A Tale of Two Orchestras: The Cleveland Orchestra at Severance Music Center and the Pittsburgh Symphony Orchestra at Heinz Hall
The Vienna Philharmonic Plays Music of the Early 20th Century at Carnegie Hall

Preview: Franz Welser-Möst with the Vienna Philharmonic at Carnegie Hall

Franz Welser-Möst with the Vienna Philharmonic, 2/26/17
Franz Welser-Möst with the Vienna Philharmonic, Carnegie Hall, 2/26/17

“Now, whenever I stand in front of them, it’s just making music with good friends.”                  Franz Welser-Möst

While the famously self-governing Vienna Philharmonic hasn't had a regular conductor for more than a century, Daniel Froschauer, the Philharmonic's chairman (and violinist) told the NY Times last month that they "secretly have two: Riccardo Muti and Franz Welser-Möst." And of those, only Welser-Möst has the additional distinction of being a former music director of the Vienna State Opera (2010-2014), to which all members of the Vienna Phil also belong. So, it's only fitting that these longtime colleagues - and fellow Austrians - return to Carnegie Hall this weekend for the first time since 2017 with a trio of programs that have a somewhat valedictory feel to them, perhaps reflecting Welser-Möst's recent announcement of his intention to dial back his conducting activities due to ongoing health issues. 

On Friday night, the Vienna Phil performs Bruckner's monumental 9th symphony, left incomplete at his death in 1896, and Berg's Three Pieces for Orchestra, which flirts with tonality within the confines of the 12-tone system. Berg's teacher, Arnold Schoenberg, is featured on Saturday night's program (Variations for Orchestra), alongside music by Hindemith (Concert Music for Wind Orchestra), Richard Strauss (the Symphonic Fantasy from his opera Die Frau ohne Schatten), and Ravel (the ecstatic, grotesque La Valse). And on Sunday afternoon, they perform Mahler's otherworldly 9th symphony, which Welser-Möst recorded with Vienna just last year.

Limited tickets remain for both Friday and Saturday's concerts at Carnegiehall.org or at the box office. Sunday's concert is sold out (check for returns), but you can hear it broadcast live at 2pm locally on WQXR 105.9FM or around the world at WQXR.com. I'll be there on Saturday, and (one way or another) on Sunday; stay tuned.