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By Stephen Wigler | May 23, 1996
The young Norwegian pianist Leif Ove Andsnes has been described as one of the great pianists of his generation. This week he will bring his powerful, poetic talents to bear on Prokofiev's popular Piano Concerto No. 3 when he joins conductor Christopher Seaman and the Baltimore Symphony Orchestra.The other works on this week's BSO program are Dvorak's Symphony No. 8 and Jonathan Holland's "Martha's Waltz."NTCThe concerts are tonight and Friday at 8: 15 p.m. in Meyerhoff Symphony Hall. For tickets ($18-$51)
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By Tim Smith and Tim Smith,SUN MUSIC CRITIC | June 11, 2005
Two fresh faces enliven the latest Baltimore Symphony Orchestra program. One belongs to a boy, the other a boyish-looking man. Kit Armstrong, who turned 13 a few months ago, pushes the boundaries of child prodigy status with his uncanny skills as a pianist, composer and (since the age of 7) university-level student of math and sciences. Norwegian conductor Arild Remmereit, who, even at 43, might be mistaken for a college kid, has become the king of subs in the conducting world. Recently, he stepped in on short notice for the likes of Riccardo Muti and Christoph von Dohnanyi.
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By Stephen Wigler and Stephen Wigler,Sun Music Critic | June 14, 1995
`TC This week, the Baltimore Symphony Orchestra takes its audience to the movies. In the final concerts of the regular subscription season, the orchestra, the BSO chorus and associate conductor David Lockington will provide the soundtrack to a restored print of Sergei Eisenstein's epic "Alexander Nevsky" -- the music Sergei Prokofiev wrote when he and Eisenstein collaborated on the film in 1938.Symphony orchestras throughout the United States are trying to resuscitate concertgoing with visual aids, but this "concert" is more than a stunt aimed at a television-age audience.
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By Carl Schoettler and Carl Schoettler,SUN STAFF | January 29, 2004
Anne Watts sits down at her Steinway piano and rips through a snatch of a Prokofiev concerto like an express train crossing Siberia. "I love those guys, those Russians," she says. "It's so percussive and ... weird. I love that stuff." She's tall and slim and droll. And animated as she marches the music off across the steppes. "And the band is jumping," she says. The band is Boister, as in boisterous, her longtime collaborators. "And they don't know what I'm doing. I'm playing a sonata.
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By Stephen Wigler and Stephen Wigler,Sun Music Critic | May 29, 1994
Prokofiev, Concerto No. 2 in G minor, and Mendelssohn, Concerto in E Minor, performed by violinist Itzhak Perlman and the Chicago Symphony, Daniel Barenboim conducting (Erato 91732). Prokofiev, Concerto No. 2, performed by Perlman and the Boston Symphony Orchestra, Erich Leinsdorf conducting. Prokofiev, Sonata No. 1 in F minor and Sonata No. 2 in D major, performed by Perlman and pianist Vladimir Ashkenazy (RCA Gold Seal 61454): Comparing Perlman's RCA (recorded in 1966) and Erato (recorded last spring)
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By Tim Smith and Tim Smith,SUN MUSIC CRITIC | March 1, 2003
With all the Russian music filling Baltimore these days, a drive to Washington - through a slippery snowfall, no less - to hear more of it might strike some folks as a little odd. But there were three compelling reasons to make that trek Thursday night: Sergei Prokofiev, Mstislav Rostropovich and the National Symphony Orchestra. As Rostropovich walked onto the stage of the Kennedy Center Concert Hall, members of the brass section let loose a little fanfare to salute the NSO's former music director, making his first appearance with the ensemble since 1998.
FEATURES
By Tim Smith and Tim Smith,SUN MUSIC CRITIC | April 27, 2002
Before he had to grapple with the fierceness of fate and the demoralizing effects of deafness, Beethoven produced some of his most supremely optimistic, uplifting music. Before he had to endure the condemnation of Soviet cultural czars and the debilitating effects of a bad fall, Prokofiev did the same. The Baltimore Symphony Orchestra's latest program offers an arresting look at both cases. Beethoven's Piano Concerto No. 1 combines martial bravado, tender reflection and downright cocky humor.
