April 24, 2015 |
The artistic solidity on which Richard Goode made his name has given way to encroaching adventurousness over the years, though the limitations of that were intermittently apparent at his Philadelphia Chamber Music Society recital Tuesday at the Kimmel Center. The program was a typical Goode cross section: Unjustly neglected Mozart ( Adagio in B minor ), the core repertoire of Beethoven's Piano Sonata in F-sharp major Op. 78 , ongoing explorations of Debussy, and a relatively new acquaintance with Schumann's Humoreske . Though the Beethoven seemed a little tired in this outing, Debussy's Children's Corner showed what has made Goode an eminent pianist.
April 21, 2015 |
Both sets by Vijay Iyer at Swarthmore College's Lang Performing Arts Center on Saturday started the same way: the pianist rang gentle, chiming tones, establishing a mood of quiet contemplation and close listening. From there, the two halves of the evening went in completely different directions. The first, featuring Iyer as part the trio Tirtha, combined Indian classical music with Western jazz harmonies and rock-infused electric guitar; the second showcased the telepathic adventurousness of Iyer's long-running ensemble.
April 19, 2015 |
Even the greatest artists have performances in which all the right things happen but the core experience just isn't there. The surprise with soprano Dorothea Röschmann is how that can happen from piece to piece, not just in her Wednesday recital with pianist Mitsuko Uchida, but in past recordings. Anticipation ran high for the Philadelphia Chamber Music Society recital at the Kimmel Center; two such notable artists collaborate infrequently. And in the Perelman Theater, they were heard in one of the more intimate auditoriums this side of London's Wigmore Hall on this duo's six-concert tour.
April 3, 2015 |
Pianist Marc-Andre Hamelin has done greatly scintillating things in many corners of the piano repertoire. But is he a great pianist? That notion somehow seemed not on the table until his Philadelphia Chamber Music Society recital on Tuesday night when he played Schubert's Piano Sonata in B-flat at the Kimmel Center in ways that, at every turn, were utterly distinctive to him and rendered in a manner that could only have been cultivated over...
March 27, 2015 |
Say the name "Liberace" and a dozen smiling images - each campier than the one before - pop into view, all fabulous, rhinestone-encrusted, fur-lined, and sprinkled with stardust. When he was part of the entertainment landscape from the 1950s through the 1980s on television or stage, Liberace's keyboard repertoire was one of showy pop/classical sides and willowy, winking conversational asides. And he was beloved, particularly by women, his sexuality rarely questioned (he won libel suits against Britain's Daily Mirror and Confidential magazine in the mid-'50s when they implied he was homosexual)
February 22, 2015 |
Lars Vogt was well on his way to making a significant solo recital debut Wednesday at the American Philosophical Society when Beethoven's Piano Sonata No. 32 Op. 111 started coming unraveled. Problems began in the dense, first-movement exposition, when a memory lapse set in, one Vogt covered skillfully, but starting a spiral that eventually forced him to start over and leave the stage to grab the printed music. Also unfortunate: the piano's music stand had been removed, making page turns awkward.
February 11, 2015 |
There was no Schubert, no Hugo Wolf. By starting with Beethoven and wending a pleasant path through Liszt, Satie and Frank Bridge, tenor Matthew Polenzani and pianist Julius Drake surveyed the lieder road less traveled. Not one of the composers on Friday night's Philadelphia Chamber Music Society recital in the Perelman would become best known for the genre; Liszt conquered the piano, Ravel the orchestra, and Beethoven, well, almost everything. And yet, what gems. Adelaide, Op. 46 , is a relatively early Beethoven work of great sophistication, an energetic burst of yearning in which the singer sees and hears his love object and nature as one. So, too, the performers.
February 4, 2015 |
PHILADELPHIA'S reputation as a center of gospel music owed much to people like Irma Beattie Brown Coleman. Irma and the late David Collier formed United Gospel Singers, which performed at churches throughout the Philadelphia area and in other cities on the East Coast in the '60s and '70s. Among her innovations was the introduction of young boys and girls as soloists at well-attended gospel programs, many at Tindley Temple United Methodist Church on South Broad Street. She organized numerous other gospel groups over the years and served as a teacher seeking to bring out the nascent talents of young singers.
February 1, 2015 |
On the off chance that you missed the point during the Schumann and Schubert, pianist Kuok-Wai Lio slipped in an encore Thursday night at his Philadelphia Chamber Music Society debut, declaring the school of pianism from which he springs. It doesn't get much more ostentatious than Rachmaninoff's take-off on the "Liebesleid" by Fritz Kreisler. But how, you might wonder, did old-world keyboard giants such as Rachmaninoff, Josef Hofmann, and Jorge Bolet come to inhabit the soul of a 26-year-old Macau-born prodigy?
January 29, 2015 |
Every so often, Astral Artists presents a concert by a musician who arrives with no prior reputation, but shows every sign of being a fully fledged artistic force. So it was with pianist Dizhou Zhao, whose Philadelphia recital debut, presented Sunday by Astral Artists at the Trinity Center for Urban Life, exuded distinctive personality. A graduate of the New England Conservatory, this pianist from Shanghai plays with a bright, crystalline sonority that gives him no place to hide technically, supported by a hefty bass sound and a musical sensibility that went well beyond the architectural building blocks of Chopin and Prokofiev, allowing the music to unfold as a living, evolving, organic entity.