Philadelphia classical music events, discussion, and directory
(photo: Jazz ensemble, Woodmere Art Museum web site)
The Woodmere Art Museum in Chestnut Hill presents a number of music programs in their main gallery and I was finally able to attend the final event in their "Classic Sundays" series which can include opera and chamber classical music. They occur on Sundays between 3pm - 4:30pm and include a reception with light refreshments. The next series starts in October, but there are still a few music events scheduled over the summer. Please check here for more details.
As you can see from the picture, some artwork can be viewed from your seat as you listen to the music and I found this to be a powerful combination. When Bella Hristova played the first note on her 1655 Nicolo Amati violin, the second benefit of the gallery was abundantly clear. Of course her fine instrument would sound good in many settings but the lively acoustics of the two story gallery allowed the sound to bounce around and envelope the audience. The sustain of the echo was long enough to enhance the sound but not so long as to make it muddy. Of course this type of acoustic can be very tricky, and it would not work well for vocals or larger ensembles, but the voice from a single violin was articulate and beautiful. The museum has worked with sound engineers to combat some of the issues for larger ensembles but those techniques were not necessary on Sunday.
Bella Hristova selected five exceedingly challenging works and performed them all from memory. Her lightning fast yet silky smooth runs were performed with precision. Hristova's passionate delivery of J.S. Bach's Ciaccona from Partita No. 2 in D Minor revealed layers of emotion in this unusually expressive piece. Her sensitive and controlled use of vibrato served to remind the listener that this work was, indeed, a baroque piece.
There was a nice reception after the concert and an opportunity to take a brief look at some of the other artwork in the museum.