FEATURES
By Tim Smith and Tim Smith,SUN MUSIC CRITIC | May 2, 2003
The Baltimore Symphony Orchestra explored earthly and ethereal realms last night at Meyerhoff Hall. The results, in both cases, proved transcendent. Mahler's Symphony No. 5 is all flesh and blood. This is music of struggle and triumph, nostalgia and fresh love, ending with a kind of giddy gorging on temporal pleasures. Prokofiev's Violin Concerto No. 1 conjures images of an angel who, rather reluctantly, returns to mortal status to settle old business, gets battered by various doubts and trials, then, with mission fulfilled, glides gently back into the stars.
NEWS
By Phil Greenfield and Phil Greenfield,SPECIAL TO THE SUN | October 3, 2002
Never has Leslie B. Dunner's flair for rhythm and movement on the podium been more germane to a review in these pages. For never in his four-year tenure with the Annapolis Symphony has a program been more dominated by work geared to kinesthetic expression than the one Dunner and the ASO presented last weekend. The work is Sergei Prokofiev's Romeo and Juliet, the brilliant score the composer felt compelled to write as an heir to Russia's tradition of grand ballet on the order of Tchaikovsky's Sleeping Beauty and Swan Lake.
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By Stephen Wigler and Stephen Wigler,SUN CLASSICAL MUSIC CRITIC | September 18, 1999
Here's hoping that Peter Roesel gives an encore at this morning's Baltimore Symphony Casual Concert.He surely should have played one last night in Meyerhoff Hall -- after a jaw-dropping performance of Prokofiev's Second Concerto with the orchestra and guest conductor Gunther Herbig.His second concerto (1909) was Prokofiev's answer to Rachmaninoff's Third Concerto of three years earlier. Prokofiev was influenced by, and competitive with, his older contemporary.Even though it is 10 minutes shorter than Rachmaninoff's Third, Prokofiev's Second bristles with even greater difficulties.
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By Tim Smith and Tim Smith,SUN MUSIC CRITIC | January 16, 2004
Prokofiev, like Shostakovich, hit the music world early on with a burst of precocity and went on to achieve a remarkable level of profundity. Last night, the Baltimore Symphony Orchestra offered an incisive look at both qualities. Like last week's program, which included Shostakovich's Symphony No. 5, this one, devoted to Prokofiev's Piano Concerto No. 2 and Symphony No. 5, was to have been conducted by BSO music director Yuri Temirkanov. He remains in St. Petersburg, recuperating from a persistent case of the flu. But, also like last week's program, effectively led by James Judd, this one had a worthy substitute on the podium in Andrew Litton.
ENTERTAINMENT
By Tim Smith and Tim Smith,SUN MUSIC CRITIC | November 13, 2003
There's a thin line between art and entertainment, an equally thin one between entertainment and propaganda. Sergei Eisenstein's 1938 film Alexander Nevsky, with its spectacular musical score by Sergei Prokofiev, manages to combine art, entertainment and propaganda in one indelible package. Today, the political implications do not overwhelm the movie, as they would have for audiences in the Soviet Union during the Stalin era. The artistic quality is what strikes home most forcefully now, as is bound to be the case when the Baltimore Symphony Orchestra presents a performance of Prokofiev's Alexander Nevsky in synch with the film tonight and tomorrow.
FEATURES
By Tim Smith and Tim Smith,SUN MUSIC CRITIC | May 2, 2003
The Baltimore Symphony Orchestra explored earthly and ethereal realms last night at Meyerhoff Hall. The results, in both cases, proved transcendent. Mahler's Symphony No. 5 is all flesh and blood. This is music of struggle and triumph, nostalgia and fresh love, ending with a kind of giddy gorging on temporal pleasures. Prokofiev's Violin Concerto No. 1 conjures images of an angel who, rather reluctantly, returns to mortal status to settle old business, gets battered by various doubts and trials, then, with mission fulfilled, glides gently back into the stars.
