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The Philadelphia Orchestra in Concert on WRTI 90.1: Yannick Conducts Haydn's Oratorio, 'The Seasons'

Henning Ross / Sony Classical
Swiss soprano Regula Muhlemann

Join us on Sunday, March 21 from 1 to 4 PM on WRTI 90.1 and Monday, March 22 from 7 to 10 PM on WRTI HD-2 as we go back in time to late 2017 to hear a concert recorded live in Verizon Hall. The Philadelphia Orchestra performs Joseph Haydn's The Seasons—a vast canvas of an oratorio that begins with the turn from winter to spring, and progresses through summer, autumn, and winter.

Yannick Nézet-Séguinconducts this work that has been special to him since his childhood.

On this colorful journey, there are sunrises and sunsets, a thundering storm, and the marvelous sounds of nature, in Haydn’s masterpiece scored for expanded orchestra, three soloists, and chorus.

Haydn’s two extended residencies in England in the early 1790s introduced him to the genre of the oratorio, and he was so blown away by performances of Handel’s oratorios that he wanted to write his own.

First came The Creation, with a text adapted from the Bible and Milton’s Paradise Lost, and it was enormously successful. So, Haydn teamed up again with his translator, Baron Gottfried van Swieten, a diplomat in Vienna, and the result was the work we hear on Sunday, The Seasons.

Joe Miller, director of the Philadelphia Symphonic Choir, talks to WRTI's Susan Lewis about The Seasons.

Even at the end of his long career, approaching age 70, Haydn composed a work of breathtaking beauty and enduring freshness, based on a libretto drawn from a text by the Scottish poet James Thomson. The choral writing in The Seasons is some of the finest in all of music, and the members of the Philadelphia Symphonic Choir will sing this magnificent part.

Soprano Regula Mühlemann talks backstage with WRTI's Debra Lew Harder.

In addition are the roles of Simon, sung by British bass Matthew Rose, Lukas, sung by German tenor Werner Güra, and Hanne, sung with bell-like purity by Swiss soprano Regula Mühlemann.

The Seasons is divided into two parts, separated by an intermission, and during the break WRTI’s Susan Lewis speaks backstage with Yannick and Joe Miller, choral director of the Philadelphia Symphonic Choir, while Debra Lew Harder spends some time with soprano Regula Mühlemann.

That’s Sunday from 1 to 4 PM on WRTI 90.1, the WRTI mobile App, and streaming worldwide at WRTI.org!  Listen again on Monday from 7 to 10 PM on WRTI HD-2 and the classical stream at WRTI.org.


Haydn: The Seasons

     Part I: Spring and Summer


Haydn: The Seasons

     Part II: Autumn and Winter

The Philadelphia Orchestra

Regula Mühlemann, soprano

Werner Güra, tenor

Matthew Rose, bass

Philadelphia Symphonic Choir

     Yannick Nézet-Séguin, conductor

Gregg Whiteside is host of The Philadelphia Orchestra in Concert broadcasts.

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.