February 21, 2011 |
CAMDEN - In music, as in other areas of life, a young artist's ideal situation is one where successes are noticed and mistakes are understandable - one reason Symphony in C is worth the trip to Camden, both for musicians and audiences. When the flu sidelined the up-and-coming pianist Di Wu, her Saturday replacement, Sara Daneshpour, had a star-is-born opportunity. She at least had welcome exposure that will serve her well in future, not-so-last-minute engagements. Music director Rossen Milanov gave a highly considered performance of Wagner's Siegfried Idyll that might not have worked outside the resonant acoustic of the Gordon Theater.
January 7, 2011 |
There's been a situation brewing on Broad Street - excuse me, make that the Avenue of the Arts. Amid the beautiful Kimmel Center and the welcoming Suzanne Roberts Theater, ugly has surfaced. No, I'm not talking about that towering monstrosity, Symphony House, which my colleague, architecture critic Inga Saffron, called "the ugliest new condo building in Philadelphia" when it opened three years ago. I'm talking about a different kind of ugly. Because for more than two years, the 32-story Symphony House, the new kid on the block, has been embroiled in a pitched battle with the venerable Jamaican Jerk Hut, the popular eatery two blocks away that has been a South Street mainstay for more than 20 years.
December 13, 2010 |
Symphony in C might never evolve into an authoritative baroque-music orchestra, but you couldn't begrudge its right to the Pergolesi Stabat Mater on Saturday at Camden's Gordon Theater: Where else can one hear this showcase for two vocal soloists and orchestra? And though countertenors do seem to grow on trees these days, the young Anthony Roth Costanzo made an important local debut. In its rehabilitated state, the Stabat Mater allows such discoveries: Though known previously in a corrupt edition for amateur choruses, the Stabat Mater was written for two accomplished vocal soloists in 12 concise solo arias and duets that meditate on the grief of the Virgin Mary - in a distillation of baroque opera that goes to the heart of matters without recitatives or gratuitous vocal display.
November 15, 2010 |
A 21st-century micro-symphony? An extremely eventful fanfare? A soundtrack to a yet-to-be-made film? All such descriptions apply to Tan Dun's Internet Symphony No. 1 ("Eroica") , which, typical of this composer, is as interesting to explain as it is to hear. Tan conducted the local premiere Friday as part of the Philadelphia Orchestra's multimedia Sound Waves series, along with The Map, his 2002 concerto for cello, video, and orchestra, which has aged in curious ways since last heard here five years ago. The Internet Symphony warrants a reprieve from the unwritten rule that composers should never talk about a piece for longer than it takes to perform.
October 22, 2010
The three annual Curtis Symphony Orchestra concerts are always sizzling programs with talented young musicians giving their all in their big Kimmel Center outing. For this season's opener, British conductor James Judd leads these remarkable players in Edward Elgar's reminiscences of an Italian trip, "In the South" (subtitled "Alassio"), as well as Ravel's masterpiece of mood, the "Mother Goose" suite. Brahms' Fourth Symphony is the soaring finale. Before the concert, Curtis will bestow its 2010 alumni award to the members of the Guarneri Quartet, not only for their longtime supremacy but also for their leadership as Curtis faculty.
October 18, 2010 |
Conductor Christoph von Dohnanyi celebrated some high-profile 80th birthday concerts last year with all-Brahms programs, and now shows no signs of stopping. And by no means should he, to judge from his Saturday guest engagement with the Philadelphia Orchestra. The performances of Brahms' Symphonies Nos. 2 and 4 were as satisfying as any I've heard, but not for immediately obvious reasons. You couldn't be sure how much your response came from a fresh hearing of the music or Dohnanyi's subtlety, so seamlessly does he disappear into the music he conducts.
October 11, 2010 |
Lightning struck (musically speaking) for the second consecutive weekend under similar circumstances: The symphony was Tchaikovsky's and the conductor was Rossen Milanov. Last week, he conducted the Princeton Symphony Orchestra in a Tchaikovsky Symphony No. 5 that was memorable not just for its animal energy but for a sense of underlying logic that heightened the music's tension. On Saturday at Rutgers-Camden's Gordon Theater, his other orchestra, Symphony in C, took on Symphony No. 4 in a performance that was equally penetrating for different reasons.
October 5, 2010 |
PRINCETON - Great Tchaikovsky playing, an East Coast premiere by a major composer and an A-list soloist wouldn't be taken for granted in a major city. But here? Where people usually spend autumn weekends shopping and escaping urban overstimulation? The Princeton Symphony Orchestra's season-opening concert Sunday at sold-out Richardson Auditorium delivered a hugely promising manifesto under new music director Rossen Milanov, so much that even those who think they know his music profile from his years as associate conductor of the Philadelphia Orchestra (which will end in 2011)
October 2, 2010 |
Even by the motley standards of Shostakovich's 15 symphonies, the long-suppressed Symphony No. 4 is a work of such originality that its performance remains a special, fasten-your-seatbelt occasion - more so than usual Thursday at the Kimmel Center, in one of the Philadelphia Orchestra's best outings ever with chief conductor Charles Dutoit. The staggeringly dense, hour-long piece challenges the orchestra on virtually every front, but Dutoit's cool, Gallic strategy made the wild orchestration all the more powerful for never slipping into sensory overload.
July 12, 2010 |
IN THE HOLLYWOOD movie "The Bucket List," two terminally ill men set out to fulfill a wish list of all the things they want to do before they "kick the bucket. " In East Norriton, 20-year-old Kristen D'Antonio is in a race against a different impending demise: She has a genetic disorder that will make her deaf. Before the silence descends, she's determined to hear - live - every musician and rock band she has ever loved. Her "deaf bucket list," as she calls it, is fabulously eclectic.