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.
March 24, 2015 |
If, in the classical realm, technical mastery long ago became the norm, and if, more recently, greatness is as easily accessed as a YouTube search, what do we hope to glean from the live concert experience? Why go at all? A smart curatorial hand assembling the weekend's artists and repertoire at the Philadelphia Orchestra affirmed the value of surprise. Saturday night in Verizon Hall could not have looked more unassuming on paper: a long-established violinist in a warhorse. But Nadja Salerno-Sonnenberg made Mendelssohn's Violin Concerto in E Minor into such a complete personal statement it left the impression it might never happen again (Sunday's repeat performance, broadcast live on WRTI-FM, came close)
September 29, 2014 |
This year, the Philadelphia Orchestra's official opening night - the one that lets you mingle with the maestro at an "exclusive" reception topping out at $2,500 per ticket - doesn't come until a couple of weeks into the season. Actual music-making, though, began in Verizon Hall on Friday night, with no less a gala soloist than Lang Lang. Many listeners in these parts still think of the pianist as an aberrantly eccentric Curtis Institute of Music student, and, for better or worse, in the last decade and a half of his working with every major orchestra and conductor on earth, absolutely nothing has rubbed off on him musically.
March 26, 2014 |
If any composer can occupy a concert on his own, it should be Wolfgang Amadeus Mozart. Oddly, that didn't quite happen with Chamber Orchestra of Philadelphia's Sunday outing at the Kimmel Center's Perelman Theater with esteemed Swiss guest conductor Matthias Bamert. Bamert's extensive discography includes relatively minor figures with famous last names - Leopold Mozart and Michael Haydn - which explains why his program began with the better-known Mozart's teenage Symphony No. 17 , which, unlike many works of his youth, doesn't hold up all that well.
January 22, 2014 |
Once again, the Kimmel Center's Fred J. Cooper Memorial Organ emerged from its splendid semi-isolation with revelations at many turns Sunday with the Chamber Orchestra of Philadelphia. Organ recitals have their audience, but recent collaborations have uncovered important but neglected repertoire and perhaps have expanded the organ audience. In Sunday's program of Handel, Josef Rheinberger, and Joseph Jongen (with four different soloists), the big discovery was Stephen Paulus' 1992 Concerto for Solo Organ, Timpani, and Percussion . It's a terrific piece that would have to rank among the best American organ concertos of the last century, with four hefty movements that strike out in many directions, from elegiac to comic, with equal conviction.
March 19, 2013 |
William J. Ridenhour, 71, of Ambler, a gifted singer of African American spirituals and gospel music, died in his sleep Monday, March 11, at home. He was a heart patient, his family said. Mr. Ridenhour ran his own business, Celebrity Caterers, from home. Dapper and distinguished looking, he liked to move among people and make them feel welcome. He did that with his gift of gab, his cooking, and his singing. "There is a biblical term called 'given to hospitality,' and he was that," said his wife, Ann. "He loved people, and to chitchat.
December 27, 2012 |
Some traditions exist because they're needed. After a long year filled with incident, you could sink into your Verizon Hall seat on Sunday afternoon as fresh-voiced tenor John Tessier began to sing, with excellent diction and soothing tones, "Comfort ye, my people . . . . " It's Handel's Messiah , of course, a piece that could be a year-round classic (Choral Arts Society and Tempesta di Mare will perform it in March) but tends to arrive at the end of the year like a reward. The Philadelphia Orchestra's Sunday performance was historically responsible (the orchestra numbered about 30)
September 12, 2012 |
Rosina DiLullo Gore, 90, a soloist with the Lyric Opera of Philadelphia in the 1950s and 1960s who became a choir director at churches in Montgomery County, died Friday, Aug. 31, at her home in Ambler. "She sang the role of Frasquita in the opera Carmen with the Philadelphia Lyric," in a 1962 production starring Franco Corelli and Marilyn Horne at the Academy of Music, daughter Elissa said in a phone interview. "She had a nice career," her daughter said. "We should all be so lucky.
May 8, 2012 |
Though only nine minutes away from Philadelphia by train, Symphony in C's Rutgers-Camden home is truly in another state, which is why the prospect of hearing Gyorgy Ligeti's Violin Concerto on Saturday at the Gordon Theater felt vaguely perilous. This post-conservatory orchestra and its soloist Augustin Hadelich could be counted on to meet the music's considerable demands. But what about the suburban audience? The outset was not promising: After a new orchestra piece by Roger Zare titled Green Flash (winner of the orchestra's annual Young Composers Competition)
November 8, 2011 |
Though Astral Artists is in the business of helping promising young talents be all they can be, one can never be sure what form that might take. And while violinist Kristen Lee probably would have given a substantial recital whatever the circumstances Sunday at the Trinity Center for Urban Life, the breakthrough aspect was her duo partnership with pianist Alexandre Moutouzkine. No pairing since violinist Soovin Kim and pianist Jeremy Denk has exhibited the kind of synergy with which the two both supported and competed with each other in the best possible way. Often, they seemed bent on topping each other, not with sparkle and brilliance (though such qualities were certainly there)