Philadelphia Orchestra performs for audience of a million at outdoor Mass led by Pope

Posted on: September 29, 2015

“The Philadelphia Orchestra and a chorus of about 500 laid down a soundtrack of contemplation and triumph for an in-person and online audience of perhaps a million or more” at an outdoor Mass led by Pope Francis on Sunday, writes Peter Dobrin in Monday’s (9/28) Philadelphia Inquirer. “The orchestra, led by music director Yannick Nézet-Séguin, played Beethoven and Brahms as the papal motorcade arrived at Eakins Oval with the Philadelphia Museum of Art the backdrop.… The mélange of liturgy, orchestral music, choir with organ, and simple chant dressed up this Mass in the kind of aural robes and ribbons no one is likely to encounter anytime again soon. Nézet-Séguin donated his services for both the Mass and Saturday night’s concert, and the Philadelphia Orchestra Association waived its fees for sending the ensemble.… After the Mass as the crowd dispersed, you could at least have the rare pleasure of walking right up to the orchestra and hearing the ensemble play the most stirring music of the event—the finale of Saint-Saëns’ Symphony No. 3, the ‘Organ Symphony.’ ”

Posted September 29, 2015

Pictured: Pope Francis arrives onstage for Saturday’s Festival of Families Concert to the final movement of Beethoven’s Fifth Symphony, performed by Yannick Nézet-Séguin and the Philadelphia Orchestra. Photo by Chris Lee