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Discoveries from the Fleisher Collection
12:05 am
Wed December 31, 2014

Diamond 100th Anniversary

David Diamond (Neal Boenzi/The New York Times)

On Discoveries from the Fleisher Collection, Saturday 5-6 pm... One hundred years ago saw the birth of David Diamond, who would enter the first rank of 20th-century American composers. His most-played work, Rounds for string orchestra, is the only work of his many people have heard, so we will not play that today. Instead, a large work for orchestra, a small work for orchestra, and a memorial to a composer who was a great influence will walk us through his career.

One may wonder why someone who is held in such great esteem isn’t played more, but that points up the dichotomy of David Diamond, and the sometimes-difficult trajectory of his music. He was born in Rochester, N.Y. in 1915 and died there in 2005, but in between lived in Cleveland, New York City, France, and Italy. He was immensely talented and early on played violin and composed. His family moved to Cleveland, he studied at the Cleveland Institute of Music, and when the great Maurice Ravel visited the Cleveland Orchestra, Diamond visited him. The French composer looked at the 13-year-old’s compositions, recognized his talent, and told him that he must study in Paris with Nadia Boulanger.

He would do that (as had many other American composers, including Aaron Copland) eight years later, after a stint at Eastman in Rochester and then in New York City, studying with Roger Sessions. Finally in Paris with Boulanger, he studied Ravel’s music as part of his training. Ravel died in 1937, and Diamond wrote the exquisite Elegy to the Memory of Maurice Ravel.

Back in the States he played violin in theaters, wrote some commercial music, and began to produce vast amounts of chamber and orchestral pieces. The earliest of his 11 symphonies appeared at this time, as did his Concerto for Chamber Orchestra in Two Parts, filled, as most of his music is, with fugues and counterpoint, every bit of it lyrical but not always warm and fuzzy at first hearing.

And he was not always warm and fuzzy at this time. Stories of his being tossed from rehearsals and of other altercations followed him. He later admitted, "I was a highly emotional young man, very honest in my behavior, and I would say things in public that would cause a scene between me and, for instance, a conductor." Not good for a career, and yet he continued to produce.

Shifting fashions in high-octane contemporary classical music left him, for a time, without much of a profile beyond Rounds, but fortunately he lived to see a strong resurgence of interest in his music, after teaching in Italy and elsewhere and, for 25 years, at Juilliard. Conductor Gerard Schwarz’s recordings have led much of the comeback. The Symphony No. 8 honors Copland’s 60th birthday; we’ll hear American similarities and differences in the voice of David Diamond. A National Medal of Arts in 1995, among many awards, recognized his importance to music, and 100 years after his birth, we recognize David Diamond’s voice as one we still need to hear.

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Now Is the Time
10:57 am
Fri December 26, 2014

Taking Leave of 2014

from Jan Steen, Children Teaching a Cat to Dance, c.1660–1679

The sun turns and we anticipate a new year on Now Is the Time, Saturday, December 27th at 9 pm. Stephen Hartke based The King of the Sun on a Joan Miró painting, itself inspired by a much older Dutch painting by Jan Steen. Chris Campbell finds sounds and creates sounds electronically in Sunface Streams Moonface. Amplified piano and soprano join in five settings of Federico García Lorca by George Crumb; he calls his Spanish Songbook II Sun and Shadow.

Nancy Galbraith features electric Baroque flute and electric cello in Traverso Mistico, and from a live recording we'll hear the exquisite middle movement, "The Joy of Sadness." And to say goodbye to the old year we'll look to one of the piano rags of Brian Dykstra's, Taking Leave.

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Christmas on WRTI
2:31 pm
Tue December 23, 2014

The Crossing Choir’s 2014 Christmas Concert on WRTI: Christmas Day at 2 PM!

Listen to the sublime music of The Crossing @ Christmas on WRTI, December 25th at 2 pm.

WRTI invites you to experience The Crossing chamber choir’s 2014 Christmas concert, The Crossing @ Christmas, recorded live on December 19th at The Presbyterian Church of Chestnut Hill.

This annual performance is known for creating an aura of tranquility, and has become a holiday tradition for many vocal music lovers throughout our region. You can hear this year’s concert on WRTI - on the radio or online - Thursday, December 25, 2 to 4 pm.

