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By Stephen Wigler and Stephen Wigler,SUN MUSIC CRITIC | February 6, 1996
Perhaps the second most wonderful thing about being young is being slow to recognize danger or difficultly. That's surely one reason why the battle of the skies in World War II was won putting American teen-agers in fighter planes. It must also have been a factor in the convincing performance of Mahler's Symphony No. 6 that the Peabody Symphony Orchestra gave Saturday evening in Friedberg Concert Hall.Under the baton of their music director, Hajime Teri Murai, the young musicians performed this fiercely difficult work, the most tragic in the Mahler canon, with energy, stamina and accuracy that would have made a professional orchestra proud.
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By Judah E. Adashi and Judah E. Adashi,SPECIAL TO THE SUN | June 1, 2007
Next season promises to be a good one for contemporary American music in Baltimore. With Marin Alsop as its new music director, the Baltimore Symphony Orchestra will perform nearly a dozen pieces by living American composers, as well as 20th-century masterworks by Samuel Barber, Aaron Copland, Duke Ellington and George Gershwin. But local enthusiasts of new and recent American works need not wait for Alsop's arrival to hear the indigenous music of our time. At 7:30 p.m. tomorrow at Jim Rouse Theatre, music director Jason Love and the Columbia Orchestra will close out their season with "A New World," a program featuring music by three Americans and one famous European visitor.
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ENTERTAINMENT
By Stephen Wigler | November 21, 1999
There are more than 70 recordings of Beethoven's Fourth Concerto currently available. Make room at the top for Helene Grimaud's new account of the piece, recorded live with Kurt Masur conducting the New York Philharmonic (Teldec 3984-26869).I think this is the most exciting interpretation of the Fourth Concerto since the Vladimir Ashkenazy-Georg Solti collaboration with the Chicago Symphony -- and that was recorded almost 30 years ago!Without eschewing lyricism, Grimaud and Masur strive for drama, and they achieve it thrillingly.
NEWS
By Childs Walker and Childs Walker,SUN NATIONAL STAFF | September 4, 2004
COCOA BEACH, Fla. - Even the surfers, known for loving rough seas, had departed this barrier beach town on Florida's east cost yesterday, joining an exodus that left stores closed and roads empty in anticipation of Hurricane Frances. "I tried to ride it, but the ocean's too wishy-washy," said Johnny David, standing next to his surfboard yesterday morning. "The rip is too hard, so it's like trying to ride a washing machine." Cocoa Beach is the site of Ron Jon, one of the Florida coast's largest and most famous surf shops.
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By David Donovan and David Donovan,SPECIAL TO THE SUN | March 16, 1996
The Baltimore Symphony Orchestra performance Thursday night at the Meyerhoff of Brahms' Fourth Symphony, conducted by Ivan Fischer, gave ample evidence that this orchestra can give great and memorable realizations of the core repertoire of German symphonic music.The Brahms Fourth can be a minefield of subtle problems for even the best orchestras. Ivan Fischer avoided most of the dangers by keeping to a clear and unsentimental interpretation that drew its passion from Brahms' musical structures, rather than outwardly romanticizing the music.
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By Stephen Wigler and Stephen Wigler,SUN MUSIC CRITIC | November 20, 1998
Last evening's performance of Schumann's Concerto in A Minor in Meyerhoff Hall by the Norwegian pianist Leif Ove Andsnes, the Baltimore Symphony and its former music director, David Zinman, was little less than miraculous.In too many performances, the Schumann concerto ends up sounding like the background music for a ladies-in-gloves church social. The fiery, crazy genius who wrote "Kreisleriana" and the slow movement of the Symphony No. 2 is left standing outside the door.Andsnes invited him in. His bold, rhapsodic performance reconciled the work's disparate masculine and feminine Romantic elements.
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By David Donovan and David Donovan,Special to The Sun | February 27, 1995
Paavo Berglund's long-awaited debut with the Baltimore Symphony Orchestra in Meyerhoff Hall on Friday did not disappoint expectations. The Finnish conductor has long been celebrated as an interpreter of the works of his countryman, Jean Sibelius. It was scarcely a surprise, therefore, that the highlight of the evening was a white-hot performance of the Symphony No. 1.This was a reading of Sibelius that had the authority that one associates with Bruno Walter's Mahler or Otto Klemperer's Beethoven.
