© 2024 WRTI
Your Classical and Jazz Source. Celebrating 75 Years!
Play Live Radio
Next Up:
0:00 0:00
Available On Air Stations

The Philadelphia Orchestra in Concert on WRTI: Tchaikovsky and Tilson Thomas

Credit: Art Streiber
Composer and conductor Michael Tilson Thomas

In a first-ever Philadelphia Orchestra performance of a work by composer-conductor Michael Tilson Thomas, this week's Philadelphia Orchestra in Concert broadcast on WRTI 90.1 will feature his Four Preludes on Playthings of the Wind. Sunday, Sept. 23 at 1 pm, and Monday night, Sept. 24 at 7 pm on HD-2.

It's based on a nearly century-old Carl Sandburg poem, and scored for a chamber orchestra, bar band, soprano, and two backup singers.

The soprano is Measha Brueggergosman, a remarkable singing actress who made her Philadelphia Orchestra debut in 2007 at the Marian Anderson Award Concert, and makes her subscription debut with this performance. Ms. Breuggergosman, a native of Canada, was nominated for a Grammy with her first recording for Deutsche Grammophon.

Four Preludes on Playthings of the Wind swerves in and out of Modernism, blues, and bar band, with guitar and piano solos, and, if you know Sandburg’s poem, it can be chilling in its Ozymandian echoes!

After intermission, a work the Philadelphia Orchestra first performed in 1901, just eight years after it was composed, and it is one of the most frequently performed works in the Orchestra’s history:  Tchaikovsky's Symphony No. 6, “Pathétique.”

Tchaikovsky died just ten days after its premiere, but he had sketched the symphony months earlier and had no idea he would die before the year was out. He was also in good spirits during its composition, loved the work, and even told his brother he thought he’d live a long time, which wouldn’t seem to support the theory that he committed suicide. There has been, of course, much speculation, but speculation is all it is.

During intermission, Debra Lew Harder speaks with Maestro Tilson Thomas, and Bliss Michelson has a conversation with Measha Breuggergosman.

Don’t miss it. A first-ever Philadelphia Orchestra performance, and another work the Orchestra has been performing for 117 years!

That’s 1 to 3 PM, this Sunday, September 23rd on WRTI 90.1, the WRTI Mobile App, and streaming at wrti.org!


Tilson Thomas: Four Preludes on Playthings of the Wind

     Measha Breuggersman, soprano

     Michaela Bennett and Kara Dugan, vocalists


Tchaikovsky: Symphony No. 6, “Pathétique”

The Philadelphia Orchestra

     Michael Tilson Thomas, 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 WRTI.org, and on the WRTI mobile app!Listen again on Mondays at 7 pm on WRTI HD-2.

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.