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Philadelphia Music Makers on WRTI, Dec. 28, 5 PM
2:21 pm
Tue December 23, 2014

Carla Dirlikov: Mezzo-Soprano and Cultural Envoy

Mezzo-Soprano Carla Dirlikov

The title role in Bizet's Carmen is a dream role for any singer, but was particularly significant for Carla Dirlikov, who first fell in love with the opera at the age of three.

"I was mesmerized. I would watch it for hours," she says. The Mezzo-soprano has now played Carmen in more than 70 performances around the world.

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WRTI Spotlight
11:43 am
Tue December 23, 2014

Verdi's La Traviata: The Met Opera on WRTI, Dec. 27, 1 PM

Soprano Marina Rebekah as Donna Anna in Don Giovanni

Verdi's consumptive courtesan returns in Willy Decker's timeless setting, with rising soprano Marina Rebeka as the title heroine, Stephen Costello as Alfredo, and Quinn Kelsey as Germont.  Marco Armiliato conducts.  Saturday, December 27th from 1 to 4:45 PM.

Synopsis

Cast:
Conductor: Marco Armiliato
Violetta Valéry: Marina Rebeka
Alfredo Germont: Stephen Costello
Giorgio Germont: Quinn Kelsey
 

Crossover
3:40 pm
Mon December 22, 2014

Tenor Richard Troxell: "So In Love" with Jazz

Tenor Richard Troxell Singing the National Anthem on Opening Day for the Baltimore Orioles in 2011

Returning guest, tenor Richard Troxell, can sing opera like no one's business.  Whether Rodolfo, Don Jose, Pinkerton, Romeo or Turiddu, he's a master.  Even at the ballpark singing the National Anthem, or just kidding around with Jimmy Fallon, his voice shines.  But jazz-pop?  

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Yannick Nezet-Seguin Conducts The Philadelphians
3:37 pm
Mon December 22, 2014

The Philadelphians in Concert on WRTI: Mahler's Second Symphony on Dec. 28th, 1 PM

Soprano Angela Meade is one the soloists featured in WRTI's broadcast of The Philadelphia Orchestra on December 28th at 1 pm.

What became known as the "Resurrection" Symphony is one of the longest, most ambitious, and profoundly moving orchestral works ever composed; its unusual impact and philosophical import have been recognized ever since Mahler conducted the premiere in Berlin in 1895.

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Top 100 Jazz Songs of 2014
2:49 pm
Mon December 22, 2014

The Top 100 Jazz Countdown of 2014

Ring in 2015 with a celebration of the wonderful jazz that 2014 brought to you throughout the year. The Top 100 Jazz Songs of 2014 will kick off at 9 pm on Sunday, December 28th, and we'll reach No. 1 right as the ball drops. Last year, Cecile McLorin Salvant took first place in this listener-generated list.  Who will it be this year?  Make sure you tune in on New Year's Eve to find out. End the year on a high note by taking a jazz  journey through 2014.

Philadelphia Music Makers on WRTI
7:40 am
Thu December 18, 2014

Daniel T. Peterson: Aspiring and Inspiring

Dan Peterson, jazz saxophonist, clarinetist and music professor, hosts Philadelphia Music Makers on WRTI, November 2, 6 PM

Daniel T. Peterson’s passion for music began early, but it took a long and winding path before it manifested as his career.

As a young child, Peterson exhibited some talent - singing shyly from the backseat of the car, but mostly engaged with music as a fan. His father’s extensive record collection captivated him, and Peterson spent much of his young life digging through a veritable treasure trove of albums where he was exposed to everything from Miles Davis to Jimi Hendrix.

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Creatively Speaking
5:01 pm
Mon December 15, 2014

Philadelphia’s First Messiah Concert: The Doors Closed Promptly at 11:00 AM

An 1825 publication by a Philadelphia publisher of the full oratorio, The Messiah arranged for organ.

Philadelphia’s role in the formation of our government is characteristic of a time when the city and its leading residents were forging firsts of all kinds. As Handel’s Messiah is performed this holiday season, WRTI’s Meridee Duddleston wondered when and where those first citizens might have heard the great Baroque work.

Linda Wood is assistant head librarian in the music department at the Free Library of Philadelphia.  She compiled several reference materials relating to the first performance and other early performances of Handel’s Messiah.

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