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The Philadelphia Orchestra in Concert on WRTI: A Trip to Paris with Six French Composers

B. Ealovega
Mezzo-soprano Susan Graham sings music by Joseph Canteloube in this 2017 concert broadcast.

Join us on Sunday, Dec. 26th at 1 PM on WRTI 90.1 and Monday, Dec. 27th at 7 PM on WRTI HD-2 for this Philadelphia Orchestra concert from early 2017 featuring works by six French composers: Chabrier, Fauré, Saint-Saëns, Canteloube, Ravel and Florent Schmitt. Yannick Nézet-Séguin conducts.

The concert broadcast, the first in the Orchestra's Paris Festival series, begins joyously with Emmanuel Chabrier’s sparkling Joyeuse Marche. Then, Gabriel Fauré’s haunting Pavane, and Maurice Ravel’s luxuriant Menuet Antique look to France’s celebrated engagement with refined dances.

Although Camille Saint-Saëns wrote more than a dozen operas, the one most regularly performed is Samson and Delilah from which the “Bacchanale” offers a lively, colorful, and seductive sample, and it's also on Sunday's broadcast.

Many competing musical styles in France during the first part of the 20th century found inspiration in different sources that took a backward glance to the past, and  Joseph Canteloube turned to folk songs and dances for artistic renewal, particularly from those of his native region of the Auvergne in south central France. We’ll hear selections from his Songs of the Auvergne, sung by superstar mezzo-soprano Susan Graham!

Credit Credit: Jessica Griffin
Contrabassoonist Holly Blake

The concert concludes with a thrilling concert suite by Florent Schmitt drawn from the ballet The Tragedy of Salome. The biblical princess fascinated many at the time in the visual arts, literature, and music. Richard Strauss’s scandalous opera provided an impetus for a new ballet version in 1907, and we’ll hear a suite drawn from that ballet to end the concert in dramatic and thrilling fashion.

WRTI's Susan Lewis speaks with Philadelphia Orchestra contrabassoonist Holly Blake.

During intermission, WRTI’s Debra Lew Harder speaks backstage with Susan Graham, and Susan Lewis has a conversation with the Philadelphia Orchestra’s Contrabassoon, Holly Blake.

Read detailed program notes from the concert.


Chabrier: Marche Joyeuse

Fauré: Pavane

Saint-Saëns: Bacchanale from Samson and Delilah

Canteloube: Songs of the Auvergne

      Susan Graham, mezzo-soprano


Ravel: Menuet Antique

Schmitt: Suite from The Tragedy of Salome

The Philadelphia Orchestra

     Yannick Nézet-Séguin, conductor

Listen to The Philadelphia Orchestra in Concert broadcasts on WRTI, every Sunday at 1 pm on WRTI 90.1 FM, online at WRTI.org, and on our mobile app!Listen again on Monday at 7 pm on WRTI HD-2 and for up to two weeks after broadcast on WRTI Replay.

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.