Coming up in Philly music: Tunes for the ages, words for today

The Orion Quartet stops at PCMS for a Haydn masterpiece on October 11. (Photo courtesy of PCMS.)

The Philadelphia Chamber Music Society partners with the Orion Quartet to open its season with one of the most emotionally profound works in the repertoire: Haydn’s The Seven Last Words of Our Savior on the Cross, in its string-quartet version. PCMS presented the piece last season and it was such a hit they decided to make it their opening statement. When it was first performed, it was part of a church service in which the priest read one of the seven Biblical texts before each section. For this performance, the speaker will be a musician noted for his humanistic scholarship, pianist Robert Levin, reading texts he has chosen from a number of sources.

PCMS is the largest presenter of chamber music in the United States outside of New York. This season it will present 55 programs, featuring visiting international stars like pianist Mitsuko Fuchida and prominent Philadelphians like violist Roberto Diaz. The other PCMS programs scheduled for October include a wildly varied program with music for guitar, bassoon, and strings, headlined by Philadelphia Orchestra bassoonist Daniel Matsukawa (October 17); the Dover Quartet with a guest appearance by the Orchestra’s renowned oboist, Richard Woodhams (October 20); and the Schumann Quartet in a program climaxing with Shostakovich’s rousing quintet for piano and strings (October 31).

The Philadelphia Chamber Music Society will present the Orion Quartet on October 11 at 8pm at the Perelman Theater, Kimmel Center for the Performing Arts, Broad and Spruce Streets, Philadelphia. Tickets are $30 and they’re available online and at the door.