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String Quartet

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NEWS
September 17, 1990 | By Lesley Valdes, Inquirer Music Critic
The Colorado String Quartet opened the Music at Swarthmore College season with a program of Mozart, Brahms and Samuel Barber. In its first Philadelphia performance on Saturday, the group demonstrated that it values finesse and passion. It began with Mozart's Quartet in G major (K. 80), an early work in which the composer's enthusiasm and gentleness flow in tandem. Balances were effortlessly achieved here in part because of the seating arrangement. Clockwise from first violinist Julie Rosenfeld sat cellist Diane Chaplin, violist Francesca Martin and second violinist Deborah Redding.
NEWS
July 11, 1999 | By Chris Corbett, FOR THE INQUIRER
Twelve passengers boarded the Redtail Aviation planes on that bright July morning at Grand Junction, Colo., to be deposited an hour's flying time away in a barren area of Utah. One of those passengers was a cello. When you travel with a cello, you buy the cello a seat. Hannah was the cellist. She admitted later that she didn't actually mention to the rental clerk in the musical instrument store in Denver that she was taking the cello on a 100-mile white-water rafting trip on Utah's Green River, one of the most remote and inacessible places in the continental United States.
ENTERTAINMENT
April 7, 2000 | By David Patrick Stearns, INQUIRER MUSIC CRITIC
Though innocently and generically titled String Quartet No. 3, the piece by Chinese American composer Bright Sheng that's receiving its local premiere tonight is a model for something larger and nastier. This eventful, mercurial, excitable one-movement work - performed by the Takacs Quartet - is based on not-quite-remembered Tibetan folk dances the composer encountered while in provincial exile from Shanghai during Chairman Mao's Cultural Revolution. But now, seven years after finishing the piece, the quartet is pointing the way toward an opera he wants to write on an explosive subject: Madame Mao. "This woman's life is fascinating," Sheng said.
ENTERTAINMENT
February 1, 1994 | By Peter Dobrin, INQUIRER STAFF WRITER
Every time we start to think that Beethoven, with all his revolutionary ideas, came out of nowhere, it's helpful to listen to a little Haydn. The Muir String Quartet put the two composers on the same program Sunday night, reminding us that even Beethoven had to get his ideas from somewhere. Not that we would mistake one composer for the other. The progressive ideas Beethoven explored in the Quartet in C major (Opus 59, No. 3) were something Haydn couldn't have dreamed of when writing his Quartet in E major (Opus 17, No. 1)
ENTERTAINMENT
December 12, 1998 | By Daniel Webster, INQUIRER MUSIC CRITIC
The American String Quartet came to the Convention Center Thursday to play quintets with the help of violist Michael Tree and cellist David Soyer, members of the Guarneri Quartet. Adding outsiders to a society as tight as a string quartet can be musically problematic, but in this program the outsiders contributed without stylistic clashes. The program included quintets by Mozart, who wrote for two violas in his, and Schubert, who opted for two cellos. Closing with Schubert's Quintet in C, the ensemble cast Soyer as the key second cello, a part that includes the pizzicato solos in the second movement.
NEWS
October 16, 1989 | By Andrew Stiller, Special to The Inquirer
The Philadelphia Orchestra's chamber-music series opened its season yesterday afternoon with pairs of string quartets and piano trios. A capacity crowd attended the event in the Academy of Music ballroom. The problem with orchestral chamber series is that orchestra musicians are not always the best performers of this music, just as opera singers are not always good at singing lieder. Perhaps it was for this reason that the trios, with their guest pianists, proved more effective than the quartets, which featured only musicians from the orchestra.
ENTERTAINMENT
May 15, 1989 | By Tom Di Nardo, Daily News Classical Music Writer
Most string quartets dress in tuxedos to play music from the heart of the 18th- and 19th-century repertoire. But the San Francisco-based Kronos Quartet rejects every aspect of the stereotype, wearing punk-funk clothes to perform playing music by Bela Bartok and Dimitri Shostakovich - as well as that of Jimi Hendrix, Frank Zappa, Philip Glass, and Thelonious Monk. No wonder these four talented players, concentrating on 20th-century music, have generated so much controversy. In tonight's 8 p.m. concert at the Zellerbach Theatre, 3680 Walnut, audiences will experience four gifted classical musicians with completely open minds to new music.
NEWS
May 1, 1989 | By Daniel Webster, Inquirer Music Critic
The ad hoc string quartet tests conventional audience wisdom. Mostly, four string players who sit down with the quartet literature may not draw very close to the goal of being a string quartet. The literature requires shared vision, complementary temperament, surpassing technical skill and the intangible quality that enables a great quartet to find, in the heat of performance, an interpretation that astonishes all the players. Two quartets from within the Philadelphia Orchestra played yesterday at the Academy of Music Ballroom with results that tested conventional views.
ENTERTAINMENT
May 3, 2012 | By David Patrick Stearns, INQUIRER STAFF WRITER
Most Renaissance-era choral recordings are sold with ancient saints on the cover. Instead, New York Polyphony presents itself on its new disc, endBeginning, with a photo of a demolished church interior. The aftermath of an earthquake? One of New York Polyphony's concerts? This urban, four-voice, all-male group isn't out to wreck anything. But its concert Monday night at Friends' Central School in Wynnewood isn't likely to be ethereal by the usual early-music standards, either, even with a program of 16th-century Renaissance masters such as Antoine Brumel and Francisco Guerrero.
