Pianist Mitsuko Uchida could've been canonized or at least elected president if her audience on Thursday at the Kimmel Center held any sway, so cultivated, profound, and immediately communicative was her rendering of Schubert's Impromptus Op. 90. But after intermission in this Philadelphia Chamber Music Society concert, she headed down one of the most bewildering blind alleys in the piano literature, Schumann's Piano Sonata No. 1.
Les Canards Chantants, the Philadelphia area's newest early-music vocal ensemble, collaborates constantly - this time with instrumental group Acronym in a concert of unknown madrigals heard after 400 years of confounding obscurity.
Admirers of the seldom-heard 1913 Italo Montemezzi opera L'amore dei tre re (The Love of the Three Kings) are used to having to hunt for it, if only because it was so popular in the first half of the 20th century and fell off the map during the second half. But at the intermission during the Academy of Vocal Arts presentation of the opera Tuesday at the Kimmel Center's Perelman Theater, I was on a different search - for what I wasn't hearing.
Yannick Nézet-Séguin's fifth season as Philadelphia Orchestra music director might not immediately look that different from the previous four. In some ways, that's intentional. Nézet-Séguin has often talked about the advantage in creating a familylike circle of performers - such as Karen Cargill, who was memorably featured in this season's Messiah and who will be back in May 2017 for the Mahler
Even staunch Bruckner devotees are inevitably bewildered by the range of options presented by the Symphony No. 4. In the wake of the composer's endless rewrites, seven editions, some radically different, are available. But the lack of a consensus text may well be encouraging Yannick Nézet-Séguin's evolving approach to the piece, between his 2011 Montreal Orchestre Métropolitain recording and Thursday's Philadelphia Orchestra performance at the Kimmel Center.
Bass-baritone Eric Owens, one of Philadelphia's great performing arts success stories, sets such a high standard in opera you have to respect the kinds of recital risks heard on Sunday at the Kimmel Center. As risks will, they had varying degrees of success.
Eighth Blackbird has so decisively changed the new-music landscape that the least listeners can do is meet the group more than halfway at each Philadelphia reappearance. That attitude was needed at its Philadelphia Chamber Music Society concert on Friday at the Kimmel Center.
Individual charisma can be regarded suspiciously in chamber music, because the medium is so much about cooperation. Thus, the Orion Quartet concert Sunday with Philadelphia Orchestra oboist Richard Woodhams packed the Kimmel Center's Perelman Theater with promises that the excitement would arise from integrity rather than superficialities.
David Patrick Stearns is a classical music critic and columnist for the Philadelphia Inquirer.