Great Performances

S46 E29 | FULL EPISODE

Vienna Philharmonic Summer Night Concert 2019

Enjoy the world-renowned Vienna Philharmonic’s annual concert from Schönbrunn Palace with guest conductor Gustavo Dudamel and famed pianist Yuja Wang playing works including Gershwin’s “Rhapsody in Blue” and Sousa’s “The Stars and Stripes Forever.”

AIRED: August 09, 2019 | 1:25:06
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TRANSCRIPT

-Next, on "Great Performances," let's join

The Vienna Philharmonic for a celebration of American music.

They've invited L.A.'s own Gustavo Dudamel

to strike up the band tonight.

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With him for Gershwin's "Rhapsody in Blue"

is the charismatic pianist Yuja Wang.

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Music comes alive amidst Schonbrunn's splendid

baroque gardens.

And no concert in Vienna would be complete

without a waltz by Strauss.

The Summer Night Concert 2019 starts right now.

[ Indistinct chatter ]

-The crowds here in the gardens

at Austria's Imperial Summer Palace of Schonbrunn

extend a hearty welcome to conductor Gustavo Dudamel

and the Vienna Philharmonic

in anticipation of a fun filled night of American classics.

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[ Applause ]

Leonard Bernstein's "Overture" to "Candide"

makes a stirring opening for tonight's festivities.

This is the second time the Vienna Philharmonic

has invited Gustavo Dudamel to join them

for their summer night affair.

A frequent collaborator with the orchestra,

he is also in his 10th year as music and artistic director

of the L.A. Philharmonic.

Tonight, the stage is strategically placed

before the garden façade of the Imperial Summer Palace

to take full advantage of the natural amphitheater

which rises from the formal gardens,

past the glorious Neptune Fountain

to the Gloriette crowning the hill.

Now, the Vienna Philharmonic and conductor Gustavo Dudamel

welcome to the stage one of the most acclaimed pianists

of our time, Yuja Wang.

She's soloist in George Gershwin's

"Rhapsody in Blue."

In 1924, Gershwin was asked to provide a piece for a concert

at Carnegie Hall.

What he produced was a rhapsodic work

combining elements of European symphonic music

and American jazz.

With himself as soloist, he scored a triumph.

Today the rhapsody is hailed as a landmark in American music.

So now, with the wail of the clarinet...

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[ Applause ]

"Charismatic," "breathtaking," "flawless," and "heartfelt"

are just a few of the superlatives

used by critics worldwide to describe Yuja Wang.

Her dramatic sense of style, exuberance,

and flair for being a serious artist

who doesn't take herself too seriously

have won her acclaim.

Of her, The New York Times wrote:

"In all seriousness, what can't Yuja Wang do?"

Since her 2008 graduation

from the Curtis Institute of Music in Philadelphia,

she has enjoyed a meteoric rise to fame,

performing with preeminent orchestras around the globe.

Now, the pianist returns to the stage

for a solo encore performance.

And what better choice for her Viennese fans

than Frederic Chopin's "Waltz in C Sharp minor."

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[ Applause ]

Max Steiner is universally acknowledged

as the father of film music.

Born in Vienna, his grandfather managed

the historic Theatre an der Wien

and was the first to persuade Johann Strauss

to write operettas.

His godfather was Richard Strauss.

He took piano lessons from Johannes Brahms

and studied composition with Gustav Mahler.

Arriving in New York in 1915,

he arranged and conducted on Broadway

for Jerome Kern and George Gershwin.

But Hollywood beckoned,

and it is as the composer of such films as "King Kong,"

"Gone with the Wind," and "Casablanca"

that he is revered.

The sections of his "Casablanca Suite"

remind us of the film.

They're titled, "Rick's Bar," "Paris," "The Airport,"

and "The Beginning of a Beautiful Friendship."

So, play it once, Gustavo --

for old times' sake.

[ Applause ]

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[ Applause ]

Austrians may have their waltz king,

but Americans have John Philip Sousa,

their very own march king.

