Performance Wednesday, February 12, 2014 | 8 PM

Boston Symphony Orchestra

Stern Auditorium / Perelman Stage
The much-admired maestro Bernard Haitink leads the stellar Boston Symphony Orchestra through a program that includes works by Ravel, including what is arguably his best work—the passionate ballet score Daphnis et Chloé, first danced by the Ballets Russes—as well as his Spanish-infused Alborada del gracioso.


  • Boston Symphony Orchestra
    Bernard Haitink, Conductor
  • Susan Graham, Mezzo-Soprano
  • Tanglewood Festival Chorus
    John Oliver, Conductor


  • Alborada del gracioso
  • Shéhérazade
  • Daphnis et Chloé (complete)

Event Duration

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


  • Bernard Haitink

    The 2013-2014 season is the 60th of Bernard Haitink's conducting career, which he began with the Radio Philharmonic Orchestra in his native Holland. Also this season he celebrates his 85th birthday with a series of concerts in New York with the London Symphony, Boston Symphony, and New York Philharmonic, and concerts at the Barbican with the Chamber Orchestra of Europe. Mr. Haitink was chief conductor of the Royal Concertgebouw Orchestra for 27 years, as well as music director of Glyndebourne Festival Opera and the Royal Opera, Covent Garden, and principal conductor of the Chicago Symphony Orchestra and London Philharmonic Orchestra. He made his Boston Symphony Orchestra debut in 1971, becoming principal guest conductor in 1995 and the BSO's LaCroix Family Fund Conductor Emeritus in 2004. Also conductor laureate of the Royal Concertgebouw and Patron of the Radio Philharmonic Orchestra of the Netherlands, he celebrates another milestone in March 2014 when he conducts the Berliner Philharmoniker in concerts that mark the 50th anniversary of his debut with that orchestra. Other engagements include a Brahms project in Amsterdam, and a cycle of Schumann symphonies and concertos at the Lucerne Festival, both with the Chamber Orchestra of Europe; a return to the Bavarian Radio Symphony Orchestra for concerts in Munich and the opening concert of the 2014 Salzburg Festival; and concerts with the Chicago and London symphony orchestras and the Tonhalle Orchestra Zurich. Committed to the development of young musical talent, he gives an annual conducting master class at the Lucerne Easter Festival. This season he also offers conducting classes at The Juilliard School and Zurich's Hochschule der Künste, and conducts concerts with the Orchestra of the Royal College of Music. Mr. Haitink has an extensive discography for Philips, Decca, EMI, and many new live recording labels established by such orchestras as the London Symphony Orchestra, Chicago Symphony Orchestra, and Bavarian Radio Symphony Orchestra in recent years. He has received many awards and honors in recognition of his services to music, including several honorary doctorates, an honorary Knighthood and Companion of Honour in the United Kingdom, and the House Order of Orange-Nassau in the Netherlands.

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  • Susan Graham

    Susan Graham's operatic roles span four centuries, from Monteverdi's Poppea to Sister Helen Prejean in Jake Heggie's Dead Man Walking, a role written especially for her. Her most recent album, Virgins, Vixens, and Viragos, encompasses 14 composers ranging from Purcell to Sondheim. This season, on a European tour with Pablo Heras-Casado and the Ensemble intercontemporain, she pairs Schoenberg's Lied der Waldtaube with Mahler's Lieder eines fahrenden Gesellen. Celebrated as an expert in French music, she was named Chevalier dans l'Ordre des Arts et des Lettres by the French government. Ms. Graham has performed in all of the world's major opera houses; besides creating the role of Sister Helen Prejean at San Francisco Opera, she created leading roles in the Metropolitan Opera's world premieres of John Harbison's The Great Gatsby and Tobias Picker's An American Tragedy. Last season, she made her Dallas Opera debut as Tina in a new production of Dominic Argento's The Aspern Papers; as Houston Grand Opera's Lynn Wyatt Great Artist for 2013-2014, she launched the new season as Prince Orlofsky in the company's first staging of Die Fledermaus in 30 years. This season at the Met, she sings Sycorax in Jeremy Sams's Baroque pastiche The Enchanted Island; last season, she was Didon in the Met's revival of Berlioz's Les Troyens. Following successes in Berlioz's Béatrice et Bénédict and as Massenet's Chérubin, she went on to sing Gluck's Iphigénieen Tauride, Berlioz's La damnation de Faust, Massenet's Werther, and the title roles in Offenbach's La belle Hélène and Grand Duchess of Gerolstein. Her affinity for French repertoire also serves as the foundation for her extensive concert and recital career. For her first duo-recital tour, she recently teamed with Renée Fleming for recitals of French repertory across the country. Besides many recordings of complete operas, she has released several solo albums, including a program of French song with pianist Malcolm Martineau, an album of 20th-century operetta rarities, and an award-winning collection of songs by Reynaldo Hahn with pianist Roger Vignoles. Among her additional honors are Musical America's Vocalist of the Year and an Opera News Award.