FEATURES
By Tim Smith and Tim Smith,SUN MUSIC CRITIC | March 7, 2003
The night Joseph Stalin died 50 years ago, his enemies, real and imagined, could breathe a little easier. Unfortunately, one of those who would have enjoyed greater peace of mind also died that same night - Sergei Prokofiev, who, like Dmitri Shostakovich, knew all too well about official disfavor during the Stalin era. On Tuesday, the Peabody Institute commemorated the exact semi-centennial of Prokofiev's death with a substantial, exceptionally well-played...
FEATURES
By Tim Smith and Tim Smith,SUN MUSIC CRITIC | March 1, 2003
With all the Russian music filling Baltimore these days, a drive to Washington - through a slippery snowfall, no less - to hear more of it might strike some folks as a little odd. But there were three compelling reasons to make that trek Thursday night: Sergei Prokofiev, Mstislav Rostropovich and the National Symphony Orchestra. As Rostropovich walked onto the stage of the Kennedy Center Concert Hall, members of the brass section let loose a little fanfare to salute the NSO's former music director, making his first appearance with the ensemble since 1998.
NEWS
By Phil Greenfield and Phil Greenfield,SPECIAL TO THE SUN | October 3, 2002
Never has Leslie B. Dunner's flair for rhythm and movement on the podium been more germane to a review in these pages. For never in his four-year tenure with the Annapolis Symphony has a program been more dominated by work geared to kinesthetic expression than the one Dunner and the ASO presented last weekend. The work is Sergei Prokofiev's Romeo and Juliet, the brilliant score the composer felt compelled to write as an heir to Russia's tradition of grand ballet on the order of Tchaikovsky's Sleeping Beauty and Swan Lake.
FEATURES
By Stephen Wigler and Stephen Wigler,Sun Music Critic | June 16, 1995
The greatest marriage of sight and sound in the cinema was between Soviet filmmaker Sergei Eisenstein and his compatriot, composer Sergei Prokofiev. The first fruit of that partnership -- the 1938 film epic, "Alexander Nevsky" -- was the centerpiece last night in Meyerhoff Hall for the Baltimore Symphony Orchestra's final program of the season.This was not the 40-minute cantata that Prokofiev fashioned from his film score. It was all 107 minutes of Eisenstein's great movie (in a fine-looking, restored print)
FEATURES
By Pierre Ruhe and Pierre Ruhe,SPECIAL TO THE SUN | April 7, 1997
Excerpts from two Russian ballets made an exciting conclusion for Terrence Wilson's piano recital Saturday night, presented by the Candlelight Concert Society at Howard Community College's intimate Smith Theatre in Columbia.Prokofiev and Stravinsky are, in many respects, the twin heirs of Rimsky-Korsakov, that 19th-century master of compositional brilliance and character and a pioneer of modernism. Prokofiev rested his tunes on satin harmonic pillows.Six pieces from "Romeo and Juliet," a story of blue-collar love, provided Wilson with his best vehicle, as he made Prokofiev's big statements sound especially bold and percussive.
FEATURES
By Tim Smith and Tim Smith,SUN MUSIC CRITIC | April 27, 2002
Before he had to grapple with the fierceness of fate and the demoralizing effects of deafness, Beethoven produced some of his most supremely optimistic, uplifting music. Before he had to endure the condemnation of Soviet cultural czars and the debilitating effects of a bad fall, Prokofiev did the same. The Baltimore Symphony Orchestra's latest program offers an arresting look at both cases. Beethoven's Piano Concerto No. 1 combines martial bravado, tender reflection and downright cocky humor.
FEATURES
By Tim Smith and Tim Smith,SUN MUSIC CRITIC | March 11, 2002
Many an intimidating copy of Tolstoy's War and Peace sits unread on a shelf, though people always mean to read it sometime, all 1,500 pages of it. At least everyone knows the novel is a masterpiece. Prokofiev's War and Peace goes largely unheard and unseen. Although some folks occasionally express an interest in the opera, all four hours of it, the word "masterpiece" doesn't always work its way into the conversation. The Metropolitan Opera's new production, in conjunction with the Mariinsky Theatre in St. Petersburg, successfully challenges the conventional wisdom that Prokofiev wasn't the right man to distill Tolstoy.
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