A coal field cantata: one of the Philly music season’s premier events

Broad Street Review – April 07, 2014 – Tom Purdom

The Mendelssohn Club has presented several memorable premieres since Alan Harler became its music director 25 years ago. The premiere of its latest commission, Anthracite Fields, could be one of the major events of the Philadelphia music season. The subject is the coal fields of Pennsylvania, with text and music inspired by composer Julia Wolfe’s personal research and interviews with coal mining families. Wolfe was the runner-up for the Pulitzer Prize in 2010, and her work includes pieces premiered by the Kronos Quartet, the Munich Chamber Orchestra, and the Orchestre National de France. She is known for melding folk, popular, and classical styles. Anthracite Fields is billed as a “folk-classical hybrid,” with the Mendelssohn Club chorus supported by the Bang on a Can All-Stars.

The Mendelssohn Club of Philadelphia presents Anthracite Fields at the Philadelphia Episcopal Cathedral on 38th Street between Chestnut and Market Streets. Performances will be on Saturday, April 26 and Sunday, April 27 at 4pm and 7:30pm both days. For tickets and concert information, visit www.anthracitefields.com.

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