César Franck’s mission was to compose symphonic music that is balanced and structured while remaining fundamentally French, and Victorien Vanoosten’s talented baton does it justice. Dedicated to soloist in residence Emmanuel Pahud, Dalbavie’s Concerto pour flûte captivates the audience through its expertly woven soundscape. The concert opens with a work by Swedish pioneer Elfrida Andrée, giving the program a solemn tone.
Podcast (French only)
Symphonic Tales is a new series of podcasts by the Orchestre Métropolitain presented by Radio VM. These podcasts, hosted by musicologist Marilou Garon, offer an immersion into the works on the concert programs for the 2022-2023 season.
At the Maison symphonique only
7 p.m. | Foyer Antonia-Nantel (formerly Foyer Allegro, located at the first balcony level of the Maison symphonique)
Thirty minutes before the concert, attend a performance by young musical talent. This OM Prelude will feature the Orchestre de Flûtes Senior from the Iona elementary school (CSSDM), under the direction of teacher Mick Guttmann.
Possibly premiered in Berlin in 1888, conducted by Elfrida Andrée
“The orchestra, that is my goal!” – Elfrida Andrée
Born in 1841 on the island of Gotland, Elfrida Andrée was a leading figure among the activists fighting for equality between men and women in Sweden, her native country. After early lessons with the village organist, she attended the Royal Swedish Academy of Music in Stockholm, where she studied with Frans Berwald, the most important Swedish composer of the 19th century. At age 16, she obtained a professional organist’s diploma and, from then on and with her father’s support, began doggedly pressuring the clergy to allow her to practise her art in a church. After helping to engineer a change in the law, she became the organist at a French reformed church, among others, before being appointed musical director and organist at the Gothenburg Cathedral, becoming the first woman in Europe to be granted such positions. She held them until her death.
Her activities touched every aspect of musical art, including teaching and concert organization. She left around 100 works in every genre and was the first woman in her country to compose chamber music and symphonic pieces, which, despite objections, she conducted herself. Her orchestral style, which she perfected under Niels Gade in Copenhagen in 1870, shows her admiration for Mendelssohn and is aligned with the German Romantic school and respect for traditional forms. It is marked by balance, proportion, a “discreet sentimentality” (Jean-Luc Caron) and “clear and pure” melodies. Composed in 1873 and later revised, her Concert Overture in two sections (slow and fast) that are played without a break is notable for its serene atmosphere and colourful handling of the winds.
Premiered in Berlin on October 5, 2006, by Emmanuel Pahud, flute, and the Berlin Philharmonic Orchestra conducted by David Zinman
After completing his studies at the Conservatoire de Paris, where he worked with Marius Constant, Claude Ballif, Tristan Murail and Pierre Boulez among others, Marc-André Dalbavie embarked on his professional life with a pocket full of first prizes. Throughout his productive career as a composer he has taken a keen interest in various compositional techniques, including spectral music, computer-assisted music, electronic music and spatialization. Much of his work arises from study of the continuity between tonality and atonality, of timbre and of the reorganization of musical forms, such as the concerto. Dalbavie is one of the most performed contemporary composers around the globe.
Elegant melodies alternate with impassioned outbursts in his Flute Concerto, a luminous work driven by a sustained energy. Although the piece takes the conventional fast-slow-fast form of a classical concerto, the three movements are played without a break, forming a great sonic arc whose climax is reached in the slower middle section infused with lyricism and a delicate sensuality. The harmonic language vacillates between tonality and atonality. In handling the relationship between the soloist and the orchestra, the composer exploits a range of ideas – playing with the effects of resonance as when the orchestra extends phrases first stated by the flute, for example. Another unusual feature of the work is the attention paid to the lushness and refinement of timbre. Dalbavie thus joins the great French tradition of the progressive conquest of timbre and its evocative poetic power.
Premiered in Paris on February 17, 1889, conducted by Jules Garcin
Born in Belgium, César Franck was one of the main architects of the renewal of French music toward the end of the 19th century. As his obligations as a professor at the Paris Conservatoire and organist at Sainte-Clotilde Basilica left him little free time, Franck didn’t compose much, and his masterworks all date from the final years of his life. His musical style is a remarkable synthesis of the baroque and romantic languages, in which are found influences of Bach, Beethoven, Liszt and Wagner. Franck was venerated by his disciples, for his teaching and for a devotion that earned him the nickname pater seraphicus. His students included Vierne, Chausson, Pierné, Duparc, Tournemire and, above all, Vincent d’Indy (1851-1931). Intent on transmitting the Franckian spirit, d’Indy founded a new music school called the Schola Cantorum, which was attended by Roussel, Satie and Honegger, among others.
