A revered orchestra, a megastar conductor, and a host of internationally acclaimed guest artists come together for one of the most exciting series of the season. The fabulous Philadelphians perform Prokofiev, Rachmaninoff (a Philadelphia specialty), new works, and favorites by Mendelssohn, Schubert, and more.
Boundless possibilities of orchestral color and harmonic daring connect four composers. Wagner’s ethereal prelude floats in timelessness before building to a powerful crescendo, while Chausson’s two-song collection smolders with harmonies inspired by the German master. The vibrant orchestration used by Respighi to depict landmark locations in the Eternal City resonate in Mason Bates’s irresistibly lively Anthology of Fantastic Zoology. Bates uses technicolor splashes of color with wild sonic and spatial effects to portray sprites, gryphons, sirens, and other extraordinary beasts in a wonderfully surreal showpiece.
The Philadelphia Orchestra Yannick Nézet-Séguin, Music Director and Conductor Joyce DiDonato, Mezzo-Soprano
WAGNER Prelude to Lohengrin
MASON BATES Anthology of Fantastic Zoology (NY Premiere)
Music from the tragically short lives of two great Romantic composers is featured. Mendelssohn’s concerto, composed when he was 22 years old, is filled with youthful high spirits, thrills with its bravura solo part, and sings with beautiful melody. Schubert’s “Great” Symphony, his last orchestral work, is colossal and imbued with flowing lyricism, propulsive energy, and tremendous emotion. Regrettably, Schubert never lived to hear the work, which anticipates the epic symphonies of Bruckner, Mahler, and beyond.
The Philadelphia Orchestra Yannick Nézet-Séguin, Music Director and Conductor Jan Lisiecki, Piano
Two “lost” works bookend this all-Russian program. Stravinsky’s recently discovered Funeral Song is a memorial to his tutor Rimsky-Korsakov, drawing on the elder composer's harmonic style while also looking ahead to Stravinsky's own early ballet scores. There’s also Rachmaninoff’s symphony, a notorious disaster at its 1897 premiere, which was never performed again in the composer’s lifetime. It is now justly recognized for its youthful Romantic fervor and driving ferocity. The Stravinsky and Rachmaninoff works frame Prokofiev’s most popular concerto, beloved for its biting wit, romantic interludes, and fiery solo part, played here by Beatrice Rana, called one of “the most faultless of young pianists today” (The Washington Post).
The Philadelphia Orchestra Yannick Nézet-Séguin, Music Director and Conductor Beatrice Rana, Piano