Philadelphia Orchestra: Concerto Grosso on Digital Stage (April 29-May 7 2021)



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Perhaps the greatest overlooked composer of her day, Louise Farrenc was also the only female professor of music at the prestigious Paris Conservatory throughout the entire 19th century.


Like much of her work, the Symphony No. 2 remains sadly underappreciated—Yannick calls it “unjustly underperformed”—but the beauty of the piece will surely turn any first-time listener into a fan.


Francis Poulenc’s Organ Concerto—his first-ever composition for the instrument—is a remarkable blending of musical styles: modal chants from the Middle Ages, Baroque fantasy, Stravinsky-esque neo-Classical elements, and a dash of grand Romanticism. Poulenc consistently mixed genres, moods, and effects to great success, as evidenced by this Concerto in particular.


Opening the program is the high-energy Concerto grosso—a Philadelphia Orchestra debut for contemporary composer Michael-Thomas Foumai. Foumai also worked with the Orchestra's Composer-in-Residence Gabriela Lena Frank as a 2017 composer fellow with the Gabriela Lena Frank Creative Academy of Music.


Post-Concert Conversation Following the April 29 performance premiere, ticket holders will be invited to join a live post-concert conversation with Paul Jacobs.


Fred J. Cooper Memorial Organ Experience The Philadelphia Orchestra received a $5 million gift from the Wyncote Foundation to increase and expand programming for the Fred J. Cooper Memorial Organ in Verizon Hall, the world’s largest mechanical action concert hall pipe organ. The partnership is supported by longtime friend of the Orchestra and former Board member Frederick R. Haas.


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This program runs approximately 1 hour and will be performed without an intermission.

Please note: All Digital Stage events begin with a performance premiere, streaming in real time. Following the performance premiere, the concert will be available for ticket holders to watch on demand for one week.


Event: https://www.philorch.org/performances/our-season/events-and-tickets/digital-stage-2021/farrencs-symphony-no.-2/


The Philadelphia Inquire Review: https://www.inquirer.com/entertainment/philadelphia-orchestra-yannick-nezet-seguin-paul-jacobs-20210428.html


"Poulenc’s concerto, from 1938, draws some of its inspiration from Bach, and combined with the two other works on the program, makes the point that no composer is an island. Michael-Thomas Foumai’s Concerto Grosso from 2015 occupies the “overture” position on the program. It’s a short piece — about five-and-a-half minutes long — and scored for just 14 players, but it makes a big impression. Racing and Stravinsky-kissed, the piece’s quick twists and turns give it a movie-score quality.


If anyone wonders about the lasting influence of John Williams in the concert hall, I think it’s fair to say some of his sound filters into this work (as does a little Danny Elfman in one brief, repeated gesture just before the work’s final stretch). The music evolves, and yet this is a piece that makes its statement in a single, potent burst."