Yannick Nézet-Séguin - Conductor
Johannes Moser - Cello
Strauss - Metamorphosen
Shostakovich - Cello Concerto No. 1
Beethoven - Symphony No. 3 ("Eroica")
Thursday, February 20, 2014
Regretfully, cellist Truls Mørk has withdrawn from performances scheduled for February 20, 22, and 23, at the Kimmel Center due to an injury to his shoulder as a result of a skiing accident. German Cellist Johannes Moser has graciously agreed to join us for these concerts on short notice. Mr. Moser made his Philadelphia Orchestra debut at the Saratoga Performing Arts Center in 2012; these current performances mark his subscription debut. There will be no change to the previously announced program.
Beethoven’s Symphony No. 3 (“Eroica”) was originally intended as a grand and heroic tribute to Napoleon. Upon learning that Napoleon had crowned himself Emperor of all Europe, the disaffected Beethoven scratched out the dedication with such vigor that he tore through the paper. In the end, the hero of this Symphony is the composer himself, who succeeded in creating a new architecture for the symphonic form and ignited the Romantic style in music.
Strauss composed his Metamorphosen for 23 solo strings in 1945 amid the cultural and physical destruction of World War II. The work opens with a haunting rhythm clearly quoting the funeral march of Beethoven’s “Eroica.” The intensity and pathos is that of a mature conductor nearing the end of his career—-in contrast to compositions of the younger Strauss heard earlier in the season. Another paring of Beethoven and Shostakovich. Shostakovich’s Cello Concerto No. 1 was written for the great cellist Mstislav Rostropovich and given its U.S. premiere (and first recording) by him, The Philadelphia Orchestra, and Eugene Ormandy in 1959.