Franck completed his only symphony less than two years before his death. The work is noteworthy for its writing and the impression of power and heroic grandeur it conveys. Its architecture is both traditional and original. Franck conceived of it as a classical four-movement structure but melded the slow movement and scherzo into a single entity, with alternating tempos. This central movement begins with a melancholic cor anglais solo. The first movement bathes in a sombre, dramatic atmosphere but ends in light. The finale overflows with joy and energy. In it, Franck reuses several themes heard in the preceding movements, giving the entire symphony a strong sense of unity: this is the compositional technique known as the cyclic form. Franck’s Symphony is one of the highpoints of French Romantic music.
Conductor and pianist Victorien Vanoosten is the music director of the Ensemble Symphonique de Neuchâtel in Switzerland since 2019, a position he renewed in 2022 for five more seasons.
A former assistant conductor to Daniel Barenboim at Staatsoper Unter den Linden in Berlin, he is also the principal conductor of DEMOS, a French social project and equivalent ensemble to El Sistema founded by Philharmonie de Paris.
Current season highlights include Mr. Vanoosten‘s debut at the Vienna Musikverein marking his return to the Tonkünstler orchestra, returns to Polish National Radio Symphony and Lithuanian National Symphony, a new production of Carmen at Opéra de Marseille and the debut at the helm of the Orchestre Métropolitain of Montreal, with Emmanuel Pahud as soloist.
At Berlin Staatsoper, Mr. Vanoosten conducted performances of Cherubini’s Médée featuring Sonya Yoncheva in the title role, and Bizet’s Pêcheurs de perles, a Wim Wenders production. In 2014, he had been appointed assistant conductor of the Marseille Opera and became associate of music director Lawrence Foster. At the Opéra National de Paris, Mr. Vanoosten has conducted a reduced Ring des Nibelungen by Richard Wagner. His groundbreaking 2021 video production of Sacre du printemps, together with the Swiss video and light artists collective Supermafia, earned him worldwide attention and became a viral YouTube phenomenon in classical music.
An accomplished symphonic conductor, Victorien Vanoosten was chosen to lead programs for the inaugural weekend of Philharmonie de Paris, when he conducted a concert also featuring Lang Lang. He has conducted the Orchestre de Chambre de Paris and lead the Staatskapelle Berlin in outreach concerts. Outstanding soloists who have already marked his career include Olga Peretyatko, Stéphanie d’Oustrac, Karine Deshayes, Sabine Devieilhe, Marianne Crebassa, Rolando Villazón, and Michael Volle. He also stepped in, at very short notice, with the Orchestre philharmonique de Marseille in particularly successful performances of Tchaikovsky’s Sixth Symphony as well as contemporary music including European premières.
As a pianist, Victorien Vanoosten recently performed Ravel’s Piano Concerto in G, in play/conduct mode. In 2015, Victorien Vanoosten released his first piano solo CD featuring his own transcriptions of orchestral works by Debussy, Stravinsky, Duruflé, Saint-Saëns and Ravel. He was artistic editor of “La boîte à musique,” a classical music program on French national television, from 2010 to 2015, and has repeatedly appeared on Radio France and Radio Classique programs.
French and Swiss flautist Emmanuel Pahud began studying music at the age of six. He graduated in 1990 with the 1er Prix from the Paris Conservatoire, and went on studying with Aurèle Nicolet.
He won 1st Prize at the Duino, Kobe and Geneva Competitions, and at age 22 Emmanuel joined the Berliner Philharmoniker as Principal Flute under Claudio Abbado, a position which he still holds today. In addition, he enjoys an extensive international career as soloist and chamber musician. Emmanuel appears regularly at prominent concert series, festivals and orchestras worldwide, and has collaborated as a soloist with leading conductors such as Abbado, Antonini, Barenboim, Boulez, Fischer, Gergiev, Gardiner, Harding, Järvi, Maazel, Nézet-Séguin, Orozco-Estrada, Perlman, Pinnock, Rattle, Rostropovich, Zinman.
Emmanuel is a dedicated chamber musician and regularly gives recitals with pianists Éric Le Sage, Alessio Bax, Yefim Bronfman, Hélène Grimaud, Stephen Kovacevich, as well as jazzing with Jacky Terrasson. In 1993, Emmanuel founded the Summer Music Festival in Salon de Provence together with Éric Le Sage and Paul Meyer, which is still a unique chamber music festival today. He also continues chamber music performances and recordings with “Les Vents Français”, one of the premiere wind quintets featuring François Leleux, Paul Meyer, Gilbert Audin and Radovan Vlatkovic.
He is committed to expanding the flute repertoire and commissions new flute works every year to composers such as Elliott Carter, Marc-André Dalbavie, Thierry Escaich, Toshio Hosokawa, Michaël Jarrell, Philippe Manoury, Matthias Pintscher, Christian Rivet, Éric Montalbetti and Luca Francesconi. Since 1996, Emmanuel has recorded 40 albums exclusively for EMI / Warner Classics, which all have received unanimous critical acclaim and awards, resulting in one of the most significant contributions to recorded flute music.
Emmanuel was honoured to receive the Chevalier dans l’Ordre des Arts et des Lettres for his contribution to music, and is HonRAM of the Royal Academy of Music. He also is an Ambassador for Unicef.
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