Yannick Nézet-Séguin makes his debut with Berlioz and Prokofiev
Les Offrandes oubliées (00:12:27)
Piano Concerto No. 2 (00:34:12)
Yefim Bronfman Piano
Symphonie fantastique (01:06:03)
Yannick Nézet-Séguin and Yefim Bronfman in conversation with Sarah Willis (00:17:31)
It was a minor sensation when it was recently announced that the just 35-year-old Yannick Nézet-Séguin was to be the next music director of the Philadelphia Orchestra - the successor to Leopold Stokowski, Eugene Ormandy, Riccardo Muti, Wolfgang Sawallisch and Christoph Eschenbach. When he makes his debut in Berlin conducting Sergei Prokofiev's Piano Concerto No. 2 and Berlioz's Symphonie fantastique, at his side will be Yefim Bronfman, an artist who is committed to the piano works of Prokofiev more than almost anyone else.
As the New York Times once wrote: "What makes Mr. Bronfman so successful in music of this sort is that he is the same kind of pianist as Prokofiev was a composer. In other words, he is a virtuoso, with chops that need fear no comparisons, yet his musicality purges that virtuosity of mere brilliance." Bronfman now takes the same approach with the Second Piano Concerto: a work which Prokofiev started when he was still a student, but which already contains the full expressive scope of the composer.
Hector Berlioz is also - along with Prokofiev - proof positive that composers can be virtuosos too, not only performing artists. Using vast orchestral forces, he develops a wide range of scenarios in his Symphonie fantastique - from airy waltzes to garish grotesquerie. Yannick Nézet-Séguin demonstrated most recently in July just how much he is the right man for this demanding score when he conducted the Symphonie fantastique for his first appearance with the Tonhalle-Orchestra Zurich - A "brilliant debut" according to the Tages-Anzeiger, after which, "his meteoric rise is no longer surprising".