Bill DiCecca

Back Before Bach: Piffaro's Musical Journeys

A local Renaissance band brings its virtuosity to a new recording of music J.S. Bach may have heard. Piffaro’s CD, Back Before Bach: Musical Journeys , released in July 2017, is the pinnacle of over 35 years of experience. It’s the climax of countless concerts, the building of Piffaro’s vast collection of early music instruments and its honed concept of sound.

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Only gods can live in endless bliss. Tannhäuser—minstrel and renegade—is lured into the erotic realm of the love goddess Venus. There he luxuriates in lust and a host of sinful pleasures. But finally it's all too much. He longs to return home, and does—to friends, rules of Christian conduct, and most of all, to Elisabeth, the warm but chaste young woman who loves him, despite the grief he's caused.

A glorious work, infrequently heard in the concert hall, will grace the airwaves this Sunday, July 23rd at 1 pm, as the Philadelphia Orchestra, soloists, and the Westminster Symphonic Choir perform Mozart's Great Mass in C minor at the Kimmel Center's Verizon Hall. Yannick Nézet-Séguin conducts.

The Mann Center for the Performing Arts has resided for over 40 years in its West Fairmount Park home. WRTI’s Susan Lewis has more on how this Philadelphia venue for summer music came to be.

Midori's Passion Beyond the Concert Hall

Jul 19, 2017
Credit: Timothy Greenfield-Sanders

The Curtis Institute of Music recently announced  that violinist Midori will be joining its faculty in 2018. Midori  has been performing with major orchestras since her 1983 New Year’s Eve debut at age 11 with The New York Philharmonic. While still in her teens, she developed another passion, which she will continue in Philadelphia.

In an era when women had little voice, 12th-century abbess Hildegard of Bingen founded her own women's monastery, authored volumes of sacred text, served as a physician to her community, wrote the oldest surviving musical morality play, and produced plainchants of great expression and beauty. She was canonized in 2012.

Credit: Joseph Lange

Mozart mentioned in a letter to his father that he wanted to write a mass for his new wife Constanze, who was a soprano. “But there was no commission,” says Temple University music history professor Steven Zohn. “It’s not usual for him to write something on spec or just because he wanted to write something that showed the love for his wife.”

Join us for re-broadcasts of the Philadelphia Orchestra’s 2016-17 season with Yannick Nézet-Séguin on the podium for his fifth year as music director of the Orchestra. WRTI  presents, for the second time if you missed them the first time around, nearly all  of the  subscription concerts beginning Sunday, July 16th.

Even if you’re not familiar with the Broadway musical Carousel, you’re likely to have heard the uplifting message and melody of the song "You’ll Never Walk Alone." Its roots in the Rodgers and Hammerstein musical extend far beyond the story of love and loss.

What role does music play in our national dialogue about immigration? Six young musicians, rooted in six different countries, gathered at Ellis Island, and in Manhattan, to explore that question in a new composition inspired by Woody Guthrie's "This Land Is Your Land."

Tchaikovsky grappled with the issue of fate in an early symphonic poem, and in his 4th symphony, when he described it as a ‘fatal force.’ But, as WRTI’s Susan Lewis reports, in his 5th symphony he suggests a way to be happy in the face of events beyond our control.

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WRTI Arts Desk

While Samuel Barber is best known for his moving Adagio for Strings, he wrote a lot of other music that continues to inspire musicians and listeners to this day. WRTI’s Susan Lewis talked with filmmaker Paul Moon about his documentary, Samuel Barber: Absolute Beauty, which had its Philadelphia premiere on Saturday, July 15, 2017 on WHYY-TV.   An encore performance will air on Friday, July 21st, at noon. 

The Mann Center for the Performing Arts has resided for over 40 years in its West Fairmount Park home. WRTI’s Susan Lewis has more on how this Philadelphia venue for summer music came to be.

Midori's Passion Beyond the Concert Hall

Jul 19, 2017
Credit: Timothy Greenfield-Sanders

The Curtis Institute of Music recently announced  that violinist Midori will be joining its faculty in 2018. Midori  has been performing with major orchestras since her 1983 New Year’s Eve debut at age 11 with The New York Philharmonic. While still in her teens, she developed another passion, which she will continue in Philadelphia.

In an era when women had little voice, 12th-century abbess Hildegard of Bingen founded her own women's monastery, authored volumes of sacred text, served as a physician to her community, wrote the oldest surviving musical morality play, and produced plainchants of great expression and beauty. She was canonized in 2012.

Bill DiCecca

A local Renaissance band brings its virtuosity to a new recording of music J.S. Bach may have heard.  Piffaro’s CD, Back Before Bach: Musical Journeys, released in July 2017, is the pinnacle of over 35 years of experience.  It’s the climax of countless concerts, the building of Piffaro’s vast collection of early music instruments and its honed concept of sound.

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