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The Philadelphia Orchestra on WRTI: A Baroque Delight with Music by Handel and Purcell

Hulton Archive/Getty Images
A firework display in London's Green Park to celebrate the Treaty of Aix-La-Chapelle, which ended the War of the Austrian Succession, April 27, 1749. King George II commissioned Handel to compose the Music for the Royal Fireworks for this occasion.

Conductor, keyboard player, and champion of the Baroque repertoire, French Maestra Emmanuelle Haïm made her Philadelphia Orchestra debut with her performances on this Philadelphia Orchestra in Concert, re-broadcast on WRTI 90.1 on Sunday, August 22nd at 1 PM and Monday, August 23rd at 7 PM on WRTI HD-2.

WRTI's Debra Lew Harder talks backstage with guest conductor Emmanuelle Haïm.
WRTI's Debra Lew Harder talks backstage with guest conductor Emmanuelle Haïm.

Ms. Haïm is the founder of Le Concert d’Astrée, a vocal and instrumental ensemble dedicated to Baroque music, and she's in her element leading the Philadelphians in music by George Frideric Handel and Henry Purcell.

Before intermission, Ms. Haïm conducts the Philadelphia Orchestra in selections from Purcell's The Fairy Queen, and Handel’s Music for the Royal Fireworks, and after the break, a special treat: Handel’s rarely heard cantata for soprano and orchestra, Il Delirio Amoroso (The Delirium of Love), which brings to the Kimmel Center stage the Dutch soprano Lenneke Ruiten, enjoying a busy career in the world's opera houses and concert halls.

The small Baroque orchestra will feature prominently the lute playing of the early plucked-string specialist Charles Weaver, and the recorder virtuosity of Sébastien Marq, professor of recorder and chamber music at the Paris Conservatory.

Purcell’s The Fairy-Queen is a masque or semi-opera; the libretto is an anonymous adaptation of William Shakespeare's A Midsummer Night's Dream, composed three years before Purcell's death at the age of 35, and first performed in 1692. The score was lost, and only rediscovered early in the 20th century.

Handel’s popular Music for the Royal Fireworks, commissioned to celebrate the 1748 signing of the Treaty of Aix-la-Chapelle that ended the War of the Austrian Succession, rounds out the first half of the concert.

Following intermission, listen to the first-ever Philadelphia Orchestra performance of Handel’s Il Delirio amoroso, a work of exceptional color and charm, incisive oboe playing, refined violin playing, some delightful timing and singing from the cello, and with Philadelphia Orchestra Associate Principal Cello Priscilla Lee, Concertmaster David Kim, Associate Principal Oboe Peter Smith, and recordist Sébastien Marq all doing start turns in this extraordinary work.

Interview with soprano Lenneke Ruiten
Soprano Lenneke Ruiten chats backstage with WRTI's Debra Lew Harder.

This is also a perfect work for soprano Lennike Ruiten’s clarity of timbre, exactness of pitch, agility, and feeling for style. She’s a natural Handel singer!

During intermission, WRTI’s Debra Lew Harder speaks backstage with both guest conductor and soprano.


Purcell: Selections from The Fairy-Queen

Handel: Music for the Royal Fireworks


Handel: Il delirio amoroso, cantata for soprano and orchestra

                Lenneke Ruiten, soprano

                The Philadelphia Orchestra, Emmanuelle Haïm, conductor

Gregg Whiteside is producer and host of the Philadelphia Orchestra in Concert broadcasts on WRTI, every Sunday at 1 pm on WRTI 90.1 FM, online at WRTI.org, and on the WRTI mobile app!Listen again on Monday at 7 pm on WRTI HD-2.

Listen to the concert on-demand on WRTI REPLAY for up to two weeks after broadcast.

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.