Kile Smith http://wrti.org en The Passing of The Crossing's Jeffrey Dinsmore http://wrti.org/post/passing-crossings-jeffrey-dinsmore <p><a href="http://www.philly.com/philly/obituaries/20140416_Singer_Jeffrey_Dinsmore__42.html" target="_blank"><strong>Jeffrey Dinsmore</strong>,</a> co-founder and integral member of the Philadelphia choral ensemble The Crossing, died suddenly on Monday in Los Angeles at age 42. The Crossing's conductor <strong>Donald Nally sent out this email message (below) about Jeff's passing. </strong>This is such a sad loss for Jeff's family and loved ones, and for everyone in Philadelphia's choral community. Fri, 18 Apr 2014 18:52:11 +0000 Kile Smith 7208 at http://wrti.org The Passing of The Crossing's Jeffrey Dinsmore Passage Through a Dream http://wrti.org/post/passage-through-dream <p>We dream our lives and live our dreams on <strong>Now Is the Time, Saturday, April 19th at 9 pm</strong> at wrti.org and WRTI-HD2. Bright Sheng's romantic orchestral work <em>China Dreams</em> includes movements called The Stream Flows and The Three Gorges of the Long River. The tragedy of U.S. duplicity before and after the Battle of the Little Bighorn is the subject of <em>We Need to Dream All This Again</em>. Jerome Kitzke writes, "let's dance, and call it praying," as he honors the Native American building of a new life by dreaming that life.<br /><br />Clarinet and four-hand piano unfold through digital delay in the evocative <em>Passage Through a Dream</em> by Phillip Schroeder, and Zeitgeist closes out the show with the humorous and quirky <em>Getting Your Z's (Or Not)</em> by Janika Vandervelde.<br /> Fri, 18 Apr 2014 16:45:45 +0000 Kile Smith 7217 at http://wrti.org Passage Through a Dream Jazz Dance Suite http://wrti.org/post/jazz-dance-suite <p>We arrive at the corner of Jazz and Classical on <strong>Now Is the Time, Saturday, April 12th at 9 pm</strong> at wrti.org and WRTI-HD2. Chicago a cappella scats with <em>Pleasure</em> the music of Malcolm Dalglish, and solo piano tries out David Baker's <em>Jazz Dance Suite</em> as well as <em>The Blue Hula</em> by Tobias Picker.<br /><br />John Musto's <em>Divertimento</em> for chamber ensemble has jazz and popular music overtones, but there's no mistaking the straight-ahead jazz worldview in three works by Philadelphia's Adam Berenson&nbsp;<span style="line-height: 1.5;">(even if he turns a corner here and there)</span><span style="line-height: 1.5;">, from his brand-new 2-CD release </span><em style="line-height: 1.5;">Lumen</em><span style="line-height: 1.5;">. He's the pianist, along with bass and drums, in his <em>L</em></span><em style="line-height: 1.5;">ate 20th Century Stomp</em><span style="line-height: 1.5;">, </span><em style="line-height: 1.5;">Emotional Idiot</em><span style="line-height: 1.5;">, and </span><em style="line-height: 1.5;">Respectable People</em><span style="line-height: 1.5;">.</span></p><p> Fri, 11 Apr 2014 19:45:04 +0000 Kile Smith 7201 at http://wrti.org Jazz Dance Suite Shakespeare's 450th http://wrti.org/post/shakespeares-450th <p>On <strong>Discoveries from the Fleisher Collection</strong>, Saturday, 5 to 6 pm, we celebrate the 450th anniversary of the birth of William Shakespeare, who lived from 1564 to 1616, and well-apparell’d April (<em>Romeo and Juliet</em>, act 1, scene 2) being the very month he was born, approves our dip into Fleisher’s Shakespeare list once more.</p><p>The Free Library of Philadelphia is celebrating the Bard’s birth (find <a href="http://libwww.freelibrary.org/shakespeare/">all the events here</a>)—our whole city is much bound to him (<em>Romeo and Juliet</em>, 4, 2)—so we’re happy to join in the great coil (<em>Much Ado About Nothing</em>, 3, 3) with more of the many Fleisher works inspired by Shakespeare. To discover all such titles in the Fleisher Collection, only send an email to <a href="mailto:fleisher@freelibrary.org?subject=Fleisher%20Collection%20Shakespeare%20list">fleisher@freelibrary.org</a>, and the list will fly swiftly to you with swallow’s wings (<em>Richard III</em>, 5, 2).