“When a donation envelope fell out of my Philadelphia Orchestra program on Thursday night, I couldn’t help thinking, in light of the $55 million gift that had been announced that day, that the orchestra won’t be needing these for a while,” writes David Patrick Stearns in Friday’s (6/7) Philadelphia Inquirer. “Not true, of course, since $50 million of that is for the long-term endowment, not operating costs. But the ‘Russian Masters’ program—led by Music Director Yannick Nézet-Séguin and also featuring the much-anticipated Philadelphia debut of pianist Beatrice Rana—helped you grasp what qualities warranted that massive gift. The orchestra has played with great distinction at most points in its history. But the opening selection—Stravinsky’s Funeral Song, Op. 5, written on the death of Rimsky-Korsakov—showed how the Philadelphia sound has come to stand for something more than just beauty.” Other works on the program included Rachmaninoff’s Symphony No. 1 and Prokofiev’s Piano Concerto No. 3. “Rana’s encore, Chopin’s Etude, Op. 25 No. 1, was something only she can do … constantly evolving into new emotional vistas that gave the piece’s two-minute duration something close to an epic quality.”

Posted June 11, 2019