Berlioz composed Symphonie fantastique in an attempt to woo a young actress, but it’s not your average love song (or story). This symphony begins with passionate, heartsick daydreams, a grand ball, and scenes in the countryside – only to take a sharp turn to a march to the guillotine and a witch’s Sabbath, thanks to a heavy dose of opium. Storyline aside, the orchestration of this work was so innovative it truly startled 19th century audiences, convincing them the world of the supernatural was present at the performance.
Rachmaninoff’s Second Piano Concerto is the most beloved of his four and one of the most popular of all, performed by soloist Alexei Volodin who galvanized WSO audiences in the last concerts before the pandemic.
Larysa Kuzmenko: Fantasy on a Theme by Beethoven
Sergei Rachmaninoff: Concerto No. 2 in C minor for Piano & Orchestra, Op. 18
Hector Berlioz: Symphonie fantastique, Op. 14