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By Stephen Wigler and Stephen Wigler,SUN MUSIC CRITIC | October 31, 1996
The Baltimore Chamber Orchestra and its music director, Anne Harrigan, took what sounded like a giant step last night in their first concert of the season in Kraushaar Auditorium.The single most impressive thing on the program was a performance of Shostakovich's Piano No. 1 for piano, trumpet and strings that featured Valentina Lisitsa, a 26-year-old pianist from Kiev, who is now living in Miami Beach.To put it simply, Lisitsa is a gigantic talent. She has infallible TC fingers, imagination and a control of dynamics -- from the softest to the loudest sounds -- little short of electrifying.
FEATURES
By Stephen Wigler and Stephen Wigler,Music Critic | November 23, 1993
Stephen Kates' cello recital last night in the Chamber Music Society of Baltimore series at the Baltimore Museum of Art was at its considerable best in Beethoven's Sonata in D (opus 102, No. 2). Kates' big, forceful style made this late work speak eloquently in a heroic and romantic manner.This sonata has a remarkable slow movement that is perhaps the first of the composer's successful late-period attempts to express a mood of thanksgiving in which time seems to stand still. Kates made this music sound hymn-like: His approach to sound -- his tone ranged from a whisper to a full-blooded fortissimo -- and the naturalness of his rhythm were almost like that of a singer.
ENTERTAINMENT
By Stephen Wigler and Stephen Wigler,Music Critic | July 10, 1992
The Baltimore Symphony Orchestra's annual Summerfest got off to a wonderful start last night in Meyerhoff Hall with an all-Brahms program. The centerpiece around which this summer's festival is built is the Brazilian pianist Nelson Freire and he made This is a piece that begins huge, with its first theme over the thunder of kettledrums resounding into infinity, and gets even bigger. Most pianists have traditionally elected to play this piece ferociously. Freire chose another route. Keeping in mind that the piece was written under the influence of Schumann, the Brazilian played the piece in a manner that was primarily poetic, reflective and tender.
ENTERTAINMENT
By Valerie Finholm and Valerie Finholm,Hartford Courant | August 22, 2004
Carl Honore calls it his bedtime-story epiphany. Four years ago, while waiting in line at an airport to catch a flight home to London, the foreign correspondent was on his cell phone chatting with his editor while skimming a newspaper when an article caught his eye: "The One-Minute Bedtime Story." As the frazzled father of a 2-year-old, Honore's first thought was "Eureka!" The next thought was: "Have I gone completely insane?" Upon his return home, he decided to investigate the pace of life and the prospects for slowing down.
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By Daniel Schlosberg and Daniel Schlosberg,SPECIAL TO THE SUN | December 4, 2001
When Edward Polochick described Leon Fleisher, his onetime teacher, as "in my book, the greatest musician alive today," he wasn't being obsequious. Classical musicians in Baltimore adore Fleisher as baseball fans adore Cal Ripken, and Sunday's "Beethoven Spectacular," in celebration of the 15th anniversary of Polochick's Concert Artists of Baltimore ensemble, was a testament to Fleisher's legacy as pianist, teacher, musical philosopher and cultural force....
NEWS
By Phil Greenfield and Phil Greenfield,SPECIAL TO THE SUN | May 10, 2001
"The harmonic effects which our guitarists produce unconsciously represent one of the marvels of natural art," said Manuel de Falla, who, in the manner of seemingly all Spanish composers, had the sound of the guitar embedded in his soul. Falla, composer of the dashing ballet score "The Three-Cornered Hat," said this 80 years ago, but his words describe perfectly the artistry of American guitarist Christopher Parkening. Once a student of the legendary Andres Segovia, Parkening is known worldwide as one of the most expressive and probing guitarists.
