Singing at The Metropolitan Opera rarely means just returning to "business as usual." But - for soprano Renee Fleming, the worldwide audience for the February 8th Met Opera radio broadcast and HD simulcast in which she stars will be small change compared to the millions who watched her recent pre-Super Bowl performance.
We offered up some great contests during our Winter Member Drive - all to entice you to pledge your support to WRTI and keep the music coming! Thank you to all participants! And the winners, so far, are....
Mozart Marathon Contest: Peg Dissinger, Newtown, PA - Peg is a Temple graduate and plays in the Temple Night Owls Band, a community band of students, staff, and alumni.
Berks Jazz Fest Contest #1: Martha Wallace, Philadelphia
iPad Air Tuesday Contest: Shirley Hathaway, Gwynedd, PA
This week, the Metropolitan Opera presents MADAMA BUTTERFLY, Giacomo Puccini's heartbreaking tale, in three acts, of innocence, betrayal, and sacrifice. Amanda Echalaz makes her Met debut as Cio-Cio-San. Rising tenor Bryan Hymel sings Pinkerton. Philippe Auguin conducts.
The original version of the opera, in two acts, had its premiere on February 17, 1904 at La Scala in Milan.
Madama Butterfly is a co-production of the Metropolitan Opera, English National Opera, and the Lithuanian National Opera. Saturday, February 1, 1 to 4:15 pm.
Join us this Sunday at 1 pm for a Philadelphia Orchestra in Concert broadcast of a Verizon Hall performance first heard in mid-December, and offering two delightful pieces by Tchaikovsky that feature Concertmaster David Kim as soloist: the Serenade Melancholique, and Valse-Scherzo - both personally meaningful works to Mr. Kim, who was the only American awarded a prize at the 1986 quadrennial Tchaikovsky Competition in Moscow.
It's ice and echoes on Now Is the Time, Saturday, February 1st at 9 pm Eastern on the all-classical stream at wrti.org and WRTI-HD2. Figure-skating and Stravinsky inspire Joan Tower's gliding Petroushskates, and Allen Ginsberg narrates his own poem in Echorus by Philip Glass, for two violins and strings. From the CD Winter is Eric Ewazen's Elegia, for trumpet and piano.
The Tibetan Heart Mantra is at the center of Echoes by Paul Fowler, for the women of The Crossing, and Peru echoes in the harpsichord work by Kent Holliday, Dances from Colca Canyon. Barton McLean runs environmentalist John Muir's descriptions of glaciers through his own software to construct Ice Canyons. The echoes of minimalism by way of Steve Reich close out the program, in this recording of New York Counterpoint arranged by saxophonist Dave Camwell for his CD Time Scape.
Discoveries from the Fleisher Collection, Saturday Feb. 1st at 5 pm... The Fleisher Collection of Orchestral Music is not only the world’s largest lending library of orchestral performance materials, but because of the foresight of founder Edwin Fleisher, Curator Arthur Cohn, and the adventurousness of the globe-trotting Nicolas Slonimsky, it also contains hundreds and hundreds of Latin American orchestral scores and parts.
As we’ve recounted on Discoveries before, Fleisher commissioned conductor and author Slonimsky in 1941 to travel throughout Central and South America for the purpose of adding music from these countries to the vast European and growing American repertoire already on the shelves of the Collection. Scores were shipped to the Free Library of Philadelphia, and the huge task of reproducing them began. Some of the scores were given outright as gifts; others, after photographic reproduction, were returned. Dozens of music copyists then began extracting the individual parts needed so that the works could be performed.
This would have been familiar work for Candelaria Huizar, the composer, violist, hornist, and in the 1920s, music copyist in the library of the National Conservatory in Mexico City. He had already studied music as a child with the director of the Jérez Municipal Band. At nine the band took him on as a saxhorn player. He joined other brass bands, and when one of them traveled to Mexico City, he stayed there the rest of his life. He became a music copyist at the Conservatory, then librarian, and later, Huizar was professor of composition, harmony, and orchestration there. His Imágenes (Images) is a delightful look back at his hometown.
Joining him at the Conservatory was his countryman José Rolón. He studied music in Paris from 1904 to 1907, then came back to Mexico, and founded a music school in Guadalajara. In 1927 he returned to Paris to study with composer Paul Dukas and one of the great composition teachers of the 20th century, Nadia Boulanger. Rolón came back to Mexico again, taught at the National Conservatory, wrote music criticism and a harmony textbook, and composed the Piano Concerto we’ll hear today. This brand-new recording was made from materials housed in the Fleisher Collection.
Born in Paris to a Cuban mother and Spanish father, Amadeo Roldán, after music study in Madrid, moved to Cuba at age 19. He was concertmaster of the Havana Philharmonic, founded the Havana String Quartet, and became one of Cuba’s leading composers. Roldán broke new ground with perhaps the very first percussion-only works for the concert stage, and injected new life into Western classical music with the sounds and rhythms of Afrocubanismo. His 1928 ballet La Rebambaramba, the Suite of which we’ll listen to, is a riot of percussion, soaring melody, and audacious orchestral sound.
When Mr. Cohn suggested to Mr. Fleisher that his Collection needed to look beyond the standard repertoire and acquire symphonic works from other cultures, this is what he was talking about.