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  • Tanglewood Festival Chorus
    John Oliver, Conductor

    Organized in the spring of 1970 by founding conductor John Oliver, the Tanglewood Festival Chorus performs with the Boston Symphony Orchestra this season in Mahler's "Resurrection" Symphony, Ives's Orchestral Set No. 2, Britten's War Requiem, Ravel's Daphnis et Chloé, Stravinsky's Symphony of Psalms, and Beethoven's Elegiac Song. Made up of members who donate their time and talent, and formed originally under the joint sponsorship of Boston University and the Boston Symphony Orchestra for performances at Tanglewood, the Tanglewood Festival Chorus now performs year-round with the Boston Symphony and Boston Pops. It has performed with Seiji Ozawa and the BSO in Hong Kong and Japan, and with the BSO in Europe under James Levine and Bernard Haitink, also giving a cappella concerts of its own on the two latter occasions. Its most recent recordings, on BSO Classics, include a disc of a cappella music released to mark the TFC's 40th anniversary, and, with James Levine and the BSO, Ravel's complete Daphnis et Chloé, Brahms's Ein Deutsches Requiem, and William Bolcom's Eighth Symphony for chorus and orchestra (a BSO 125th Anniversary Commission). The chorus had the honor of singing at Senator Edward Kennedy's funeral, has performed with the Boston Pops for the Boston Red Sox and Boston Celtics, and can be heard on the soundtracks of Clint Eastwood's Mystic River, John Sayles's Silver City, and Steven Spielberg's Saving Private Ryan.

    Besides his work with the Tanglewood Festival Chorus, John Oliver was for many years conductor of the MIT Chamber Chorus and MIT Concert Choir, and a senior lecturer in music at MIT. He founded the John Oliver Chorale in 1977; made his BSO conducting debut in 1985; has been guest conductor with the New Japan Philharmonic, Berkshire Choral Institute, and Montreal Symphony; and in October 2011 received the Alfred Nash Patterson Lifetime Achievement Award, presented by Choral Arts New England in recognition of his outstanding contributions to choral music. In February 2012 in Boston, and then for his Carnegie Hall debut that March, he replaced Kurt Masur to lead the BSO and Tanglewood Festival Chorus in Beethoven's Missa Solemnis.

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Ravel's Daphnis et Chloé ("Lever du jour")
Boston Symphony Orchestra | Bernard Haitink, Conductor

At a Glance

A masterful orchestral colorist, the great French composer Maurice Ravel wrote music that often reflected his lifelong fascination with distant times and places, as evidenced by all three pieces on this program. The Spanish-tinged Alborada del gracioso originated as music for piano; orchestrated in 1918, it was one of five piano pieces he composed in 1905 under the collective title Miroirs (Mirrors). Alborada is the Spanish title for a "dawn song," a romantic interlude generally sung by someone safeguarding the privacy of two illicit lovers. But a gracioso is a "jester" or "buffoon," so Ravel's piece turns out to be a boisterous, rhythmically charged dance.

The song cycle Shéhérazade, on texts by the Symbolist poet Tristan Klingsor, dates from 1903, at a time when Ravel was particularly interested in investigating the relationship between music and speech. The composer was immediately taken by the Oriental lure of the like-titled poetry collection when it was published earlier that same year; the name, of course, refers to the famous storyteller Scheherazade from 1,001 Nights, with Ravel's music perfectly evoking the atmospheric exoticism of the words.

The program concludes with the work Ravel considered his best, the complete "symphonie choréographique" Daphnis and Chloé, long a BSO specialty, and best known in the concert hall for the final tableau, which Ravel excerpted as the Suite No. 2 from this score. He wrote this cornerstone of musical impressionism for Sergei Diaghilev's famous Ballets Russes, which gave the premiere in Paris in 1912.
Program Notes
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