Performance Wednesday, March 7, 2012 | 8 PM

Boston Symphony Orchestra

Stern Auditorium / Perelman Stage
Two vivid French masterworks, written a century apart: the first, Ravel’s Piano Concerto, opens with a snap and a jazzy sparkle; the second, Berlioz’s macabre Symphonie fantastique—a frightening take on lost love and the hallucinatory power of art. Hear them both with the Boston Symphony Orchestra and Christoph Eschenbach, featuring pianist Cédric Tiberghien.


  • Boston Symphony Orchestra
    Christoph Eschenbach, Conductor
  • Cédric Tiberghien, Piano


  • BERLIOZ Overture to Benvenuto Cellini
  • RAVEL Piano Concerto in G Major
  • BERLIOZ Symphonie fantastique

  • Encore:
  • DEBUSSY "La Cathédrale engloutie" from Préludes, Book I


  • Christoph Eschenbach

    Conductor-pianist Christoph Eschenbach began his tenure in September 2010 as music director of both the National Symphony Orchestra and the John F. Kennedy Center for the Performing Arts. In 2011-2012, he leads the National Symphony on tour to South America, tours Australia and the Far East with the Vienna Philharmonic Orchestra, and conducts the orchestra in Vienna. He also leads China's Central Philharmonic Orchestra in Beijing, the London Philharmonic Orchestra at Royal Festival Hall and on tour in Oman and Spain, The Philadelphia Orchestra (where he was music director from 2003 to 2008), the NDR Symphony Orchestra (where he was music director from 1998 to 2004), the Accademia Nazionale di Santa Cecilia, the Boston Symphony Orchestra at Symphony Hall and Carnegie Hall, the Orchestre de Paris, the Filarmonica della Scala, the Czech Philharmonic Orchestra, the Los Angeles Philharmonic, and the Bavarian Radio Symphony Orchestra, among others. Summer 2012 brings performances at Tanglewood and the Ravinia Festival. Highlights of 2010-2011 included Hindemith's Mathis der Maler at the Opéra de Paris, a tour of Europe with the Staatskapelle Dresden, two weeks with the Orchestre de Paris (where he was music director from 2000 to 2010), Messiaen's Turangalîla-Symphonie with the National Symphony Orchestra, and concerts with the Munich Philharmonic, the NDR Symphony, the Leipzig Gewandhaus Orchestra, the London Philharmonic, and the Curtis Symphony Orchestra. Principal conductor of the Schleswig-Holstein Music Festival International Orchestral Academy since 2004, he also appears regularly in Germany and on tour with the SHMF Orchestra. His ongoing collaboration with baritone Matthias Goerne includes recordings of Schubert's Die schöne Müllerin, Winterreise, and Schwanengesang. In summer 2010, the duo performed the complete cycle in three recitals (with Mr. Eschenbach also playing Schubert's Piano Sonata in B-flat Major, D. 960) at the Salzburg Music Festival, where Mr. Eschenbach also conducted the Vienna Philharmonic. This season, the duo performed the complete cycle in Paris at the Salle Pleyel. Mr. Eschenbach's extensive, award-winning discography includes recordings with the Orchestre de Paris, London Symphony, Vienna Philharmonic, Hamburg's NDR Symphony, and Houston Symphony, among many others. Mentored by George Szell and Herbert von Karajan, he has previously held chief artistic posts with the Tonhalle Orchestra Zurich, Houston Symphony, Ravinia Festival, and the Schleswig-Holstein Music Festival.


