Two local ensembles, Piffaro, the Renaissance Band, and the Chamber Orchestra of Philadelphia, rounded out their 2022-23 concert seasons with recent performances.
Two local ensembles, Piffaro, the Renaissance Band, and the Chamber Orchestra of Philadelphia, rounded out their 2022-23 concert seasons with recent performances. At the same time, both announced the details of their 2023-24 seasons of “live” local concerts.
Piffaro presented four performances of “Entre dos Alamos” (“Between the Two Poplars”). I caught the second, Saturday evening in the Presbyterian Church of Chestnut Hill, along with an enthusiastic audience that proffered hearty rounds of applause for the hard-working musicians. The Chamber Orchestra gave two concerts of “Barber and Beethoven.” I caught the first, Sunday afternoon, in the Kimmel Center’s Perelman Theater, where once again an energetic audience applauded the ensemble’s expert renditions of the Violin Concerto, Opus 14, of West Chester’s Samuel Barber, and Ludwig van Beethoven’s often overlooked Symphony No. 8 in F major, Opus 93.
Piffaro will present four sets of programs next season: “1623: The Year the Music Died,” Oct. 13-15; “Christmas in Southern Germany,” Dec. 8-10; “The French (Italian) Connection,” March 15-17, 2024; and “The Glory of the Wind Band: Music from Portugal and Spain,” May 10-12. The performance dates in the middle of the trio are the Saturday evening concerts that are given in the Presbyterian Church of Chestnut Hill.
The Chamber Orchestra of Philadelphia’s 2023-24 season of concerts in the Perelman Theater boasts seven pairs of programs that span the standard orchestral repertoire as well as offer new music written by contemporary composers.
The season opens Oct. 6 & 8 with Mendelssohn’s Violin Concerto in E minor and his “Italian” Symphony No. 4 in F major. Next on the roster is “Mozart & Saint-Georges” Nov. 3 & 5; Vivaldi’s “Gloria” Dec. 15 & 17; Jeffrey Brillhart leading Bach’s Orchestral Suites, Jan. 19 & 21, 2024; a program of Rameau, Leclair and Locatelli Feb. 16 & 18; “Shostakovich and Schoenberg” April 19 & 21; and finally, “Dinnerstein Plays Mozart” May 17 & 19.
The Chamber Orchestra will also present two programs in June. Old Christ Episcopal Church at 2nd & Market Streets in Old City will host “Summer Serenade” Thursday, June 8, at 7 p.m. The program will be repeated Saturday, June 10, at 7 p.m. in Stoneleigh Natural Garden. “Ben Franklin’s Fiddle” will be performed at Bartram’s Garden Thursday, June 22, at 7 p.m., and again at Stoneleigh Saturday, June 24, also at 7 p.m.
For more information about Piffaro’s 2023-24 season, call 215-235-8469 or visit piffaro.org; for more information about the 2023-24 season of the Chamber Orchestra of Philadelphia, call 215-545-1739 or visit chamberorchestra.org.
Piffaro invited nine vocalists/instrumentalists to join its four core members for “Entre dos Alamos.” Altogether, artistic director Priscilla Herreid, Grant Herreid, Greg Ingles and Erik Schmalz gave delightful readings to music based on folk songs and dances found throughout Spain’s Latin America Empire.
Tenor Jonatan Alvarado, accompanying himself on either guitar or vihuela, was a particular standout. His naturally high tessitura rang out with crystalline clarity, and his sense of phrasing was impeccable. He was able to draw out the final words and notes of telling lines in the text to dramatic effect.
In the midst of mostly Spanish-language words, Francisco Guerrero’s Latin-language “Beatus vir” and “Pange Lingua” were performed with solemn intensity and impassioned emotion.
With music director Dirk Brosse on the Chamber Orchestra’s podium, Sandy Cameron was the excellent soloist in Samuel Barber’s Violin Concerto. She caught its extravagant yet chaste late romanticism through playing of exemplary technical precision, timbral fireworks, and lyrical phrasing.
Following the intermission, Brosse led a convincing interpretation of Beethoven’s Symphony No. 8 in F major, Opus 93. Often lost between the scintillating Seventh Symphony and the towering Ninth, the Eighth is nonetheless an enduring masterpiece that, here, received a rendition worthy of its own particular delights.
Summer concerts at St. Martin’s
Chestnut Hill’s Episcopal Church of St. Martin-in-the-Fields will once again present a series of “Summer Concerts” Wednesdays at 5:30 p.m. Parish director of music and arts, Tyrone Whiting, announced a roster of four concerts between June 7 and 28.
The series opens June 7 with Primavera Chamber Music. Graduates from the Primavera Fund, who will perform music for piano, flute, violin and clarinet. The series continues June 14 with a concert featuring resident artists at the Academy of Vocal Arts, the nation’s only full-scholarship school for training professional singers. AVA recently presented an acclaimed production of Mozart’s “Don Giovanni.”
The series at St. Martin’s Church continues June 21 with the Oliver Mayman Trio and Lora Sherrodd proffering an evening of Jazz and selections from the “Great American Songbook.” The summer series concludes June 28 with the Fairmount String Quartet, artists-in-residence at St. Martin’s Church.
For more information visit StMartinEC.org.