Rachmaninoff, Mozart and Clyne comprise an encore presentation by The Philadelphia Orchestra
Join us on Sunday, May 21 at 1 p.m. on WRTI 90.1 and Monday, May 22 at 7 p.m. on WRTI HD-2 as The Philadelphia Orchestra in Concert features an encore presentation of a 2019 concert led by Yannick Nézet-Séguin, featuring Rachmaninoff’s Symphony No. 1, Anna Clyne’s Masquerade, and Mozart’s Sinfonia Concertante for winds, with soloists from the orchestra.
The concert opens with Masquerade, commissioned by the BBC in 2013 for its beloved summer festival, the Promenade Concerts, and specifically for the celebratory annual “Last Night of the Proms.” Its composer, Anna Clyne, took inspiration from the 18th-century precursor of today’s Proms: “promenade concerts” in London’s pleasure gardens, during which the audience was free to move around and sample various kinds of entertainment.
This encore 2019 concert continues with the Sinfonia Concertante in E-flat major for winds and orchestra, generally accepted to be by Wolfgang Amadeus Mozart, though its exact provenance is uncertain. What we do know is that Mozart wrote just such a work in 1778 for a planned performance that never materialized. He intended it for flute, oboe, bassoon, and horn soloists, but the score was lost. Nearly a century later, a manuscript emerged among the papers of a recently deceased Mozart scholar. It was immediately hailed as Mozart’s lost work for winds and orchestra. There were a couple of quirks about it, though. The scoring included solo oboe, bassoon, and horn. But in place of a solo flute, it had a solo clarinet. And some scholars, taking a second look, found a few stylistic traits that didn’t seem entirely like Mozart. Various theories have been advanced, but wind players, orchestras, and audiences have all embraced this Sinfonia Concertante as authentic Mozart. The soloists in this performance are former principal oboe Richard Woodhams, principal clarinet Ricardo Morales, principal bassoon Daniel Matsukawa, and principal horn Jennifer Montone.
Rachmaninoff wrote his First Symphony in his early 20s. He was already known as a remarkable piano virtuoso and was also establishing himself as a composer. But the symphony’s 1897 premiere was a disaster, thanks to insufficient rehearsal and indifferent conducting. In despair, Rachmaninoff stopped composing, channeling his energies into touring as a concert pianist and a conductor. Eventually, he resolved his writer’s block with the help of a hypnotherapist, and his compositional energies came roaring back.
Rachmaninoff apparently intended to revise the First Symphony, and kept the full score at his family estate, hoping he would have time to return to it. But his international career had taken off. Then, the Russian Revolution erupted. The composer and his family left Russia forever and their estate was burned to the ground. The First Symphony seemed lost. Then, nearly five decades later, its orchestral parts were discovered at the Saint Petersburg Conservatory. Alas, no revision was possible; Rachmaninoff had died two years earlier. But the symphony received a successful second performance in 1945 that fully rehabilitated its reputation.
Mozart: Sinfonia Concertante in E-flat major for winds and orchestra, K. 297b
Rachmaninoff: Symphony No. 1 in d minor, Op. 13
The Philadelphia Orchestra
Yannick Nézet-Séguin, conductor
Richard Woodhams, oboe
Ricardo Morales, clarinet
Daniel Matsukawa, bassoon
Jennifer Montone, horn
WRTI PRODUCTION TEAM:
Melinda Whiting: Host
Alex Ariff: Senior Producer
Susan Lewis: Consulting Producer
Joseph Patti: Broadcast Engineer
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 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.