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The Philadelphia Orchestra in Concert on WRTI: Gergiev Conducts Russian Masterworks, April 19, 1 PM

Valery Gergiev

It's always an exciting occasion when Valery Gergiev conducts the Russian masterworks. And on this Sunday's Philadelphia Orchestra in Concert broadcast at 1 pm on WRTI, Maestro Gergiev will be on the podium to direct three of the treasures of the Russian repertoire, in what was his only American symphonic guest conducting appearance this season.
These three symphonies, written within seven years of each other, all illustrate how three giants of 20th-century Russian music responded to the upheaval of WW II. Stravinsky’s Symphony in C, written between 1938 and 1940 as the composer endured illnesses and death in his family, was finished in Hollywood after the war forced him to emigrate from Europe.

Shostakovich’s Ninth Symphony, though originally conceived as a celebration of the Soviet defeat of Nazi Germany, evolved into something rollicking and vivacious by the time it was completed in 1945. It was, however, banned by the Soviet censors and not played between 1948 to 1955.

Prokofiev’s Fifth Symphony enjoyed a much happier reception from its premiere in 1945. And it has remained one of his most popular pieces. The war was almost at an end by the time Prokofiev began this symphony. And it is filled with optimism, though in the slow movement perhaps still haunted by the ghosts of the war-ravaged peoples of Europe.

Valery Gergiev and The Philadelphia Orchestra brought the Russian soul of these pieces to life in mid-February. And you can hear them Sunday, April 19th at 1 pm, right here on WRTI.

At intermission, WRTI's Susan Lewis talks backstage with The Philadelphia Orchestra's Associate Principal Timpanist, and Percussionist, Angela Zator Nelson. Gregg Whiteside is producer and host.

Stravinsky: Symphony in C
Shostakovich: Symphony No. 9
Prokofiev: Symphony No. 5

Valery Gergiev, 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.