Philadelphia Orchestra with Cellist Johannes Moser

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Friday, February 21, 2014

Yannick Nézet-Séguin conducts the Philadelphia Orchestra Yannick Nézet-Séguin conducts the Philadelphia Orchestra at Carnegie Hall in January 2013 (NPR Music)

In a late addition to the Carnegie Hall Live broadcast calendar, WQXR brought you the Philadelphia Orchestra under its music director, Yannick Nézet-Séguin in a program of Strauss, Shostakovich and Beethoven.

Update: Listen to portions of the broadcast above, including the Strauss Metamorphosen and Beethoven's Symphony No. 3. Because of rights restrictions by the orchestra, the Shostakovich Cello Concerto No. 1 is not available for archival streaming.

In this program, German cellist Johannes Moser joined the Philadelphians for Shostakovich's Cello Concerto No. 1, a powerful, autobiographical work with wartime echoes. Philadelphia has a long history with this piece, having given its U.S. premiere with soloist Mstislav Rostropovich and conductor Eugene Ormandy in 1959, and having made the first recording shortly after.

The program also featured Strauss's post-war lament Metamorphosen, and Beethoven's Symphony No. 3, "Eroica," with its revolutionary overtones and famous funeral march. Here Nézet-Séguin discusses the inherent politics in Beethoven's music:


Moser filled in for Truls Mørk, who had to withdraw last week due to a skiing accident. Here, Moser talks with Jeff Spurgeon about the last-minute substitution:



  • The Philadelphia Orchestra
  • Yannick Nézet-Séguin, music director and conductor
  • Johannes Moser, cello


  • R. Strauss: Metamorphosen
  • Shostakovich: Cello Concerto No. 1
  • Beethoven: Symphony No. 3, "Eroica"

We asked you to share your thoughts during the concert in Carnegie Hall's live chat or on Twitter using the hashtag #CHLive. Below is a collection of your chat comments, tweets and photos.

Comments [2]

Howard from Florida

The Toscanini/NBC Symphony broadcast of the "Eroica" --- one of many --- on 1 September 1945 evidences a First Movement that's extremely fast, like this performance. I also wouldn't want to be without an antipode interpreation, that of Furtwa"ngler and the Vienna Philharmonic recorded in 1952 that' granite-like, slower and philosophical, with prominent bass lines, from which it seems the entire symphony grows.

Feb. 22 2014 06:43 AM
Les from Miami, Florida

The autumnal and sorrowful "Metamorphosen" was sonorous yet clear in its interweaving of melodic lines and embodied the spirit of the music. I wasn't able to hear the Shostakovich 'Celle Concerto, with regret. The "Eroica" Symphony was one of energy and thrusting rhythm especially in the First Movement that started with the two E-flat chords strictly in tempo. The tempo was faster than any other conductor's in my experience. Beethoven at his most Jovian, hurling thunderbolts at every turn,especially at the fortissimo and sforzano idications. A the Special Theme and four bars before the Coda, there were ritards rather pronounced. The first movement repeat was not taken, which many including me believe is redundant. The Adagio assai was a Beethoven adagio, not a Bruckner adagio, which many famed conductors choose for it. The contrabasses played the "drum roll" of the initial motive on the beat. The Scherzo was at expected and usual tempo; and in the Trio, the three horns sounded sonorous and well-balanced. The Finale, Allegro Molto, began almost immediately after the Scherzo concluded. Consistently, the dynamic markings were scrupulously adhered to. The oboes, clarinets and bassoons sounded as one at their solo at Poco Andante; and the Coda shown with brilliance and fire. This is a revelatory performance of an imperishable masterpiece and makes one re-think Beethoven and the "Eroica Symphony." When Beethoven was dining with the poet Kuffner in 1817, the poet asked him which of his symphonies was his favorite --- there were then only eight --- and Beethoven answered the poet who thought it might be the Fifth Symphony: "Eh! Eh! The Eroica." They were having a fish dinner at the tavern called "Zur Rose". I wouldn't want to be without any of the Master's symphonies, but I can certainly understand why he answered the way he did. Maestro Ne'zet-Se'guin thought long and hard about his conception, it seems to me, and the Philadelphia Orchestra is the virtuoso vehicle to realize it. The broadcast sound from Carnegie Hall was extraordinarily good.

Feb. 21 2014 10:43 PM

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