Weekend roundup: Orchestra and more movies

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.

Don’t have any classes this afternoon? Kick off the weekend early with a Philadelphia Orchestra matinŽe at 2:00 at the Kimmel Center. The program is eclectic- Mozart’s sparking Symphony No. 35 (“Haffner”), Strauss’s “Burleske” for piano and orchestra (featuring pianist Jean-Yves Thibaudet), Debussy’s “Images,” and Ravel’s “La Valse.” The Mozart seems an obligatory pick due to the great master’s 250th birthday- it’s today- but was a delight at the Wednesday concert, played with a light sound and at an appealingly fleet tempo (though the first violins played some very sloppy grace notes in the second movement). Thibaudet could set records for the number of notes per second in the Strauss, and it was an interesting piece- part Liszt, part Brahms and a dash of Mozart put into a scherzo form whose many cadenza-like episodes which almost reminded one of “Rhapsody in Blue.” (Only structurally!) The Debussy and Ravel were excellent showcases for the still-lush Philadelphia Sound, here showing a wonderful variety of colors and shadings. The perennially cranky-looking Charles Dutoit conducted somewhat vaguely, but seemed to get results.

It’s a bit eclectic at movie theaters, too, where January dreck (it’s traditionally the month when studios dump their poorest fare) mixes with December leftover Oscar-hopefuls. An example of the latter is Michael Haneke’s “CachŽ,” which opens at the Ritz in Philadelphia this weekend. Starring Juliette Binoche and Daniel Auteuil, it’s a drama about a wealthy couple tormented by a stalker. The New York Times said it has a “creepy, insinuating power.” If you’re scared of subtitles or don’t speak French, try “Annapolis,” a tale of duty set at (wait for it!) the Naval Academy. We won’t cite a review, because we know that it doesn’t matter. The terms “jingoistic” and “gung-ho” are apt to be used frequently, though. Have a great weekend!

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