Classical WETA's ongoing series featuring performances from the National Symphony Orchestra, hosted by Nicole Lacroix. This special radio series is made possible by WETA's Friends of Classical Music, including Patricia Sagon. The National Symphony Orchestra’s radio programs are generously supported in part by The Morris and Gwendolyn Cafritz Foundation.
NSO Showcase Presents a Franco-Russian Program
Wednesday, April 1, 2020 - 9:00pm
The Washington area is lucky to have two major orchestras within a few miles of each other. When NSO guest conductor Yan Pascal Tortelier became ill last April and was unable to conduct an all-French program, he was replaced by BSO Associate Conductor Nicholas Hersh. Et voilà, Kennedy Center audiences were treated to a lovely program of French favorites, including Debussy’s Prelude to the Afternoon of a Faun and Ravel’s Valses nobles et sentimentales. Radio audiences will have the chance to enjoy these performances on the April NSO Showcase.
November, 2018 marked another guest conductor debut for the NSO, that of Mexican conductor Carlos Miguel Prieto. He was named Musical America’s 2019 Conductor of the year, earned a Harvard MBA, and is gifted, according to The Washington Post, with “a debonair, 20th century charm.” Meanwhile, Russian pianist Denis Kozhukhin, winner of the 2010 Queen Elisabeth Competition, earned this accolade from The Post: “What [Kozhukhin in Rachmaninoff’s Third Piano Concerto] offers is a 21st century take on Russian fireworks, dazzling and strong yet emphasizing musicality over circus tricks even in the astonishing cadenza—and all with an underlying sense of cleanness and precision: fireworks without smoke to obscure the picture.”
Finally, the April NSO Showcase concludes with Shostakovich’s Symphony No.6 from a February 2019 Kennedy Center performance conducted by Gianandrea Noseda. To quote the Washington Classical Review, “the three movements offer surprise after surprise... The NSO, an orchestra once led by Mstislav Rostropovich, is clearly back in good hands again [with Noseda] when it comes to music of Dmitri Shostakovich.”
Debussy: Prelude to the Afternoon of a Faun
NSO, Nicholas Hersh conductor
Ravel: Valses nobles et sentimentales
NSO, Nicholas Hersh conductor
Rachmaninoff: Piano Concerto No.3
NSO, Denis Kozhukhin piano, Carlos Miguel Prieto conductor
Shostakovich: Symphony No.6
NSO, Gianandrea Noseda, conductor
March Winds on NSO Showcase
Wednesday, March 4, 2020 - 9:00pm
Dante condemned Francesca da Rimini to spend eternity with her lover Paolo in the second circle of hell, being buffeted by the strong winds of illicit passion. You’ll hear Tchaikovsky’s version of this tragic story in Classical WETA’s March NSO Showcase. Gianandrea Noseda leads the orchestra in Tchaikovsky’s dramatic symphonic poem, Francesca da Rimini. In this musical portrait of one of the most sympathetic characters of Dante’s Inferno, Tchaikovsky conjures up hurricane-force gusts in the orchestra, eternally battering the unfortunate Francesca who is damned for the sin of kissing her husband’s brother. Maestro Noseda will also conduct Mahler’s First Symphony, the “Titan,” a musical adventure like no other. Mahler famously believed that “a symphony must be like the world, it must embrace everything,” and his first symphony—written when he was still in his 20’s--is indeed all-encompassing. From the very beginning, we’re immediately immersed in Mahler’s world, from his love of nature, to his unique interpretation of the folk song “Frère Jacques.”
Franz Schubert was also just 25 when he wrote his Symphony No.8 and couldn’t quite figure out how to finish it. Despite having only two movements, the symphony is so full of delightful melodies that it has become a great favorite. On the March NSO Showcase, Conductor Laureate Christoph Eschenbach leads the orchestra in Schubert’s "Unfinished" Symphony. Join us all month long for NSO Showcase, a wind-tossed journey from Dante’s Inferno to Mahler’s "Titan."
From the Old World to the New World
Wednesday, February 5, 2020 - 9:00pm
The major work on February’s NSO Showcase program will be Dvořák's Ninth Symphony, “From the New World,” an energetic Kennedy Center performance recorded by WETA last June, which caused The Washington Post to comment that: [The Symphony} is audibly more energetic and involved when Noseda is on the podium. He’s hard to resist; ... there’s no questioning his energy and commitment. Not only is Noseda a capable conductor with a point of view, but he’s also palpably eager to be liked and eager to be effective, and the orchestra seems to be going along with it...A woman in front of me was dancing along in her seat...Noseda... keeps us coming back for more.
Also featured will be what Maestro Noseda called “Two jewels” by Stravinsky: the Symphonies of Wind Instruments, showcasing the NSO’s wind and brass sections, and his Violin Concerto featuring soloist Leila Josefowicz—a performance the Post called “a burst of joy.” Wagner’s Flying Dutchman Overture, conducted by Edward Gardner, rounds out the program.
Join us for NSO Showcase February 5th at 9 p.m. on Classical WETA (or all month long online at Classicalweta.org, or on the Classical WETA App).
Beware the Noonday Witch!
A Double Dose of Dvořák plus Brahms and Beethoven on NSO Showcase
Wednesday, January 8, 2020 - 9:00pm
Have you ever told your kids that they were getting on your last nerve? Well, Dvořák has a cautionary tale that will quickly cure you of that habit and turn you into the most patient of all parents or grandparents. In Dvořák's symphonic poem, The Noonday Witch, a Mom is trying to prepare lunch for her husband while her child is misbehaving. She threatens him with a terrifying boogieman from Czech folklore, the “noonday witch.” The tot calms down at the threat, but it’s too late. The clock strikes twelve, and the horrible witch comes for the child despite the pleas of the distraught mother. Dad returns home to find his wife cradling the toddler’s lifeless body. I don’t know about you, but this story gives me the willies. Fortunately, our January NSO Showcase program will also feature some more cheerful music by Dvořák— the overture In Nature’s Realm, a celebration of the beauty of the Czech countryside. The program will also include Brahms’ Symphony No.4 and Beethoven’s Violin Concerto with guest artist Sergey Khachatryan. Born in Armenia, Mr. Khachatryan won the Queen Elisabeth Music Competition in 2005, and was the youngest to ever win the International Jean Sibelius Violin Competition in 2000.
As you can see, it’s a great musical start to 2020 on NSO Showcase. Join us Wednesday, January 8th at 9 p.m. on Classical WETA, online at Classical WETA.org, or on the Classical WETA app.