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Image for Beethoven's Second Symphony
Beethoven's Second Symphony
Philharmonic | Masterworks Series

Wolfgang Amadeus Mozart Missa brevis in C Major, K. 259, “Organ Solo Mass”

  1. Kyrie
  2. Gloria
  3. Credo
  4. Sanctus
  5. Benedictus
  6. Agnus Dei

Kayla Oderah, soprano

Allison Deady, mezzo-soprano

Carl Rosenthal, tenor

Sankara Harouna, baritone

Dayton Philharmonic Chorus directed by Dr. Steven Hankle

Camille Saint-Saëns Cello Concerto No. 1 in A minor, Op. 33

  1. Allegro non tropo
  2. Larghetto
  3. Molto allegro

Sterling Elliott, cello

Benjamin and Marian Schuster Endowed Young Classical Artist

– 20-minute intermission –

Ludwig van Beethoven Symphony No. 2 in D Major, Op. 36

  1. Adagio molto - Allegro con brio
  2. Larghetto
  3. Scherzo & Trio. Allegro
  4. Allegro molto
About the Concert

Sterling Elliott, the winner of the 2019 Sphinx Competition, joins the Dayton Philharmonic to perform Saint-Saëns’ Cello Concerto No. 1. In addition to highlighting the cello’s virtuosity and full range, the concerto’s adept scoring elevates the orchestra beyond a simple accompanist.  
Mozart’s Missa brevis (brief mass) features a “cameo” appearance by the organ and includes the magnificent DPO Chorus. Beethoven’s Symphony No. 2 concludes the Masterworks Series and the DPO’s Beethoven symphony cycle. In the face of increasing deafness, this Symphony is the jubilant proof of Beethoven’s will to persevere and continue composing great works. 

Masterworks Series Sponsors

Thank you to the following sponsors for their support of the 2022-2023 Masterworks Series.

Featured Musician
Sterling Elliott
Artistic Director & Conductor
Neal Gittleman
Take Note: Live at 6:30pm in the Schuster!

Artistic Director and Conductor Neal Gittleman presents Take Note, a live pre-concert talk given from the stage in the Schuster Center, beginning at 6:30pm. Learn about this evening's program before the performance begins!

Take Note is generously sponsored by the Dayton Philharmonic Volunteer Association. 

Post-Show Talk Backs

Have questions about the concert? Join Artistic Director Neal Gittleman and select musicians for a post-concert Talk Back located in the Front Orchestra immediately following the performance.

Friday: Neal Gittleman, Sterling Elliott, Aurelian Oprea, and Eric Knorr

Saturday: Neal Gittleman, Sterling Elliott, Jim Faulkner, and Chris Roberts

Neal's Notes: Like It Or Not!

The DPAA’s 2023-2024 “Art that Moves” season is coming soon. The DPAA’s 2022-2023 season is nearing its end. The last Masterworks Series program is upon us, filled with great works by great composers—Mozart, Saint-Saëns, and Beethoven.

Time to talk with great reverence about these beloved composers?


Time to talk a little trash.

One of my favorite music-related books of all time is Nicolas Slonimsky’s Lexicon of Musical Invective. Published 70 years ago, it’s a lively, amusing, and enlightening compilation of composers’ bad reviews. Slonimsky’s theme is compelling: You really can’t please all the people all of the time, and even composers who are now universally acclaimed were writing music that was new, unfamiliar, and sometimes even despised.

Wolfgang Amadeus Mozart

Mozart doesn’t appear in Slonimsky’s Lexicon—because printed music criticism didn’t really get rolling until the 19th century. But thanks to Amadeus (and corroborating sources) we know of Emperor Joseph II complaining to Mozart that his opera The Abduction from the Seraglio had “too many notes”. That seems to have been the gist of the gripes that people of Mozart’s time had with his music—too complicated, and too difficult to follow, “overstuffed”, with “impenetrable labyrinths” and “bizarre flights of the soul”.

