Beethoven, Mozart, and Brahms are all composers dear to the German-born conductor David Afkham, and he makes his Philadelphia Orchestra debut directing performances of works by these greats on this Sunday’s Philadelphia Orchestra in Concert broadcast.
ust before intermission, a performance of Mozart’s 20th Piano Concerto by the young pianist who came to the world’s attention in 2015 when he won First Prize at the Chopin International Competition in Warsaw, Seong-Jin Cho. In the following year, he signed an exclusive recording contract with Deutsche Grammophon, and is a major celebrity in his native Korea.
Following intermission, a work Johannes Brahms spent at least fourteen years completing, his Symphony No.1.
Among the 23 concertos Mozart produced in his prime, none has aroused as much enthusiasm through the ages as the 20th in d-minor, K. 466. Pianist Charles Rosen called it "as much a myth as a work of art.”
And as for the First Symphony of Brahms, this is a polyphony of different musical ideas all happening simultaneously – a network of interrelated musical lines churning away in counterpoint at the same time. One has to go as far back as Bach to truly appreciate what Brahms was doing here! He was attempting, as Tom Service put it, “to make a symphony that works in musical space as well as time, one that has all the internal consistency and multi-dimensional splendor of a Bach fugue, but also has the dynamism and energy of a large-scale orchestral work.” No wonder it took him fourteen years to compose it.
The concert begins with the overture to the incidental music Beethoven composed for Heinrich Joseph von Collin’s play about the Roman leader Gaius Marcius Coriolanus. The Coriolan Overture is music of heroic power, drama, and quiet tenderness.
During intermission, WRTI’s Debra Lew Harder speaks with Seong-Jin Cho backstage, and Susan Lewis has a conversation with Maestro Afkham.
Not to be missed, that’s this Sunday, December 16th from 1 to 3 PM, here on WRTI 90.1, and streaming at wrti.org. The concert is rebroadcast Monday evening at 7 PM on WRTI HD2, and the WRTI web stream.
Beethoven: Coriolan Overture
Mozart: Piano Concerto No. 20 Seong-Jin Cho, piano
Brahms: Symphony No. 1
The Philadelphia Orchestra David Afkham, 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 our mobile app! Listen again on Mondays at 7 pm on WRTI HD-2