Yannick Nézet-Séguin Conductor
Yo-Yo Ma Cello
Higdon Fanfare Ritmico
Shostakovich Cello Concerto No. 1
Rachmaninoff Symphonic Dances
Yannick and Your Philadelphia Orchestra begin the Orchestra’s 124th season with a spectacular celebration! Presidential Medal of Freedom winner Yo-Yo Ma performs a work that has special meaning for him—Shostakovich’s Cello Concerto No. 1, written for the great Russian cellist Mstislav Rostropovich. Ma first heard the work as a 15-year-old, already making his mark on the music world, and it moved him profoundly: “I couldn’t sleep that night.” Fiendishly challenging for the player and deeply rewarding for the audience, this cello masterwork shows Ma at the peak of his artistry.
Rachmaninoff composed his deeply spiritual Symphonic Dances in 1940, the twilight of his career. His final composition quotes the “Dies irae” from the Requiem Mass in the midst of the dances. The lovely, lyrical alto saxophone in the first dance; the haunting violin solo and eerie waltz in the second; and the ethereal, delicate sounds of the glockenspiel, harp, and piano in the third build to a spectacular finale, evoking a battle between good and evil, spiritual and profane, ending in a bold and racing burst of triumph. A brilliant coda to a life of astonishing gifts.
Jennifer Higdon’s Fanfare Ritmico bursts with energy. The three-time GRAMMY Award–winning composer wrote this piece on the cusp of the new millennium, noting that it “celebrates that rhythmic motion of man and machine, and the energy which permeates every moment of our being in the new century.”
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For more details about the Opening Night Celebration event, please contact Samantha Noll at [email protected].
Lead support for the Rachmaninoff 150 Celebration is provided by Tatiana Copeland. Mrs. Copeland’s mother was the niece of Sergei Rachmaninoff, and Tatiana Copeland was named after the composer’s daughter, Tatiana Sergeyevna Rachmaninoff.