Listen on Sunday, April 14, 2 to 4 pm to two works, composed 52 years apart, that are tailor-made for the dense, glorious string sound of The Fabulous Philadelphians: Franz Schubert's Symphony No. 8 in B minor, also known as the "Unfinished Symphony," and Anton Bruckner's Symphony No. 4, "Romantic."
WRTI’s concert broadcast of The Philadelphia Orchestra on Sunday, April 14th features the music of two Romantic Viennese masters. WRTI’s Susan Lewis talks with concertmaster David Kim about how the symphonies of Franz Schubert and Anton Bruckner bring out the famous Philadelphia sound, and about the interpretation of guest conductor Christoph von Dohnanyi.
Listen to this Sunday’s WRTI concert broadcast of The Philadelphia Orchestra, which will include an interview at Intermission with concertmaster David Kim.
Today, orchestra audiences know the concertmaster as the violinist who precedes the conductor onstage, and helps the orchestra tune – a sign that the concert is about to begin. WRTI’s Susan Lewis discovered that the position carried duties both onstage and off.
LEWIS: The concertmaster is foremost the first chair of the first violins, a section that often carries the melody. Philadelphia Orchestra Concertmaster David Kim says his musical duties include setting bowing patterns for the strings.
KIM: Let me use the slow movement of Mozart’s Eine Kleine Nachtmusic. First I’m going to use a long bow and try to capture as many notes as I can without changing the bow. If I decided, okay, well, I think we need more bow so I’m going to have us change bow - the direction that we change the bow - many times. Then suddenly it will sound like I’m singer. Here’s one that I’m breaking the bow as it were.
LEWIS: There are plenty of nonmusical duties as well. On a typical day, Kim checks in with the conductor before they start rehearsal.
KIM: If it’s Yannick, go in and say hello, anything Maestro, last second, that you need to talk about? If it's a guest conductor, welcome them to town; do they need a restaurant recommendation? Do they need to know where to buy concert socks? Just anything, please depend on their concertmaster.
LEWIS: Kim serves as liason between the conductor and members of the Orchestra. He makes public appearances on behalf of the Orchestra, and the music director, if he is not available.
Listeners may not think about the visuals in an orchestra concert, but body language is an important way in which musicians communicate with one another. From his chair, Philadelphia Orchestra Concertmaster David Kim leads Mozart’s Serenade in G Major: Eine Kleine Nachtmusik the way it would have been done in Mozart’s time, without a conductor, on January 10th, 11th, and 12th in concerts at the Kimmel Center.