Boston Philharmonic Orchestra

Ginastera, Ravel, and Strauss

Variaciones concertantes

Daphnis and Chloé, Suite No. 2

Ein Heldenleben

Benjamin Zander, conductor


Alberto Ginastera is the most famous composer to come out of Argentina, and the Variaciones concertantes is one of his most remarkable and significant achievements. It is a concerto for orchestra, highlighting the principals on each instrument and devoting a variation to each of them. All the music – quite Latinate – is beautiful, much of it strangely so, and some of the variations are of absolutely transcendental difficulty for the performers. Prepare to be dazzled!

Ravel’s beloved Daphnis and Chloé bathed its first Parisian listeners in its hedonistic, sensuous glow in 1912, just a year before Stravinsky was to yank those same listeners forcefully into a new aesthetic with The Rite of Spring. The Rite’s influence on later music is obvious and endlessly written about, but Daphnis also exerted its spell over the music that was to follow (including the Rite, however grudging Stravinsky might be about admitting it). The intoxicating lushness of its harmony and the true sorcerer’s magic of its wizardly orchestration are as stirring and as enchanting now as they were for its first audiences. The so-called Second Suite, which is really just the final eighteen minutes of the work, is the true heart of the piece and is what is usually played in concert.

 Ein Heldenleben marks the climax of that string of magnificent tone poems that established Richard Strauss’s early fame and that, over the course of the ensuing century, have proved enduring and inexhaustible. Strauss himself is the hero of this Hero’s Life, and his vast orchestra with its limitless resources of color and nuance portrays the world in which he battles for the acceptance of his music, woos his future bride, and earns a place of eternal renown with his life’s achievements. 

It is worth noting that this program is possibly the most technically daunting that the orchestra has ever undertaken – as we were preparing the season there were some voices declaring that it was madness to place these three supremely challenging works on the same program. We are proud of the Boston Philharmonic’s phenomenal level of playing, and, asserting a parent’s bragging rights, we are unashamed to put it on display!

All dates, repertoire, venues, and artists subject to change.


THURSDAY, november 15, 2018
Guide to the music with Benjamin Zander throughout concert
(Discovery Series)

SATURDAY, november 17, 2018 
Guide to the music with Benjamin Zander, 6:45pm
To purchase tickets for the Saturday performance at Jordan Hall, please call 617-585-1260.

SUNDAY, november 18, 2018
Guide to the music with Benjamin Zander, 1:45pm

To purchase tickets for the Thursday or Sunday performances at Sanders, please call 617-496-2222 or visit