March 23, 2016 |
Symphony in C leapt off the deep end at Gordon Theater at Rutgers University-Camden. It was an all-Beethoven program that might have been business as (fairly) usual for the Philadelphia Orchestra but that was formidable for this postgraduate young-artist orchestra and its guest pianist, Drew Petersen. The Piano Concerto No. 5 ("Emperor") and Symphony No. 3 ("Eroica") are a lot of heroics for a Saturday night. Nobody seemed in over their head, but the concerto performance showed how valid access points to Beethoven can be somewhat shallow while still working on their own level.
February 13, 2016 |
After services at Temple Adath Israel have concluded, after its staff has long left for the night, the fluorescent lights in a back room of the Merion worship center flicker back to life. Inside the community room, on this Tuesday like so many others, an unlikely group of doctors, mothers, car mechanics, and lawyers gathers, keyboards, and cymbals, and violins in tow, and waits. Meanwhile, at a Bala Cynwyd Starbucks, music director Reuben Blundell thumbs through his sheet music one final time, scribbling last-minute notes in the margins.
February 9, 2016 |
CAMDEN - You don't hear concerts like this very often these days. The program that Symphony in C performed under music director Stilian Kirov on Saturday at Rutgers-Camden's Gordon Theater was the sort of thing you'd hear from the Boston Pops back in the 1970s but that major orchestras today tend to stay away from. That's too bad, because it made a satisfying evening. Starting things off was Rodion Shchedrin's Carmen Fantasy , a suite he adapted from the Bizet opera for a ballet starring his wife, the great Bolshoi star Maya Plisetskaya.
December 1, 2015 |
Though the annual day-after-Thanksgiving Philadelphia Orchestra concert can often feel like a drowsy tryptophan performance, popular guest conductor Gianandrea Noseda unleashed a monster of a symphony that, though a century old, had its U.S. premiere Friday and Saturday at the Kimmel Center. Occupying the second half of the program, Alfredo Casella's barely known Symphony No. 2 (1909) isn't nearly as evolved as his Symphony No. 3 , but it makes a mighty sound, employing all manner of brass and percussion plus an organ finale that's meant to bring an audience to its feet, and did so Friday.
September 22, 2015 |
Yet another charming, youthful conductor has arrived on classical music's doorstep. The 31-year-old Bulgarian Stilian Kirov, fresh from the associate conductorship of the Seattle Symphony, has promptly filled the void left by Symphony in C's departing longtime music director, Rossen Milanov. Kirov's debut concert Saturday at the Gordon Theater at Rutgers-Camden raised a lot of questions that will be answered only in future concerts, but one thing was clear: He is maintaining the orchestra's high standard of playing.
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 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.