The Philadelphia Orchestra in Concert on WRTI: Yannick conducts Mozart, Rachmaninoff and Clyne. Principal players in the spotlight.

Join us on *Monday, Dec. 26 from 7 to 9 p.m. on WRTI HD-2 to hear Yannick Nézét-Séguin conduct the Philadelphians in Rachmaninoff’s Symphony No. 1, Mozart’s Sinfonia Concertante, k 297b. and Anna Clyne’s Masquerade.

*This concert will not be broadcast at its usual time on Sunday, Dec 25 at 1 p.m., Christmas Day. Instead, tune in for A Festival of Nine Lessons and Carols, a special yuletide broadcast from the Choir at King’s College, Cambridge.

Richard Woodhams, the Philadelphia Orchestra’s principal oboe from 1977 until his retirement at the end of the 2018/2019 season, returns for this encore collaboration with his principal colleagues in Mozart’s delightful quartet for winds and orchestra. Joining Mr. Woodhams are principal clarinet Ricardo Morales, principal bassoon Daniel Matsukawa, and principal horn Jennifer Montone.

Rachmaninoff’s First Symphony was written in his early 20s, when this remarkable piano virtuoso was also establishing himself as a composer. He had already written several orchestral works and a one-act opera. But after a disastrous premiere, Rachmaninoff was in such deep despair that he simply stopped composing. He channeled his energies into a new pursuit, conducting; and he continued touring as a concert pianist. Eventually, he resolved his writer’s block with the help of a hypnotherapist and his compositional energies came roaring back.

He apparently intended to return to the First Symphony, and kept the full score at his family estate pending a chance to revise it. But his international career was proceeding at fever pitch. Then the Russian Revolution erupted. Rachmaninoff and his family left Russia forever and his estate was burned to the ground. The First Symphony seemed lost. But a full set of orchestral parts was discovered at the Saint Petersburg Conservatory after the composer’s death. Given that the Philadelphia Orchestra enjoyed an especially fruitful relationship with Sergei Rachmaninoff, it’s poignant to think of the Philadelphians reviving a work that the composer thought had been completely lost.

Also on Monday’s program, a work by Anna Clyne that premiered in 2013 at the BBC’s Last Night of the Proms, Masquerade. Drawing its inspiration from the original mid-18th century promenade concerts held in London’s pleasure gardens, it’s a richly orchestrated work that includes an old English country dance melody, and a drinking song to add a festive flair to the afternoon’s program.

Listen during the broadcast when Susan Lewis speaks backstage with oboist Richard Woodhams, and bassoonist Daniel Matsukawa.


Clyne: Masquerade

Mozart: Sinfonia concertante, K. 297b, for winds and orchestra

  • Richard Woodhams, oboe
  • Ricardo Morales, clarinet
  • Daniel Matsukawa, bassoon
  • Jennifer Montone, horn

Rachmaninoff: Symphony No. 1

Melinda Whiting is host and Susan Lewis is senior producer and lead interviewer of The Philadelphia Orchestra in Concert on WRTI. Listen to this concert broadcast on WRTI HD-2, on the Classical Stream at WRTI.org, on the WRTI Mobile App, and on your favorite smart speaker.

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