Conductor of the United States Marine Band,

he was returning stateside from a European vacation

when he was inspired to write the next piece on the program.

He said it was about coming home,

and how, in a foreign country,

the sight of the stars and stripes

seems the most glorious in the world.

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[ Applause ]

Bravo to the piccolos, flutes and brass

of the Vienna Philharmonic!

It wasn't until 1987 that Congress declared

John Philip Sousa's "The Stars and Stripes Forever"

the national march of the United States of America.

Next, one of the most beloved pieces of American music

is Samuel Barber's "Adagio for Strings."

It was written by the emerging 26 year old composer

while traveling through Italy and Austria

as the heart of his "String quartet, opus 11."

Toscanini premiered the standalone

"Adagio for 5-part string orchestra"

with the NBC Symphony in 1938.

Maestro Dudamel conducts this powerful icon of American music

without a baton.

[ Applause ]

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[ Movement ends ]

[ Applause ]

One of the biggest hits along the midway

of Chicago's Columbian Exposition,

the World's Fair of 1893,

was the Austrian village, called Old Vienna.

To entertain visitors in the beer garden,

the waltz king's rival, Carl Michael Ziehrer,

composed his "Star-Spangled Banner March,"

incorporating popular American tunes of the day.

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[ Applause ]

Our conductor tonight is a champion in the belief of

music's power to unite and inspire.

Dudamel is particularly committed to the idea of

the "United Americas."

He told The New York Times, "The culture of the Americas,

North, South, Central -- is inspired by the landscape,

the people, the folklore of these amazing countries.

We are all part of the New World,

with all the sense of youth, hope, diversity, and courage

that term has represented for generations."

Czech composer Antonin Dvorak

composed his "New World Symphony"

while he was director of the National Conservatory of Music

in New York.

Commissioned by the New York Philharmonic,

it premiered at Carnegie Hall in 1893.

Inspired by both Longfellow's "Song of Hiawatha"

and native American melodies,

Dvorak said, "Spirituals are the folksongs of America,

and your composers must turn to them."

Ranked among the 10 most popular symphonies of all time,

50 years ago this summer,

Neil Armstrong took a recording of it with him to the Moon.

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[ Applause ]

Did you notice that Gustavo Dudamel

committed the entire concert to memory

and conducted every piece without a score?

But the concert is not over yet:

he and the Vienna Philharmonic have got a few encores left

to please the crowds of 85,000 people here in the park.

It's provided free tonight

in an effort to make classical music

accessible to all.

Fans and critics alike referred to Aaron Copland

as the Dean of American Composers.

In 1942 the choreographer Agnes de Mille

asked him to collaborate on a ballet which would become

her most beloved -- "Rodeo."

Featuring bravura dancing

inspired by horseback riding and cattle roping,

their world-famous ballet captured the optimism and pluck

of the American spirit.

In Copland's score, cowboys and their gals

square dance together in a rollicking "Hoe-Down."

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[ Applause ]

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[ Cheering and applause ]

Copland's poor, tired cowboys fooled the crowds

who thought the hoedown was over.

But Dudamel and the fancy fiddling Vienna Philharmonic

got a second burst of wind for a rousing finale.

For over 175 years,

the Vienna Philharmonic's mission has been

to communicate the humanitarian message of music to all.

Joining them in tonight's concert --

their gift to Vienna and music lovers everywhere --

were Yuja Wang and Gustavo Dudamel.

Now, once again, the orchestra closes the festivities

with a waltz by Strauss.

In "Wiener Blut," the Viennese spirit of love

for their beautiful city and the surrounding countryside

is apparent.

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To find out more about this and other

"Great Performances" programs,visit pbs.org/greatperformances.

Find us on Facebook and follow us on Twitter.

"Summer Night Concert 2019"

is available on Blu-ray, DVD, and CD.

To order, visit shopPBS.org or call 1-800-PLAY-PBS.

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[ Cheering and applause ]

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