<br /><br />One year, 1861, saw the completion of two of the works on the program today. One is the <em>Overture to King Lear</em> by the Russian Mily Balakirev. That a composer known for energizing the Russian nationalist school of music would write a work connected with an English playwright is interesting. But Balakirev’s horizons were broader than the mere use of folksong.<br />&nbsp;</p><p>Tellingly, he also supported the career of Tchaikovsky (when other Russian nationalists were grumbling about the European—meaning non-Russian, meaning German—sound of his music). Tchaikovsky, of course, loved Shakespeare. Balakirev’s early <em>Overture to King Lear</em> shows that the composer, although largely self-taught, knew the “European” orchestral style well. Even though he finished the work in 1861, he revised it 40 years later, after a long withdrawal from the music world.</p><p>It could hardly be more appropriate than to have music about the Danish Hamlet by the Danish Niels Gade, the most important musician in his country at the time. Nationalism was also in the air in Denmark, and early in his life Gade studied Danish folk traditions. But he went to Germany, taught and conducted there, and when he came back to Copenhagen his style was more international: this, in 1861, is the sound of Gade’s <em>Hamlet</em>.<br /><br />Carried with more speed before the wind (<em>The Comedy of Errors</em>, 1, 1), we fly a century later to music from the 1964 film <em>Hamlet</em> by another Russian, Dmitri Shostakovich. He wrote prodigiously for the concert stage, but went back to film music often during his career. One reason for this was his on-again, off-again relationship with the Soviet regime. Many of his artist colleagues were imprisoned because of putative sins against the government, some were killed, and for most of his life Shostakovich was haunted by the fear of the knock on the door in the middle of the night.<br /><br />But film music was an approved outlet. Shostakovich’s sometimes-violent voice seems tamer on film, but hearing the music removed from the visual is a bright reminder of his genius. That Hamlet, the Prince of Denmark, and Shakespeare, the Bard of Avon, could release this for us, approves celebration of this day with shows (<em>King Henry VIII</em>, 4,1).<br /> Sat, 05 Apr 2014 20:33:09 +0000 Kile Smith 7157 at http://wrti.org Shakespeare's 450th Preludes http://wrti.org/post/preludes <p>So done with March and feeling like a new start, we've got all preludes on <strong>Now Is the Time, Saturday, April 5th at 9 pm</strong> at wrti.org and WRTI-HD2. Stephen Paulus writes comfortably in every genre; we start the program with a short, sassy work played by pianist Lara Downes, his <em>Prelude No. 3: Sprightly</em>. Guitarist David Starobin and composer William Bland go way back to their school days. Starobin loves playing Bland's music, and we'll hear six of a projected cycle of 48 <em>Preludes</em>.<br /><br />Then we return to the piano for the 12 <em>Preludes</em> of Bernard Rands, covering a wide landscape of emotional and tonal range. Included are two movements in memoriam of composer colleagues of Rands, Luciano Berio and Donald Martino.<br /> Fri, 04 Apr 2014 15:25:45 +0000 Kile Smith 7171 at http://wrti.org Preludes An Exaltation of Larks http://wrti.org/post/exaltation-larks <p>Let the larks play! They sing us into spring on <strong>Now Is the Time, Saturday, March 29th at 9 pm</strong> at wrti.org and WRTI-HD2. Jennifer Higdon considered "exaltation" not only to be a wonderful collective noun but also a pretty good title, so she wrote the romantic and soaring <em>An Exaltation of Larks</em> for string quartet. We get to hear, appropriately, the Lark Quartet in this recording.