Yannick Nézet-Séguin Conductor
Hélène Grimaud Piano
Mozart Piano Concerto No. 20
Benzecry MUYUY, The circle of life (world premiere—Philadelphia Orchestra commission)
Price Symphony No. 4
Yannick and Hélène Grimaud have performed together all over the world, and the passion of their inspired partnership shines in this performance of the Mozart Piano Concerto No. 20, a showcase for Grimaud’s acclaimed artistry. A recent review of her performance of this work praised her “impeccable technique and concentration … her phenomenally strong, yet nimble fingers moved with an assertive energy” (Bachtrack).
This concert continues Yannick and the Orchestra’s exploration of the music of Florence Price, whose music was lost to generations and has only recently come to be considered some of the greatest of 20th-century American music. Although she composed more than 400 works, most of it was never publicly performed; in a letter to famed conductor Serge Koussevitsky, Price wrote, “I have two handicaps—those of sex and race.” Price’s Fourth Symphony, written in 1945, was presumed lost until discovered among a nest of her papers in an abandoned house that had once been her summer home. In this, her final symphony, Price incorporates melodies from spirituals, including a beautifully orchestrated theme from “Wade in the Water,” and the third movement embraces a traditional Juba dance—a syncopated stamping, clapping movement to a rhythm that was a precursor to ragtime.