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The Philadelphia Orchestra Plays an All-French Program on WRTI: Sunday, October 4 at 1 PM

The three works on WRTI’s Philadelphia Orchestra in Concert re-broadcast this Sunday, October 4th, all hail from France. To varying degrees, each echoes the marvelous 17th-century fables of Jean de La Fontaine, familiar to this day to every French schoolchild. It’s unfortunate that these compositions are usually confined to children’s programs, as there is much music in them that has universal appeal.

In the first work, Albert Roussel’s ballet The Spider’s Feast, various insects are caught in a spider’s web. Before they can be eaten, however, a praying mantis arrives and devours the spider.

Camille Saint-Saëns wrote the charming Carnival of the Animals for his own amusement and to entertain friends; it was never performed publicly during his lifetime. In fact, only the famous “Swan” movement was published. Christina and Michelle Naughton, who made their Philadelphia Orchestra debut in 2009 at the Mann Center and their subscription debut in 2012, will be the pianists for this work.

And to conclude, we’ll hear a suite drawn from Francis Poulenc’sLes Animaux modèles, in its first Philadelphia Orchestra performance. Beneath its surface charm runs a serious undercurrent, because the ballet was composed in the summer of 1940 as an allegory for French suffering under Nazi occupation.

The conductor for this performance is The Philadelphia Orchestra’s Principal Guest Conductor, Stéphane Denève.

Listen to WRTI's Susan Lewis speak with The Philadelphia Orchestra's Principal Guest Conductor, Stéphane Denève.

During intermission, WRTI’s Susan Lewis and Kile Smith speak backstage with Maestro Denève and the Naughton sisters.

That’s Sunday, October 4, from 1 to 3 pm, on WRTI-FM, and the all-classical web stream at wrti.org. Gregg Whiteside is producer and host.


Roussel: The Spider’s Feast

Saint-Saens: Carnival of the Animals
Cristina and Michelle Naughton, pianists


Poulenc: Les Animaux modèles

Stéphane Denève, conductor

Gregg was the host of WRTI's morning drive show from 2012 until his retirement from WRTI in January, 2021. He began producing and hosting The Philadelphia Orchestra In Concert broadcasts in 2013, joining the Orchestra in Hong Kong for the first-ever live international radio broadcasts from that island in 2016, and in Tel Aviv and Jerusalem for two historic broadcasts in 2018. You can still hear Gregg as host of the Orchestra broadcasts every Sunday and Monday on WRTI.