Concert Review: Orlando Philharmonic Orchestra With Jon Kimura Parker

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But those standing-room-only crowds are no surprise. For more than 25 years, the City of Angels has been one of the groups biggest markets. This year marks the 25th anniversary of Depeche Modes groundbreaking, near sell-out concert at the Rose Bowl in Pasadena. On Saturday, Depeche Mode (vocalist Dave Gahan, guitarist-keyboardist Martin Gore and keyboardist Andy Fletcher and a supporting drummer and keyboardist) were in top form. Gahan wearing black pants and a black vest that exposed his chest and arms was half rock god, half seducer, strutting around the stage, shaking his hips and rump with equal gusto. Gore, who normally is subdued behind the guitar or keyboard, also prowled the stage and smiled at the audience. In dark glasses, was Fletcher, standing in the back tickling the keyboard. The massive, stripped down, two-tier stage was dominated by a large video screen backdrop illuminating trippy and stylish images. The 19-song set opened with two Delta Machine tracks: Welcome to My World and Angel. It then shifted to hits mode with a string of audience favorites Walking in My Shoes, Precious, Black Celebration, Policy of Truth and Barrel of a Gun that kept people on their feet, dancing and singing along. The shows energy and audience enthusiasm dropped a bit when Gore sang the ballads The Child Inside and But Not Tonight, but longtime fans know its standard for Gore to showcase his powerhouse vocals before the group really turns it up. It started off slow with Soothe My Soul, which has a Personal Jesus vibe, but never hits the expectation, and A Pain That Im Used To, from 2005s Playing the Angel. Then the band mixed things up with this track by playing the Jacques Lu Conts Remix version. These songs were fine and all, but you have to wonder if classics like Behind the Wheel or World in My Eyes would have satisfied the audiences thirst.

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She might well have come in on a white steed. Orchestral recording has suffered from the collapse of the music industry. NACO first clarinet Kimball Sykes explains, Its more normal not to be recording than to be recording these days. It may be a nice time to be shopping for classical music: For the first time since the invention of the gramophone, there are retailers who carry every recording on the market, as Andy Doe, former head of classical at iTunes put it. But orchestral recording is so expensive that new recording fell off a cliff along with the record labels. Phillips Classics used to record a hundred discs a year and all of a sudden was recording 30, recalls producer and McGill professor Martha de Francisco. Phillips was later swallowed by a merger, while others stopped subsidizing prestige divisions that had once produced recordings through a system that paid conductors, soloists and orchestra musicians for studio sessions. Today, orchestral studio sessions are limited to a few hours of patching after a concert to produce excerpts for correcting the live recording, and performers welcome audiences by commanding them not to cough. Contracts are changing to reflect live recording and digital distribution. Unions have developed lower recording rates with the participation of musicians, so it is possible to get the product out, explains Francine Schutzman, president of the Musicians Association of Ottawa-Gatineau. For now, its still cheaper to record in Europe, and thats why a lot of American and Canadian orchestras are losing out, says Hewitt. Musicians face pressure to release live concerts without guarantees of additional payment, though, as long as most revenues from these arrangements return to orchestras, this may be fair. It seems easier when the orchestra is working for itself. The Berlin Philharmonics Digital Concert Hall, a commercial subsidiary, charges subscribers $10 or so a month for opulently produced video concerts.

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Indeed, the Orlando Philharmonic Orchestra set its sights high to open its 21st season Saturday night. The Phil’s musicians were joined by a big-name guest, pianist Jon Kimura Parker, who also opened the orchestra’s 2004-05 season. The Phil’s selections, including Strauss’ epic “Ein Heldenleben,” were delivered with fiery spirit, but it was the collaboration with Parker that sent the biggest shivers of delight down my spine. Parker was featured soloist for Mozart’s Piano Concerto No. 20, a moody work in D minor. Throughout the three movements, the melody is handed back and forth between orchestra and pianist. This was handled effortlessly and wonderfully by the musicians, conducted by Christopher Wilkins, who’s starting his last season as the Philharmonic’s artistic director. Parker is a strong technician, but showed equal devotion to the musicality found in the many runs up and down the keyboard. Although the soloist, Parker never amped up his volume as if he were showboating. Instead, he carefully matched the sound level of the orchestra musicians not easy to do when it’s one against so many. The result? An exquisitely balanced piece that burst from delicious melancholy to delightful joy.

Pianist Jon Kimura Parker performed Saturday with the Orlando Philharmonic Orchestra.

Messengers have recognized talents in the arts, academia and sports and help bring attention to U.N. work. The Global Citizen Festival coincides with the U.N. General Assembly. Fans earned free tickets for helping spread the word or volunteering to help end world poverty. World leaders who attended included Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon and Liberian President Ellen Johnson Sirleaf. “There is so much energy here tonight. We can power the world,” Ban told the crowd. Will.i.am and Olivia Wilde were among the celebrity attendees. Wonder ended the five-hour event, electrifying the crowd during his hour-long performance. He even teased concertgoers before singing “Signed, Sealed, Delivered I’m Yours.” “That’s it!” he yelled, then added: “Y’all wanna jam some more?” John Mayer also performed Saturday and was a favorite with his solo work on the guitar. He was full of power when he performed “Slow Dancing In a Burning Room” and “Gravity.” “It’s so nice to be here,” he said. Other performers included Kings of Leon and Alicia Keys, whose set included “No One” and “Empire State of Mind.” “I believe if we don’t care about each other, who will?” the singer said. “Help me celebrate tonight so we never forget.” Wonder also had a touching moment when he sang John Lennon’s “Imagine” and encouraged the audience to lobby for more gun laws. “Can you believe blind people have guns?” he said.