Notes from Philly weblog

Starry night at Kimmel: Angela Brown in big hall, Takacs in small

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If you were you at the Kimmel Thursday night, you were in luck, Verizon had the splendid soprano Angela Brown performing with the Philadelphia Orchestra; in the Perelman: thanks to the Chamber Music Society, the incomparable Takacs Quartet (playing besides Robert Schumann and Beethoven, a new work by James MacMillan).
Brown was giving the first performance here of Richard Danielpour’s new song cycle,file0413 A Woman’s Life. It’s written especially for Brown to seven poems from a cycle by Maya Angelou. The soprano looked even more spectacular than she did at the Mann this summer, and again she was in wonderful voice. The acting was engaging as Brown portrayed a very young girl moving into older age. Danielpour’s settings were attractive, the simplest, the best. For instance solo celesta and keyed percussion which brought a sense of stillness in the song “My Life has turned to Blue.” The poems are not profound, more entertaining than deep. Danielpour’s work is expertly crafted and always suave; Brown’s gifts lend splendor. The first song opens in her lowest range, it would be nice to hear more of this. The high notes were sometimes pushed but the tone is there colors are remarkable. The song, “Let’s Majeste” one of the better interpretations. The song, “They Went Home,” has a Coplandnesque setting that works. Come. And Be My Baby. a snappy operatic flavor that is annoying.

Milanov opened with dashing Overture from Barber’s School for Scandal well polished by Richard Woodhams’ oboe. Skipping Rachmaninoff Third Symphony, I was able to hear the Takacs play Beethoven’s Opus 59, No. 2 in E Minor.This Razumovsky is a ferocious world. But for the Molto Adagio, a sonata form all by itself, a quiet wonder. Patterns. Theme and structure. violins and cello listening to each other, rising, rocking, ever softer. Only Beethoven knew to make the complex sound so simple and so true.

How lucky there is often chamber music or orchestra at the Kimmel on Thursday nights.


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