July 11, 1987 |
St. Louis Symphony director Leonard Slatkin led the Philadelphia Orchestra in a stimulating program at the Mann Music Center yesterday evening, starting with the brief and entertaining Commedia by American composer William Bolcom. The appearance of such a work in summer programming is emblematic of the cautious rapprochement between composers and audiences now taking place after many decades of relative estrangement. That the truce is not perfect was signaled by the empty seats of those scared away by the name of a living composer on the program.
March 1, 2008 |
Philadelphia Orchestra performances of Sergei Rachmaninoff promise to be special occasions more than in most places: Though the orchestra was the composer's muse only later in life, Rachmaninoff's sensibility was so consistent that early works align as well with the Philadelphia sound as ones he wrote specifically for the orchestra. That was especially the case Friday when guest conductor Robert Spano delivered a knockout performance of Symphony No. 1, almost paradoxically thanks to his refusal to indulge in gratuitous sonic glamour.
December 9, 2008 |
Ignat Solzhenitsyn finds his repertoire close to the heart. His programs with the Chamber Orchestra of Philadelphia trace to some deeply personal event or connection. In the ensemble's concert Sunday at the Perelman Theater, he led the premiere of Vladimir Martynov's De Profundis, a work dedicated to his late father. But, in leading two of Mendelssohn's teenage symphonies, he was returning to his own student discoveries of these extraordinary pieces. These programs are a kind of self-portraiture.
September 29, 2008 |
Great Beethoven performances don't come along all that often. The composer's ubiquity can kill the chances of fresh responses to his more popular works. And because so many great conductors of the past leave strong imprints on the symphonies, modern performers seem intimidated into respectful detachment rather than on-the-spot inspiration. You get used to it; it's still Beethoven, after all. But in the first moments of Chamber Orchestra of Philadelphia's season opening on Friday, you had to catch your breath: This is it. It's here.
September 22, 2009 |
Few conductors have gone beyond the outer edges of Franz Josef Haydn's vast continent of symphonies in this 200th anniversary year of his death. As great as it is to hear programs that mainstream Haydn - Mariss Jansons pairs Symphony No. 100 ("Military") with Shostakovich's portrait of military-dominated Russia in his Symphony No. 10 - the Chamber Orchestra of Philadelphia's Ignat Solzhenitsyn went deep into Haydn's heartland with Symphonies Nos. 16 and 49 in the season's opening concert.
November 12, 2005 |
The mythology of Gustav Mahler is still in a state of evolution, and that has a lot to do with how his Symphony No. 6 is heard and played. Though the symphony has long been a specialty of Christoph Eschenbach, he conducted it for the first time with the Philadelphia Orchestra on Thursday at the Kimmel Center, and not in ways I would have expected. The old view of Mahler has him haunted with boyhood aspirations to become a martyr and, later on, composing gargantuan symphonies as if being seized in a scruff-of-the-neck creative frenzy that ended only after many long movements requiring hundreds of performers were finished.
January 7, 2012 |
Nobody should program Beethoven's perpetually overexposed Symphony No. 5 without sound reasons. But the Philadelphia Orchestra's guest conductor David Zinman has a claim on doing so, if only on the strength of his famous recordings with the Tonhalle Orchester Zürich that have sold more than 1 million discs and showed the world how far a modern-instrument orchestra can go in approximating the manner and sound of period instruments. But the underlying brilliance of Zinman's Philadelphia Orchestra concert Friday was how he framed the symphony.
April 4, 2012 |
Though Astral Artists has long been an alternative to competition-winning virtuosity, this young-artist organization's annual Kimmel Center showcase illuminates how much a genuine musical personality is a priority for being noticed; no longer are youthful charisma and great technical ability alone the ticket to a career. All three of the Astral artists on stage Monday night - flutist Angel Hsiao, clarinetist Benito Meza, and violinist Benjamin Beilman - revealed at least a nascent temperament, and often much more, in concertos that afforded comparisons with the best.
July 9, 1991 |
Schubert steps out of character in his symphonies, at least his most beloved persona. Instead of limpid song he builds Schillerian dramas - the operas he dreamed of composing. Instead of intimate narratives, he gives orotund sermons. Such moralizing as the Symphony No. 9. is especially suitable for outdoor listening, one was reminded last night at the Mann Music Center during James DePreist and the Philadelphia Orchestra's account of the Great C Major. DePreist brought his own dignity to this dignified, sometimes stentorian score, but with sufficient ease to secure the performance of many pleasures.
September 3, 1987 |
In the words of coach Buddy Ryan, the Eagles are in a "rebuilding phase. " The foundation for this construction is supposed to be second-year quarterback Randall Cunningham. Last year, Cunningham was used like no other quarterback before him, frequently thrown into the game on third-down, long-yardage situations. A tough spot for a veteran, especially difficult for a rookie. This pre-season, Cunningham has looked good - as well as not so good. Before tonight's Detroit Lions game, at 6:45 p.m. on WIP (610/AM)