May 19, 2012 |
Keen listeners might find a poignant layer or two around Charles Dutoit's final stroke as chief conductor of the Philadelphia Orchestra. Ravel's Daphnis and Chloé ends on a nearly unbearably brilliant A major chord — the key German poet Christian Schubart believed messaged the hope, upon parting, of seeing one's beloved again. Verizon Hall's Thursday night capacity audience seemed to be yearning already. A standing ovation for the conductor began gathering even before the music's start, just after he glided on stage and neared the podium.
May 15, 2012 |
PRINCETON — Conductor Rossen Milanov has been making the Philadelphia version of the Grand Tour: Last week was Symphony in C in Camden, Friday was the Curtis (his alma mater) Symphony Orchestra at the Mann Center, and Sunday — most notably — was his end-of-season Princeton Symphony Orchestra concert at Richardson Auditorium here. In a program featuring Brahms' Symphony No. 4 and a new work by Princeton composer Sarah Kirkland Snider, Milanov stepped out from behind his image as dependable, congenial Rossen to become a conductor who wields demonic power.
May 11, 2012 |
A classically trained pianist who writes songs that are sometimes playfully quirky and sometimes complexly arty, Regina Spektor has a habit of going on the road to open for rock-and-roll dudes. In 2003, she opened for the Strokes on her first tour, which included a stop at the Tower Theatre, where she will headline Saturday. She just wrapped up a stint opening for Tom Petty and the Heartbreakers. "I feel like since [the tour began in] Denver, I've just gone to the University of Awesome for a few weeks," she said from Austin, Texas, on the last date of the Heartbreakers' tour.
April 14, 2012 |
Pianist Garrick Ohlsson hasn't always worn the mileage of his four-decade career lightly: His fingers are almost always in fine shape, but he sometimes leaves his heart in San Francisco (which is his home). The all-Liszt recital he chose for himself Thursday at the Kimmel Center, however, had few places to hide, showing the 64-year-old artist at his peak on all levels. After Liszt's 200th birthday in 2011, so many performances of the composer's Piano Sonata in B minor have gone under the bridge that only Pierre Laurent Aimard's recording is one I'd want to hear again.
March 2, 2012
Walnut Street Supper Club is the most nostalgic of the bunch, but it isn't the only place where you can enjoy dinner and a show. Here are a few others: Live From Loew's: A monthly performance series at the Solefood Restaurant and Lounge inside Loew's Hotel. March 19, features "rockjazz" pianist and Camden native ELEW (a/k/a Eric Lewis); April 26 showcases singer-songwriter Sarah Miles. No cover or minimum. 12th and Market streets, 215-627-1200, www.loewshotels.com/Philadelphia-Hotel . Eddie Bruce & Friends: The veteran Philly crooner does four sets every Friday at SugarHouse Casino backed by the Tom Adams Trio and featuring a changing roster of guest performers.
February 18, 2012 |
Few current pianists have played and recorded as much Rachmaninoff as Nikolai Lugansky. And no orchestra had such an intensive association with pianist/composer Rachmaninoff as the Philadelphia Orchestra. The combination is such that each side welcomes the other almost as if they're cousins. Maybe they are. "Here, this music is unbelievably close," Lugansky said Thursday, having just rehearsed Rachmaninoff with the orchestra. "This is the best Russian style. " But what such a collaboration actually would sound like on Friday and Saturday night at the Kimmel Center performances of Rachmaninoff's Piano Concerto No. 2 - and how much Lugansky would follow in the composer's footsteps - remained to be seen.
February 10, 2012 |
Somebody needed to program the orphans in Beethoven's output, and pianist Anton Kuerti was the one to do it at his Philadelphia Chamber Music Society recital Wednesday at the Kimmel Center. Never a glamour pianist, the 73-year-old Vienna-born, Canada-based Kuerti - his hair longer and wilder than ever - has been performing cycles of Beethoven sonatas for as far back as I can remember (40 years) and is a model of nonapologist performers. As majestic as Beethoven can be, his piano sonatas contain some of his most private music - cranky, quirky, and not always clear in what it has to say, especially pieces published not in a litter, but by themselves, without catchy subtitles or nicknames.
February 9, 2012 |
Musicians today are writing and blogging, speaking directly to their public, involving readers in, yes, process - but also gathering up fans and a cache of personal investment that may or may not have anything to do with the music itself. Does it really matter what the pianist had for breakfast? Friend me, the classical world pleads. Jeremy Denk is an especially appealing denizen of the electronic ether. Tuesday night's intermission crowd at the Perelman Theater lit up with chatter about his recent New Yorker essay, an illuminating gaze at his own reflection in recordings.
January 12, 2012
Bulgarian-born French pianist Alexis Weissenberg, 82, whose love of music saved him and his mother from a World War II concentration camp and carried him to performances with Herbert von Karajan and Leonard Bernstein, has died. Bulgaria's Ministry of Culture on Monday confirmed the death of Mr. Weissenberg, who was born into a Jewish family in the capital, Sofia, but spent most of his life abroad and became a French citizen. An only child, Mr. Weissenberg recalled sharing "musical joys" learning piano and listening to recordings and concerts with his mother, before studying piano with a famous Bulgarian composer, Pancho Vladigerov.
January 10, 2012 |
GENEVA - Bulgarian-born French pianist Alexis Weissenberg, whose love of music from the age of 3 saved him and his mother from a World War II concentration camp and carried him to the heights of performances with Herbert von Karajan and Leonard Bernstein, has died. He was 82. Bulgaria's Ministry of Culture yesterday confirmed the death of Weissenberg, who was born into a Jewish family in the capital Sofia but spent most of his life abroad and became a French citizen. Weissenberg suffered from Parkinson's disease.