BEYOND THE BLACK SEA
APRIL 8 2018, 3pm
NORTH SHORE CENTER FOR THE PERFORMING ARTS, SKOKIE
SCOTT SPECK Conductor
XIAYIN WANG Piano
PYOTR ILYICH TCHAIKOVSKY Symphony No. 5
RACHMANINOFF Piano Concerto No. 2
PHILIP GLASS Music from The Secret Agent
Approximate running time 1 hour 50 minutes including intermission
“I grew up in a quiet place and was drenched from the earliest childhood with the wonderful beauty of Russian popular songs. I am, therefore, passionately devoted to every expression of the Russian spirit.”
– Pyotr Ilych Tchaikovsky
Travel beyond the Black Sea to Russia with two beloved classics from Russian masters and a Russian-themed composition from Philip Glass. Tchaikovsky’s Symphony No. 5 and Rachmaninoff’s Piano Concerto are both of enduring popularity through the years. Tchaikovsky’s theme of predestination of fate and ultimate victory through strife resonates not just as Russian, but also across the globe. Rachmaninoff, who himself had to overcome great obstacle in composing the Piano Concerto No. 2, brought the world “one of the greatest piano works in the piano repertoire…an unassailably epic work of genius.” (Classic FM). The towering masterpiece was written after a period of depression and failure, overcome only after seeking out the hypnotist to whom the concerto is dedicated.
Philip Glass’s The Secret Agent was inspired by Ukraine-born Joseph Conrad’s novel of the same name and composed for the 1996 film. As a shadowy Russian spy skulks through the madness caused by a terrorist attack, Glass’s exquisite combination of instruments captures the moody desolation of nineteenth century London from the point of view of a secret agent from beyond the Black Sea.
Joining the Chicago Philharmonic for Beyond the Black Sea is renowned pianist Xiayin Wang. Wang has performed throughout the world across North America, South America, Europe and Asia and is a successful recording artist. Her recordings of Rachmaninoff’s solo piano works praised her technique and “awesome clarity and poise” (Gramophone) and she continues to wow audiences and critics with her impressive artistry.