Conductor Jérémie Rhorer
Adagio from the 10th symphony
Symphony n.2 in C minor, op.12
Getting together the Second Symphony by Alfredo Casella (1883-1947) and the main body of Mahler’s Tenth Symphony is legitimate not only for their temporal proximity. The composer from Turin was the first Italian to understand the stature of Mahler, who he met in Paris in 1909 (<<when he saw that I knew by heart so much of his music, he was sincerely moved by it. He gave me one of the noblest impressions I ever got from a musician>>). Casella, the “apostolic nuncio of Italian contemporary music” (F. d’Amico), the “frank hunter of the future idea” (B. Barilli), was often misunderstood as a composer by admirers and censors for his stylistic “turns”. These mutations came from the great curiosity and information for everything that surrounded him and his detractors insinuated they were the result of xenophilic snobbery rather than solid ethical necessity. The Second Symphony of Casella was performed in Paris in 1910, after the execution of Mahler’s Second (organised by Casella), and is emblematic to understand the influences filtered by young Casella (Mahler, Strauss and the Russians). Casella, enchanted by the novelty of the form and the timbre of Mahler’s orchestra, will write that «the incessant variety and the prodigious invention guide an iron hand that brings together and blends harmoniously the most apparently irreconcilable melodic, rhythmic and harmonic elements». Casella’s Symphony in C minor shares with the Second by the revered Bohemian-Viennese Maestro not only the number two and the tonality of the structure, but also flagrant stylistic traits: the appearance in the Finale of a dark and gloomy funeral march and the oscillation between funerary gravity and violent rhythmic stubbornness, amid great lyrical impulses, mystical yearnings (as in the epilogue on the metaphysical support of the organ) and sarcastic rawness. These features will remain distinctive also of the subsequent masks that Casella’s art will take on during his intense artistic journey.
Jérémie Rhorer has developed an international career as one of the most intense and intellectually sophisticated conductors of his generation. He is the founder and the Music Director of the orchestra Le Cercle de l’Harmonie, a period instruments ensemble with whom he has explored the repertoire of the XVIII and XIX centuries with an innovative approach: his interpretations of Cherubini, Beethoven and Mendelssohn have been received with great acclaim by the press and the audiences worldwide. Jérémie Rhorer also ploughs a unique furrow in the interpretation of Mozart’s works, in search of the composer’s dramatic genius. Idomeneo, Così fan tutte, Don Giovanni, La clemenza di Tito, and Die Entführung aus dem Serail are among the works he has performed with major orchestras, notably as part of the Mozart cycle entrusted to him by the Théâtre des Champs-Élysées.
The same approach has been the key of his successes as interpreter of the music of the XX century: conducting the Philharmonia Orchestra the 2013 production of Poulenc’s Dialogues des carmélites directed by Olivier Py at the Théâtre des Champs-Élysées has won the 2014 Grand Prix du Syndicat de la Critique. The DVD recording has been awarded numerous prizes, including a BBC Music Magazine Award 2016.
Jérémie Rhorer is regularly conducting most of the best European orchestras, the Frankfurt Radio Symphony, the Bamberger Symphoniker, the Gewandhaus Orchester in Germany, the Rotterdam Philharmonic in Holland, the Orchestre National de France and the orchestra de Paris in his native country. Following the death of Nikolaus Harnoncourt, the Concentus Musicus invited him to conduct Beethoven’s Eroica and Pastoral symphonies in the frame of their festival hosted by the Musikverein in Graz. He has also developed a special relationship with the Deutsche Kammerphilharmonie Bremen, with whom he will present a special project dedicated to Tchaikovsky.
He has been guest of the most prestigious international festivals, from Aix-en-Provence (Don Giovanni in the summer of 2017) to Salzburg (where he will appear in May 2018 in the frame of the Whitsun Festival), Glyndebourne, Edinburgh, and the BBC Proms. He has also appeared in opera houses such as the Staatsoper in Vienna, the Bayerische Staatsoper in Munich, La Monnaie in Brussels and the Teatro Real in Madrid.
The key element in his childhood was the Maîtrise de Radio France, where he discovered his vocation for orchestral conducting, followed by an impeccable course of studies at the Conservatoire National Supérieur de Musique de Paris. A student of Thierry Escaich, Jérémie Rhorer is a major contemporary composer and winner of the Prix Pierre Cardin. His exacting compositional work is parallel to his activity as a conductor. In 2017, the Philharmonia Orchestra jointly with the Théâtre des Champes Elysées in Paris has commissioned him to write a piano concerto for the French pianist Jean-Yves Thibaudet.
Highlights of the season 2017/18 are the opening gala of the Opéra National du Rhin, the new production of The barber of Seville at the Théâtre des Champs-Élysées in the staging of Laurent Pelly, the debut at the Teatro Comunale di Bologna with the revival of the Poulenc’s Dialogues des carmélites. This season will also mark Jérémie Rhorer’s debuts with the City of Birmingham Symphony Orchestra, with the Orchestre de la Suisse Romande, with the Czech Philharmonic and with the Orchestre Symphonique de Montréal.