Tom Purdom – Broad Street Review April 30, 2014 Before God I assert that those who consume the coal and you and I who benefit from that service because we live in comfort, we owe protection to those men and we owe the security to their families if they die. That statement by John L. Lewis, […]

DAVID PATRICK STEARNS, INQUIRER CLASSICAL MUSIC CRITIC POSTED: Tuesday, April 29, 2014, 1:08 AM Any great piece of music should be an enveloping alternative universe. And the Mendelssohn Club of Philadelphia went to grand lengths to make sure that happened at the Saturday premiere of Julia Wolfe’s Anthracite Fields, a major piece that doesn’t require the elaborate production […]

By David Patrick Stearns, Inquirer Music Critic POSTED: April 20, 2014 LANSFORD, Pa. – “Don’t leave me! Don’t leave me!” So says the ghostly voice, heard clearly and periodically in the No. 9 Coal Mine here, apparently from the spirit of a miner who didn’t get out alive. Whether buried or asphyxiated, the names of […]

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 […]

The Mendelssohn Club Choir is mounting its biggest-ever production later this month with the premiere of Anthracite Fields by the cutting-edge composer Julia Wolfe, who is exploring the coal-mining culture in her Pennsylvania roots. The Philadelphia Inquirer’s David Patrick Stearns met with her…inside a coal mine. The world-premiere performances of Anthracite Fields: Saturday, April 26th and Sunday, April 27th at the […]

Wolfe’s Newest Work Inspired by the Hard Realities, Heated Labor History and Rich Folklore of the Ethnic Mining Communities of Northeastern Pennsylvania (PHILADELPHIA)  For two days in late April, Mendelssohn Club of Philadelphia will combine voice, music, movement and lighting to transport audiences deep down into the coal mines of northeastern Pennsylvania and into the hearts and […]

By David Patrick Stearns, Inquirer Music Critic, POSTED: March 28, 2014 ‘What have the outsiders brought with them?” asks a severe town elder in Lars von Trier’s 1996 film Breaking the Waves. Reply: “Their music!” In Philadelphia, you could have answered that question the same way for years, with new composers visiting, living, and working […]

by Tom Purdom – Broad Street Review February 27, 2014 My February meanderings exposed me to two 21st-century pieces that deserve some attention: Arvo Pärt’s 2010 Adam’s Lament, performed by the Mendelssohn Club, and a new harp concerto by French composer Michel Legrand, premiered by the Chamber Orchestra of Philadelphia with the composer’s wife, Catherine […]

By David Patrick Stearns, Inquirer Music Critic POSTED: February 26, 2014 The maverick mystic Arvo Pärt occupies an increasingly unassailable but strangely hermetic place in the classical music world. Though the relative simplicity of Pärt’s Salve Regina and Adam’s Lament might seem to go with anything, the Mendelssohn Club basically gave two different concerts Sunday […]