<br /><br />Daniel Goode loves birds, too, and weaves examples of different thrushes into one mega-birdsong for an unusual orchestra in <em>Tuba Thrush</em>. Benjamin Beirs describes circles, whorls, and storms in <em>Fluidity</em>. It's for his instrument, the guitar, and is inspired by the paintings of Sunny Gibbons, who is his sister. Book-ending the program are two works—one for marimba, one for vibraphone—by Alvin Singleton. He titles them <em>Argoru</em>, which is the Ghanaian word meaning "to play."<br /> Fri, 28 Mar 2014 14:23:11 +0000 Kile Smith 7147 at http://wrti.org An Exaltation of Larks First Leaves of Spring http://wrti.org/post/first-leaves-spring <p>It is spring, finally, we hope, we really do, on <strong>Now Is the Time, Saturday, March 22nd at 9 pm</strong> at wrti.org and WRTI-HD2. It engenders all sorts of good thoughts as we consider <em>Circling Permutations</em>, a flute and double bass improvisation by Robert Ackerman, and a concert rag for piano, <em>Spring Beauties</em>, by Brian Dykstra. Always elegant, the music of Paul Chihara seems appropriate for our turn to the warmth; we’ll hear his <em>String Trio</em>.<br /><br />Avner Dorman brings along his <em>Azerbaijani Dance</em> for piano, and if you feel like a play on words, David Gunn’s always good for that, so a <em>Missing Inn March</em> could fit the bill this month. New music for old instruments symbolize a change of seasons; Will Ayton’s <em>Songs of the British Isles</em> is for the consort of viols, Parthenia. And in a similar vein, Dick Hensold breaks out his Northumbrian pipes for <em>First Leaves of Spring</em>.<br /> Fri, 21 Mar 2014 14:08:12 +0000 Kile Smith 7120 at http://wrti.org First Leaves of Spring The Ides of March http://wrti.org/post/ides-march <p>Julius Caesar had better watch his back on <strong>Now Is the Time, Saturday, March 15th at 9 pm at wrti.org and WRTI-HD2</strong>. Brutus doesn't show up, but look out for the <em>Silver Dagger</em> of Stacy Garrop, an Appalachian somebody-done-somebody-wrong song. Eric Moe channels comic-book philosophy of "they said it couldn't be done" in <em>Dead Elf Tugboat</em>, and Andy Teirstein throws a bright light on fate with the narrated drama <em>The Shooting of Dan McGrew</em>.<br /><br />Michael Daugherty's <em>Dead Elvis</em> romps through one corner of pop culture, and Dan Visconti's <em>Lawless Airs</em> through another, with a violin accompanied by a harp sounding like a broken guitar played by a cowboy. The percussion quartet ensemble, et al. cautions with <em>No Matter How Fast You Run Today, you will Never Catch up to Tomorrow</em>, Joshua Rosenblum offers a tonic to the Ides with <em>Forward March</em>, and Mark Zuckerman clears the air of fate with the canon, <em>Grant Us Peace</em>.<br /> Fri, 14 Mar 2014 04:17:13 +0000 Kile Smith 7094 at http://wrti.org The Ides of March A Suite of Etudes http://wrti.org/post/suite-etudes <p>We study etudes, "studies," on <strong>Now Is the Time, Saturday, March 8th at 9 pm</strong> at wrti.org and WRTI-HD2. No idea what <em>Defensive Chili</em> means, but this second etude for piano by Marc Mellits really sets the table. John McDonald comes in with two pieces for violin and piano, the poetic studies he calls&nbsp;<em>Lily Events</em>, and <em>Lyrical Study</em>.<br /><br />Tomas Svoboda plays his own powerful music for piano, the <em>Nine Etudes in Fugue Style, Vol. 2</em>, and then we include an etude for an instrument not nearly as ubiquitous, the bassoon. John Steinmetz's <em>Etude No. 5</em> is a lovely fantasy on the cowboy lament "Streets of Laredo," how about that?<br /> Fri, 07 Mar 2014 16:27:26 +0000 Kile Smith 7073 at http://wrti.org A Suite of Etudes Any Friend of Brahms... http://wrti.org/post/any-friend-brahms <p><strong>Discoveries from the Fleisher Collection, Saturday March 1st at 5 pm</strong>...