Weekend roundup: Harry Potter! and other diversions

Editor’s note: This article was initially published in The Daily Gazette, Swarthmore’s online, daily newspaper founded in Fall 1996. As of Fall 2018, the DG has merged with The Phoenix. See the about page to read more about the DG.

If you are one of the many Swatties who calls him or herself a Harry Potter fan, you surely already know about the new movie. If not, one of your friends has probably told you. If you live at an alternate Swarthmore, this weekend the movie version of the fourth Harry Potter book, “The Goblet of Fire,” is released to the masses. Critics have generally liked it, saying that director Mike Newell has continued the darker, more dramatically fluid work of Alfonso Cuaron, who directed the third movie, after the critically dismissed work of Chris Columbus on the first two movies. Despite the revolving directors, all of the cast is back, and it’s bigger than ever. New additions include Katie Leung as Cho Chang, Brendan Gleeson as Mad Eye Moody, and Ralph Fiennes as He Who Shall Not Be Named himself. Pale shadow of the book or exciting realization? You decide.

If you need some culture instead, the Philadelphia Orchestra continues its Beethoven symphony cycle this weekend with what are arguably the two least popular symphonies: No. 2 and No. 4. Like No. 1, No. 2 shows Haydn’s influence but with the unmistakably emphatic stamp of Beethoven in its verve and persistence. Robert Schumann called No. 4 “a slender Greek maiden in between two Norse gods,” often overshadowed by the heroic No. 3 and electric No. 5. No. 4 is in its own way a perfect combination of the earlier symphonies’ grace and the later symphonies’ muscle. Also on the program is “Ben,” a world premiere by Daniel Kellogg. The title, of course, refers to that most important Philadelphia Ben- Ben Franklin, that is, and incorporates the glass harmonica he invented, and promises to be a not-very-serious yet brilliant journey, like its namesake.

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