Overture to Ruslan and Ludmila
Symphony No. 5
Benjamin Zander, conductor
Ayano Ninomaya, violin
The stunning program that opens the season for the Boston Philharmonic Youth Orchestra has been expressly designed to show you, in case you don’t already know, just what the Boston Philharmonic Youth Orchestra is all about. A brilliant, showy, roof-raising overture, followed by three masterpieces, all in completely different styles and making staggering demands on the players. At the center of the program is Debussy’s beloved La mer. Debussy’s score is the iconic French orchestral masterpiece of the twentieth century, ever-fresh, beloved, endlessly imitated by other composers. It is the ultimate orchestra seascape—quintessentially French and as salty as they come.
The Debussy is surrounded by Russian masterworks, both familiar and unfamiliar. Stravinsky’s Violin Concerto is a work that overflows both with tenderness and wit. It is astoundingly virtuosic for the performer, who must negotiate instrumental acrobatics that are far outside the normal arsenal of a virtuoso’s technique. We are extremely fortunate to have as our soloist the brilliant Ayano Ninomiya, who is first violin of the world-famous Ying Quartet. The familiar and exhilarating Overture to Ruslan and Ludmila opens the program, and to conclude, the Tchaikovsky Fifth Symphony, a great favorite with audiences and known to just about everybody. But Mr. Zander’s take on the piece is bracing and fresh. He has performed it many times, in many parts of the world, and always audiences are stirred by the experience of having the familiar made new again.