Fabio Luisi Conducts Strauss's Alpine Symphony& Beethoven Emperor Concerto
September 12-15 | 2019
Fabio Luisi CONDUCTS
Beatrice Rana PIANO
AUGUSTA READ THOMAS
Aureole [Dallas Premiere]
Piano Concerto No. 5, "Emperor"
An Alpine Symphony
Fabio Luisi opens the season with a program that scales the heights. Strauss’s massive Alpine Symphony features over 100 musicians (including celesta, organ and off-stage brass) and meteorological sound effects. Cliburn Medalist Beatrice Rana joins the DSO for the “Emperor” Concerto, a crowning achievement aptly named for its regal temperament. The concert begins with Augusta Read Thomas’s radiant Aureole in its Dallas premiere.
“Rana delivered a highly sensitive account, hands splashing across the keyboard with great delicacy.”
Climb Richard Strauss' Musical Mountain, An Alpine Symphony, with NPR Music
- A Young Pianist Held Carnegie Hall Rapt in March. She’s Already Back.
by Arthur Lubow- The New York Times
PHILADELPHIA — Growing up in a small village in Puglia, in southern Italy, Beatrice Rana so outshone the other piano students that she felt little need to practice.
So when she was about 9, her parents, both professional musicians, decided to jolt her out of complacency. They entered her in a national competition near Florence, expecting that the results would teach her a lesson.
“They said, ‘You will see there are children who study and who are better than you,’” Ms. Rana recalled in a recent interview.
But Ms. Rana, now 26, saw her parents’ point, and learned that she’d need to work harder to make the most of her remarkable potential.
“They knew you need hard discipline, especially with piano,” she said. “They wanted me to be happy and they knew that I am ambitious. If you want to be a soloist, there is very little chance to become one.”
She was speaking earlier this week in Philadelphia, where she was rehearsing Prokofiev’s Third Piano Concerto with the Philadelphia Orchestra and Yannick Nézet-Séguin. They will perform the bruising piece on Friday at Carnegie Hall.
The appearance comes just a few months after her solo recital debut at Carnegie, in March. Anthony Tommasini, the Times’s chief classical music critic, wrote in his review that her rendition of Chopin’s Op. 25 Études “set a new standard for me,” adding that “she made the pieces sound as poetic and colorful as anything Chopin ever wrote.”
- Philadelphia Orchestra’s latest performance shows why this ensemble, in this moment, is worth the $5
by David Patrick Stearns- The Philadelphia Inquirer
When a donation envelope fell out of my Philadelphia Orchestra program on Thursday night, I couldn’t help thinking, in light of the $55 million gift that had been announced that day, that the orchestra won’t be needing these for a while.
Not true, of course, since $50 million of that is for the long-term endowment, not operating costs. But the “Russian Masters” program — also featuring the much-anticipated Philadelphia debut of pianist Beatrice Rana — helped you grasp what qualities warranted that massive gift.
The orchestra has played with great distinction at most points in its history. But the opening selection — Stravinsky’s Funeral Song, Op. 5, written on the death of Rimsky-Korsakov — showed how the Philadelphia sound has come to stand for something more than just beauty. Was it an inner drive or cognitive understanding of the music that allowed the ensemble to elevate the music’s artistic stature?
Like many early works (it dates from 1909), this one has trouble saying what it means. You could listen to the music knowing that Stravinsky intended individual instruments to say farewell to Rimsky-Korsakov. But I never really felt it until this performance, thanks to the clarity of intent from music director Yannick Nézet-Séguin and the aura of importance that came with it.
Discovered only in recent years, the piece came off like a manifesto of sorts. The opening clearly foreshadows The Firebird. Explicit references to Wagner point to the ways Stravinsky would similarly employ music of Pergolesi and Tchaikovsky in later works such as Pulcinellaand The Fairy’s Kiss. The visual imagery points to the balletic sensibility that would be evident even in his concertos and symphonies.
Meanwhile, Rachmaninoff’s Symphony No. 1, also an early work that was lost for decades, can be an unconvincing wedding of bombast and well-learned compositional devices. If memory serves, Nézet-Séguin’s 2014 outing with the symphony was glittering but episodic.
- Fabio Luisi begins first full season at helm of DSO with a musical mountain-climbing expedition
by Scott Cantrell, Dallas Morning News
When Fabio Luisi guest-conducted the Dallas Symphony Orchestra in March 2018, his first impression of the orchestra, he told me, was, "They don't know how good they are." He left enough of an impression that three months later, he was named the orchestra's next music director.
The Italian maestro obviously set out to demonstrate those skills — his own as well as the orchestra's — Thursday night at the Meyerson Symphony Center. In the first of five programs he's conducting this season as music director-designate, Luisi opened and closed with two brilliant and fiercely challenging orchestral showpieces: the Dallas premiere of American composer Augusta Read Thomas' Aureole and Richard Strauss' mountain-climbing extravaganza, An Alpine Symphony. In between came Beethoven's Emperor Piano Concerto, with Beatrice Rana as soloist.
Interestingly, the three pieces were composed at intervals of roughly a century apart: the Beethoven in 1809-11, the Strauss mainly between 1911 and 1915, and Thomas' piece in 2013.
The dictionary defines aureole as a radiant light or glow around a person or object. If that suggests something relatively static, Thomas' piece is anything but. Nine minutes long, it has a slower episode, maybe three-fourths of the way through, but most of it blazes, flashes, chatters and dances jerky dances.