January 3, 2012 |
Legend has it that a favorite drinking game of the great Finnish composer Jean Sibelius was to spend the evening prodigiously imbibing with friends, after which one of them would be abruptly shut into a closet for 15 minutes or so. Then, from the other side of the door, the closeted partyer was ordered to give the full names of the people with whom he had spent the evening. Just to see if he was too hammered to do so. Or had passed out. No wonder Sibelius never finished his Symphony No. 8 . But now, perhaps, others can. Sketches - some of them orchestrated - have been identified as probably being from the symphony that occupied him from 1927 until his death in 1957.
December 20, 2011 |
Dirk Brossé may be gradually reshaping the Chamber Symphony of Philadelphia into a mainly classical ensemble, but he is moving quickly to give the ensemble an air of informality. He steps to the podium, microphone in hand, to speak casually to the audience, and, Sunday in the holiday concert at the Perelman Theater, he introduced the new concertmistress, Miho Saegusa; the new principal viola, Beth Guterman; and four other new players. The soloist, hornist John David Smith, is also from the chamber orchestra.
October 28, 2011 |
OK, this is really getting ridiculous. When last we polished off a plate of oxtails at the Jamaican Jerk Hut, the venerable Caribbean eatery at 15th and South, owner Lisa Wilson was still waging a David-and-Goliath battle with residents of Symphony House, a 32-story luxury condominium complex at Broad and Spruce. Never mind that the Zoning Board of Adjustment and Common Pleas Court had both ruled in the Jerk Hut's favor: Namely, that Wilson could play live reggae music for her customers on the lot next to the restaurant on weekends in spring and summer.
August 29, 2011 |
ZURICH, Switzerland - The Chicago Symphony Orchestra and the Philadelphia Orchestra are bound to have ships-that-pass-in-the-night moments on their tours of European festivals, and the first was at the Zurich Airport on Sunday morning: The Chicagoans were emerging from the arrivals section of the airport while the Philadelphians were two levels up, going through security and passport control. The Chicagoans were in transit to Lucerne from Salzburg, Austria, and the Philadelphians were shipping out from Lucerne to Dublin, Ireland, using the same buses and Air Berlin chartered airplane.
August 1, 2011 |
If you've ever had the urge to watch a woman twirl a large hoop around her tightly wrapped bun in time to Rimsky-Korsakov's "Dance of the Buffoons," Thursday night at the Mann Center was your chance. Not that it will be your last. Cirque de la Symphonie, a jolly entertainment that pits the Russian National Orchestra against acrobats, a contortionist, and one charming harlequin, is making the rounds. The concept isn't likely to leave anytime soon. The Philadelphia Orchestra has two dates this week with Cirque de la Symphonie at its summer site in Saratoga Springs, and its new strategic plan calls for development of a "cirque"-type show of its own. A Philadelphia take isn't likely to bring out Thursday's crowd of Russians and Ukrainians.
July 5, 2011 |
We have woven ourselves into a ubiquitous braid of tiny musics. Sweet, grating, deafening; ringtones, beeps, startup and shutdown jingles, notes of welcome, questioning, and warning. We have remade our sonic universe to reflect all the things we want our gadgets and tools to do for us. Sound is our ongoing conversation with all these aids. A Hamilton Beach microwave oven beeps a C when you hit a button, when a cooking task is done, or when it wants your attention for some other thing.
May 24, 2011 |
THE IMPLOSION of the Barnes was an inside job. After squandering millions on legal fees, the board then sat on its hands, maintaining that it couldn't raise $1.5 million a year to keep the facility where it was. It could raise no money to stay, but found hundreds of millions to move. When it comes to the Philadelphia Orchestra, you can't help but wonder if their board has the same kind of death wish. Its move to bankruptcy court, which got worldwide attention, has clearly prompted key players to scout out the job market.
May 10, 2011 |
When Symphony in C's longtime music director Rossen Milanov delivered a preperformance talk at the orchestra's season-ending concert on Saturday, the subject turned to the orchestra's financial needs - and you had to shudder. With the Philadelphia Orchestra drama playing out across the river, might one of South Jersey's best cultural assets also be in trouble? Not to worry. There's no crisis, just the launching of Symphony in C's annual fund campaign. The warmth of Milanov's delivery created a sense that we're all in this together: Audiences need the musicians as much as the musicians need to be heard.
March 10, 2011 |
The idea keeps catching on - even if audiences are still catching up. The Los Angeles Philharmonic is preparing for its second live movie-theater simulcast on Sunday - only a week after Carmen in 3-D leapt from London's Royal Opera and a few weeks before the English National Opera's 3-D Lucrezia Borgia arrives on DirecTV. More quietly, the Philadelphia Orchestra continues on an alternate route, eschewing satellite technology for the Internet in the seventh of a series of nine simulcasts March 20. The music world can't help but be dazzled by the Metropolitan Opera's recently released simulcast numbers: The nine transmissions in the 2009-10 season sold 2.4 million tickets, grossed $48 million, and eventually made a net profit of $8 million for the opera company.
February 24, 2011 |
Tours are tough for most symphony orchestras. But for the London Symphony Orchestra, tours are a break from a hectic schedule of recording film scores and preparing a full symphonic program that's performed only once or twice. So if playing Mahler's five-movement Symphony No. 7 under Valery Gergiev at the Kimmel Center on Tuesday was a relatively light day, it showed in the confidence with which the orchestra played music that lashes out in multiple directions - and in the dignity that brought to Gergiev's mercurial tendencies.