Wednesday, November 30, 2005

The Philly Orchestra in D.C.

While I love New York, Philadelphia and its cultural gems (the Museum of Art, the Franklin Institute, the Pa. Ballet, etc.) will always have a warm place in my heart. One of those is, of course, the Philadelphia Orchestra, on a tour performance earlier this week in the nation's capital under the direction of its music director Christoph Eschenbach. WaPo critic Tim Page relishes the way the band made Beethoven's Symphony No. 3 ("Eroica") sound so new and alive:
[It] proved once again just how inexhaustible some music is. This symphony has been played almost constantly for two centuries now, and yet it all seemed new on Monday -- the still-shocking bray of dissonance in the opening movement, the wrenching and ever-more-affecting convulsions of pain in the "Funeral March," the bright, gentle scherzo that ushers in a new morning, and the final set of variations, simultaneously grand and comical. I've never found Eschenbach so convincing as he was in this "Eroica." He made full use of his wonderful orchestra and its large and lustrous string section, yet there was nothing "fat" about the sound. On the contrary, the playing had drive and sinew; fugal passages, in particular, brought to mind the grandeur and austerity of J.S. Bach.
Philadelphia's Drum Roll Before Its Main Attraction [WashPost]

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