In a capstone to our Leonard Bernstein centenary celebration, we present his quirky, complex, irreverent, and very humorous operetta Candide, with orchestral staging.
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Rachmaninoff's Piano Concerto No. 2 marked the composer's triumphant recovery from the disastrous premiere of his First Symphony. While some elements are familiar thanks to movie soundtracks and pop songs, the Concerto as a whole is a testament to Rachmaninoff's brilliance as a composer and pianist. Haochen Zhang is a worthy interpreter of this masterwork: Not yet 30, he's renowned for dazzling technique and thoughtful interpretation. Strauss's Alpine Symphony was inspired by a trek up a mountain, from pre-dawn darkness to deepening nightfall.
Max Bruch may have struggled to write it, but Concertmaster David Kim calls this violin concerto “the perfect combination of beautiful melodies and themes, virtuosic yet accessible.” Brahms's Second Symphony, possibly his most popular, is said to be his personal favorite as well. Its pastoral aura surely accounts for some of its appeal; but Brahms being Brahms, there is tension and drama as well, building to an extraordinary, triumphant finale. Conductor Nathalie Stutzmann returns to demonstrate her superb chemistry with The Philadelphia Orchestra.
Beethoven's only violin concerto is “an amazing trip,” says Gil Shaham, from the opening drumbeats, through some of “the most sublime, most beautiful violin passages ever,” to the “perfect fiddling” of the final dance. Susanna Mälkki, renowned interpreter of new music, leads Betsy Jolas's A Little Summer Suite, written in 2015 on the eve of the composer's 90th birthday.
Beethoven composed “the most positive music ever written,” with every work containing “every emotion known to man,” says Emanuel Ax, who completes our piano concerto cycle. Beethoven made his public debut with his Second Concerto, a dramatic, humorous, ebullient work that announced the young artist's arrival.
After a compelling debut in 2018, the young conductor Mirga Gražinyte-Tyla returns to the podium with De Profundis, written by her Lithuanian countrywoman Raminta Šerkšnyte. This surging, brooding work exploits the richness and color of the Orchestra's strings to the fullest. Principal Flute Jeffrey Khaner is especially pleased to be performing the Nielsen Concerto. “I love the back and forth in the orchestration; it's a lot of fun to play and listen to!” Tchaikovsky's Fourth Symphony was written at a time of intense personal turmoil.
The reviews were rapturous for Yannick's “blazing and urgent, yet richly nuanced account of Strauss's still-shocking score” (The New York Times) when he led Elektra at the Metropolitan Opera in 2018. He reprises the triumph with these symphonically staged performances starring The Philadelphia Orchestra and a cast of vocal powerhouses. Christine Goerke sings the title role, a tormented daughter obsessed with avenging the death of her father, Agamemnon. Mikhail Petrenko portrays the brother she hopes will kill the murderous culprits: their mother and her lover.
Cellist Richard Harlow and Assistant Principal Cello Yumi Kendall under the Market-Frankford El in Fishtown. Photo by Jared Polin.