Review: Spotlighting Philadelphia Orchestra’s new principal oboe, and composer Saint-Georges

Posted on: January 15, 2021

“One of the most reassuring sounds anywhere these days can be heard in this week’s Philadelphia Orchestra online concert: applause, warm and human, … from orchestra members on stage at Verizon Hall in response to the first concerto appearance here of the ensemble’s new principal oboist, Philippe Tondre,” writes Peter Dobrin in Wednesday’s (1/13) Philadelphia Inquirer. “Praise is warranted.… All three works on the program reveal different aspects of this key artist’s presence. He’s a team player in Haydn’s Symphony No. 44…. He has a surprising cameo solo in the last movement of the Symphony No. 2 by the 18th-century … composer Joseph Bologne, Chevalier de Saint-Georges. And his performance of Mozart’s Oboe Concerto is sweet and soaring.… Tondre … follows Richard Woodhams, one of only three principal oboists to occupy the chair over the span of a century…. The concert brings another first. It marks the orchestra’s introduction to Saint-Georges, … a celebrated polymath: military man, fencer, violinist, conductor, and composer. Saint-Georges is being rediscovered by classical musicians, and here, in Dominique-René de Lerma’s edition, this short second symphony … receives a bright, crisp reading from the orchestra and music director Yannick Nézet-Séguin…. More from the composer, please.”