October 15, 1990 |
The second week of the ongoing Swarthmore Music and Dance Festival concluded yesterday with an afternoon recital by Cynthia Raim. The beauty of the autumn foliage, which one could view from the spectacular rear-stage window of Lang Concert Hall, likely discouraged attendance indoors. Only 200 of Lang's 600 seats appeared filled, but Raim was fortunate that her audience (which, sensitively, grouped itself in one seating area) was discriminating and attentive. This was as it should be, since Raim is a discriminating pianist, polished on every level of her art. Within an arsenal of poise and power lie strong ideas and intelligent perceptions.
December 13, 1990 |
Violinist Pamela Frank and her father, pianist Claude Frank, substantially changed their program last night, and in doing so, reminded their listeners of how easily some major works have slipped out of hearing. They performed at the Port of History Museum, and dropped scheduled sonatas by Mozart, Debussy and Brahms in favor of Brahms' lyric Sonata in G (Op. 78) and Beethoven's Sonata in C minor (Op. 30, No. 2). Both works are less obvious in their appeal, but taken together, complemented and compounded the impact they made as comparative rarities, and created a setting in which the Schubert Fantasia in C (D.934)
November 16, 1991 |
The audience at the Academy of Music appreciates Emanuel Ax. How do I know? Its members awarded the pianist not only three curtain calls last night but also remained in their seats until Ax and members of the Philadelphia Orchestra had left the stage at intermission. That's quite a commendation these days. Even in New York's Carnegie Hall, players joke about their "standing ovations," meaning the flocks of fans clapping as they head for their between-the-music snack. (A culture bred and fed on TV breaks has a tougher and tougher time paying attention.
June 17, 1995 |
As he put the finishing touches on a medley of "Smoke Gets in Your Eyes" and his own composition, "Reach," pianist Jacky Terrasson had his hands poised over the keyboard, ready to add one last chord. He listened to the lingering sonority, then decided against it, and - guided by a split-second reflex - ended the piece by pulling away. Such restraint is typical of Terrasson, a 29-year-old whose musical instincts are uncommonly mature. At the Mellon PSFS Jazz Festival program Thursday night at the Philadelphia Museum of Art, Terrasson led his trio through treatments of bebop and post-bop material that showcased his passion for playful melodies and disdain for conventionality.
February 12, 2003 |
Chinese-born, Philadelphia-based pianist Lang Lang signed a five-year, five-disc contract with the prestigious Deutsche Grammophon label, according to an announcement yesterday. The first recording sessions will be held Feb. 20-21 with the Chicago Symphony Orchestra, Daniel Barenboim conducting. The repertoire will be two of Lang Lang's most requested repertoire, Tchaikovsky's Piano Concerto No. 1 and Mendelssohn's Piano Concerto in G minor. The release is planned to coincide with Lang Lang's late-July appearance with the Mostly Mozart Festival, which will be telecast on PBS's Live From Lincoln Center.
February 7, 2005 |
At his concert Friday night, pianist Jason Moran seemed wistful, noting how music always dissipates while artists who make physical objects create something that lasts. The comment might have dissipated too at one of his more successful concerts. Moran, 30, is well known for his taste in furniture, and he played Friday on his Susanne Fossgreen, Scandinavian-style chair, not the customary piano bench. But his dismissal of music seemed to leach into the performance, raising questions about Moran and his art. The two sets at Zellerbach Theater in Penn's Annenberg Center were sketches in frustration: moments of promise surrounded by impenetrable clatter.
April 28, 2004 |
Murray Perahia is the world's most civilized pianist at the moment, the foremost representative of the golden-mean school of interpretation in which individualism is thoughtful and all is tempered with moderation. That's not always the kind of playing you love. But for those recovering from pianist Tzimon Barto's uglification of the Brahms Piano Concerto No. 2 with the Philadelphia Orchestra (which, by several reports, seems not to have improved over successive performances), Perahia's Sunday recital was a gift from the Kimmel Center gods.
June 26, 1988 |
For some time, jazz pianist Keith Jarrett has wandered in and out of the classical field. His renditions of late 20th-century scores have been for the most part astute and certainly welcome. But in his just-released account of J.S. Bach's The Well-Tempered Clavier, Book 1 (ECM New Series 1362/63 CD and LP), Jarrett seems to have pressed the classical issue beyond his technical and interpretive talents. Like the Parthenon or the poetry of Shakespeare, The Well-Tempered Clavier stands as a monument to all that is finest about civilization.
October 17, 1988 |
Soprano Benita Valente and pianist Cynthia Raim were the featured performers at a benefit recital for the Crossroads School yesterday. The dinner-hour program was given in Haverford College's Marshall Auditorium before a distinguished and appreciative audience. No mere accompanist for this occasion, Raim was accorded half the limelight with two extensive piano solos by Chopin and Rachmaninoff. In the Andante Spianato and Grand Polonaise Brilliante, she displayed impressive control of Chopin's speeding filigree, albeit with a tendency to sacrifice continuity for effect early on. Both here and in the more substantial Variations on a Theme of Corelli, by Rachmaninoff, she brought to her fortes an unusual but not unattractive clangor - like Poe's "brazen bells" - that imbued her interpretations with a sense of urgency and subdued desperation.
May 28, 2005 |
As a teenage music student, pianist Ruth Laredo was notorious for being able to play any finger-busting repertoire that was put in front of her. As a 67-year-old veteran of thousands of concerts and one of America's best-known native-trained pianists, she played a recital at the Metropolitan Museum of Art less than three weeks before succumbing to ovarian cancer Wednesday at her home in New York City. "That doesn't surprise me," said Philadelphia Chamber Music Society founder Anthony P. Checchia.