Night and Day: Wednesday, May 8, 2003
A D V E R T I S E M E N T
A D V E R T I S E M E N T
Philly Finale

Along with each of America’s other “Big Five” orchestras, the Philadelphia Orchestra is in a state of transition right now. The ensemble’s 80-year-old music director Wolfgang Sawallisch is nearing the end of his 10-year tenure as conductor, and his reportedly frail health (which didn’t keep him from leading a rapturously received Beethoven concert in Carnegie Hall last week) means that you’ll have to keep an eye on other publications to make sure that the orchestra’s concert at Bass Hall on Wednesday is going forward as scheduled.

Until someone tells us different, though, we treat the concert like it’s still on. The 103-year-old orchestra, which has benefited from an infusion of young musicians recently, is famous for the traditional luster of its sound. Under Sawallisch, the group has often focused on the standard Germanic repertoire, and they’ll bring that experience to bear when they play Schumann’s often-neglected Symphony No. 2. The other item on their program is Tchaikovsky’s “Pathétique” Symphony, with its famous waltz in 5/4 time and its rousing finale.

We’ll be watching another finale. Next year, Christoph Eschenbach will assume leadership of the Philadelphia, and concertgoers who heard him as conductor of the Houston Symphony Orchestra know how good he is. For Sawallisch, whose recorded work stretches back into the 1950s and has included collaborations with many of the 20th century’s biggest musical names, this is the likely end of a storied career.

The Philadelphia Orchestra plays at 7pm Wed at Bass Performance Hall, 555 Commerce St, FW. Tickets are $40-75. Call 817-665-6000.


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