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Rachmaninoff

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ENTERTAINMENT
June 20, 1986 | By Daniel Webster, Inquirer Music Critic
What one musician learns from another is the basis of a great deal of music's fascination. Hearing a Liszt pupil play Liszt, for instance, is an event that commands special attention from listeners. Nikita Magaloff, the Russian-born pianist who made his debut with the Philadelphia Orchestra last night by playing Rachmaninoff at the Mann Music Center, had studied with the Russian pianist-composer. He had even premiered one of Rachmaninoff's sonatas, and that kind of association and learning made his appearance an event before a note had been played.
NEWS
May 29, 2010 | By Peter Dobrin, Inquirer Music Critic
Any critic who rolls his eyes about confronting yet another Rachmaninoff Piano Concerto No. 3 needs to experience the piece at the artistic confluence of Charles Dutoit, pianist Nikolai Lugansky, and the Philadelphia Orchestra. A great interpretation justifies its own existence. Not that there was anything mannered or eccentric about Lugansky's performance Friday afternoon. His characteristics - a limpid sound, a large presence, and a tendency to push his playing to the outer edge of fleetness - were natural foils to some of the orchestra's tendencies.
ENTERTAINMENT
February 18, 2014 | By Peter Dobrin, Inquirer Music Critic
Think for just a moment of composers least in need of an advocate, and you'll hit on Rachmaninoff early in the list. It is, in fact, his irrepressible popularity that disqualifies him in some quarters - still - as an innovator of any consequence. But Vladimir Jurowski takes the long view. Building on a 2007 Isle of the Dead that rippled with meaning, the Russian conductor brought an all-Rachmaninoff program to the Philadelphia Orchestra that nailed the case for the music not being what you think it is. Hollywood and a handful of whistleable tunes have tricked you. Rachmaninoff is both more sophisticated and stylistically pioneering than the gavel of history has granted.
ENTERTAINMENT
December 6, 2012 | By David Patrick Stearns, Inquirer Music Critic
Sometimes, the Philadelphia Orchestra needs an outsider to remind it of who it is and what it was. Gianandrea Noseda - a guest conductor so popular with the orchestra that he was reengaged for a two-week stint this season starting Thursday (with other return visits in the works) - happens to be the foremost Rachmaninoff specialist of his generation. This week, he's conducting that composer's Symphony No. 2 Thursday through Saturday at the Kimmel Center with what is generally considered to be "Rachmaninoff's orchestra.
ENTERTAINMENT
October 11, 2014 | By David Patrick Stearns, Inquirer Music Critic
The program could easily be titled Tortured Beginnings. Khachaturian's Piano Concerto went so badly that the composer was found after the premiere hugging a birch tree while weeping. Rachmaninoff fled from the badly played premiere of his Symphony No. 1 with plugged ears. When both works arrived Wednesday in the Philadelphia Orchestra's Kimmel Center concert, you could understand how awful things happen to such good pieces. Rachmaninoff didn't yet know how best to sequence his musical ideas.
ENTERTAINMENT
April 29, 2006 | By David Patrick Stearns INQUIRER MUSIC CRITIC
While the world continues debating the merits of Rachmaninoff's symphonies and concertos, you have to acknowledge the basic function the music serves over the decades of fluctuating fashion: It saves concerts. So it was yesterday, when British pianist Stephen Hough and guest conductor Osmo V?nsk? played the Rhapsody on a Theme of Paganini on a Philadelphia Orchestra program that wouldn't normally need saving, but did when two Finnish works revealed some unexpected fragility. An unlikely virtuoso, pianist Hough might seem too analytical to summon Rachmaninoff-ian heat.
NEWS
January 25, 2015 | By David Patrick Stearns, Inquirer Music Critic
Yannick Nézet-Séguin celebrated his 1,500th concert since his 1994 debut with a Philadelphia Orchestra performance that was beyond what audiences have come to expect from him in his three years as music director. "Beyond" didn't always mean "distinguished," but it did in the dominant work on the Thursday concert, Rachmaninoff's Symphony No. 2 : Though not for those who prefer lean, straightforward Rachmaninoff, the performance's fusion of passion, insight, great playing and Philadelphia sound fused into something that easily deserved the rock-star reception from the Kimmel Center audience, in the second week of the St. Petersburg Festival.
ENTERTAINMENT
November 15, 2011 | By David Patrick Stearns, Inquirer Music Critic
PRINCETON - Musicians outnumbered listeners on the main floor of Richardson Auditorium on Sunday for a rare performance (the balconies were packed, too) of the Rachmaninoff choral work The Bells by the Princeton Symphony Orchestra and Westminster Schola Cantorum. That wasn't all. Though the orchestra is artistically prospering under music director Rossen Milanov (who is no longer the Philadelphia Orchestra's associate conductor), the stamina of the performers was tested by a program that also included two difficult premieres of works by Edward T. Cone.
ENTERTAINMENT
January 3, 1999 | By Peter Dobrin, INQUIRER STAFF WRITER
If scientists can create an entire sheep from a single sheep cell, why not summon Rachmaninoff back to the keyboard with a sample of his DNA? Frankensteinian musicologists (or, more likely, record executives) may get to that cloning job yet. In the meantime, there are piano rolls - long sheets of paper punched with holes to represent where performers made the notes fall. These papers are played back on a special piano, reproducing - at least approximately - the way performers of the past interpreted works.
NEWS
April 11, 2001 | By David Patrick Stearns INQUIRER MUSIC CRITIC
Dutch conductor Hans Vonk hasn't been an easy personality to pin down since he arrived at the helm of the St. Louis Symphony five years ago. Although an intermittent recording presence and guest conductor in a number of major American cities (including Philadelphia), he has often seemed so selfless with the core classical repertoire that he threatens to become an invisible conductor. Rachmaninoff, it seems, is different - for him. With a revisionist's fervor, he delivered a benchmark performance of that composer's Symphony No. 2 Monday at the Academy of Music with the Symphony Orchestra of the Curtis Institute of Music.
