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Piano Concerto

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ENTERTAINMENT
April 15, 1996 | By Peter Dobrin, INQUIRER STAFF WRITER
Does William Bolcom's new piano concerto Gaea have anything to offer besides its unusual premise? Bolcom's creation, premiered here by the Baltimore Symphony Orchestra and music director David Zinman, is not one work, but three. It asks one orchestra and one pianist to play in one version, another orchestra and another pianist to play related music in a second incarnation, and both orchestras and both pianists to fit their parts together for yet a third. Adding to that considerable compositional challenge, both piano parts are for left hand alone.
ENTERTAINMENT
May 11, 2002 | By Peter Dobrin INQUIRER MUSIC CRITIC
The reputation of contemporary composers as who-cares-if-you-listen practitioners of a restrictive art form has always far outstripped the reality. Even when composers were committing their most serious (alleged) serial crimes, there was Krzysztof Penderecki. The Polish composer, whose new Piano Concerto, "Resurrection," was premiered Thursday night at Carnegie Hall by the Philadelphia Orchestra and pianist Emanuel Ax, was using pure, proud major and minor melodies in the 1970s.
ENTERTAINMENT
April 28, 2006 | By TOM DI NARDO For the Daily News
Mozart's final few works reach the summit of expressive genius, an outpouring of the human spirit cruelly silenced at the age of 35. Ignat Solzhenitsyn, the Chamber Orchestra of Philadelphia's music director, has scheduled these masterpieces in three weekend pairs called "Ultimate Mozart," wrapping the ensemble's season. The programs feature the final three symphonies and three piano concertos, plus the overtures to the last three operas as openers. To function as conductor and piano soloist in this repertory, Solzhenitsyn achieves a career milestone.
ENTERTAINMENT
March 19, 2011 | By Peter Dobrin, Inquirer Music Critic
Word association: Tchaikovsky and piano concerto. No, not that concerto. Another one. Yes, there are others. Tchaikovsky's Piano Concerto No. 2 in G major is an enormously intriguing work, yet it is his ivory-billed woodpecker. The last time it alighted in a Philadelphia Orchestra subscription concert was in 1968, when Gary Graffman played it under Eugene Ormandy, and its return Thursday night, if an artistic vindication, revealed reasons for the rarity. Specifically, three of them: It requires a pianist of preternatural technique, and a solo violinist and cellist who can conjure a Tchaikovsky pas de deux in mid-piano concerto.
ENTERTAINMENT
December 1, 2012 | By Peter Dobrin, Inquirer Music Critic
Life without music, said Nietzsche, would be a mistake. But Wagner without singers is a very good idea indeed. You don't have to worry about an ailing Brünnhilde or malfunctioning stagecraft. A half-concert of orchestral excerpts from Wagner's The Ring of the Nibelung Thursday night in Verizon Hall (prefaced by a Beethoven piano concerto) took kind exception to the composer's concept of Gesamtkunstwerk - a single work synthesizing all the arts (to which we'd add technology, especially at the Met)
ENTERTAINMENT
September 1, 2011
"Whatever financial woes the cash-strapped Philadelphia Orchestra might be having at home, they gave a super performance . . . that glittered and sparkled from beginning to end. . . . This phenomenal orchestra produces a well-balanced sound, seemingly effortlessly. " - Susan Nickalls, Edinburgh Daily News, Aug. 31 " . . . in Lucerne, one could hear precisely which areas Dutoit had worked on with the orchestra and which he had not. . . . Piano Concerto No. 2]
NEWS
January 21, 2002 | By Peter Dobrin INQUIRER MUSIC CRITIC
A wind player in the Philadelphia Orchestra told me the other day that from where he sits in Verizon Hall, the sound of the solo pianist's left-hand work arrives at a slightly different time from the sound of the right. Bizarre. It's the kind of acoustical quirk that the orchestra will spend the next several months finding solutions to. The musicians are very much a part of this process, sending feedback to acoustician Russell Johnson. After a period of observation, changes in the hall's highly adjustable acoustical gadgetry will be made.
NEWS
December 8, 2013 | By Peter Dobrin, Inquirer Music Critic
Who was that traditionalist on the podium Thursday night? No piece of music plays itself. But Michael Tilson Thomas, guest-conducting the Philadelphia Orchestra in Verizon Hall, was content to let the Berlioz Symphonie fantastique unfold within the narrow bounds of standard interpretation. At 68, Tilson Thomas executed some wonderfully balletic moves, though their musical benefit was, at best, hazy. As an artistic statement, this could have come from any number of competent conductors.
ENTERTAINMENT
March 8, 1997 | By Daniel Webster, INQUIRER MUSIC CRITIC
Playing dual roles as conductor and soloist, Ignat Solzhenitsyn used the Concerto Soloists Chamber orchestra program Thursday to span almost all of Mozart's creative life. He led the Symphony No. 1 and Symphony No. 40, and was soloist in Piano Concerto No. 27, the composer's last, in the single-performance program at the Convention Center. In Mozart's case, the panorama is less a path from beginner to master than it is from breathtaking youngster to daunting youngster, for there didn't seem to be a beginner level or a sense of summary at the end. At any rate, Solzhenitsyn did more than offer a short course in Mozart: He also brought the ensemble to life.
ENTERTAINMENT
February 22, 1997 | By Daniel Webster, INQUIRER MUSIC CRITIC
The Philadelphia Orchestra's Brahms celebration has taken different turns, jostled by the strike early in the season and now by an unforeseen change in soloists. Pianist Andre Watts is currently stepping in to replace ailing violinist Anne-Sophie Mutter, and to play the Piano Concerto No. 2. For Watts, it's a return to the stage where he played 40 years ago as a winner of the orchestra's children's competition, and also an appearance in a work that has not been closely associated with his career.
