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Winter Jazzfest: January 8 - 10, 2015
4:39 pm
Mon January 5, 2015

Tweeting from NYC's Winter Jazzfest 2015: January 8 - 10

Jazz pianist Aaron Parks performs at the 2015 Winter Jazzfest in NYC on January 9th

WRTI's Jeff Duperon takes you to the 2015 Winter Jazzfest in New York City. He'll be tweeting from January 8 - 10 while taking in the sights and sounds of this annual jazz marathon, which started in 2005 and is still going strong.

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Creatively Speaking
12:27 pm
Mon January 5, 2015

Napoleon's Armies Advance On Vienna: Beethoven’s “Empire of the Mind” Prevails

Beethoven inititally planned to dedicate his "Eroica" symphony to Napoleon Bonaparte (1769-1821).

Ludwig van Beethoven’s "Les Adieux" or "The Farewell" sonata (Piano Sonata No. 26) is considered the composer's most significant work from the period between 1809 - 1810. It was a time when the Napoleonic Wars continued to bring upheaval to Beethoven’s adopted city of Vienna, the surrounding region, and beyond. Even before his Piano Sonata No. 26 in E-flat Major was composed, Napoleon’s unyielding push for power had left many disillusioned.

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Creatively Speaking
9:45 am
Mon January 5, 2015

Searching For Sunken Musical Treasure in the Milwaukee River

The 2014 reissue of The Rise and Fall of Paramount Records, Volume 2

The boxed set, The Rise and Fall of Paramount Records, Volume 2, recorded from 1928 to 1932, documents American music at its most basic. The original vinyl records from which the set is derived are so sought after that the Philadelphia Inquirer's David Patrick Stearns found a collector who had been skin diving in the Milwaukee River in search of the elusive discs.

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Now Is the Time
12:43 pm
Sat January 3, 2015

Prelude and Excursion

We turn the corner into a new year of Now Is the Time, Saturday, January 3rd at 9 pm. Kevin McCarter's Prelude and Excursion for orchestra leads into a sacred new year's dedication for chorus by Carson Cooman, Set Me As a Seal. And then the pianist Marc-André Hamelin performs Twelve New Etudes, Book 4 by William Bolcom.

Robert Honstein snips dialog from an online dating service to entitle the electronic chamber works in his CD RE:you; we'll hear I know the feeling…. For violin and piano is Eric Moe's Preamble and Dreamsong from the 4-5 a.m. REM Stage. The last movement of Symphony of the Universe by Wendy Mae Chambers comes to us in a live recording from the cavernous Cathedral of St. John the Divine in New York City, and what better way to listen to Evolution, music for 100 timpani?

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Listen on January 4th Starting at 9 PM
11:05 am
Sat January 3, 2015

Jeff Duperon's Picks: Top 20 Jazz CDs of 2014

Jazz has continuously evolved over the years. However, there are some tried and true standards of the genre that will not be compromised. Case in point: a collective known as The Cookers (Billy Harper, Eddie Henderson, Cecil McBee, Billy Hart, George Cables, Donald Harrison and David Weiss) have staked their claim as the best reminder that jazz requires an active listener.

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The Philadelphia Orchestra in Concert on WRTI
5:12 pm
Fri January 2, 2015

The Philadelphia Orchestra's Organ Extravaganza on WRTI: Sunday, Jan. 4th, 1 to 4 PM

The star of the show: The Fred J. Cooper Memorial Organ at the Kimmel Center

This is a must-hear broadcast for all of our organ music enthusiasts! It's The Philadelphia Orchestra's All-Organ Weekend from this past November - a mini-festival, of sorts, that represents the culmination of a month-long celebration of the Fred J. Cooper Memorial Organ at Verizon Hall. Yannick Nezet-Seguin conducts.

For lovers of the "King of Instruments," this special three-hour broadcast will be a feast of glorious sound.

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The Metropolitan Opera on WRTI
11:01 am
Fri January 2, 2015

The Met Opera's Hansel and Gretel on WRTI: January 3 at 1 PM

Engelbert Humperdinck's HANSEL AND GRETEL on WRTI, Saturday, January 3 at 1 PM

Happy New Year! Join us for our annual Met Opera broadcast of Hansel and Gretel - perfect for listeners of all ages! This witty production of Humperdinck's fairy-tale opera is conducted by Sir Andrew Davis. Listen as two children face off against a wicked witch. Aleksandra Kurzak as Gretel and Christine Rice as Hansel lead a delightful feast for the entire family. Saturday, January 3, 1 to 3:30 pm.

Synopsis

CAST:

Philadelphia Music Makers, January 4 at 6 PM
12:01 pm
Wed December 31, 2014

Larry McKenna: Philadelphia's Gentleman of Jazz

Larry McKenna
Melissa Gilstrap

Saxophonist player and instructor Larry McKenna has instilled his love and connection with his instrument in listeners and learners alike over the course of his multi–decade long career. Despite being the consistent recipient of praise from fans and former students alike, McKenna remains humble enough to seem vaguely bewildered when confronted with it.

This reaction may result from how naturally McKenna "clicked" with his instrument. McKenna first took an interest in the sax when he was just 14 - an age when whims tend to be as fleeting as they are intense.

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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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