Yannick Nézet-Séguin Conductor
Gil Shaham Violin
Bates Violin Concerto No. 2 (world premiere—Philadelphia Orchestra co-commission)
Peña Laguna Oraison, for chorus and orchestra
Brahms A German Requiem
From Mozart to Berlioz to Britten, great composers have poured their souls into settings of the requiem mass. Unique among them is Brahms’s utterly beautiful A German Requiem, written after the death of his mother, with its emphasis not on the dead, but on those left behind; not on loss, but on the joy of remembrance. From its opening phrase, “Blessed are they that mourn, for they shall be comforted,” to its transporting finale of triumph and tranquility, it touches the hearts of all who hear it.
Written with the intention of being paired with Brahms’s Requiem, Cuban-Canadian composer Luis Ernesto Peña Laguna’s choral work Oraison was created in reaction to the COVID pandemic. Sung in four languages—French, Spanish, Latin, and English—it ends on a note of joyful hope as the chorus sings in French, “We emerge/Barefoot on the rosy meadows/At the first morning sun.”
Another cause for joy: There’s an extraordinary, palpable energy in the hall when musicians who have special regard for each other come together in performance. And that’s what you can expect when Yannick welcomes the preeminent violinist Gil Shaham back for the world premiere of Mason Bates’s Violin Concerto, a piece co-commissioned by the Orchestra. Bates’s “stunning, staggering, stupendous” (Classical Voice North America) Piano Concerto thrilled Philadelphia Orchestra audiences in 2022; now you can hear this heralded composer’s newest work with a violinist beloved by audiences around the world.