Michael Tilson Thomas returns to conduct Tchaikovsy’s “Pathétique” Symphony.
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Principal Guest Conductor Stéphane Denève leads two weeks of concerts inspired by the glorious art of the Barnes Foundation. Albert Barnes and Leopold Stokowski were both importing the best of European culture into Philadelphia in the 1930s, with a shared desire to make that culture accessible to the public. They debated art and music in a series of letters; Stokowski even spoke at the dedication of the original Barnes Foundation building in Merion.
Yannick teams up with mezzo-soprano Joyce DiDonato, one of the biggest vocal talents in the world, a rare combination of exceptional skills and winning personality. She'll shine in Chausson's musical poem about love, death, and the sea. The Philadelphians take center stage in Wagner's Prelude to Act I of Lohengrin and Respighi's Fountains of Rome. And we are eager to welcome back American composer Mason Bates after the resounding success of his fascinating and futuristic Alternative Energy in 2017.
Bramwell Tovey brings his delightful spirit to this charming program that's just right for kids of all ages. Britten's Young Person's Guide is surely the most enjoyable music-appreciation class ever, especially under Tovey's enchanted baton (he also delivers the captivating narration). Once an annual staple on network television, Amahl tells the story of Christmas through a shepherd boy's encounter with the Magi, as they journey to meet a miraculous newborn child. You'll never forget this mystical encounter with the three Night Visitors.
A Czech composer's take on a Russian-Ukrainian novelist's (Gogol) tale of a Cossack hero—Janácek's tone poem Taras Bulba is gorgeous music! And so, of course, is Weber's Clarinet Concerto No. 2, thrillingly realized by our brilliant Principal Clarinet Ricardo Morales. Brahms's penultimate symphony shows the master composer at the peak of his musical powers, a fitting conclusion to this dynamic program, led by Andrés Orozco-Estrada.
Mozart's haunting Requiem is accompanied by glimpses of the composer at different stages of his all-too-brief life. He was only 17 when he wrote his Symphony No. 25. (You may know it from the opening of the film Amadeus.) The Masonic Funeral Music is a product of his late 20s, composed in memory of two of his fellow Masons, both Viennese aristocrats. And of course, the Requiem came at the very end of Mozart's life: He died before he could finish it. The version heard on these concerts was completed by the brilliant Mozart scholar Robert Levin.
Igor Stravinsky composed his Funeral Song in 1908, as a memorial tribute to his teacher, Nikolai Rimsky-Korsakov. The score was lost for over 100 years and was only rediscovered in 2015. It now offers fascinating insights into Stravinsky's emerging orchestral technique. The score to Rachmaninoff's Symphony No. 1 was also lost for a time after the composer left Russia; it is now firmly established in the symphonic repertoire. Prokofiev's Third Piano Concerto is his most popular.