We are excited to invite you, our valued and loyal patrons, to join us as we continue to feature the LiveNote app during the concert season. We will employ this concert enhancement initially on select subscription concerts in an effort to engage concertgoers and learn more about the collective appetite for the use of new technology in the concert hall across many different types of Orchestra concerts.
LiveNote will be featured on certain pieces only on select dates during the following performances in the 2019-20 season:
Umoja, a world premiere commission by American composer Valerie Coleman, launches our 2019-20 season. Ms. Coleman's spirited music draws from Afro-Cuban, jazz, and classical genres. Umoja—meaning unity in Swahili—is alive with all these influences. Bartók's gorgeous Third Concerto, performed by Yannick's good friend Hélène Grimaud, is as vibrant today as the day The Philadelphia Orchestra and Eugene Ormandy gave the world premiere at the Academy of Music in 1946.
Rachmaninoff's Piano Concerto No. 2 marked the composer's triumphant recovery from the disastrous premiere of his First Symphony. While some elements are familiar thanks to movie soundtracks and pop songs, the Concerto as a whole is a testament to Rachmaninoff's brilliance as a composer and pianist. Haochen Zhang is a worthy interpreter of this masterwork: Not yet 30, he's renowned for dazzling technique and thoughtful interpretation. Strauss's Alpine Symphony was inspired by a trek up a mountain, from pre-dawn darkness to deepening nightfall.
Yannick leads an all-Mozart program displaying the seemingly infinite range of his musical gifts. The “Haffner” Symphony, named for the commissioning Salzburg family, began as a serenade, but Mozart tweaked and enhanced it into its present form, now recognized as a true breakthrough in his musical style. The Symphony No. 40, perhaps his most famous symphony, is also hailed as a turning point in composition.
Mahler summons a large orchestra to explore the full range of human emotions in his Fifth Symphony, a work that Yannick returns to with the Philadelphians for the first time in 9 years. Schubert himself struggled to play the Wanderer Fantasy. More than just a technical challenge, the piece is an ingenious set of variations on the composer's song “Der Wanderer,” transformed by Liszt into a rarely heard piano concerto. The four movements are played without a break, building intensity until the mesmerizing finale.
The Philadelphia Orchestra celebrates Valentine's weekend with spellbinding music, beginning with Mozart's bewitching The Magic Flute. Magic takes a darker turn in The Sorcerer's Apprentice, Dukas's symphonic poem immortalized by Mickey Mouse battling demonic brooms in Fantasia. Stéphane Denève is a passionate exponent of John Williams's endlessly creative music for the cinema, represented here by his spookily charming Harry Potter scores.
Mendelssohn wrote his Second Piano Concerto right after he got married and there's plenty of joy expressed, especially in the final movement, which the composer himself described as “piano fireworks.” He was the soloist at the premiere in 1837. The young French pianist Lise de la Salle (“For much of the concert, the audience had to remember to breathe…” –The Washington Post) is a riveting choice to interpret this concerto. Berlioz's Symphonie fantastique is a tour de force of compositional color, a breakthrough that set the stage for his most assured writing.
The indelible four-note opening of Beethoven's Fifth Symphony lays the foundation for a truly fateful symphonic journey. Written in 1804, and on the program when The Philadelphia Orchestra gave its first concert in 1900, it's an epic tour de force that resonates in 2020. Following its rousing conclusion come the verdant valleys and sweet smells of the woods and the Austrian countryside, an exposition of Beethoven's love of nature.
Beethoven was just 25 when he wrote his First Symphony. Delightful and high-spirited, floating on strains of Mozart and Haydn, it's a fascinating glimpse of the greatness and genius to come—all on full, glorious display in the climactic Ninth. Written just a few short years before his death, Beethoven's profound ode to brotherhood, salvation, and pure joy reminds us why we are here as an orchestra, says Yannick, and why we constantly try to make our world better by playing music.
Stéphane Denève's final subscription concerts as the Orchestra's principal guest conductor culminate with Strauss's epic Ein Heldenleben—literally, A Hero's Life—an extravagant, all-encompassing, semi-autobiographical tone poem that quotes from his own prodigious masterpieces. Anna Clyne's imaginative This Midnight Hour, highlighting the power of the lower strings, evokes the journey of a mysterious woman “stripped bare, running mad through the night.” Liszt's heady Second Piano Concerto is gorgeous and technically challenging.
Italian conductor Fabio Luisi returns to conduct a program that opens with Bent Sørensen’s Evening Land. The piece was inspired by an image of the evening light that Sørensen recalled from his childhood in Denmark. Principal Flute Jeffrey Khaner is especially pleased to be performing the Nielsen Concerto. “I love the back and forth in the orchestration; it's a lot of fun to play and listen to!” Famous for its ingenious use of a “fate” theme, Tchaikovsky's Fifth Symphony progresses from a somber beginning to an uplifting, triumphant march in the final movement. It's Tchaikovsky at his soulful best!
Tchaikovsky's Second Piano Concerto may be overshadowed by his more famous First, but it's the piece that earned Lukas Geniušas top honors at the Tchaikovsky Competition. Balanchine, too, recognized its consummate beauty, choosing it as the score for his tribute to classical Russian ballet. The government decided what was art when Shostakovich wrote his vehement and complicated Fifth Symphony under an oppressive Soviet regime (and threat of the Gulag).
With LiveNote you can:
- Follow along during the performance with real-time program notes including text and translations for vocal works.
- Watch the slides of information automatically advance with the music on your phone’s screen during the concert.
- Enjoy key highlights, engaging details, and images relating to the composition.
- Access a musical glossary, a digital version of the traditional program notes, and information about The Philadelphia Orchestra.
- Adjust the font size and brightness for optimal viewing during a performance in Verizon Hall.
A critical feature of LiveNote is that it has been developed to have minimal impact on concertgoers in the hall and thoroughly tested in rehearsals and postlude performances. The application is designed with grey text on a black background specifically to minimize light and disruption. The content is custom designed for each piece to optimize the experience of hearing the work without distraction. It can be used throughout Verizon Hall, and its use is optional. LiveNote will be a companion to Playbill, which will continue to be distributed at performances when LiveNote is available.
“Today, we all are finding ways to merge technology with the things that we love in our lives, including listening to music. I welcome the opportunity to facilitate this in the concert hall in a thoughtful manner, providing listeners with the choice to use the LiveNote application, or not. It is yet another option for our audiences to appreciate and enjoy the music differently.”
-- Philadelphia Orchestra Music Director Yannick Nézet-Séguin
We are committed to providing you the best possible concert experience. We are excited to bring this new concert enhancement to Verizon Hall and plan with you the next steps for this technology. Please share your thoughts with us via the contact form.
LiveNote was funded by the John S. and James L. Knight Foundation, National Endowment for the Arts and the William Penn Foundation.