The Philadelphia Orchestra In Concert on WRTI 90.1: Handel, Britten, and a Premiere, Feb. 18, 1 PM

Feb 16, 2018

This Sunday’s Philadelphia Orchestra In Concert broadcast features the first program of the Orchestra’s three-week Festival of the British Isles.

Yannick Nézet-Séguin conducts a program that begins with the first Philadelphia Orchestra performance of Sir James MacMillan’s A Scottish Bestiary, for Organ and Orchestra, with Grammy-winning organ soloist Paul Jacobs.

After intermission, it’s Handel’s Water Music Suite No 1, and the Four Sea Interludes from Benjamin Britten’s opera Peter Grimes.

That’s a concert of music spanning almost 300 years!

There are eight movements in A Scottish Bestiary, with names like Ode to a Cro-Magnon Hyena, Her Serene and Ubiquitous Majesty, Queen Bee, and Jackass Hackass, and—as the composer puts it—it’s a musical portrait of “human archetypes, and personalities, encountered in Scottish life over the years," as seen through the creatures of the animal kingdom, and presented in page-turning storybook fashion, following in the tradition of musical portraiture of Saint-Saens, Moussorgsky, and Elgar.

It’s a wild and crazy work, complete with the slithering sounds of serpents, the buzzing of bees, the jabbering of howler monkeys, a prowling tom cat, an obsessive cuckoo, and a braying donkey.

The array of percussion instruments for which this piece is scored—among them temple blocks, tuned gongs, typewriters, a vibraslap, a water gong, a whip, and wood blocks—is the subject of an intermission conversation with WRTI's Susan Lewis and Principal Timpani Don Liuzzi.

Also during the intermission break, organist Paul Jacobs speaks with WRTI's Debra Lew Harder.

That's this Sunday from 1 to 3 pm, on WRTI 90.1, the WRTI mobile app, and streaming worldwide at, for a program of music spanning nearly three centuries!


MacMillan : A Scottish Bestiary, for Organ and Orchestra

     Paul Jacobs, organ


Handel: Water Music Suite No. 1

Britten: Four Sea Interludes, from Peter Grimes

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

The Philadelphia Museum of Art is a proud sponsor of The Philadelphia Orchestra in Concert broadcasts on WRTI 90.1. Old Masters Now: Celebrating the Johnson Collection is on view through February 19, 2018