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ARTICLES BY DATE
NEWS
August 16, 2015 | By Peter Dobrin, Inquirer Music Critic
A paradox, perhaps, but it's a significant marker of individualism that every time Alexandre Moutouzkine appears, he sounds like a slightly different pianist. The basic character of his playing morphed even in a single recital, Thursday night, part of the Philadelphia Young Pianists' Academy (PYPA). Many listeners came to know Moutouzkine through his affiliation with Astral Artists, for which he devised in 2011 an unusually inventive live transcription of Stravinsky's The Firebird as the sound track to the animated short Who Stole the Mona Lisa?
NEWS
June 8, 2015 | By David Patrick Stearns, Inquirer Music Critic
LONDON - The Philadelphia Orchestra's Europe 2015 tour can't be just about long ovations, great reviews, and full houses, because few if any tours are going to have those consistently. In Amsterdam on Thursday, Nico Muhly's new Mixed Messages got a chilly reception. In Berlin on May 26, music director Yannick Nézet-Séguin "whirled about but clarified nothing" in Rachmaninoff's Symphony No. 3 , according to Ulrich Amling in Der Tagesspiegel. And at London's Royal Festival Hall on Friday, the first of two concerts there was only 60 percent full.
ENTERTAINMENT
May 20, 2015 | By David Patrick Stearns, Inquirer Music Critic
No commemorative speeches. No plaques. No tear jerking. Artistic director David Hayes barely announced the encore at the farewell concert of the Philadelphia Singers, going out of business after 43 years, but let the occasion speak with music, the best performance coming last - Rachmaninoff's Vespers , the "Rejoice O Virgin" section. Maybe Hayes was focusing his energy, having survived last week's Amtrak derailment in reportedly functional though bruised form, which had him walking on and off stage with care.
ENTERTAINMENT
May 16, 2015 | By David Patrick Stearns, Inquirer Music Critic
The Philadelphia Orchestra's dress-to-kill program on its soon-to-start European tour was previewed Wednesday at Verizon Hall in what was also the close of Yannick Nézet-Séguin's third season as music director. The show illustrated his way of taking smart, middling chances and drawing the best from those around him. The world premiere of Nico Muhly's Mixed Messages showed the composer, in his first wholly new piece for the orchestra, eager to wow the audience with all the resources the orchestra offers.
NEWS
January 25, 2015 | By David Patrick Stearns, Inquirer Music Critic
Yannick Nézet-Séguin celebrated his 1,500th concert since his 1994 debut with a Philadelphia Orchestra performance that was beyond what audiences have come to expect from him in his three years as music director. "Beyond" didn't always mean "distinguished," but it did in the dominant work on the Thursday concert, Rachmaninoff's Symphony No. 2 : Though not for those who prefer lean, straightforward Rachmaninoff, the performance's fusion of passion, insight, great playing and Philadelphia sound fused into something that easily deserved the rock-star reception from the Kimmel Center audience, in the second week of the St. Petersburg Festival.
ENTERTAINMENT
January 22, 2015 | By David Patrick Stearns, Inquirer Music Critic
Only recently graduated from the Curtis Institute of Music, soprano Sarah Shafer has the luxury of a sympathetic local following for a voice that hasn't evolved to the point that it can keep up with her musical appetite. The recital Shafer chose for the Philadelphia Chamber Music Society on Tuesday at the American Philosophical Society was the sort that singers dream about delivering, with six song groups in four languages and all from different musical generations. Encompassing that had her pushing her voice in ways that sometimes sacrificed tone, diction, and pitch accuracy.
ENTERTAINMENT
October 11, 2014 | By David Patrick Stearns, Inquirer Music Critic
The program could easily be titled Tortured Beginnings. Khachaturian's Piano Concerto went so badly that the composer was found after the premiere hugging a birch tree while weeping. Rachmaninoff fled from the badly played premiere of his Symphony No. 1 with plugged ears. When both works arrived Wednesday in the Philadelphia Orchestra's Kimmel Center concert, you could understand how awful things happen to such good pieces. Rachmaninoff didn't yet know how best to sequence his musical ideas.
NEWS
March 3, 2014 | By Jonathan Lai, Inquirer Staff Writer
WARMINSTER Preparing a newly formed group of more than 100 high school musicians for a performance in less than three days takes guts. When that performance includes Rachmaninoff, Tchaikovsky, and an entire Dvorak symphony, it also requires practice. Unyielding hours of it. "It was a little intimidating at first," said Cindy Yeo, 15, a sophomore cellist at Germantown Friends School. "It's an intense little thing, it's not a prolonged thing. " Yeo was one of 117 students from more than 40 schools in Philadelphia, Bucks, Chester, Montgomery, and Delaware Counties who performed Saturday afternoon at William Tennent High School in Warminster.
ENTERTAINMENT
February 18, 2014 | By Peter Dobrin, Inquirer Music Critic
Think for just a moment of composers least in need of an advocate, and you'll hit on Rachmaninoff early in the list. It is, in fact, his irrepressible popularity that disqualifies him in some quarters - still - as an innovator of any consequence. But Vladimir Jurowski takes the long view. Building on a 2007 Isle of the Dead that rippled with meaning, the Russian conductor brought an all-Rachmaninoff program to the Philadelphia Orchestra that nailed the case for the music not being what you think it is. Hollywood and a handful of whistleable tunes have tricked you. Rachmaninoff is both more sophisticated and stylistically pioneering than the gavel of history has granted.
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