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The Philadelphia Orchestra on WRTI 90.1: Music for a Spooktacular Halloween with French Favorites!

Marco Borggreve/courtesy of the artist
Russian-America pianist Kirill Gerstein

Guest conductor Louis Langrée is on the podium for WRTI 90.1's Philadelphia Orchestra In Concert broadcast on Sunday, October 27th at 1 PM, in a program perfectly suited to Halloween week. You'll hear Paul Dukas’ The Sorcerer’s Apprentice, Saint-Saens’s Danse Macabre, and Cesar Franck’s The Accursed Huntsman, all before intermission! Listen again on Mondays at 7 PM on WRTI HD-2.

And following the break, two of Ravel’s great works: the Piano Concerto in G, with soloist Kirill Gerstein, and the 2nd Suite from Daphnis and Chloe!

The concert begins with one of four tone poems Camille Saint-Saëns composed in the 1870s, all inspired to some degree by examples from Franz Liszt, whose own Totentanz dates from 1849. Danse Macabre was a song originally, the text merging the legend of Death fiddling on Halloween, as skeletons dance on their graves, with the late Medieval tradition of the Dance of Death. Saint-Saëns expanded the song as a tone poem in 1874, giving much of the vocal part to a solo violin, and using xylophone to depict the rattling skeleton bones.

Credit Jennifer Taylor
Louis Langreé

Cesar Franck's The Accursed Huntsman tells the tale of an arrogant German count who goes hunting on a Sunday, and is cursed to be chased forever by demons for his blasphemy. And Paul Dukas’s The Sorcerer’s Apprentice needs very little introduction.

It’s based on a Goethe comic ballad about a sorcerer’s apprentice who attempts to perform magic while the sorcerer is away, enchanting a broomstick to carry buckets of water for him, but quickly losing control when the broom carries in so much water that the house starts to flood. It’s now somewhat difficult to hear The Sorcerer’s Apprentice without thinking of the movie Fantasia, but the association between the sprightly bassoons and the enchanted broomsticks was undoubtedly Dukas’s original intent as well.

Pianist Kirill Gerstein talks backstage with WRTI's Susan Lewis.

Following intermission, the Russian-American pianist Kirill Gerstein gives a performance of Ravel’s G Major Piano Concerto, and the concert concludes with one of Ravel’s finest achievements, his Daphnis and Chloe Suite No. 2, its sumptuous harmonic coloring and opulent orchestration prompting Stravinsky to declare it "one of the most beautiful products in all of French music."

During intermission, WRTI's Susan Lewis speaks backstage with Maestro Langrée and Kirill Gerstein.

Be sure to listen on Sunday, October 27th to this Halloween Week treat, from 1 to 3 PM, on WRTI 90.1 and streaming worldwide at wrti.org.

Saint-Saëns: Danse Macabre

Franck: The Accursed Huntsman

Dukas: The Sorcerer’s Apprentice


Ravel: Piano Concerto in G

Ravel: Daphnis and Chloe, Suite No. 2

The Philadelphia Orchestra
Louis Langrée, conductor
Kirill Gerstein, piano

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.