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ENTERTAINMENT
March 25, 2015 | By David Patrick Stearns, Inquirer Music Critic
Though choice of soloists is often an important component of Chamber Orchestra of Philadelphia's sense of alternative symphonic experiences, previously unknown guest conducting talents can feel like an even more welcoming ambush. Sunday's headliner at the Kimmel Center's Perelman Theater ostensibly was Sean Chen, a young pianist who has placed well in competitions (the Van Cliburn, for one) and is a nominee for a 2015 Leonore Annenberg arts fellowship award at Penn. But the concert started with Haydn's little-known overture to the opera Armida , conducted by the lesser-known Nir Kabaretti with a solidity not heard consistently since Ignat Solzhenitsyn's departure and, more than that, a distinctive, glistening personality.
ENTERTAINMENT
March 11, 2015 | By David Patrick Stearns, Inquirer Music Critic
'When all goes wrong . . . smile a lot. " Such was the advice that conductor Scott Terrell gave to the everyday people who stepped up to lead a Philadelphia Orchestra contingent Monday at the Reading Terminal Market. Orchestra players have performed pop-ups from Macau to the Comcast Center, and Monday morning word went out on the Internet that this one would be a "Conduct Us" program, where listeners could become participants and get a souvenir baton. No way the entire orchestra could fit at the northerly end of the crowded market, of course.
ENTERTAINMENT
September 30, 2014 | By David Patrick Stearns, Inquirer Music Critic
To those who believe the world is in general decline: At least one corner is rapidly improving, and that's the string quartet. In decades past, quartets practiced for months before daring to play anything for the outside world. Astral Artists opened its season of young-artist concerts on Saturday at the Church of the Holy Trinity with a group that converged only for this concert, but that delivered a weighty program with technical confidence plus a degree of imagination and emotional presence infrequently heard in any season.
ENTERTAINMENT
March 26, 2014 | By Peter Dobrin, Inquirer Music Critic
Charting Beethoven's evolution from being the most genial guardian of the classical style to its executioner is an exercise done vividly and not infrequently through the string quartets and piano sonatas. But Peter Wiley and Anna Polonsky took audiences through the story from the vantage point of the cello sonata Sunday afternoon. Presented by the Philadelphia Chamber Music Society in two concerts at the American Philosophical Society, at 3 and 6 p.m., it was hardly a marathon (at least for the audience)
NEWS
March 14, 2014 | By Peter Dobrin, Inquirer Music Critic
There's something intoxicating about the Elias String Quartet. It was no mystery that the group was able to cast a spell Tuesday night in a newish Sally Beamish work, the String Quartet No. 3 , with those spiritual Gaelic atmospherics. But for its Philadelphia Chamber Music Society visit, the Elias brought Haydn, personalizing the F major, Op. 77, No. 2 quartet to the point of instantly rendering every other performance in the listener's memory as but a pale stab. The third movement "Andante" was a landmark statement, intensely absorbing, exquisitely considered - a piece in itself, really.
ENTERTAINMENT
March 12, 2014 | By David Patrick Stearns, Inquirer Music Critic
So extreme are the four string quartets of experimental Greek composer Iannis Xenakis (1922-2001) that can't enter their tactile world until experiencing them live. Having played individual works in past concerts, the JACK Quartet packed Bowerbird's series at the University of Pennsylvania's Rotunda Sunday with a program of all four in a single program. Might one's ears fall off by the end? The concert was neither long nor bewildering. Of course, one knew to expect music that would make Elliott Carter seem tame, if only because Xenakis loved high-density use of extended techniques, mostly glissandi, that allowed his music to shoot off in all directions at warp speed, as in his earliest string quartet, ST-4/1,080262 , composed between 1956 and 1962.
NEWS
January 31, 2014 | By Shaun Brady, For The Inquirer
Banjo innovator Béla Fleck didn't embark on his first classical composition with a story in mind. But as he wrote the three movements of his banjo concerto The Impostor , a narrative began to emerge. "The idea is about someone sneaking into a masquerade party," explained Fleck earlier this week from Nashville, where he was scrambling to get a banjo repaired before heading out on tour the following day. "The orchestra is the party and the banjo's not supposed to be there, but since it's a masquerade party it can hide in plain sight.
ENTERTAINMENT
January 18, 2014 | By Peter Dobrin, Inquirer Music Critic
Blood may be thicker than water, but it's still no match for the Mendelssohn Octet or a nice late Haydn quartet. You might have spent the better part of Wednesday night's Philadelphia Chamber Music Society mash-up of the Jasper and Jupiter quartets pondering family dynamics; there are, among and within the two groups, three siblings and two marriages, all stemming from the impossibly musical surname of Freivogel. Filial layers extended into the local premiere in the Perelman Theater of Dan Visconti's Eternal Breath . The 2011 work was commissioned to honor the 40th wedding anniversary of Bill and Margaret Freivogel, progenitors both musical and familial as parents or parents-in-law to five of the players.
NEWS
June 9, 2013 | By David Patrick Stearns, Inquirer Music Critic
BEIJING - The Philadelphia Orchestra was divided but not conquered. The orchestra's 40th anniversary tour of China was moving on to Macau on Friday - its last and glitziest tour stop - when a handful of musicians and orchestra executives on the early-bird flight from Beijing were stuck on the tarmac due to heavy rain. The takeoff was delayed six hours. Nonetheless -. "Our musicians would like to offer you a musical surprise," announced orchestra president Allison Vulgamore to the marooned, disgruntled passengers.
NEWS
May 20, 2013 | By Michael Harrington, Inquirer Staff Writer
Sunday House of cards Set in the 1970s, a time of turbulent political upheaval in England, James Graham's drama This House imagines the backroom struggles in Parliament. A film of the recent National Theatre production screens at 12:30 p.m. at the County Theater , 20 E. State St., Doylestown. Tickets are $18. Call 215-345-6789. Love and death The novels of James M. Cain captured the chaos of human desire wrapped in mid-20th-century American desperation - in short, perfect for film noir.
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