February 22, 2003 |
When Christoph Eschenbach was appointed to the Philadelphia Orchestra music directorship, his friend and colleague Tzimon Barto had reassuring words about the maestro's modern-music tastes: "Philadelphia shouldn't be scared. If he's in America, he's not going to do . . . Wolfgang Rihm. " Oh, but he is. The 50-year-old Rihm is one of the most-played living composers in Europe, but he writes the kind of modernist music that has gone out of fashion in the United States, and probably never was in fashion in Philadelphia.
March 2, 2002 |
With their flowing hair and keyboard electricity, the irresistible Lab?que Sisters - as Katia and Marielle Lab?que are collectively known - have been more valued for their levity (example: their smashing transcription of Rhapsody in Blue) than for attending to unmet needs in the classical music world. What an intriguing switch, then, that this duo piano team's repertoire for the Thursday Philadelphia Orchestra concert was Concerto for Two Pianos and Orchestra by Luciano Berio.
November 3, 2001 |
Hilary Hahn made her reputation doing what other violinists do, but with the Olympian purity that comes with unsullied youth. Over the last 18 months, however, something else has emerged, and it appeared in consolidated form Thursday when she played Stravinsky's Violin Concerto with the Philadelphia Orchestra: Hahn is also a revisionist. The concerto hasn't been taken seriously over the years, having been written in 1931, 18 years after The Rite of Spring and in a period when Stravinsky's music became more civilized, classical and stylish, and less substantial.
August 18, 2001 |
Seemingly on cue with the end of a century that made ugly the preferred mode in music, a prince of pretty has emerged: His name is Lowell Liebermann. The New York composer has had a tough time stating his case with his many critics, as if the concepts of pleasant and substantive were mutually exclusive. Often they are, and sometimes they are in Liebermann's music. His Flute Concerto, for instance, is so clotted with sweets that it makes the Prokofievian model upon which it is based seem acrid.
May 19, 2001 |
In the midst of preparation for its forthcoming Asian tour, the Philadelphia Orchestra paused to do something completely unrelated: conclude its Philadelphia season with nontour repertoire that revealed a new, unexpected Wolfgang Sawallisch specialty. Having ridden Gustav Mahler's coattails to fashionability in recent years, Edward Elgar (1857-1934) is now known for much more than his Enigma Variations, though his Violin Concerto, arguably the longest in the repertoire, made only its fourth appearance with the Philadelphia Orchestra Thursday at the Academy of Music.
January 12, 2001 |
THE PHILADELPHIA ORCHESTRA, Rafael Fruhbeck de Burgos conducting; Roberto Diaz, viola soloist. 8 p.m. Friday, Saturday and Tuesday at Academy of Music, Broad and Locust streets. Tickets: $18-$60. Info: 215-893-1999. The burnished, dark-wood timbre of the viola hasn't inspired the huge catalog of solo works lavished on the violin and cello. Yet, for the Philadelphia Orchestra's first-chair violist Roberto Diaz, its sound is "melted chocolate, dark, smooth and rich. . .and slightly addictive.
November 4, 2000 |
Contemporary music champions can seem like the perpetual whiners of the classical music set: Every failure is followed by thickets of "if onlys" that exonerate the music of any misdeeds. But on evidence of Richard Danielpour's Violin Concerto heard in its local premiere by the Philadelphia Orchestra on Thursday, they're right. Though not Danielpour's most consistent work, the concerto shows how a sympathetic convergence of composer, performers and circumstances can make new music readily programmable with Mozart's Don Giovanni overture and Berlioz's Symphonie Fantastique.
July 17, 2000 |
THE PHILADELPHIA ORCHESTRA at the Mann Center for the Performing Arts, 52nd and Parkside Avenues. Tickets: $22-$57, $8 for lawn tickets. Info: 215-893-1999. Arias from the opera and Broadway, followed by evenings of Beethoven and Russian gems, make up the Mann schedule in this next-to-last week of Orchestra programs. Miguel Harth-Bedoya makes his Mann debut tonight, and David Robertson returns to take over Wednesday and Thursday. Monday Conductor Miguel Harth-Bedoya: This busy Peruvian-born Curtis graduate will soon add the music directorship of Fort Worth Symphony to that of the Eugene (Ore.
June 26, 2000 |
THE PHILADELPHIA ORCHESTRA, Mann Center for the Performing Arts, 52nd and Parkside Avenues. Tickets: $22-$57, $8 for lawn tickets (advance lawn tickets $2). Info: 215-893-1999. It wouldn't seem like summer without familiar classics by the Philadelphia Orchestra inside the Mann shell, or on a blanket with a bottle of wine under the stars. This season's schedule offers five instead of six weeks of programs, with concerts held last week at three local community venues. This whole first week belongs to revered violinist Itzhak Perl-man, longtime friend of the Mann, who will play tonight and Thursday night.
May 6, 2000 |
With the works of Dmitri Shostakovich making serious inroads into the standard repertoire of late, Wolfgang Sawallisch posed an inevitable question: Can Philadelphia Orchestra audiences take two of the brooding Russian master's weightiest works on one program? Besides the temperamental and formal similarities of the Symphony No. 5 and Violin Concerto No. 1 (depressive slow movements and manic dance movements), there's the considerable matter of whether listeners can stand the intensity of such musical bitterness.