Yannick Nézet-Séguin - Conductor
Jean-Yves Thibaudet - Piano
Glazunov - "Autumn," from The Seasons
Khachaturian - Piano Concerto
Rachmaninoff - Symphony No. 1
Wednesday, October 8, 2014
Rachmaninoff, who said that he would “rather perform with The Philadelphia Orchestra than any other of the world,” enjoyed a long relationship with the Philadelphians not only as a composer but also as a soloist and conductor. This season Yannick conducts all three of his glorious symphonies, underscoring the Orchestra’s role as the premier interpreter of Rachmaninoff’s work. We begin with the First (the Second and Third symphonies are programmed in January and May), a colossal failure when it premiered in 1897 (the conductor, composer Alexander Glazunov, was reportedly inebriated) and not heard again for nearly 50 years. Eugene Ormandy conducted The Philadelphia Orchestra in the work’s successful American premiere in 1948.
Glazunov fared much better with his own composition The Seasons, a ballet first performed in St. Petersburg on the cusp of the 20th century. The bacchanal of its fourth movement, “Autumn,” is an exuberant celebration of the harvest and another exquisite showcase for the famous Philadelphia strings. Rounding out the program is the powerful, Soviet-era piano concerto that put Armenian composer Aram Khachaturian on the map. The Philadelphians haven’t performed it in over 40 years in Philadelphia, but their fiery—and fashionable—friend and regular guest soloist, French pianist Jean-Yves Thibaudet, has made it a staple of his repertoire.