January 14, 2015 |
Having had some of his best successes with Tchaikovsky symphonies, conductor Rossen Milanov gave his Symphony in C ensemble a more complicated challenge on Saturday night: the Manfred Symphony , which stands apart from the composer's numbered works in that medium and, for all its grandeur, has a white-elephant reputation that may or may not be expungeable. Ambitious, imposing, and full of the literary underpinnings of Lord Byron's dramatic poem "Manfred," the symphony isn't first-rate Tchaikovsky, though it can sound like it when played with interventionist conviction.
January 3, 2015 |
They're back! Cirque de la Symphonie returns with the Philadelphia Orchestra, flying high in the Kimmel Center's Verizon Hall on Saturday and Sunday with aerial feats and acrobatics. The troupe will stage its choreographed, gravity-defying stunts above stage and audience, accompanied by the orchestra under Cristian Macelaru. Among the 14 musical numbers to be performed are "Balloon Sequence" and "Devil's Dance" from the movie The Witches of Eastwick, "Ritual Fire Dance" from El amor brujo, and the overture to Candide . Philadelphia Orchestra with Cirque de la Symphonie, 8 p.m. Saturday and 2 p.m. Sunday at Verizon Hall at the Kimmel Center, 300 S. Broad St. Tickets are $60 to $135.
December 15, 2014 |
VINELAND, N.J. - You could call the Bay-Atlantic Symphony the unlikeliest of orchestras. Operating in deep South Jersey - amid some of most economically depressed and rural parts of the state - the symphony has served a range of audiences for three decades, even though it has no performance home base. The orchestra offers an ambitious calendar of 12 symphonic programs annually, performed by a cadre of musicians hired from throughout the Philadelphia, New York, and Baltimore regions on a "per service" basis.
November 16, 2014 |
The fashion world has long popularized clothes that appear to be turned inside out. Why shouldn't the Philadelphia Orchestra do its own version of that every so often? How could that work? Dvorák's Symphony No. 8 was so significantly reimagined by guest conductor Jakub Hruša that you'd think the prevailing, mellifluous tradition of Wolfgang Sawallisch never existed. The music was a rougher ride but full of incident. Orchestral sonorities that are normally string-dominated shared the sound picture more equally with brass and winds.
September 10, 2014 |
Throughout much of Macy's department store in Center City, "20 percent off" signs added to the celebratory air of Symphony in C's concert on Saturday night, scheduled immediately after closing time, in yet another of its mountain-comes-to-Muhammad collaborations with the fabled Wanamaker organ. Known as one of the biggest and grandest working instruments of its kind, the Wanamaker organ is mostly heard as a musical world unto itself in noontime concerts that range from classical to show tunes.
July 14, 2014 |
ATLANTIC CITY - Behind doors so richly red they glow even amid the glittering casino, the Borgata Resort's Music Box theater on Sunday evening will welcome something it wasn't built for: the Bay-Atlantic Symphony playing the Shostakovich Piano Concerto No. 1 with superstar pianist Yuja Wang. There are no obvious explanations. "It's an eclectic age," says Jed Gaylin, the 17-year music director of the Bay-Atlantic Symphony. "Classical music is no longer 'that stuff.' It's a change of pace.
May 7, 2014 |
Symphony in C ended its season Saturday with two works that demand explanation bracketing a work that requires none at all. The Mendelssohn Violin Concerto glowed in the middle of this program like a jewel in a forest of vines and dark leaves. But those outer works insisted on the closest attention, for both Schumann's late Manfred Overture and Arnold Schoenberg's orchestration of Brahms' Piano Quartet in G minor lurk at the edge of the repertoire, posing stylistic questions and interpretive gestures.
March 12, 2014 |
"Public intimacy" is social media's contribution to our oxymoronic life, but guitarists have grappled with the concept since the first one faced an audience. The instrument draws the heart into the fingertips, which bare the greatest intimacy in a whisper of sound. Place the guitar in front of an orchestra of 60, and logic - and intimacy - may vanish completely. Amplification has balanced those forces, particularly in recordings, and the guitar has gathered a bundle of concertos that revel in the sonorities of plucked strings, exuberant brass, and richly carpeted strings.
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.
January 28, 2014 |
Though technically a half-debut, Yannick Nézet-Séguin's first outing with the Curtis Symphony Orchestra didn't actually happen until the Sunday program's second half. But a good 80 minutes of Shostakovich - in a piece that musically encompasses much of World War II - easily counted as a concert in itself. The Symphony No. 7 Op. 60 ("Leningrad") is just the sort of thing that's been absent from the current Philadelphia Orchestra season - a long, serious, not traditionally ingratiating piece that audiences may or may not take to, especially as it needs a performance with a well-examined strategy.