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NEWS
December 8, 2013 | By Peter Dobrin, Inquirer Music Critic
Who was that traditionalist on the podium Thursday night? No piece of music plays itself. But Michael Tilson Thomas, guest-conducting the Philadelphia Orchestra in Verizon Hall, was content to let the Berlioz Symphonie fantastique unfold within the narrow bounds of standard interpretation. At 68, Tilson Thomas executed some wonderfully balletic moves, though their musical benefit was, at best, hazy. As an artistic statement, this could have come from any number of competent conductors.
ENTERTAINMENT
October 31, 2013 | BY TOM DI NARDO, For the Daily News
THIS WEEKEND, the Philadelphia Orchestra premieres three newly commissioned works, each composed specifically for one of its principal players. These renowned soloists, who can't ask Mozart or Brahms for advice on how to play their music, had the unique chance to be collaborators. Each creative process was different, yet all three composers were inspired both by ancient traditions and by our orchestra's legendary sound. We asked the creators and artists to share their thoughts on the collaborations.
ENTERTAINMENT
October 30, 2013 | By David Patrick Stearns, Inquirer Music Critic
With three video screens, the full Philadelphia Orchestra, and harp soloist Elizabeth Hainen to keep track of in Verizon Hall, conductor Yannick Nézet-Séguin might need a GPS to know where to turn next. The occasion is Nu Shu: The Secret Songs of Women, Symphony for Micro Films, Harp and Orchestra , by Chinese composer Tan Dun. Besides documenting a 1,000-year-old language that women sing only to one another in remote parts of China, the piece is also "a kind of art installation," says the Oscar-winning composer of Crouching Tiger Hidden Dragon , "because my screen is also a Chinese scroll painting.
ENTERTAINMENT
December 1, 2012 | By Peter Dobrin, Inquirer Music Critic
Life without music, said Nietzsche, would be a mistake. But Wagner without singers is a very good idea indeed. You don't have to worry about an ailing Brünnhilde or malfunctioning stagecraft. A half-concert of orchestral excerpts from Wagner's The Ring of the Nibelung Thursday night in Verizon Hall (prefaced by a Beethoven piano concerto) took kind exception to the composer's concept of Gesamtkunstwerk - a single work synthesizing all the arts (to which we'd add technology, especially at the Met)
ENTERTAINMENT
February 18, 2012 | By David Patrick Stearns, Inquirer Music Critic
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.
ENTERTAINMENT
February 14, 2012 | By Daniel Webster, For The Inquirer
Sociologists would seem to have planned the Curtis Symphony Orchestra's concert Sunday at the Kimmel Center, in which conductor Miguel Harth-Bedoya identified national moods from the 1940s, contrasted haves and have-nots, and even took some musical soil samples to show how music sprouts and grows. The almost simultaneous birth of Leonard Bernstein's Symphony No. 2 "Age of Anxiety" and Sergei Prokofiev's Symphony No. 5 sent the players on a survey of contrasting musical styles reflecting two societies' postwar hopes, memories, and mental positionings.
ENTERTAINMENT
September 1, 2011
"Whatever financial woes the cash-strapped Philadelphia Orchestra might be having at home, they gave a super performance . . . that glittered and sparkled from beginning to end. . . . This phenomenal orchestra produces a well-balanced sound, seemingly effortlessly. " - Susan Nickalls, Edinburgh Daily News, Aug. 31 " . . . in Lucerne, one could hear precisely which areas Dutoit had worked on with the orchestra and which he had not. . . . Piano Concerto No. 2]
ENTERTAINMENT
April 2, 2011 | By Peter Dobrin, Inquirer Music Critic
We know from many happy encounters over the years what Marc-André Hamelin thinks of Charles-Valentin Alkan, Nikolai Kapustin, Nikolai Medtner, and Kaikhosru Sorabji. But how does he do in Mozart? Hamelin's Thursday night performance of the Mozart Piano Concerto No. 17 in G major (K. 453) with the Philadelphia Orchestra didn't pack the punch and revelation of his other appearances here. The Canadian-born pianist - once a Philadelphian, now a Bostonian - is known as the conquering hero of towering technique.
ENTERTAINMENT
March 19, 2011 | By Peter Dobrin, Inquirer Music Critic
Word association: Tchaikovsky and piano concerto. No, not that concerto. Another one. Yes, there are others. Tchaikovsky's Piano Concerto No. 2 in G major is an enormously intriguing work, yet it is his ivory-billed woodpecker. The last time it alighted in a Philadelphia Orchestra subscription concert was in 1968, when Gary Graffman played it under Eugene Ormandy, and its return Thursday night, if an artistic vindication, revealed reasons for the rarity. Specifically, three of them: It requires a pianist of preternatural technique, and a solo violinist and cellist who can conjure a Tchaikovsky pas de deux in mid-piano concerto.
NEWS
July 28, 2010 | By Peter Dobrin, Inquirer Music Critic
It began like almost any other orchestra summer idyll, with Leonard Bernstein's Candide Overture . And then, with the middle movement of a Mozart piano concerto, Tuesday night's Philadelphia Orchestra concert at the Mann Center suddenly took on rare auras of celebrity, politics, and the general idea that history of a sort was in the making. The source of the extra-musical messaging was the soloist: Condoleezza Rice, former national security advisor, 66th U.S. secretary of state and public face of the Bush 43 administration.
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