Beethoven’s Seventh Symphony highlights The Philadelphia Orchestra in Concert re-broadcast on WRTI this Sunday, November 6th at 1 pm, but there’s so much more. The Violin Concerto of John Williams and Ravel’s well-loved Pavane round out a brilliant program conducted by the Orchestra’s Principal Guest Conductor Stéphane Denève.
Maurice Ravel’s lilting Pavane for a Dead Princess begins the concert from this past May at the Kimmel Center’s Verizon Hall. While Ravel studied at the Paris Conservatory under Gabriel Fauré, he composed this piece with the hope that it would evoke what, in his words, “a little princess might, in former times, have danced at the Spanish court.”
Then, renowned violinist James Ehnes is the soloist in the haunting Violin Concerto of John Williams. Williams is widely hailed as today’s preeminent film composer, but he has also composed many concert works, most notably, a dozen concertos.
Beethoven wrote his Seventh Symphony in 1811-12. It’s hard for us even to begin to comprehend what the Viennese had been through during the preceding decade. Napoleon’s occupations of Vienna in 1805 and 1809 were traumatic — buildings burned and left in ruin; many dead—but the tide had recently turned. The Duke of Wellington had beaten Joseph Bonaparte, Napoleon’s younger brother, in the northern Spanish town of Vittoria, and within the year the Congress of Vienna would be convened to reapportion Europe in the aftermath of France’s defeat.
In this symphony, there is the widest range of human feeling imaginable, and it remains—more than two centuries after its composition—one of the greatest masterpieces in all of music.
During intermission, Susan Lewis speaks with violinist James Ehnes and Principal Guest Conductor Stéphane Denève.
Don’t miss this concert, the second-to-last of The Philadelphia Orchestra’s 2015-16 season! That’s this Sunday, November 6th from 1 to 3 pm on WRTI.
Maurice Ravel: Pavane for a Dead Princess
John Williams: Violin Concerto
James Ehnes, violin
Ludwig van Beethoven: Symphony No. 7
Stéphane Denève, Conductor
Gregg Whiteside is producer and host of The Philadelphia Orchestra in Concert broadcasts on WRTI 90.1 FM in Philadelphia and streaming online at WRTI.org, every Sunday from 1 to 3 pm.