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The Philadelphia Orchestra In Concert on WRTI: Bernstein, Mussorgsky, and a Choral Premiere

Hans van der Woerd
Yannick Nézet-Séguin";

A pairing of two choral works—one of them a world premiere—and Mussorgsky’s Pictures at an Exhibition, in the famous Ravel orchestration, highlight this week's Philadelphia Orchestra in Concert broadcast, Sunday, July 18th at 1 pm on WRTI 90.1, and Monday, July 19th at 7 pm on WRTI HD-2.

Leonard Bernstein’s Chichester Psalms was composed on a commission from Chichester Cathedral in England, during 1964/65, when Bernstein took a sabbatical season from the New York Philharmonic to lecture, write, and compose. The work employs three Psalms in their entirety, in the original Hebrew, into which individual verses of three others are interspersed.

Yannick Nézet-Séguin conducts the Philadelphia Orchestra and Westminster Symphonic Choir, and boy soprano Dante Michael DiMaio.

Credit Jessica Griffin/Philadelphia Orchestra
Composer Todd Machover with Yannick Nezet-Seguin.

Then, it’s a different kind of choral work: the world-premiere performance of Todd Machover’s Philadelphia Voices, composed between 2017 and 2018. For this work, the Keystone State Boychoir, and Pennsylvania Girlchoir, Steven M. Fisher Artistic Director, and the Sister Cities Girlchoir, Alysia Lee, Artistic Director, fill the choir loft at Verizon Hall, and the composer himself will be seated at orchestra level with his electronic console and laptop, playing the files that capture the sounds and voices of Philadelphia.

Composer Tod Machover talks with Susan Lewis.

Seven continuous movements evoke sounds from the Pope’s visit, the Mummer’s Parade, and the Eagles’ Super Bowl victory in this contemporary choral symphony!

Following intermission, it’s Russian composer Modest Mussorgsky’s piano suite Pictures at an Exhibition, orchestrated by Maurice Ravel, written to honor the memory of the artist Viktor Hartmann, a friend who had died the year before.

During the intermission of this 2018 concert, WRTI’s Susan Lewis speaks backstage with  music director Yannick Nézet-Séguin and Todd Machover, and Debra Lew Harder has a conversation with 16-year-old Jayda Hepburn, whose poetry is brought to life by the youth choruses in Philadelphia Voices.

Debra Lew Harder talks with Jayda Hepburn about Philadelphia Voices.


Bernstein: Chichester Psalms

     Psalm 108, verse 2

     Psalm 100

     Psalm 23

     Psalm 2, verses 1-4

     Psalm 131;

     Psalm 133, verse 1

     Dante Michael DiMaio, Boy Soprano

     Westminster Symphonic Choir, Joe Miller, Director

Machover: Philadelphia Voices

     I. Overture

     II. Philly Jesus

     III. We the People

     IV. Block Party

     V. My House Is Full of Black People

     VI. Democracy

     VII. Hymn of Brotherly and Sisterly Love

     (World premiere—Philadelphia Orchestra commission)

     Keystone State Boychoir, and Pennsylvania Girlchoir

     Sister Cities Girlchoir


Mussorgsky/Ravel Pictures at an Exhibition


     I. Gnomus Promenade

     II. The Old Castle Promenade

     III. Tuileries

     IV. Bydlo Promenade

     V. Ballet of the Chicks in their Shells

     VI. “Samuel” Goldenberg and “Schmuÿle”

     VII. Limoges: The Market

     VIII. Catacombs: Sepulcrum romanum — Cum mortuis in lingua mortua

     IX. The Hut on Fowl’s Legs (Baba Yaga)

     X. The Great Gate at Kiev

The Philadelphia Orchestra

     Yannick Nézet-Séguin, 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.