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Tag: Benaroya Hall Seattle

March
13th

Charlie Chaplin takes the Northwest Sinfonietta to “The Gold Rush” in Seattle, Tacoma and Puyallup this weekend

Charlie Chaplin eating boots in "The Gold Rush." Courtesy image.
Charlie Chaplin eating boots in “The Gold Rush.” Courtesy image.

The Northwest Sinfonietta, whose usual domain is the classical chamber orchestra repertoire, had a brief flirtation with Charlie Chaplin four years ago, playing the score live to his silent films “A Dog’s Life” and “Shoulder Arms.” The affair was a success on all sides, and this weekend the ensemble is giving the silent movie maestro another chance to lead them into silliness and mayhem, playing live to a screening of Chaplin’s famous “The Gold Rush” in Seattle, Tacoma and Puyallup.

But they’re choosing different venues to do it. For Seattle they’ll stick with Benaroya Hall, but to give the film (and the audience) full capacity they’ll be playing in two historic theaters: Tacoma’s Temple and Puyallup’s Liberty, each built in exactly the same era as the Chaplin film.

By 1925, just one year before the Temple was built, Chaplin had seen great success with “Shoulder Arms” and “The Kid,” as well as dozens of short films. By then, too, the Klondike gold rush was turning from recent memory to romantic history. Chaplin was inspired by books, as well as a stereoscope card collection belonging to Douglas Fairbanks. Moving from elaborate on-location shooting at the Chilkoot Pass, with some 600 extras, to just-as-elaborate studio sets made of wood, burlap, chicken wire, plaster, salt and flour, Chaplin created his story of a Lone Prospector (Chaplin’s famous tramp character) who washes up in the Yukon and has every adventure from dance hall brawls to having to eat boots for sustenance, plus the famous scene of a fight in a cabin teetering on a precipice. Read more »

Feb.
14th

Northwest Sinfonietta gives U.S. premiere of a newly-discovered strings-only accompaniment for Beethoven’s fourth piano concerto, with Andreas Klein as soloist in Seattle, Tacoma and Puyallup

Pianist Andreas Klein will play solo with the Northwest Sinfonietta this weekend. Courtesy photo.
Pianist Andreas Klein will play solo with the Northwest Sinfonietta this weekend. Courtesy photo.

It’s not your usual Beethoven concerto, but then the Northwest Sinfonietta prides itself on doing new twists on standards. This weekend the Tacoma-based chamber orchestra gives the U.S. premiere of a strings-only version of the composer’s fourth piano concerto with German soloist Andreas Klein.

Found recently in Bonn, Germany and passed onto Klein, the reduced orchestral accompaniment by Beethoven editor Hans-Werner Küthen might be new to U.S. audiences but would have been second nature for 19th-century music lovers. In the era before music recordings, orchestras in every town and oodles of conservatory-trained musicians, if you wanted to hear a classic you sometimes had to play it yourself with whatever instruments were to hand. Piano reductions of Mozart operas, trio versions of symphonies – this was common stuff.

Arranging for different instruments also solves a very contemporary problem – money. For the Sinfonietta and everyone else, it’s much cheaper to play a Beethoven concert with around 20 string players than it is to pay seven extra woodwinds, four brass players and a timpanist as well. Read more »

Oct.
8th

Joyful, uniting music at Northwest Sinfonietta’s historic “Cuban” concert in Rialto Theater, Tacoma


Jesús Carnero de la Teja conducts the Northwest Sinfonietta in the Cuban national anthem in the Rialto Theater Saturday night. Photo: Rosemary Ponnekanti

It was a moment few could have predicted back in 1959 (or even more recently than Cuba’s revolution) – 800 Americans standing in honor while a Cuban conductor led American musicians through the Cuban national anthem, both countries’ flags flanking the stage. But that’s exactly what happened Saturday night at Tacoma’s Rialto Theater, and Friday night in Seattle’s Benaroya Hall, and yesterday at Pioneer Park Pavilion, Puyallup, with all three venues seeing packed, enthusiastic houses for a first-ever concert of Cubans playing side by side with Americans in this country. The orchestra was, of course, the Northwest Sinfonietta, whose January Cuba tour sparked off the whole exchange, and who played with most of their usual panache and skill in a program of Beethoven and Lecuona.

In Tacoma, the music came after an official proclamation of “Northwest Sinfonietta Day” by Mayor Marilyn Strickland, and a welcome. Strickland conducted her way through the U.S. national anthem without mishap, and then Cuban violist Jesús Carnero de la Teja took the baton for the Cuban anthem. After three dances by Ernesto Lecuona, the “Cuban Gershwin,” which showed both Lecuona’s flair for ineffable orchestration and a sultry, dramatic flair from the musicians, Carnero again took the podium from director Christophe Chagnard to lead “Danzon Ragon” by Cuban pianist Andrés Alen. Under Carnero’s deft leadership, which also included some suave dancing and inviting the audience to clap along, the bossa nova featured a strong percussion section and smooth brass solos. The Cuban string players also got to lead their respective sections, which was a nice gesture.

And then hot Havana humidity gave way to Germanic Sturm-und-Drang, as Beethoven’s Symphony no. 9 began. Read more »

April
25th

Cellist David Requiro plays with Northwest Sinfonietta in classical program at Seattle’s Benaroya Hall, Tacoma’s Rialto Theater and Puyallup’s Pioneer Pavilion


Cellist David Requiro, soloist with the Northwest Sinfonietta. Courtesy photo.

When you think classical, you might think Mozart, Haydn, even Beethoven. But this weekend the Northwest Sinfonietta want you to think Prokofiev and Mendelssohn. For their concerts in Seattle, Tacoma and Puyallup the Tacoma-based chamber orchestra is playing a program that goes from the early 19th to the early 20th centuries – way later than the standard classical time-period – but includes two composers that took inspiration from the late 18th century, plus a cello concerto with stunning local soloist David Requiro.

Sergei Prokofiev opens the program, the Soviet-era composer who reinvented classical form and balance with modern harmonies and dissonances. His Symphony no. 1 is called “The Classical” for a good reason: a tribute to Haydn, it dances through 18th-century styles like the gavotte and sonata form with precision and grace, without any of the heavy depression of his later works. Read more »