Overture to Ruslan and Lyudmila
Concerto for Cello and Orchestra
Symphony No. 1
Benjamin Zander, conductor
JONAH ELLSWORTH, CELLO
The repertory for the cello has seen a huge expansion in the 125 years since Dvořák wrote his Cello Concerto, but it is still the most popular work ever written for the instrument. One hears echoes of it in countless works written since it was new, and it taught a lesson to Brahms, who said near the end of his life that he would have written a cello concerto himself if he had realized what the instrument, as demonstrated by Dvořák, was capable of doing. The concerto has a special place in the repertory of virtually all cellists – it acts as their official calling card. Every cellist seems to develop a uniquely personal relationship to this piece, an almost symbiotic connection between the character of the music and the personality of the cellist playing it. This will be exceptionally clear in the case of our extraordinary soloist, Jonah Ellsworth, a player who finds astonishing and genuine emotional depths in every piece of music he turns his attention to. There is a spellbinding inwardness about Ellsworth’s playing that will have you holding your breath!
And then on to the Brahms First Symphony – possibly the most completely accomplished and mature first symphony ever written by anybody (or at least up until Elgar). Brahms was an ultimate musical craftsman and ruthlessly self-critical, and the relatively high opus number of his symphony – 68 – is an indication of how seriously he took the daunting prospect of writing a symphony in the shadow of Beethoven. The profound drama of the first movement, the ineffable beauty of the slow movement, and the radiant grandeur of the finale attest to the utter mastery that Brahms had attained by the age of 43. He had been wise to wait.
This exceptionally beautiful program will open with Glinka’s roof-raising overture to his opera Ruslan and Lyudmila, which is just about the most exuberant way we could think of to begin this BPO 40th anniversary season!
All dates, repertoire, venues, and artists subject to change.
THURSDAY, OCTOBER 18, 2018
7:00PM / SANDERS THEATRE
Guide to the music with Benjamin Zander throughout concert
SUNDAY, OCTOBER 21, 2018
3:00PM / SANDERS THEATRE
Guide to the music with Benjamin Zander, 1:45pm