&nbsp;It would be disconcerting enough to be at a party with Johannes Brahms. The famous composer was famously grumpy; some of classical music’s great one-liners come from him. When told after the premiere of his first symphony that it sounded like Beethoven, he snapped, “Any ass can see that.” He told a young composer, showing him a new work inspired, he said, by Beethoven, “It’s a good thing Beethoven was not inspired by you.” And then there’s Brahms leaving a gathering: “If there is anyone here whom I have not insulted, I beg his pardon.”<br /><br />But imagine not only being at a party with Brahms, but being the host, being a composer yourself, and sitting next to him, playing a new Brahms work at the piano. If you can picture that, then you can picture being <strong>Ignaz Brüll</strong>.<br />&nbsp;</p><p>Brüll lived in Vienna, the musical capital of Europe, almost his entire life. Although his father was a successful businessman, both he and Brüll’s<span style="line-height: 1.5;"> mother were musicians, and encouraged their son’s musical gifts. He became a wonderful pianist, </span>concertized<span style="line-height: 1.5;">, composed, married, and threw parties at his house, which became a meeting-place for his good friend Brahms, Gustav Mahler, Carl </span>Goldmark<span style="line-height: 1.5;">, the critic </span>Eduard<span style="line-height: 1.5;"> </span>Hanslick<span style="line-height: 1.5;">, and many other powerful musicians and music-lovers. Whenever Brahms (a good but not great pianist) wanted to air out—piano four-hands—a new piece, he called on </span>Ignaz<span style="line-height: 1.5;"> </span>Brüll<span style="line-height: 1.5;"> to sit next to him.</span><br />&nbsp;</p><p><span style="line-height: 1.5;">His biggest success was an opera, <em>The Golden Cross</em>, and he wrote a number of well-received works (Anton Rubinstein was a fan), including much piano music, three <em>Serenades</em>, and a Violin Concerto written for Johann Lauterbach (who has a “Lauterbach” Stradivarius named after him). The second <em>Serenade</em> was recorded using the score and parts in the Fleisher Collection. Fleisher also provided materials for the Violin Concerto project, but the story’s a bit more complicated.<br /><br />Michael Laus, the conductor on this recording, found the full score in the Fleisher Collection. No parts existed. He also had access to the composer’s manuscript, and the violin/piano version (a piano-with-solo edition of a concerto is often published so that the soloist may study or even perform the work without an orchestra).<br /><br />The challenge for Laus, though, was that the three sources sometimes disagreed. So he compared them, corrected obvious mistakes, and used the full and piano scores to illuminate confusing smudges in the manuscript. To make it even more interesting, Brüll had rewritten some of the solo for the piano version publication, so that was different. When all this was wrangled, Laus made a set of parts, and went to the recording studio.<br /><br />Why has the music languished up to now? Partly it’s because that, even though Brahms himself called Brüll “an exceptional melodist,” and though <em>The Golden Cross</em> enjoyed multiple performances into the 1920s, his other works never struck fire. And partly it’s because he suffered the fate of other Jewish composers under the Nazis. He died in 1907 but his music was banned in the 1930s.<br /><br />His fortunes, however, are changing now. These works and others are being recorded, thanks to Fleisher and the resourcefulness of dedicated musicians. Let’s imagine being at a party in Brüll’s house, with Brahms and all his other friends, enjoying each others’ company and music.<br /> Sat, 01 Mar 2014 12:29:06 +0000 Kile Smith 7040 at http://wrti.org Any Friend of Brahms...