2015 | By Bonnie L. Cook, Inquirer Staff Writer
Trudy Cohen, 83, a photographer and longtime Center City resident, died Wednesday, July 8, at Thomas Jefferson University Hospital of a cerebral hemorrhage. Born in New York City, Mrs. Cohen graduated from Hunter High School there. She attended classes for three years at the University of Richmond in Virginia in 1952. In 1976, after marrying and moving to Philadelphia, Mrs. Cohen completed a bachelor's degree in photography from Moore College of Art and Design. From 1977 to 1994, she was the official photographer for the Opera Company of Philadelphia.
ENTERTAINMENT
May 20, 2015 | By David Patrick Stearns, Inquirer Music Critic
No commemorative speeches. No plaques. No tear jerking. Artistic director David Hayes barely announced the encore at the farewell concert of the Philadelphia Singers, going out of business after 43 years, but let the occasion speak with music, the best performance coming last - Rachmaninoff's Vespers , the "Rejoice O Virgin" section. Maybe Hayes was focusing his energy, having survived last week's Amtrak derailment in reportedly functional though bruised form, which had him walking on and off stage with care.
NEWS
May 11, 2015 | Peter Dobrin, Inquirer Culture Writer
When it comes to insuring a healthy future for arts and culture in Philadelphia, does it really matter who becomes the next mayor? The answer is important because, like a prospector who discovers a gold mine then watches others pull riches from it, the Philadelphia arts and culture community has been looking around and wondering when its turn will come. Center City is a boomtown, its vibrant street life and desirable real estate in large part a consequence of arts pioneers taking a chance on new facilities and expanded missions more than two decades ago. Yet even as the city's riches have grown, support for arts and culture groups has not kept pace.
ENTERTAINMENT
March 31, 2015 | By David Patrick Stearns, Inquirer Music Critic
Can something be unprecedented without being radical? Even in a town that, musically speaking, has seen a bit of everything? Such was the weekend's "Myths and Magic" program by the Philadelphia Singers that featured two genre-fusing works from different eras that seemed to belong together - and perhaps no place else. Gian Carlo Menotti's all-but-forgotten neo-madrigal work The Unicorn, the Gorgon, and the Manticore stood well alongside the Jake Heggie/Gene Scheer choral opera The Radio Hour (heard here in its East Coast premiere)
NEWS
March 27, 2015 | By David Patrick Stearns, Inquirer Music Critic
Though the Philadelphia Singers were never about to depart quietly in this, their final season, their East Coast premiere of the Jake Heggie choral opera The Radio Hour has turned out to be far more than anybody bargained for. "It is an opera," notes Heggie, even though the main character - a woman on the verge of suicide - never speaks. The chorus is split in two, one exploring the contents of the protagonist's head and the other depicting the advice she's getting from . . . could it really be the radio?
NEWS
January 26, 2015 | By Peter Dobrin, Inquirer Music Critic
The guard is changing. After 27 years, Alan Harler is stepping down from the Mendelssohn Club of Philadelphia, but not without first conducting Bach's St. Matthew Passion . Also departing after Year 27 is Orchestra 2001's founder and director James Freeman, who will do what he does best - George Crumb - in an 85th-birthday tribute to the great composer whose works he has so often launched. David Hayes seems too young to have been with the Philadelphia Singers for 25 years, but it's true, and he announced his departure before the group said that this season would be its last as well.
NEWS
January 11, 2015 | By Peter Dobrin, Inquirer Music Critic
Mendelssohn Club of Philadelphia has named its next artistic director and principal director: Paul Rardin, only the 13th leader in the choir's 141-year history. Rardin, 49, will keep the job as director of choral activities at Temple University he began in 2011, and starts his initial two-year Mendelssohn contract July 1. Except for a 45-minute rehearsal as part of the interview process, Rardin has never before conducted the 130-voice Mendelssohn choir - his first outing won't be until fall - but says that having grown up in the area (Germantown and East Mount Airy)
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