May 18, 2016 |
'The music of the spheres. " It's not just a poetic turn of phrase: For centuries, from ancient Greece to the Renaissance, the idea was at the center of European ideas of the cosmos and how it worked. Classical writers such as Plato and Pliny developed the idea that the distances between the planets corresponded with musical intervals as identified by Pythagoras, and that the heavenly bodies literally produced harmony - the music of the spheres - as they moved in their orbits around (as they understood at the time)
May 8, 2016
Yuja, live from New York. Pianist Yuja Wang has worked up a solo recital she's playing in the United States, Paris, and Germany, and at the Concertgebouw, but listeners all over can hear the program when she brings it to Carnegie Hall at 8 p.m. Saturday. Repertoire includes Brahms' Ballades, Op. 10, Nos. 1 and 2; Schumann's Kreisleriana, Op. 16; and the Beethoven Piano Sonata No. 29 in B-flat Major, Op. 106, "Hammerklavier. " The Curtis Institute of Music graduate is something of a visual phenomenon for many, and for those fans, the Carnegie Hall recital will be streamed live online, and available for viewing on free replay for 90 days, at medici.tv.
March 13, 2016
Mapping a Musical Partnership. Pianist Maurizio Pollini and conductor Claudio Abbado began performing together in the 1960s, an association that lasted five decades. DG has packaged eight discs' worth of music taken from recordings released between the 1970s and late '90s - all five Beethoven concertos, the two of Brahms, Schumann, plus works of Bartók, Schoenberg, and Luigi Nono. What's captured in Pollini & Abbado: The Complete Deutsche Grammophon Recordings is variable. The Schumann concerto might have more revealing interpreters than Pollini.
December 23, 2015 |
Did a tour bus suddenly let out in front of the Cathedral Basilica of SS. Peter and Paul around the same time as its Friday Christmas concert? No, the line stretching down the windswept block was leading to the first joint concert by Tempesta di Mare, Piffaro, and Choral Arts Philadelphia. No doubt their combined mailing lists helped bring together a large crowd for three weekend concerts, plus an ambitious program titled "Advent Vespers, Dresden 1619. " Because Vespers services tend to be assembled rather than composed from whole cloth, much leeway is possible, allowing the three collaborating ensembles to come up with a varied but stylistically coherent cross-section of music heard at that time and place, mainly Heinrich Schutz, Michael Praetorius, and Samuel Scheidt.
December 3, 2015 |
Often in the vanguard of evolving developments in recording, the Philadelphia Orchestra was part of the Google Cultural Institute's performing-arts rollout Tuesday, which involved a 60-institution partnership representing more than 20 countries and also including one of Philadelphia's Renaissance bands, Piffaro. The orchestra is represented by a short 360-degree video of Yannick Nézet-Séguin conducting Grieg's "In the Hall of the Mountain King" from Peer Gynt before a live audience at Carnegie Hall.
May 19, 2015 |
Piffaro, Philadelphia's Renaissance wind band, celebrated a big anniversary this weekend. Not its own 30th (that's next season), but the 500th birthday of perhaps the most influential composer you've never heard of: Cipriano de Rore, the first to deliberately shape his music to the meaning and rhythm of the text being sung rather than using the words mostly as pegs for constructions of notes. With that change in emphasis, Rore transformed vocal music and made possible the birth of opera in the following century.
March 17, 2015 |
So you think sumptuous Florence was the artistic hot spot of Renaissance Italy? Wealthy, watery Venice? Ever-decadent Rome? Well, there's a dark-horse candidate: Ferrara, a prosperous little city where for two centuries the ruling d'Este family spent handsomely to attract some of the best artists, poets, and musicians in all of Europe. One surviving treasure from Ferrara's heyday is a 15th-century songbook with pieces by some of the age's great composers that Duke Ercole I d'Este acquired for his celebrated (and well-paid)
October 22, 2014 |
Philadelphia didn't necessarily harbor intense cultural longing for a musical artifact of 16th-century Spain, but it got one anyway, thanks to Piffaro, the Renaissance Band. And now who would want to be without it? Though the group trafficks in other centuries (even the 21st) and artistic nationalities, the late Spanish Renaissance is where its heart lies - one of the best-ever periods for music, as represented by Piffaro's program "Hidden Treasure: The Lerma Codex" Friday at the Trinity Center for Urban Life.
May 20, 2014 |
Acoustics are snappy. Atmosphere is enveloping. So why don't we hear more concerts at Eastern State Penitentiary? That gothic Fairmount Avenue fortress hosts any number of arts-related activities these days, and it turned out to be a perfectly sympathetic venue on Friday for Piffaro, the Renaissance Band, in a program appropriately titled "Prisoners & Penitents. " Gleefully perverse humor was prevalent in a series of ballads, mostly British (John Dowland, Peter Philips, Thomas Weelkes)