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  • Cédric Tiberghien

    Cédric Tiberghien has performed in such prestigious halls as the Kennedy Center; London's Royal Albert Hall, Queen Elizabeth Hall, Wigmore Hall, and Barbican; the Salle Pleyel and Théâtre des Champs-Élysées in Paris; Berlin's Bechstein Hall; Salzburg's Mozarteum; the Sydney Opera; and Tokyo's Bunka Kaikan and Asahi halls. His recent US concerto debut, performing Messiaen's Turangalîla-Symphonie with the National Symphony Orchestra under Christoph Eschenbach, attracted unanimous critical acclaim and led to an immediate invitation from the Boston Symphony Orchestra for concerts at Symphony Hall and Carnegie Hall this season. Other concerto engagements include debuts with the Seattle Symphony Orchestra under Ludovic Morlot, NHK Symphony Tokyo, Sapporo Symphony, Tampere Philharmonic, and Brussels Philharmonic, as well as returns to the National Symphony of Ireland, São Paulo Symphony, and Strasbourg Philharmonic; a tour with the Orchestre National de Lille; and the five Beethoven piano concertos with the Orchestre National d'Île de France under Enrique Mazzola. Recital engagements include Wigmore Hall's Master Series for the next three seasons and debuts in Beijing, Rome, Madrid, and Melbourne, as well as return appearances in London's International Piano Series and summer festivals throughout Europe. Mr. Tiberghien's recordings include Franck's Symphonic Variations and Les Djinns, Brahms's Piano Concerto No. 1, and six recital discs that feature music of Bach, Beethoven, Brahms, Chopin, and Debussy. With over 60 concertos in his repertoire, he has appeared with such orchestras as the Tonhalle Orchestra Zurich, Orchestre de la Suisse Romande, Budapest Festival Orchestra, Czech Philharmonic, BBC Symphony, Hallé Orchestra, Philharmonique de Radio-France, Orchestre de Paris, Orchestre National de France, National Symphony Orchestra, Sydney Symphony, Tokyo Philharmonic, New Japan Philharmonic, Gelders Orkest, Stuttgart Staatsorchester, Hamburg Philharmonic, and Dresden Philharmonic. He has collaborated with such conductors as Christoph Eschenbach, Jiří Bĕlohlávek, Lionel Bringuier, Simone Young, Myung-Whun Chung, Kurt Masur, Iván Fischer, Leif Segerstam, and Louis Langrée, among many others. Regular chamber music partners include violinist Alina Ibragimova, soprano Sophie Karthäuser, and cellist Pieter Wispelwey. His passion for chamber music is reflected in numerous recordings, including a Ravel/Lekeu disc, Szymanowski's complete works for violin and piano, and the complete Beethoven violin sonatas, all with Alina Ibragimova.

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Berlioz Symphonie fantastique, "Songe d'une nuit de Sabba"
Boston Symphony Orchestra; Seiji Ozawa, Conductor
Deutsche Grammophon

At a Glance


Inspired by the life of the 16th-century Italian artist, and first performed in 1838 at the Paris Opéra, Benvenuto Cellini was the first of Hector Berlioz’s operas to be produced. Though the opera was poorly received (it is rarely performed even today), its brilliant and colorful overture, as Berlioz himself observed, “was extravagantly applauded.”

Eight years before Cellini was premiered, the 26-year-old Berlioz composed his Symphonie fantastique, a fantastical work of “musical autobiography” inspired by his initially unrequited love for Irish actress Harriet Smithson. In the throes of his infatuation, he produced a five-movement, programmatic symphony unlike any music ever composed, evoking the story of a lovesick young musician who, in an opium-induced dream, imagines himself killing the object of his affection, after which he is executed and then finds himself in the midst of a frightful witches’ sabbath. Here again, Berlioz’s music reveals him as one of the most individual and original minds ever to write for the orchestra.

In 1930 and 1931, upon receiving commissions from two different pianists, Maurice Ravel turned to the genre of the piano concerto, writing his Concerto for the Left Hand for pianist Paul Wittgenstein (who had lost his right arm in World War I) and the G-Major Concerto for his own longtime interpreter Marguerite Long. The G-Major Concerto illustrates Ravel’s singular affinities for both piano and orchestra, with energetic outer movements that incorporate hints of the blues, and a gorgeous, meditative slow movement.


Program Notes