Friday Matinee B
Yannick and Lisa Batiashvili have enchanted concert audiences all over the world; she returns to the Orchestra with Tchaikovsky's spectacular Violin Concerto anchoring two different programs over two weekends. This concert highlights Scandinavia: Sibelius's Seventh Symphony was a U.S. premiere for the Orchestra with Leopold Stokowski, long a champion of the Finnish master's works. And you may not be familiar with Sweden's Franz Berwald, but his beautiful Third Symphony, composed in 1845, makes a compelling pair with the Sibelius.
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.
A pair of Philadelphia Orchestra debuts, by two rapidly rising stars: David Afkham on the podium and Seong-Jin Cho at the keyboard. Cho brings his prize-winning technique to Mozart's Piano Concerto No. 20. Beethoven's stirring Coriolan Overture was inspired by a play about war and peace in ancient Rome. Brahms was daunted by Beethoven's towering legacy; that may be why it took him so long to finish his majestic Symphony No. 1. For almost 150 years, audiences have agreed it was worth the wait.
Acclaimed French conductor Emmanuelle Haïm makes her Philadelphia Orchestra debut, presenting two of the leading lights of English Baroque music. Handel's Music for the Royal Fireworks has been lighting up the sky (in concert halls!) since 1749. In his cantata Il delirio amoroso (The Delirium of Love), soprano Erin Morley brings the “silken clarity … and the needlepoint precision of her coloratura” (The New York Times) to this Orpheus-like tale based on classical mythology.
The breadth and depth of Tchaikovsky's musical genius are on display in this dazzling celebration of his music, led by our dynamic Assistant Conductor Kensho Watanabe. Inspired by a trip to sunny Italy, Tchaikovsky transforms the sounds he heard all around him into a delightful “Italian Fantasia” (his original title for Capriccio italien). He turns to Mozart for inspiration in his Rococo Variations, the closest Tchaikovsky came to writing a cello concerto, performed by rising star Edgar Moreau.
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.
Twentieth-century musical titan meets Elizabethan genius playwright: Prokofiev's three suites from Romeo and Juliet are concert favorites. Here, we present much more of the music that has made Shakespeare's immortal tragedy come alive in performances around the globe. If you've never seen the ballet, you'll be amazed at how Prokofiev's searing score captures all the drama and heartbreak of this immortal story!
Jonathan Biss once declared himself “a fanatic for every note Schumann wrote.” Reap the benefits as he performs the composer's only piano concerto, strongly championed by his wife, Clara, who played the work's premiere in 1846. From its indelible opening theme to its thundering finale, the “Eroica” Symphony is one of Beethoven's most popular works. It simply must be experienced live; no one does it better than the Fabulous Philadelphians!
With a premiere performance by Fritz Kreisler, and a premiere recording by a teenaged Yehudi Menuhin, Elgar's Violin Concerto was no doubt destined to become a staple of the violin repertoire. Our soloist, Nikolaj Znaider, is internationally renowned as a violinist. And he has a special connection to the Elgar Concerto: He plays Kreisler's Guarneri violin! Tchaikovsky's Symphony No. 5 is among his most popular works, with its stirring evocation of “fate,” from somber to triumphant.