Performance Thursday, November 20, 2014 | 8 PM

San Francisco Symphony

Stern Auditorium / Perelman Stage
A French ballet written for a Russian impresario and a Russian concerto written for a French soloist are featured. Ravel’s score for Daphnis et Chloé, commissioned by Russian dance impresario Sergei Diaghilev, is a masterpiece of spectacular orchestral colors, exotic harmonies, and stirring rhythms. Prokofiev’s Violin Concerto No. 2 was written for one of Ravel’s frequent collaborators, violinist Robert Soetens. Irresistibly lyrical, especially in the unaccompanied violin passage that opens the work and the gorgeous second-movement melody, Prokofiev closes the concerto with virtuoso fireworks.

The contemporary work on this program is part of My Time, My Music.


  • San Francisco Symphony
    Michael Tilson Thomas, Music Director and Conductor
  • Gil Shaham, Violin
  • New York Choral Artists
    Joseph Flummerfelt, Chorus Director


  • SAMUEL CARL ADAMS Drift and Providence (NY Premiere)
  • PROKOFIEV Violin Concerto No. 2
  • RAVEL Daphnis et Chloé (complete)

Event Duration

The printed program will last approximately two hours, including one 20-minute intermission.


Ravel's Daphnis et Chloé: Danse religieuse
Berliner Philharmoniker | Pierre Boulez, Conductor
Deutsche Grammophon

At a Glance

SAMUEL ADAMS  Drift and Providence

The son of composer John Adams and photographer Deborah O’Grady, Samuel Adams grew up in the San Francisco Bay area and currently lives in Brooklyn, where he composed Drift and Providence. The work addresses the contrasts between the West Coast and what can be discovered by moving away: The titles of its five movements suggest not only places in San Francisco, but archetypal departures and arrivals.

SERGEI PROKOFIEV  Violin Concerto No. 2 in G Minor, Op. 63

Prokofiev’s Second Violin Concerto has a lean neoclassicism that became all the rage in the 1920s with composers like Stravinsky and Hindemith—a trend that Prokofiev anticipated in his early “Classical” Symphony. Despite the concerto’s elegant restraint, both in its attitude toward the soloist and its lean orchestration, it is nonetheless full of memorable melodies.

MAURICE RAVEL Daphnis et Chloé

France had a long and gloried musical tradition by the time Ravel came to full artistic maturity in the early 20th century, yet he too was a defining figure, associated most with so-called musical impressionism. In 1909, the legendary Ballets Russes impresario Sergei Diaghilev commissioned Daphnis et Chloé, a ballet based on a third-century Greek pastoral drama. Ravel brought a painterly sensibility to the project: “My intention was to compose a vast musical fresco, less thoughtful of archaism than of fidelity to the Greece of my dreams, which identifies willingly with that imagined and depicted by late–18th-century French artists.”

This performance is part of Great American Orchestras I, and Great Impressionists.

Part of