Saturday, December 27, 2014

Elektra grows Philadelphia Orchestra to 117 - plus singers

Orchestra groupies might have noticed a few interesting changes in the composition of the Philadelphia Orchestra for Thursday night's Elektra in Verizon Hall. In addition to the Wagner tubas, the orchestra was joined by a special guest playing assistant principal horn: Julie Landsman, principal horn of the Metropolitan Opera orchestra from 1985-2010. Landsman was helping out her former student, principal hornist Jennifer Montone, on the heavy-duty part.

Elektra grows Philadelphia Orchestra to 117 - plus singers

Orchestra groupies might have noticed a few interesting changes in the composition of the Philadelphia Orchestra for Thursday night's Elektra in Verizon Hall. In addition to the Wagner tubas, the orchestra was joined by a special guest playing assistant principal horn: Julie Landsman, principal horn of the Metropolitan Opera orchestra from 1985-2010. Landsman was helping out her former student, principal hornist Jennifer Montone, on the heavy-duty part.

Strauss' score calls for heckelphone, a four-foot oboe. Jonathan Blumenfeld handled the part on bass oboe. Both instruments are pitched an octave below the regular oboe.

Also, if you think you saw violists playing violin, you're right. Six violists switched to violin in the piece.

A total of 117 instrumentalists were on stage, an orchestra spokeswoman said. Not Mahler Symphony No. 8, but impressive nonetheless.

The orchestra has never done Elektra before (except for an excerpt, in 1956). So Saturday's repeat may be your last chance locally for a while.

Peter Dobrin Inquirer Classical Music Critic
About this blog

Peter Dobrin is a classical music critic and culture writer for The Inquirer. Since 1989, he has written music reviews, features, news and commentary for the paper, covering such topics as the Philadelphia Museum of Art at the Venice Biennale, expansion of the Curtis Institute of Music, the Philadelphia Orchestra's bankruptcy declaration in 2011, Philadelphia's evolving performing arts center and the general health of arts and culture.

Dobrin was a French horn player. He earned an undergraduate degree in performance from the University of Miami, and received a master's degree in music criticism from the Peabody Institute of the Johns Hopkins University, where he studied with Elliott Galkin. He has no time to practice today.

Reach Peter at pdobrin@phillynews.com.

Peter Dobrin Inquirer Classical Music Critic
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