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By Phil Greenfield and Phil Greenfield,Contributing writer | January 17, 1992
One of America's finest was presented in concert last week at Mahan Hall on the campus of the U.S. Naval Academy.John Browning is a front-rank American pianist who has remained on top of his game since his debut with the New York Philharmonic in 1956.Browning is one of those exalted performers who has made his markacross the entire spectrum of the piano repertory. His affinity for the great virtuoso works of the Romantic period is well known; his recorded anthologies of Liszt and Rachmaninov are much admired.
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NEWS
By Phil Greenfield and Phil Greenfield,SPECIAL TO THE SUN | March 9, 2000
A nasty rumor has it that snow still sits on the ground at one of Columbia's Town Center parking garages. Not to worry, my meter reads spring. It's in the 70s outside, I just paid for two sessions of summer camp and the Orioles are on the radio. What else am I supposed to think? So, as this most life-affirming of all seasons rolls around, my thoughts turn not just to love and baseball but to some of the most glorious classical music ever written. Truly, springtime has inspired more than its share of creative genius.
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FEATURES
By John Guinn and John Guinn,Knight-Ridder News Service | December 13, 1994
British maestro John Eliot Gardiner found a dictionary that defines the word "conductor" as "a current passed from one sphere to another."While that definition comes from physics, Mr. Gardiner maintains it's an apt way to characterize the person who stands in front of an orchestra and, through various bodily gyrations, gets that orchestra to produce musical sounds.Mr. Gardiner makes his observation in "The Art of Conducting: Great Conductors of the Past," a splendid video just released on the Teldec label.
NEWS
By Phil Greenfield and Phil Greenfield,SPECIAL TO THE SUN | April 30, 1998
The overture to "The Marriage of Figaro" sounds best from its perch at the beginning of Mozart's greatest comic opera. Indeed, a full-length "Figaro" is a must-have for any serious (or even frivolous) fan of classical music.The top three versions have been around for a while and sound even better with age. Erich Kleiber's "Figaro" from the 1950s is full of character and great singing (London).Soprano Jessye Norman makes a wonderful Countess for Colin Davis on Philips, and the budget-conscious will love conductor Carlo Maria Giulini, who lopped off a couple of forgettable arias, allowing the whole opera to fit onto a pair of mid-priced EMI discs.
NEWS
By Phil Greenfield and Phil Greenfield,SPECIAL TO THE SUN | April 30, 1998
The overture to "The Marriage of Figaro" sounds best from its perch at the beginning of Mozart's greatest comic opera. Indeed, a full-length "Figaro" is a must-have for any serious (or even frivolous) fan of classical music.The top three versions have been around for a while and sound even better with age. Erich Kleiber's "Figaro" from the 1950s is full of character and great singing (London).Soprano Jessye Norman makes a wonderful Countess for Colin Davis on Philips, and the budget-conscious will love conductor Carlo Maria Giulini, who lopped off a couple of forgettable arias, allowing the whole opera to fit onto a pair of mid-priced EMI discs.
NEWS
By Phil Greenfield and Phil Greenfield,SPECIAL TO THE SUN | March 9, 2000
A nasty rumor has it that snow still sits on the ground at one of Columbia's Town Center parking garages. Not to worry, my meter reads spring. It's in the 70s outside, I just paid for two sessions of summer camp and the Orioles are on the radio. What else am I supposed to think? So, as this most life-affirming of all seasons rolls around, my thoughts turn not just to love and baseball but to some of the most glorious classical music ever written. Truly, springtime has inspired more than its share of creative genius.
NEWS
By Phil Greenfield and Phil Greenfield,Contributing writer | January 10, 1992
Some American pianists have fashioned flashier careers than John Browning, but few have remained before the public for a longer time at asustained level of artistic excellence.Back in the late 1940s and 1950s, a fraternity of musicians smilingly referred to themselves as the "OYAPS" -- Outstanding Young American Pianists. Virtually everyone expected they would dominate the concert stages of America for decades.It was not to be.The great William Kapell died in a plane crash while still in his 30s.Leon Fleisher and Gary Graffman were disabled by injuries that ended their careers prematurely.
