The Philadelphia Orchestra In Concert on WRTI 90.1: Emanuel Ax Plays Brahms' Second Piano Concerto

Aug 16, 2019

The Philadelphia Orchestra in Concert broadcast on Sunday, August 18th at 1 PM on WRTI 90.1 brings pianist Emanuel Ax to the stage of Verizon Hall, in a performance of Johannes Brahms’s Second Piano Concerto. Also on the program is the U.S. premiere of Stacey Brown’s Perspectives, and a work by a composer whom Brahms ardently championed, Antonin Dvořák, whose impassioned Symphony No. 7 closes the afternoon’s concert.

Yannick Nézet-Seguin conducts.

Pianist Emanuel Ax
Credit Lisa Marie Mazzucco

The Brahms Piano Concerto No. 2 is a gargantuan work, and it lasts longer than any other major Romantic piano concerto by quite a bit. Brahms was an absolute master of writing for the piano, and as this expansive, four-movement concerto demonstrates, he was able to blend drama, passion and fire with tenderness, in the most remarkable of ways. It’s one of the giants in all of Romantic music, and always a special treat when performed by Manny Ax, long-time friend of The Philadelphia Orchestra since his first performance with them in 1970.

Canadian composer Stacey Brown is originally from British Columbia, but has lived and worked in Montreal since 2002. Her work Perspectives was given its premiere in May 2017 at the Maison Symphonique in Montreal, with l’Orchestre Métropolitain under the direction of Yannick Nézet-Séguin. It’s U.S. premiere is given with the performance we’ll hear Sunday. At times dissonant, at times consonant, it creates patterns that allow for different perspectives, with instruments moving forward, then receding, musical motifs examined from different sharp angles – almost a work of Cubism in music. The “perspective” is never the same when holding the motives up for examination.

Concluding the concert after intermission, one of Antonin Dvořák’s towering achievements, his Seventh Symphony. Brilliantly-scored, Brahmsian in the best sense, but with a Slavic soul, it perhaps can’t compete in popularity with Dvorak’s New World Symphony, but it is a supreme example of symphonic writing, and one of the most important works in the post-Beethoven development of the symphonic genre.

During intermission, WRTI's Susan Lewis will speak with Yannick.

That’s Sunday, August 18th from 1 to 3 PM on WRTI 90.1 and streaming worldwide at wrti.org.

PROGRAM

Brahms: Piano Concerto No. 2                                                                                                                       Emanuel Ax, piano

Brown: Perspectives

INTERMISSION

Dvorak: Symphony No. 7

The Philadelphia Orchestra                                                                                                                                Yannick Nézet-Séguin, conductor

Gregg Whiteside is producer and host of The Philadelphia Orchestra in Concert broadcasts, every Sunday at 1 pm on WRTI 90.1, streaming online at WRTI.org, and on the WRTI mobile app! Listen again on Mondays at 7 pm on WRTI HD-2.