September 2, 2010 |
This time, the journey to the summit of Strauss' Alpine Symphony is obscured by fog and slowed by mud - which shouldn't happen when the trail guide is the Philadelphia Orchestra. The orchestra's 2008 performance of the Strauss tone poem was highly acclaimed when recorded live in Verizon Hall; some even pinpointed the Alpine Symphony as the moment when current chief conductor Charles Dutoit claimed the Philadelphia Orchestra as his own. But though the lavishly scored piece is the flagship release in the orchestra's reentry into the recording market on high-profile websites - with 35-plus titles that include Shostakovich conducted by Wolfgang Sawallisch, Beethoven symphonies led by Christoph Eschenbach, and distinguished guests such as Vladimir Jurowski and Rafael Frühbeck de Burgos - one could argue that it should never have been released.
October 30, 2003 |
Yakov Kreizberg is the kind of conductor you bring in when you want to hear music expressed in bold strokes. He's not exactly a detail man. And as for the ability to establish a rapport with an orchestra based on subtle gestures that get a nuanced response, well, Kreizberg is just not that kind of communicator. But for the program he put together Tuesday night in Verizon Hall with the Philadelphia Orchestra, Kreizberg was just fine. Dvorak's Carnival overture was propelled by animal energy, and quite exciting in its own way. The Ravel Bolero that ended the concert was like any other - that is, it ticked by with the inevitability of a time bomb, the ending assured to get a standing ovation pretty much regardless of who was on the podium.
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.
May 29, 2010
Music Gil Scott-Heron. He made a triumphant return to recording this year with the wryly titled I'm New Here, a short, sharp postmodern blues album that is the 1970s soul-funk-jazz-R&B- griot-and-rap-godfather's first album in 16 years. The satiric and socially conscious 61-year-old songwriter did not get to put those songs across to Philadelphians in person, however, because his scheduled February appearances at the Tin Angel were scuttled by two-plus feet of snow. He'll be back this weekend to make up the dates.
August 10, 2007 |
Russell Johnson, 83, the acclaimed acoustician who designed sound for the homes of many of the world's great orchestras - including Philadelphia's - died Tuesday in New York City, his firm announced. Mr. Johnson, widely admired for his work on orchestra halls in Dallas; Lucerne, Switzerland; and, perhaps most of all, Birmingham, England, died at his apartment after working Monday at his firm, said Tateo Nakajima, Artec Consultants' managing director. "We were discussing design ideas and planning for the future," Nakajima said, "and as far as we can tell, he went home from work and just didn't wake up. " Mr. Johnson founded his design studio in 1970 in New York but was more often seen listening to concerts in Miami, Singapore, or one of the dozens of other cities in which he designed halls.
March 8, 2001 |
The cost of hearing the Philadelphia Orchestra will jump next season by an average of 16 percent - the biggest increase since 1987. In addition, the ticket surcharge will double to $2 per ticket. A small number of ticket prices will stay the same or even drop slightly. But most listeners will pay substantially more, depending on seat location, to experience the orchestra live in the future. The increase comes as the orchestra prepares to become a tenant in a new hall that will be both more expensive to operate and will offer fewer seats than the Academy of Music.
September 20, 2002 |
Could it be that the era of taking Wolfgang Sawallisch for granted is coming to an end? Whether or not a groundswell of adoration rises this season, the Sawallisch era itself is now officially in the homestretch. The Philadelphia Orchestra's music director presided over his last opening night Wednesday, acting in his usual music-first, ego-last way, as if nothing were different. But everything is different, and more change is on the way - soon. The orchestra's still-new hall sounded better than it did at the end of last season, the result, perhaps, of a new riser configuration and more layers of sound-reflective polyurethane on the stage of Verizon Hall (four coats, as opposed to two)
March 13, 2004 |
Whatever else you think of Christoph Eschenbach's interpretive leanings, his good ideas about shedding the veneer of pretentiousness that stubbornly clings to orchestras, or his cooperative attitude about fund-raising, it cannot be said that he is developing a close rapport with the musicians of the Philadelphia Orchestra. How could it be turning out differently? This was the music director imposed on, not chosen by, the players. Eschenbach hadn't conducted here in years when he was hired.
February 11, 2005 |
The return of the Philadelphia Orchestra's conductor laureate Wolfgang Sawallisch and two internationally famous violinists tops this week's slate. Sawallisch is back to lead Dvorak's eight buoyant Slavonic Dances, Op. 72, and the Beethoven Violin Concerto, featuring the brilliant Greek-born violinist Leonidas Kavakos. This is an ideal program for these two master musicians (8 tonight, tomorrow and Tuesday, Verizon Hall, Kimmel Center for the Performing Arts, Broad and Spruce streets, $9-$69.
November 23, 2008
It's welcome news that Kimmel Center for the Performing Arts officials are rehearsing ideas to enliven the center's expansive but uninviting lobby. And they want to remedy sound problems in Verizon Hall, home of the Philadelphia Orchestra. In so many ways, the Kimmel Center has lived up to its enormous promise. But it has still fallen short of its advanced billing. The center hasn't become the 18-hour-a-day gathering place that boosters of the city's Avenue of the Arts cultural district predicted.