ENTERTAINMENT
By Stephen Wigler | January 4, 1996
In 1933, when George Szell conducted the world premiere in Prague of Hans Krasa's opera, "Betrothal in a Dream," the work was hailed as a masterpiece. But within five years, the Nazis seized power in Czechoslovakia, the work was banned, and Krasa, who was Jewish, died in Auschwitz in 1944 at the age of 45.The comic romantic opera, which was based on a Dostoevsky novella, was believed lost but was rediscovered in 1994.The Washington Opera will present "Betrothal in a Dream" starting this weekend.
FEATURES
By David Donovan and David Donovan,SPECIAL TO THE SUN | June 9, 1997
As the Baltimore Symphony warmed up for its last Favorites program of the season, instead of the expected strains of the coming program of Mendelssohn and Schubert, this listener was hearing snatches of the Mahler Fifth Symphony. Was the BSO looking beyond this evening of standards to next week's concert? David Zinman swept these doubts aside with a blockbuster evening highlighted by soloist Gil Shaham's Olympian performance of the Mendelssohn Violin Concerto.Shaham has amassed a giant discography, but his live efforts Friday night were simply thrilling.
FEATURES
By Stephen Wigler and Stephen Wigler,Sun Music Critic | July 25, 1991
Beethoven's Fourth Piano Concerto is filled with improvisational energy that tests the bounds of form. Last night in Meyerhoff Hall with the Baltimore Symphony and its music director, David Zinman, the pianist Vladimir Feltsman played the piece in a daringly improvisational way.For most of the first movement, however, the Russian-born pianist seemed lost in a maze of his own making: His opening sounded sleepy rather than meditative, his runs wooden rather...
FEATURES
By John Guinn and John Guinn,Knight-Ridder News Service | December 13, 1994
British maestro John Eliot Gardiner found a dictionary that defines the word "conductor" as "a current passed from one sphere to another."While that definition comes from physics, Mr. Gardiner maintains it's an apt way to characterize the person who stands in front of an orchestra and, through various bodily gyrations, gets that orchestra to produce musical sounds.Mr. Gardiner makes his observation in "The Art of Conducting: Great Conductors of the Past," a splendid video just released on the Teldec label.
NEWS
By Phil Greenfield and Phil Greenfield,Contributing writer | January 17, 1992
One of America's finest was presented in concert last week at Mahan Hall on the campus of the U.S. Naval Academy.John Browning is a front-rank American pianist who has remained on top of his game since his debut with the New York Philharmonic in 1956.Browning is one of those exalted performers who has made his markacross the entire spectrum of the piano repertory. His affinity for the great virtuoso works of the Romantic period is well known; his recorded anthologies of Liszt and Rachmaninov are much admired.
NEWS
By Phil Greenfield and Phil Greenfield,Contributing writer | January 10, 1992
Some American pianists have fashioned flashier careers than John Browning, but few have remained before the public for a longer time at asustained level of artistic excellence.Back in the late 1940s and 1950s, a fraternity of musicians smilingly referred to themselves as the "OYAPS" -- Outstanding Young American Pianists. Virtually everyone expected they would dominate the concert stages of America for decades.It was not to be.The great William Kapell died in a plane crash while still in his 30s.Leon Fleisher and Gary Graffman were disabled by injuries that ended their careers prematurely.
FEATURES
By Stephen Wigler and Stephen Wigler,SUN MUSIC CRITIC | August 3, 1996
Perhaps because David Zinman conducts it frequently, one could not help but be intrigued by the differences in the performance of Mozart's "Jupiter" Symphony that Mario Venzago led the the Baltimore Symphony Orchestra in last night in Meyerhoff Hall.The most obvious one was length. Zinman's performances take about 25 minutes; Venzago's "Jupiter," the concluding work on the conductor's fourth and final concert in Summer MusicFest, was 8-10 minutes longer. This was not merely a matter of repeats, which Zinman eschews and which Venzago generously observes.
ENTERTAINMENT
By Stephen Wigler and Stephen Wigler,Sun Music Critic | October 18, 1991
Andre Watts went toe to toe against the Brahms Piano Concerto No. 2 last night. Had it been a contest by Marquess of Queensberry rules, a referee would have stopped it -- Brahms took an awful mauling. But crowds love blood, and the Meyerhoff Hall audience adored the way Watts battered the piece in his performance with the Baltimore Symphony Orchestra and guest conductor Hans Vonk.Watts' strategy was clear from the beginning: Put the pedal down and play as loudly as possible. It's not easy to describe Watts' sound when he plays out (which is most of the time)
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