Even Mozart! Haters gonna hate, I guess…

Not to worry, though. The Mozart Missa Brevis that we’ll perform on May’s Masterworks Series concert isn’t overstuffed, impenetrable, or bizarre. It’s lovely from first note to last. In fact, if there’s a critique to be made, it’s that the title notwithstanding (Missa Brevis is Latin for “short mass”), it might be better if it were longer! But church authorities of the day liked to keep masses under 45 minutes, so except for masses written for big ceremonial occasions, Mozart followed orders and kept things short.

Camille Saint-Saëns

Saint-Saëns (of Organ Symphony, Danse macabre, and Carnival of the Animals fame) merits just five pans in Slonimsky’s book. The juiciest is this, from J. F. Runciman, writing in London’s Saturday Review in 1898: “Saint-Saëns has, I suppose, written as much music as any composer ever did; he has certainly written more rubbish than any one I can think of. It is the worst, most rubbishy kind of rubbish.” And there’s this, a 1953 London review of Samson and Delilah: “The most kindly reception has been one of resignation to the inevitable—as one accepts influenza, fog in November, or a tainted egg in the ration.”

Nothing rubbishy, flu-ey, foggy, or tainted about the Saint-Saëns Cello Concerto on May’s Masterworks concert. It’s a wonderful piece, with a perfect balance of flash, drama, and grace. And you’ll be blown away by guest soloist Sterling Elliott’s performance!

Ludwig van Beethoven

Slonimsky book gives us 29 bad Beethoven reviews. Many of them scathing critiques of pieces we now consider masterpieces. (That’s Slonimsky’s point, after all—every piece of music was once new, and a bad response from the press or the audience doesn't necessarily mean it’s bad music. His book’s subtitle is “Critical Assaults on Composers Since Beethoven’s Time!) Here’s of my favorites, from Vienna’s Magazine for the Elegant World, attacking Beethoven’s Second Symphony in 1804, a year after its premiere: “Beethoven’s Second Symphony is a crass monster, a hideously writing wounded dragon, that refuses to expire, and though bleeding in the Finale, furiously beats about with its tail erect.”

(Another lesson from Lexicon of Musical Invective: music criticism was a lot livelier back in the day!)

Beethoven was an innovator. He was pushing music in a new direction. So traditionalists (critics included) were bound to be resistant. And though there’s nothing at all crass about the Second Symphony, the reviewer did have a point. The symphony’s finale—like many Beethoven’s finales—has several false endings. It goes on and on. And on. But that’s the point. He’s being playful with the listener, reveling in the thrill of the finish, and making it last just as long as he could.


Slonimsky’s moral was this: give new music a chance. I don’t disagree. I enjoy presenting new music to our audiences along with great works of the past. And I hope you will give new works a chance when we play them. But that’s not my moral.

My moral is Sly Stone’s: “Different strokes for different folks.” You may not like everything you hear at every performance. And that’s perfectly OK. If we play a piece of music—new or old—that doesn’t float your boat, that reflect badly on you at all. It just means that particular performance of that particular work didn’t do it for you.

Music is, above all, about feelings. A composer puts their feelings down on paper. We performers add our feelings as we play the notes on the page. And you experience feelings as you listen. And feelings are—above all—personal. Two people sitting next to each other, hearing the same performance of the same music, could have two completely different reactions. And they’d both be right.

It’s been years since the Dayton Daily News stopped publishing reviews of performances. And Burt Saidel, Dayton’s self-styled “last critic standing”, recently stopped publishing his critiques in The Oakwood Register. But you can “review” every one of our performances by answering the online audience surveys that our DPAA Marketing Team sends out to all ticket buyers. We read your ratings and comments. We pay attention to them. They inform our future decision making about repertoire and soloists.

But don’t worry. I promise you…I’ll never publish Lexicon of Dayton Musical Invective, with negative comments extracted from our survey data!

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