Guest star crashes PSO party in '09-10
Manfred Honeck, music director of the Pittsburgh Symphony: "I think it is good to do a Beethoven cycle, and I hope to give a good reading [and] to put my stamp on it."
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"Salieri" will be on hand for a special performance of Mozart's "Requiem" that will be one of the highlights of the Pittsburgh Symphony Orchestra's 2009-10 season.
While most performances of the famous funeral Mass incorporate versions completed after Mozart's death, music director Manfred Honeck will use only the composer's music but will intersperse it with other works by the composer, including a Gregorian chant and letters he wrote. F. Murray Abraham, the actor who famously portrayed Antonio Salieri in the film "Amadeus," will read the letters.
"I have done this before," says Honeck, "and the people are always extremely emotional and moved by this,"
The concert will be a highlight, but it is the composer who took up the mantle of Mozart who will dominate the programming for the second season under Honeck.
Ever one for dramatic entrances, Beethoven arrives fashionably late to the maestro's ongoing celebration of Viennese composers. It's not until this April that Honeck first performs a Beethoven symphony (the Seventh) in a season devoted to his hometown of Vienna. But next season, Beethoven's presence will be fully felt as Honeck begins a multiyear "Beethoven Project" of symphonies, concertos and other works.
"I think it is good to do a Beethoven cycle, and I hope to give a good reading [and] to put my stamp on it," says Honeck. "It is always an incredible challenge because of all the recordings."
The PSO will add several lesser-known works, such as aria "Ah, Perfido!," but the cycle will begin and end with the ultimate known quantity -- Beethoven's Ninth Symphony, including the Mendelssohn Choir and rising-star soprano Measha Brueggergosman. Honeck also will conduct Beethoven's Symphony No. 3, "Eroica," and Piano Concerto No. 5, "Emperor" (with Emanuel Ax).
The orchestra will get the perfect start for the cycle when it breathes in the air of the composer's birthplace of Bonn. It will perform there in the Beethoven Festival as part of the first European tour with Honeck. Other stops include closing the prestigious Lucerne Festival and a performance in Essen, Germany. Honeck also will take the PSO to New York's Carnegie Hall, with star violinist Anne-Sophie Mutter playing the Brahms Violin Concerto, and hopes to have the violinist on a later tour to the Musikverein, Vienna, where the PSO has been invited to play in 2010.
Back at home, the Austrian director will continue his Mahler cycle with Symphonies No. 3 and 4. He will conduct Bruckner's Symphony No. 7, Tchaikovsky's Piano Concerto No. 1, Stravinsky's "The Rite of Spring," Sibelius' Violin Concerto and Shostakovich's Symphony No. 5, among others. He also will reprise a concert of waltzes by the Strauss Family for Thanksgiving weekend concerts and introduce a work ("Te Deum") by the largely forgotten German composer Walter Braunfels. In all, Honeck will conduct nine subscription weekends, one more than the current season, and lead a gala concert with violinist Itzhak Perlman in September.
The traditional cavalcade of star performers and conductors will take to the Heinz Hall stage, including violinists Joshua Bell, Hilary Hahn and Gil Shaham, and pianists Ax, Jonathan Biss and Yefim Bronfman. Newcomers include pianists Stephen Hough and Sa Chen and violinist Stefan Jackiw. On the podium, the '09-10 season won't see a single new face, with only eight conductors leading the 21 subscriptions.
Over three weeks of concerts, principal guest conductor Leonard Slatkin will fulfill his role as introducer of the new and new-to-Heinz Hall. Performed by the PSO for the first time will be Peter Mennin's Concertato for Orchestra, "Moby Dick," DJ/composer Mason Bates' "Liquid Interface" and works by the PSO's composer of the year, Richard Danielpour. Those include the premiere of a co-commissioned work (with the Philadelphia Orchestra), "A Woman's Life," which sets Maya Angelou poems for soprano Angela Brown and "Pastime" for baritone Gregg Baker.
Latvian conductor Andris Nelsons will conduct Danielpour's "Zoroastrian Riddles" (commissioned by the PSO in 1996), and Honeck will conduct his "Rocking the Cradle."
The Otto Klemperer-endowed guest conductor, Marek Janowski, takes the wheel for two weeks, including Berlioz's "Symphonie fantastique," which will be recorded for release on Pentatone.
Gianandrea Noseda returns for two programs in March, and Yan Pascal Tortelier's appearance includes PSO's first performance of Tchaikovsky's Second Piano Concerto (with soloist Hough).
Star violinist Joshua Bell returns to Pittsburgh next season, but this time in a recital at Heinz Hall.
Another theme draped over the season is that of "Inspired by Nature." In addition to programming works that have their genesis in the celebration or contemplation of nature, the orchestra wanted to acknowledge "Pittsburgh's growing reputation as a symbol of environmental rehabilitation."
Sept. 25-27: Honeck, Mendelssohn Choir, soloists including soprano Measha Brueggergosman. Gandolfi's "The Garden of Cosmic Speculation," Beethoven's "Ah, Perfido!" and Symphony No. 9, "Choral."
Oct. 1-4: Andres Cardenes, conductor and violin, and Anne Martindale Williams, cello. Poulenc's Sinfonietta, Tchaikovsky's "Variations on a Rococo Theme" and Vivaldi's "The Four Seasons."
