Nomadic Rhapsodies, the Daedalus Quartet, and Bach

BSR Classical Interludes, January 2024

3 minute read
Kraines in a suit plays the cello, looking left away from camera, on a body of what looks like a tall sculpture made of rock
Thomas Kraines of Daedalus Quartet performs in ‘Bartok’s Monster.’ (Photo courtesy of Penn Live Arts.)

After a quieter post-holiday time, the classical music scene is again heating up. To counteract the cold or slushy or snowy or whatever January weather, this month offers some treats, especially on the very busy upcoming weekend. There’s music “from home to Rome,” four J.S. Bach delights, compositions inspired by the Ottoman Turks and Romani, and an intriguing mixed-media musical mash-up.

Delaware Symphony Orchestra: From Home to Rome
Friday, January 19, 7:30pm
The Grand, 818 North Market Street, Wilmington

Continuing its season of guest conductors, the Delaware Symphony Orchestra this month is under the baton of Curtis alum André Raphel with violin virtuoso Jennifer Frautschi featured in Beethoven’s Violin Concerto. Let’s hope that Frautschi will play (as she often does) the Antonio Stradivarius instrument from 1722, titled the “ex-Cadiz.” This concert’s “from home” section showcases the Symphony in One Movement, an innovative condensation of the form by West Chester native Samuel Barber (also a Curtis alum). The evening includes Verdi’s overture to La Forza del destino and concludes with Ottorino Respighi’s Pines of Rome, a majestic portrait of the Eternal City and always an audience favorite.

Chamber Orchestra of Philadelphia: Bach’s Orchestral Suites
Friday, January 19, 7:30pm
Sunday, January 21, 2:30pm
Perelman Theater, Kimmel Cultural Campus, 300 South Broad Street, Philadelphia

Conducting from the harpsichord, keyboard artist Jeffrey Brillhart leads this redoubtable Philadelphia group in J.S. Bach’s orchestral suites, four of them all in a row: No. 1 in C major, No. 2 in B minor, No. 3 in D major, and No. 4 in D major. Organists have always delighted in Bach’s music, but when Mendelssohn led a mid-19th century revival, Bach’s orchestral works became more widely known. Each of the suites in this concert was written for the composer himself at the keyboard and played for peers, friends, and family at Leipzig’s Collegium Musicum.

The Franklin Quartet: Nomadic Rhapsodies
Sunday, January 21, 3pm
Church of the Good Shepherd, 1116 West Lancaster Avenue, Bryn Mawr

This series always offers interesting musical perspectives, and this latest concert explores how the composers Franz Joseph Haydn and his friend Carl Ditters von Dittersdorf were influenced and inspired by the culture of the Ottoman Turks and Romani. Relative to the rest of Europe, these populations were geographically nearby but remote in custom, and here the two composers explore musical concepts of the “exotic” or “otherness.” Their string quartets will be interspersed with traditional Hungarian and Armenian folk tunes, all played by violinists Karen Dekker and Marika Holmqvist, violist Daniel Elyar, and cellist Rebecca Humphrey.

Penn Live Arts: Bartok’s Monster
Sunday, January 21, 2pm
Harold Prince Theater, Annenberg Center, 3680 Walnut Street, Philadelphia

The Daedalus Quartet (in residence at the University of Pennsylvania) returns to Penn Live Arts in Bartok’s Monster, a collaboration with Dan Rothenberg of Pig Iron Theatre Company and Sebastienne Mundheim of White Box Theatre. This unusual offering (a “musical investigation” that billed as a concert-performance-installation) was inspired by Penn English professor Jay Kirk’s book Avoid the Day and features Hungarian composer Bela Bartok’s String Quartet No. 3. This Sunday afternoon performance was added after the original evening performance quickly sold out.

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