The Philadelphia Orchestra In Concert on WRTI 90.1: Grieg, Rachmaninoff, and Muhly

Jul 15, 2019

Join us on Sunday, July 21 at 1 PM as Yannick Nézet-Séguin, in a concert from 2018, conducts a program featuring a world premiere of a work by Nico Muhly, one of the most popular of all piano concertos,—Grieg’s A Minor—and the work Rachmaninoff composed with the Philadelphia Sound in mind, the Symphonic Dances. André Watts is soloist.

The concert begins with Nico Mulhy’s orchestral suite Liar, arranged from his opera Marnie, Muhly’s second commission from the Metropolitan Opera. The Met gave the U.S. premiere a few weeks ago, following its world premiere at the English National Opera last year.

Marnie is based on Winston Graham’s 1961 novel, which Alfred Hitchcock adapted for the 1964 film starring Tippi Hedren and Sean Connery. The Liar Suite reworks material from the opera into a new piece, not simply an abridged orchestral retelling of the story in miniature. Muhly compares it with Marnie’s psychoanalysis: her memory comes back to her out of order, in abstract ways.

Things from one memory trigger another memory, and things from reality link up with the unreal. The Liar Suite does that, too: It puts things out of order and in layers, specifically to show different sides of Marnie. It’s more an abstract portrait of the character than a narrative arc.

The beloved A Minor Piano Concerto of Edvard Grieg would become the first full expression of his newly awakened sense of national pride. It emulates the Schumann Concerto—also in A Minor—in more than just the striking piano flourish that opens the work. It also demonstrates a dedication to the spirit of Norway’s native folk music. Andre Watts is the soloist for this performance.

The concert concludes with Sergei Rachmaninoff’s masterful Symphonic Dances, a work written for, and premiered by The Philadelphia Orchestra in 1941. It was Rachmaninoff’s final composition, and a work he fashioned with the distinctive Philadelphia Sound in mind.

During intermission, WRTI’s Debra Lew Harder speaks backstage with the iconic Andre Watts, and Susan Lewis sits down with composer Nico Muhly, and Music Director Nézet-Séguin.

That’s Sunday, July 21st from 1 to 3 PM, here on WRTI 90.1, streaming worldwide at, and on the WRTI App.


Muhly: Liar, Suite from Marnie  (World premiere and Philadelphia Orchestra commission) 

Grieg: Piano Concerto in A Minor, Op. 16

I. Allegro molto moderato

II. Adagio—

III. Allegro moderato molto e marcato

Andre Watts, piano


Rachmaninoff: Symphonic Dances

I. Non allegro

II. Andante con moto (Tempo di valse)

III. Lento assai—Allegro vivace—Lento assai, come prima—L’istesso tempo, ma agitato—Poco meno          mosso— “Alliluya”

The Philadelphia Orchestra

Yannick Nézet-Séguin, conductor


Gregg Whiteside is producer and host of the Philadelphia Orchestra in Concert broadcasts, every Sunday at 1 PM on WRTI 90.1, streaming online at, and on our mobile app! Listen again on Mondays at 7 PM on WRTI HD-2