August 16, 2015 |
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?
June 8, 2015 |
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.
May 20, 2015 |
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.
May 16, 2015 |
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.
January 25, 2015 |
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.
January 22, 2015 |
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.
October 11, 2014 |
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.
March 3, 2014 |
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.
February 18, 2014 |
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.