The Philadelphia Orchestra in Concert on WRTI: An all-Russian program and a debut
Join us on Sunday, Dec. 11 at 1 p.m. on WRTI 90.1, and Monday, Dec. 12 at 7 p.m. on WRTI HD-2 when our Philadelphia Orchestra in Concert series brings you a performance recorded live in May, 2022 featuring works by Prokofiev and Tchaikovsky.
Concluding her first season as the Orchestra’s principal guest conductor Nathalie Stutzmann is on the podium and the young Swedish violinist Daniel Lozakovich makes his debut with the Orchestra in Prokofiev’s Violin Concerto No. 2 in G minor.
The second half of the program is devoted to Tchaikovsky’s Symphony No. 6 in B minor, known as the “Pathetique.”
Tchaikovsky’s final symphony is a fascinating work not only because of the music itself, but also because of the circumstances surrounding its composition. The composer conducted its premiere just nine days before his own untimely death. Within those nine days, he remarked casually to his brother that he felt he had a long time to live.
And yet there is a suggestion in the powerful emotional impact of this score that Tchaikovsky might have been thinking of his own mortality as he wrote. He asserted that it contained a hidden program, or meaning, but declined to reveal it, stating that its program, though specific, would remain an enigma to all but himself. “Let them try and guess it!” he wrote to his nephew. And conductors, musicologists, and listeners have been guessing ever since, coming to varying conclusions.
Prokofiev’s Second Violin Concerto dates from the moment when the composer decided to move back to the Soviet Union after 15 years spent living in America and Europe. After carefully negotiating with the Soviet authorities regarding his freedom to travel to the West as needed, among other privileges, he decided in 1935 to move permanently to Moscow.
Prokofiev started this concerto in Paris, but most of the work was completed in the Soviet Union, as the composer was already working with the Bolshoi Theatre to produce his new ballet, Romeo and Juliet.
The concerto's musical language represents “a new simplicity,” as Prokofiev called it —a move toward greater tonality and away from the brasher elements of his earlier style. Perhaps this reassured the Soviet musical establishment, who were always suspicious of dissonance. The premiere of the concerto ultimately would take place in Madrid. Soon after, Prokofiev repatriated permanently to Russia.
Read detailed program notes from the concert.
Prokofiev: Violin Concerto No. 2 in G minor, Op. 63
Tchaikovsky: Symphony No. 6 in B minor, Op. 74
The Philadelphia Orchestra
Nathalie Stutzmann, conductor
Daniel Lozakovich, violin
Listen to The Philadelphia Orchestra in Concert broadcasts, every Sunday at 1 p.m. on WRTI 90.1, streaming at WRTI.org, on the WRTI mobile app, and on your favorite smart speaker. Listen again on Mondays at 7 p.m. on WRTI HD-2. Listen for up to two weeks after broadcast on WRTI Replay.