Review: Philadelphia Orchestra’s organ-themed program with Paul Jacobs

Posted on: April 30, 2021

“The visceral thrill of being in the same room as Verizon Hall’s organ … doesn’t translate online … and yet, this week the [Philadelphia Orchestra’s] Digital Stage program emerges as one of the best evangelists so far for the cause of the king of instruments,” writes Peter Dobrin in Thursday’s (4/29) Philadelphia Inquirer. “The way Paul Jacobs differentiated colors to suit the changing character of Poulenc’s Organ Concerto comes across clearly enough…. And … you do get a view of the proceedings that is impossible ordinarily…. You see Jacobs’ finger work at the console’s keyboards and his feet moving across the pedals…. Michael-Thomas Foumai’s Concerto Grosso from 2015 … about five-and-a-half minutes long … makes a big impression. Racing and Stravinsky-kissed, the piece’s quick twists and turns give it a movie-score quality…. The influences are many and varied in Louise Farrenc’s Symphony No. 2…. The piece announces itself with an opening of Haydn-esque clarity.… And yet, unmistakable classicist though she may be, here is an original voice. That poignant oboe melody in the slow introduction, her imaginative empowering of winds, the surprising harmonic progressions of the inner two movements—these are the signatures of a composer from whom we’d like to hear more.”