SPORTS
By Gary Lambrecht and Gary Lambrecht,SUN STAFF | September 13, 2000
After postponing a move to add a 60-second shot clock to its game, the NCAA Men's Lacrosse Committee can expect pressure to eliminate the rule change in the coming months. The nine-person committee, which had voted in July to add a shot clock in the 2001 season, recently elected to delay the change until 2002. The committee decided that visible shot clocks must be present on the sideline, and discovered that not enough schools had available funds to purchase clocks - which cost about $3,000 - for the start of next season.
ENTERTAINMENT
By Stephen Wigler | November 21, 1999
There are more than 70 recordings of Beethoven's Fourth Concerto currently available. Make room at the top for Helene Grimaud's new account of the piece, recorded live with Kurt Masur conducting the New York Philharmonic (Teldec 3984-26869).I think this is the most exciting interpretation of the Fourth Concerto since the Vladimir Ashkenazy-Georg Solti collaboration with the Chicago Symphony -- and that was recorded almost 30 years ago!Without eschewing lyricism, Grimaud and Masur strive for drama, and they achieve it thrillingly.
FEATURES
By Stephen Wigler and Stephen Wigler,SUN MUSIC CRITIC | November 20, 1998
Last evening's performance of Schumann's Concerto in A Minor in Meyerhoff Hall by the Norwegian pianist Leif Ove Andsnes, the Baltimore Symphony and its former music director, David Zinman, was little less than miraculous.In too many performances, the Schumann concerto ends up sounding like the background music for a ladies-in-gloves church social. The fiery, crazy genius who wrote "Kreisleriana" and the slow movement of the Symphony No. 2 is left standing outside the door.Andsnes invited him in. His bold, rhapsodic performance reconciled the work's disparate masculine and feminine Romantic elements.
FEATURES
By Stephen Wigler and Stephen Wigler,Sun Music Critic | April 17, 1991
Why it is hard even for some professionals to enjoy the masterpieces of Schoenberg more than 50 years after they were written is difficult to answer. Last evening in the Baltimore Museum of Art the Cleveland String Quartet gave a performance of the composer's String Quartet No. 4 (1936) and it was hard to disagree with the assessment of Sam DiBonaventura, in an insightful program note, that this quartet was beautifully worked out and even romantic in its outlook.All one had to do was listen to the opening of the second movement with its intersecting melodies in the second violin and viola to understand that this was music that could only be played by -- indeed was conceived for -- the string quartet.
ENTERTAINMENT
By Valerie Finholm and Valerie Finholm,Hartford Courant | August 22, 2004
Carl Honore calls it his bedtime-story epiphany. Four years ago, while waiting in line at an airport to catch a flight home to London, the foreign correspondent was on his cell phone chatting with his editor while skimming a newspaper when an article caught his eye: "The One-Minute Bedtime Story." As the frazzled father of a 2-year-old, Honore's first thought was "Eureka!" The next thought was: "Have I gone completely insane?" Upon his return home, he decided to investigate the pace of life and the prospects for slowing down.
FEATURES
By Stephen Wigler and Stephen Wigler,SUN MUSIC CRITIC | October 30, 1998
Hans Graf concluded his second and final week guest conducting the Baltimore Symphony with yet another intriguingly presented program -- this time of the Mozarts, father and son; the Swedish composer Daniel Boertz; and Sibelius.The big surprise on the program was Boertz's Trumpet Concerto ("Songs and Dances"), in which the soloist was the Swedish virtuoso, Hakan Hardenberger.L Boertz, 55, is regarded as Sweden's most important composer.If this concerto is typical of his output -- and listeners I respect tell me that it is -- he is also one of Europe's most important composers.
FEATURES
By Stephen Wigler and Stephen Wigler,SUN MUSIC CRITIC | October 24, 1998
Sometimes a familiar piece surprises the listener with details that have never been noticed before. Such was the case last night in Meyerhoff Hall when Tamaki Kawakubo played the Sibelius Violin Concerto with the Baltimore Symphony and guest conductor Hans Graf.The California-born Kawakubo is only 17, and her youth made her individual approach to the concerto's first movement all the more remarkable. Even in an era when musicians appear to be playing ever more slowly, her tempos sounded unusually spacious.
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