February 11, 2008 |
Nobody knew the middle voices of a keyboard like German composer Robert Schumann. Judging from his Scenes From Childhood (Kinderszenen) on the Philadelphia Chamber Music Society piano series Friday evening, Christian Zacharias plays them as beautifully as anyone. And the Schumann Arabesque, the recitalist's encore, offered a study in lyrical piano playing. If ever you wanted to play the piano, get going, now. Adults as well as children can do no better than to study these dozen Scenes and their epilogue (The Poet Speaks)
February 6, 1999 |
Near the end of his Schubert recital Thursday, tenor Christoph Pregardien sang "Der Doppelgaenger. " Its 12 lines outline a familiar ghost story from the heart of German Romantic poetry, but in this performance, categories and familiarity counted for nothing. Pregardien and pianist Michael Gees found a wintery tone in which their music-making made the typical period imagery as chilling as a letter from a long-dead lover. Those few minutes of intense tone-painting were the norm in their extraordinary performance at the Convention Center.
January 27, 1992 |
Gyorgy Sandor's greatest strengths made themselves apparent early in the program Saturday night - in the Chorale Prelude in G minor by Bach. The Hungarian pianist, playing for Tri-County Concerts in the Haverford School's Centennial Hall, excelled in those works on his program that, like the Bach, were lean and elegant, relying on simplicity for their message. The Bach certainly qualified, with its walking bass in the left hand and quiet melodies in the right, and so did Mozart's familiar Sonata in C major (K. 330)
November 15, 2008 |
Sometimes you come across a pianist whose technique is so blindingly impressive it blots out everything else. Lang Lang might be one example. And just in case you didn't take adequate notice of his digital dexterity, he always illustrates the point by taking aim at the heavens with facial expressions of equal parts ecstasy and pain. Arnaldo Cohen could probably have been one of those pianists. He has the chops. In fact, in terms of pure technical command, he probably runs rings around Lang Lang.
March 4, 2002 |
You couldn't blame Keith Jarrett for being a little superstitious. After just one selection Friday night at the Kimmel Center's Verizon Hall, the acclaimed pianist explained that the instrument he'd intended to play snapped a string as it was being tuned before showtime. "The piano you should be hearing you will have to imagine," he told the rapt audience after finishing a perfunctory romp through "Green Dolphin Street" that marked his first Philadelphia appearance in over 20 years.
January 17, 2003 |
Bach usually benefits from an artist's belief that the world is a highly ordered place, and no doubt the sense of control Simone Dinnerstein placed on the composer's French Suite No. 5 in G major made the work a bastion of reason. True, too, that the Brooklyn pianist's marvelously smooth articulation added a gloss of beauty to everything she touched. But it wasn't until the last movement, the excitable "Gigue," that everything Dinnerstein has to offer crystallized. Here, she understood what's possible when Bach's complexity and euphoria converge.
May 13, 2005 |
Bertha Rosengarten Israel, 86, of Plymouth Meeting, a music instructor and classical pianist who taught hundreds of students in her home until she was 84, died of amyotrophic lateral sclerosis (Lou Gehrig's disease) May 6 at Mercy Suburban Hospital in East Norriton. Mrs. Israel gave her first piano lesson when she was 16 and charged students 25 cents. Her pupils were only a few years younger than she, but by then Mrs. Israel was a skilled pianist after eight years of lessons and practice at her West Philadelphia home.
May 20, 1990 |
Frank J. Potamkin, 85, a pianist and composer who taught thousands of students at the music school that he and his wife ran in Elkins Park, died Thursday of heart failure at his Wyncote home. Mr. Potamkin, a slight, soft-spoken man who always acknowledged his wife's supremacy as a pianist, ran the Potamkin School of Music for 45 years. He and his wife, Eugenie, taught from their home, which had been designed to hold a pair of matching Steinways that the Potamkins bought during their early years together.
April 17, 1992 |
Florence Frantz Vennett Snyder, 85, an accomplished pianist and alumna of the Curtis Institute of Music, died Monday at Sinai Hospital in Baltimore. A resident of Baltimore, Mrs. Snyder had lived and worked in Philadelphia. After graduating from the Peabody Conservatory in Baltimore in 1926, Mrs. Snyder won a scholarship to study piano and accompanying at the Curtis Institute. She was a student of the renowned piano instructor Madame Isabelle Venegerova from 1927 until graduation in 1934.
September 15, 2005 |
Name Philadelphia's most often heard classical pianists, and one is far less famous than Andre Watts: Jeremy Denk. Beloved by hard-core audiences who attend smaller-scale recitals in museums and galleries, Denk has played in Philadelphia at least 20 times in the last 17 years. Three full Denk recitals are to come this season, starting with a rare, single-evening traversal of Bach's six partitas at the Bach Festival of Philadelphia's Monday opening. The other concerts, presented by his longtime champion, the Philadelphia Chamber Music Society, will be Feb. 3 and May 17, with his customary recital partner, violinist Soovin Kim. Denk, 35, is still making important debuts, some as superstar violinist Joshua Bell's pianist of choice - which is how he arrived at Verizon Hall last spring.