Celebrate 10 years of music-making between Yannick and the Philadelphians. André Watts soloed at Yannick's Philadelphia Orchestra debut in 2008; he celebrates the 10th anniversary with Grieg's stirring Piano Concerto. With the Metropolitan Opera giving the U.S. premiere of Nico Muhly's sensational opera Marnie, based on Winston Graham's book and Alfred Hitchcock's film, we present the world premiere of the companion orchestral suite (a Philadelphia Orchestra commission).
In this second program, we witness The Creation of the World, courtesy of Frenchman Darius Milhaud, who was energized by the jazz he heard on a visit to Harlem. Francis Poulenc's Organ Concerto is a dazzling showpiece for the marvelous Fred. J. Cooper Memorial Organ. The Rite of Spring—first brought to America by Leopold Stokowski and the Philadelphians— remains a primal, shattering musical masterpiece. Albert Barnes once wrote about the strong link he saw between the works of Henri Matisse and Stravinsky's compositions. This program reveals the intellectual and artistic zeal Barnes and Stokowski shared, which resonates to this day.
Acclaimed French conductor Emmanuelle Haïm makes her Philadelphia Orchestra debut, presenting two of the leading lights of English Baroque music. Handel's Music for the Royal Fireworks has been lighting up the sky (in concert halls!) since 1749. In his cantata Il delirio amoroso (The Delirium of Love), soprano Erin Morley brings the “silken clarity … and the needlepoint precision of her coloratura” (The New York Times) to this Orpheus-like tale based on classical mythology.
A piano prodigy returns! Jan Lisiecki may be young, but he's already a seasoned master at the keyboard (and a regular with the Orchestra—he made his debut at age 18). He'll shine in Mendelssohn's innovative Piano Concerto No. 1. Yannick also brings us Haydn's stirring Overture to the opera L'isola disabitata, part of his focus on that composer's music, as well as Schubert's Symphony in C major, his final completed symphony, and absolutely deserving of its less formal title: the “Great.”
Yannick continues his deeply felt exploration of Gustav Mahler's symphonies with the Ninth, the last of the great symphonies he was able to complete before his death in 1911. Critics, musicians, and music lovers have struggled to convey the enormous scope of this piece; the great conductor of the Berlin Philharmonic Herbert von Karajan described the Ninth as “music coming from another world … from eternity.” Musically ingenious and emotionally intense—Is it about the wonder of life?
The Rachmaninoff Symphony No. 1 gets a well-deserved encore. Richard Woodhams, principal oboe from 1977 until his upcoming retirement at the end of the 2017-18 season, returns for this encore collaboration with his principal colleagues in this charming work for a quartet of winds and orchestra.