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WRTI Arts Desk
6:18 am
Mon July 13, 2015

Yannick Shares The Hidden Meaning in Richard Strauss' Alpine Symphony

Richard Strauss finished composing AN ALPINE SYMPHONY in 1915. It's scored for an enormous orchestra with 16 horns, two timpani, organ, and multiple percussion, including thunder and wind machines.

Richard Strauss’ Alpine Symphony is, on one level, a musical description of nature. But as WRTI’s Susan Lewis reports, the accessible music belies a greater meaning.

Based on a boyhood experience getting caught in a storm hiking in the Alps, the idea for An Alpine Symphony germinated for years in Strauss’s mind.  It wasn’t until after Gustav Mahler died, that he determined to finish the work, which he regarded as a tribute to his fellow composer.

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Arts Desk
6:01 am
Mon July 13, 2015

On His Birthday, The Essence of Gerald Finzi

Composer Gerald Finzi

This week we celebrate the birthday of the English composer Gerald Finzi, who was born July 14th, 1901 and died in 1956. His short life was filled with sorrow, but also with beauty—in his help for others, and in his music.

When Gerald Finzi was seven, his father died. Three brothers died while he was still young. His first composition teacher, who was very encouraging and who said that Finzi was shy but “full of poetry,” was killed in World War I.

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WRTI Spotlight
7:34 am
Sun July 12, 2015

The Philadelphia Orchestra in Concert on WRTI: Lisa Batiashvili Plays Shostakovich, July 12, 1 PM

Georgian violinist Lisa Batiashvili

Join us for an intense performance by Lisa Batiashvili of Shostakovich's Violin Concerto No. 1 with The Philadelphia Orchestra under Yannick Nezet-Seguin. This was the centerpiece of the last concert of the 2014/2015 season and a program the Orchestra took on its European tour, which was a stunning success.

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Crossover
8:54 am
Sat July 11, 2015

Music With Meaning That Won't Steal The Show

Pennybank Tunes describes this new release of production music as "a nostalgic voyage to the streets of Paris... featuring accordion, minimalist themes in a tribute to French cinema with melancholic & sentimental piano, violin and retro vibes."

There's a whole world of music out there that, for the most part, goes in one ear and out the other. But if it weren't there, the world probably wouldn't sound as good. We're talking about "production music." Music used to create a mood or feeling without being the foreground element in a production.

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Opera on WRTI
3:47 pm
Wed July 8, 2015

Lyric Opera of Chicago on WRTI: Puccini's TOSCA, July 11, 1 PM

Soprano Tatiana Serjan sings the title role in Puccini's TOSCA.

Rome in the year 1800 is a deadly place for dissidents. The painter Cavaradossi risks everything to shelter his comrade; but his lover, the fiery Tosca, keeps playing cat and mouse with the lustful and sadistic Baron Scarpia, the chief of police. If Cavaradossi is condemned, will Tosca trade her honor to save him?  Listen to the final performance from Lyric Opera of Chicago's 2015 broadcast season, Puccini's TOSCA, Saturday, July 11th, 1 to 4 pm on WRTI.

Synopsis

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WRTI Arts Desk
12:34 pm
Wed July 8, 2015

Dmitri Shostakovich's Music Speaking to New Generations

Dmitri Shostakovich (1906-1975)

Twentieth-century Russian composer Dmitri Shostakovich composed much of his work under the shadow of political oppression. As WRTI’s Susan Lewis reports, today, his music and his personal story continue to inspire a new generation.

On Sunday, July 12 at 1 pm on WRTI, Lisa Batiashvili performs Shostakovich's Violin Concerto No. 1 on The Philadelphia Orchestra in Concert broadcast. Details here.

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WRTI Arts Desk
12:36 pm
Tue July 7, 2015

From '2001: A Space Odyssey' to the Bucks County Playhouse

Actor Keir Dullea played the lead role in Stanley Kubrik's 1968 epic science fiction film. He's starring in On Golden Pond at the Bucks County Playhouse from July 10 - August 2, 2015.

Where has actor Keir Dullea been since he was blasted into the cosmos in the classic film, 2001: A Space Odyssey? Chances are at a theater nearby, in roles you wouldn't expect, often opposite his wife Mia Dillon. They're starring in On Golden Pond at the Bucks County Playhouse from July 10 to August 2, 2015. The Philadelphia Inquirer's David Patrick Stearns tracked them down in a New York rehearsal studio.

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WRTI Arts Desk
1:44 pm
Mon July 6, 2015

The Philadelphia Jazz Project: Pushing Jazz Performance In New Directions

Philadelphia Jazz Project is promoting the Mysterious Travelers Concert Series at the Free Library. It features free monthly concerts running through April 2015. Above is drummer Wayne Smith, Jr, performing on December 8th at 7 pm.
Howard Pitkow Photography

A former WRTI host stays close to jazz with an organization designed to extend its reach. WRTI’s Meridee Duddleston speaks with the founder of the Philadelphia Jazz Project.

Have popular “performance spectacles” replaced the straightforward dance between a jazz artist and an instrument? Director of the Philadelphia Jazz Project, Homer Jackson, is considering that question and innovative approaches to the performance of music that has often depended upon an intimate feel - and feeling.

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WRTI Arts Desk
10:23 am
Mon July 6, 2015

Have You Ever Bumped Into Franz Schubert, Joseph Haydn, or Giuseppe Verdi in Fairmount Park?

Bust of Franz Schubert by Henry Baerer, 1891 in West Fairmount Park, east of Horticultural Hall. Bronze sculpture with limestone base and granite with bronze plaque.

Among the hundreds of outdoor sculptures that dot Philadelphia’s urban landscape are three classical music masters. But they're not where you might expect to find them.

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WRTI Arts Desk
6:01 am
Mon July 6, 2015

A Quiet Alleluia, Famous for 75 Years

Randall Thompson, composer of "Alleluia"

This week in July of 1940, one of the most loved and most sung choral works - written by a composer living in Philadelphia - was premiered in western Massachusetts. But Randall Thompson’s Alleluia is almost the opposite of an “alleluia.”

From Randall Thompson, the composer who was then the Director of the Curtis Institute of Music, conductor Serge Koussevitzky requested a loud and festive choral fanfare. It was to open the Berkshire Music Center at Tanglewood.

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