Oct. 16-17: Leonard Slatkin, conductor; Angela Brown, soprano. Mennin's Concertato for Orchestra, "Moby Dick," Danielpour's "A Woman's Life" and Sibelius' Symphony No. 2.
Oct. 23, 25: Slatkin; William Cabellero, horn. Copland's "El Salon Mexico" and Four Dance Episodes from "Rodeo," Barber's Overture to "The School for Scandal," "Adagio for Strings" and "Medea's Meditation and Dance of Vengeance" and Williams' Horn Concerto.
Oct. 30-31, Nov. 1: Marek Janowski, conductor; Jean-Yves Thibaudet, piano. Saint-Saens' Piano Concerto No. 2 and Berlioz's "Symphonie fantastique."
Nov. 5-7: Janowski; Chee-Yun, violin. Mozart's Symphony No. 30, Mendelssohn's Violin Concerto and Dvorak's Symphony No. 7.
Nov. 13, 15: Andris Nelsons, conductor; Stefan Jackiw, violin. Danielpour's "Zoroastrian Riddles, Part 1," Mozart's Violin Concerto No. 5, "Turkish," and Strauss' "Also sprach Zarathustra."
Nov. 27-29: Honeck; Sa Chen, piano. Tchaikovsky's Piano Concerto No. 1; music by members of the Strauss family.
Dec. 4-6: Honeck; F. Murray Abraham, speaker; Mendelssohn Choir, soloists. Beethoven's Overture to "Coriolan," Braunfels' "Te Deum, Part III" and Mozart's "Requiem."
Jan. 22-23: Honeck; Emanuel Ax, piano. Beethoven's Piano Concerto No. 5, "Emperor," and Bruckner's Symphony No. 7.
Jan. 29, 31: Honeck; Gil Shaham, violin. Haydn's Concerto for Violin and Orchestra No. 2, Mozart's Violin Concerto No. 2 and Mahler's Symphony No. 4.
Feb. 5-6: Honeck; Anne-Sophie Mutter, violin. Brahms' Violin Concerto in D Major and Beethoven's Symphony No. 3, "Eroica."
Feb. 19, 21: Slatkin; Gregg Baker, baritone; Mason Bates, electronica. Bernstein's Three Dance Episodes from "On the Town," Bates' "Liquid Interface," Danielpour's "Pastime" and Gershwin's "An American in Paris."
March 5, 7: Gianandrea Noseda, conductor; Jonathan Biss, piano. Liszt's "San Francesco di Paola from Legendes," Haydn's Symphony No. 56 and Brahms' Piano Concerto No. 2.
March 11-13: Noseda; Benjamin Hochman, piano. Rossini's Overture to "La Cenerentola," Mozart's Piano Concerto No. 19 and Tchaikovsky's Symphony No. 3, "Polish."
March 19-21: Yan Pascal Tortelier, conductor; Randolph Kelly, viola; and Mendelssohn Choir. Berlioz's "Harold in Italy" and Holst's "The Planets."
April 9, 11: Tortelier; Stephen Hough, piano. Tchaikovsky's Piano Concerto No. 2 and Prokofiev's Symphony No. 5.
April 16-17: Juraj Valcuha, conductor; and Yefim Bronfman, piano. Zemlinsky's "The Mermaid" and Beethoven's Piano Concerto No. 3.
April 29-30, May 1: Honeck; Horacio Gutierrez, piano. Danielpour's "Rocking the Cradle," Rachmaninoff's Piano Concerto No. 2 and Stravinsky's "The Rite of Spring."
May 7-9: Honeck; Hilary Hahn, violin. Sibelius Violin Concerto and Shostakovich's Symphony No. 5.
June 11, 13: Honeck; Jane Irwin, mezzo-soprano, Mendelssohn Choir and Children's Festival Chorus. Mahler's Symphony No. 3.
Sept. 10: Honeck, conductor; Itzhak Perlman, violin. Weber's Overture to "Die Freischutz," Mozart's Violin Concerto No. 3 and Dvorak's "Slavonic Dances."
Sept. 15: Essen, Germany. Honeck; Christine Shafer, soprano. Strauss' "Four Last Songs" and Bruckner's Symphony No. 4.
Sept. 16: Bonn, Germany. Honeck; Viktoria Mullova, violin. Weber's Overture to "Die Freischutz," Beethoven's Violin Concerto, Dvorak's Symphony No. 8.
Sept. 18: Lucerne, Switzerland. Honeck; Mullova. Weber's Overture to Die Freischutz, Beethoven's Violin Concerto and Dvorak's Symphony No. 8.
Sept. 19: Lucerne, Switzerland. Honeck; Shafer. Strauss' "Four Last Songs" and Bruckner's Symphony No. 4.
Dec. 11-12: Handel's "Messiah"; sing-along on Dec. 12.
Feb. 9: Honeck; Anne-Sophie Mutter, violin. Brahms' Violin Concerto and Mahler's Symphony No. 1.
March 2: Heinz Hall recital by Bell, violin; and Jeremy Denk, piano. Program TBA.
First Published February 1, 2009 12:00 am