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.
January 21, 2014 |
Celebrating the life of the Rev. Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. in the concert hall has never been easy. Where do you start? His activism? Culture? The poetry behind his ideals? In a rare appearance at the Kimmel Center's Perelman Theater, Orchestra 2001 under James Freeman celebrated King on Saturday in any way it could: major new works by Richard Danielpour and Jay Fluellen plus the youthful Play On, Philly! Orchestra and a gospel choir, all of which will be repeated at 3 p.m. Sunday at Swarthmore College's Lang Concert Hall.
January 21, 2014 |
At a mossy table deep in the conductors' forest of shadows, one challenges the others to map programs all starting with horn solos. At least that seemed a possible gestation point for Rossin Milanov, who emerged from the (imagined) woods with his program Saturday in the Symphony in C concert at the Gordon Theater in Camden. Other less-mysterious relationships evolved, too, but principal hornist Audrey Flores set the tone for works by Ravel, Britten, and Schubert. She was soloist in Britten's Serenade for Tenor, Horn and Strings , the lyrical first voice in Ravel's Pavane , and the sturdy standard-bearer in Schubert's Symphony No. 9 . Britten's Serenade (from 1943)
December 11, 2013 |
Mozart's last three symphonies are invariably introduced as "great," and many symphonic performances translate the word as dimensional, connoting magnitude. Symphony in C, at its Saturday reading of the Symphony No. 41 at Rutgers-Camden, chose to translate it as "transcendent. " Rossen Milanov, leading the youthful orchestra in a Mozart-focused program, traced the intricate lines that appear and vary, finally coalescing into an image so powerful in its clarity that the weight of sound was almost incidental.
September 25, 2013 |
Though Bartok's Concerto for Orchestra has been such a constant presence in Philadelphia Orchestra programs from the 1940s on, one easily forgets what a steep challenge it can be for musicians playing it for the first time - no doubt the case with many Symphony in C members who credibly and sometimes thrillingly took on the piece in Camden Saturday. Written on borrowed time when the composer was fatally ill and thought his composing life was over, the Concerto for Orchestra lives up to its title by challenging every corner of the symphony orchestra, but in ways so consolidated and distilled that virtuoso flourishes are few, hiding places even fewer.