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The Philadelphians on WRTI 90.1: All Mozart with Bernard Labadie and Westminster Symphonic Choir

Courtesy of the artist
Conductor Bernard Labadie

On Thursday, May 21st at 7 PM on WRTI HD-2, and Friday, May 22nd at 1 PM on WRTI 90.1, you're in for a special treat. Before intermission of this Philadelphia Orchestra In Concert rebroadcast, you'll hear Mozart’s Masonic Funeral Music and 25th Symphony, and after the break, Mozart's Requiem.

A distinguished conductor—who has been an exponent of the music of the 18th century for over 30 years—is on the podium to conduct this all-Mozart program. Bernard Labadie, founding director of the period-instrument chamber ensemble Les Violons du Roy, is one of the world’s preeminent conductors of the music of the Classical era.

Amanda Forsythe chats with WRTI's Susan Lewis.

Joining the Philadelphia Orchestra for Mozart’s great choral work are soprano Amanda Forysthe, mezzo-soprano Michèle Losier, tenor Jeremy Ovenden, and bass-baritone Neal Davies. The choir loft at Verizon Hall will be filled with the choristers of the Westminster Symphonic Choir.

Mozart and freemasonry seemed an ideal match, and in a little over a year after joining a lodge in Vienna in 1784, the composer would achieve the status of "master mason." In fact, a small number of works among Mozart's late output were intended directly for use in Masonic lodges, and the best known of those compositions is the Masonic Funeral Music, scored originally for two violins, two violas, clarinet, a single basset horn, two oboes, two horns, and bass.

Mozart later added parts for two additional basset horns and contrabassoon, resulting in an instrumentation unique in Mozart's vast output.

The Masonic Funeral Music makes use of the plainchant tonus peregrinus, and it was first performed at the funerals of two fellow Masons, Duke Georg August of Mecklenburg-Strelitz and Count Franz Esterházy von Galántha.

Mozart’s Symphony No. 25 is in the key of g-minor, and he composed only one other minor mode symphony, the 40th, also in g-minor, a key later identified with some of his most troubled and agitated music. It’s a symphony that was certainly influenced by the sturm und drang movement in the arts that reached its peak in the 1770’s, given its impetus by Haydn.

The presence of an incomplete Requiem as Mozart’s very last work, delights scholars, commentators, playwrights and novelists to the present day. But once again, the temptation to fuse life and work is tenuous: Mozart’s last commission just happened to be for a requiem, after all. But on the day he died, Mozart himself declared: “Didn’t I say before that I was writing this Requiem for myself?” And, according to one eyewitness account, “his last movement was an attempt to express with his mouth the drum passages in the Requiem.” Upon hearing of Mozart’s death, Haydn declared that “posterity will not see such a talent again in a hundred years!” To which the American musicologist HC Robbins Landon would later add,”posterity has not seen it in two hundred.”

During intermission, WRTI’s Susan Lewis will interview Maestro Labadie, and soprano Amanda Forsythe.

You don’t want to miss this one! The Philadelphia Orchestra and all Mozart, this Thursday, May 21st at 7 PM on WRTI HD-2, and Friday, May 22nd from 1 to 3 PM on WRTI 90.1 and streaming at wrti.org!


Mozart: Masonic Funeral Music, K. 477

Mozart: Symphony No. 25 in G minor, K. 183


Mozart: Requiem, K. 626 (completed by Robert Levin)

I. Introitus

  • 1. Requiem aeternam (Soprano and Chorus)
  • 2. Kyrie (Chorus)

II. Sequentia

  • 3. Dies irae (Chorus)
  • 4. Tuba mirum (Solo Quartet)
  • 5. Rex tremendae (Chorus)
  • 6. Recordare (Solo Quartet)
  • 7. Confutatis (Chorus)
  • 8. Lacrimosa (Chorus)
  • Amen (Chorus)

III. Offertorium

  • 9. Domine Jesu (Solo Quartet and Chorus)
  • 10. Hostias (Chorus)

IV. Sanctus

  • 11. Sanctus (Chorus)
  • 12. Benedictus (Solo Quartet and Chorus)
  • V. Agnus Dei
  • 13. Agnus Dei (Chorus)

VI. Communio

  • 14. Lux aeterna (Soprano and Chorus)
  • Cum sanctis tuis (Chorus)

Amanda Forsythe, soprano

Michèle Losier, mezzo-soprano

Jeremy Ovenden, tenor

Neal Davies, bass-baritone

Westminster Symphonic Choir

The Philadelphia Orchestra

Bernard Labadie, 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 our mobile app!Listen again on Mondays at 7 pm on WRTI HD-2.

And now through June 4th and 5th: Listen to re-broadcasts of additional archival Philadelphia Orchestra concerts. Each program airs Thursday at 7 PM on WRTI HD-2 and streaming online, and again on Friday at 1 PM on WRTI 90.1, and our classical stream.

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.