Staatskapelle Berlin makes a rare Philadelphia appearance at Verizon Hall

Although retired since 2014, I still relish opportunities to teach, write, and share opinions.
The Staatskapelle Berlin is currently on tour of the great capitals of the United States to honor its retiring Music Director Daniel Barenboim. Maestro Barenboim was music director from 1991 to 2023. In 2000, he was voted Conductor for Life of this esteemed orchestra which dates back to 1570, becoming the Royal Court Opera in 1742, then united to the Berlin State Opera (Staatsoper Unter den Linden) ever since. 
Maestro Barenboim, aged 81, was unable to conduct his orchestra in this celebratory tour due to ill health. Several conductors volunteered to fill in for Mr. Barenboim, with Yannick Nezet-Seguin conducting at both Carnegie Hall in New York, and Verizon Hall in Philadelphia. It is this performance at Verizon Hall on Sunday, December 3, discussed here. Two symphonies by Brahms, Symphony No. 3 in F major, Op. 90, and Symphony No. 4 in E minor, Op. 98 were featured. 
Immediately, one noted the preponderance of youthful musicians in this august orchestra. Early on, it became apparent that Maestro Nezet-Seguin rehearsed the orchestra into his own conception of Brahms, focusing on speed, grandeur, excitement, and utmost beauty of tone. 
The musicians of the Staatskapelle Berlin proved themselves to be preeminent in their skill and elan with Brahms. Philadelphia may never hear such fine interpretations again. This was surely a performance for music lovers to treasure.
What of Brahms, the man and musician? In 1853, at age 20, he met and fell passionately in love with Clara Schumann, Robert Schumann’s wife. She was a renowned piano virtuoso. Robert Schumann celebrated Brahms as a genius. All three of them were for years consumed in a love triangle. We are so used to seeing Brahms portrayed as a bearded, grisly character, and seldom do we see him as young and handsome. Startling it is to know that he died in 1897 at age 63 of pancreatic cancer. 
Brahms when young, and older.

Maestro Nezet-Seguin not only helms the Metropolitan Opera in New York, but is Music Director of the Philadelphia Orchestra, among many others. There seems to be no limitations for this gay artistic blond bombshell.
For a full calendar of performances of the Philadelphia Orchestra, visiting orchestras, and a panoply of other offerings, visit

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