Hot Picks: No. 1

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No. 1 on the St. Louis Symphony musicians’ hit parade for season 16/17: Alpine Symphony, March 10-11, 2017.

Stephane Deneve. Photo by Drew Farrell.
Stephane Deneve. Photo by Drew Farrell.

Stephane Deneve receives high marks a a favorite among guest conductors. Double bassist Sarah Hogan Kaiser writes: “He brings to the podium his contagious energy and excitement for making music. He is so demanding of the orchestra, in the kindest, most sincere way, as if we are all working together to create the finest music ever played. (We are!) But his humility in this quest results in some extremely fine and enthusiastic playing from the orchestra.”

The program features Beethoven’s Piano Concerto No. 1, with Steven Osborne in his STL Symphony debut, followed by Strauss’ magnificent Eine Alpensinfonie (An Alpine Symphony). Associate Concertmaster Heidi Harris says Strauss’ music depicts a mountain journey: “…ascending into the forest, meadows, waterfalls and brooks, getting lost along the way, summits and visions, storms, sunset, and nightfall.”

Although musicians from each orchestra section share their excitement for An Alpine Symphony, it’s an especially big night for the horns. Julie Thayer writes: “Strauss wrote very challenging horn parts for this piece, but he writes so well for the instrument (his father was a horn player) that it’s the best kind of challenge and one to which our section will certainly rise. It’s an amazingly pictorial piece and for me evokes such beautiful imagery.”

And it’s the No. 1 Hot Pick of the season!