Yannick Nézet-Séguin - Conductor
Richard Woodhams - Oboe
Christiane Karg - Soprano
Britten - Variations and Fugue on a Theme of Purcell
Strauss - Oboe Concerto
Mahler - Symphony No. 4
Saturday, October 5, 2013
From the opening sleigh bells to the heavenly song of the final movement, Mahler’s Symphony No. 4 is a sunny and optimistic work, drawing much of its balance and influence from the Classical era. Benjamin Britten, born 100 years ago, also drew inspiration from an earlier period, using themes from 17th-century composer Henry Purcell in his orchestral showpiece Variations and Fugue on a Theme of Purcell. Featuring all the main sections of the orchestra, and presenting prominent solos from The Philadelphia Orchestra’s principal players, Britten’s work stands as one of the best “guides to the orchestra” ever written.
Richard Strauss’s Oboe Concerto had its genesis during a lengthy meeting between former Philadelphia Orchestra Principal Oboe John de Lancie and the composer. De Lancie, who was stationed in Germany at the end of World War II, suggested that Strauss compose a concerto for oboe and orchestra. While de Lancie did not give the work’s premiere, he did perform the Concerto in The Philadelphia Orchestra’s first performance, in 1964. Principal Oboe Richard Woodhams, a student of de Lancie’s, now carries this connection forward.