“In the more populist realm of the Mann Center for the Performing Arts, the Philadelphia Orchestra got back to its core purpose—playing an all-Beethoven concert,” writes David Patrick Stearns in Monday’s (7/27) Philadelphia Inquirer. “Great music from another century not only sells, it excites, and not just the listeners who know it well. Among the 3,000 or so people at the semi-outdoor Mann Center, much between-movement clapping was heard—annoying to some but heartening to me: It meant many listeners weren’t used to live Beethoven…. Conductor-in-residence Cristian Macelaru [leading] the Leonore Overture No. 3 got a first-class performance…. Particular attention was given to the offstage brass, which didn’t just announce the arrival of the good guys in the plot but also took on startling gravity.… Beethoven’s Piano Concerto No. 2 featured Curtis Institute student Janice Carissa in a performance that did all the right things with Mozartean grace (this is early Beethoven), nicely rounded phrases and references to the Bach-influenced counterpoint beneath…. [In] Beethoven’s Symphony No. 5 … the final movement had Macelaru’s touch with all of the fine shading of an excellent Beethoven performance, as each phrase built on what came before. The audience showed every sign of loving it.”

Posted July 27, 2015