Cities beyond Philadelphia may have restaurants with operatic themes and even singing servers, but how many are the outgrowth of a gramophone shop? The walls of The Victor Cafe are full of reminders of a time when recording artists signed autographs at the shop or came in to sing.
Join us this Sunday at 1 pm as Austrian conductor Manfred Honeck, music director of the Pittsburgh Symphony, makes his eagerly anticipated Philadelphia Orchestra debut. The program features works by composers who were influenced by the music and spirit of Central European culture.
On Discoveries from the Fleisher Collection, Saturday Jan. 4th at 5 pm... In 1914, if you were in the market for the stuff that makes big things move—rope, sails, block and tackle gear, every kind of ship, railroad, or mill supply—you would’ve known George B. Carpenter & Co. of Chicago. Its predecessors went back to 1840. After burning down in the 1871 Great Fire it was rebuilt in a year. George Carpenter, who had been helping run the company, bought it outright in 1882.
His son John had music on his mind, not a manufacturing and wholesale business, and the family supported his evident gifts. John went to Harvard, was President of its Glee Club, and composed for Hasty Pudding larks. More seriously, he studied with John Knowles Paine, and then traveled to England and Rome, where he studied with Edward Elgar. He came back to Chicago in 1909 and composed, but also took on the day job he’d hold until his 1936 retirement, Vice President of George B. Carpenter & Co.
Perhaps machinery was in his blood after all, because in 1914 his creative breakthrough was an evocation of the baby carriage. Adventures in a Perambulator is a symphonia domestica relating a child’s point of view all the way from Envoiture! (All aboard!) to Dreams, the two sections we’ll hear (in between are a policeman, a hurdy-gurdy, a lake, and dogs). Carpenter’s skill was not lost on audiences and critics, who were charmed by his humor and light touch with a large orchestra. His precise program notes narrate the child’s inner voice, ending with: “It is pleasant to lie quite still and close my eyes, and listen to the wheels of my perambulator. How very large the world is. How many things there are!"
Across the ocean in 1914, England saw the premiere of a symphony by a composer who was already well regarded, Ralph Vaughan Williams. His 1909 Fantasia on a Theme by Thomas Tallis and 1910 A Sea Symphony moved him beyond his successes editing folk music, Henry Purcell, and The English Hymnal. A London Symphony remains, out of his nine symphonies, the most popular.
After its premiere, he sent the score to Germany, to the conductor Fritz Busch, but it was lost in the turmoil of the World War. The composer then rewrote it from the orchestral parts, changing it greatly, for a 1920 performance under Albert Coates, who provided program notes to which the composer grudgingly agreed. Vaughan Williams insisted he did not have a story in mind when composing it, although he said one might perhaps call it Symphony by a Londoner.
That he composed a “symphony” at all is due to his good friend, the composer George Butterworth, who insisted he ought to. So he took sketches for a symphonic poem about London, worked them into four movements, and dedicated the music to Butterworth, who would die in that same World War, in 1916.
After the 1920 revision, Vaughan Williams reworked it again in the 1930s, and the version heard most often today is two-thirds the length of the original. The ending, Vaughan Williams suggested just before he died, was inspired by “Night and the Open Sea,” the last chapter of the 1909 novel of H. G. Wells, Tono-Bungay, where the machinery of empires and schemes, small and large, sink into dreams.
WRTI wishes you a happy, healthy, and peaceful 2014! Join us on New Year's Day at 11 am for the 74th annual Vienna Philharmonic concert broadcast from the Golden Hall of the Musikverein in Vienna. Daniel Barenboim conducts works by the Strauss family including Eduard Strauss, Josef Strauss, Johann Strauss, sen., Johann Strauss, Jr., Josef Hellmesberger, Jr., Richard Strauss, Joseph Lanner, and Leo Delibes. Wednesday, January 1, 11 amon WRTI.
As we approach year's end, The Philadelphia Inquirer's David Patrick Stearns looks back on the past 12 months in music and finds that Philadelphia has been moving steadily toward the cutting edge.
The city’s year in classical music started with the John Cage Beyond Silence Festival and a new opera titled Wolf in Skins with a stage full of animal/human hybrids. 2013 ends with the U.S. Premiere of a major choral work by Wolfgang Rihm, Germany's greatest but most complicated composer.
Join us this Sunday, from 1 to 4 pm, for a Philadelphia Orchestra in Concert broadcast from a series of fall 2013 concerts that introduced Philadelphia audiences to three major new works commissioned by the Orchestra.
You read the headline correctly. "Grassical." It's a combination of bluegrass and classical music, with elements of jazz, blues and rock included. The term was coined by the DePue Brothers, now performing as the DePue Brothers Band. And they may call what they produce "grassical," but we call it serious fun!
Join us as we take a walk through the wonderful new jazz releases of the year. The Top 100 of 2013 will kick off at 8 pm on Sunday, December 29th with Jeff Duperon, and will run until midnight. J. Michael Harrison will continue the Countdown on Monday and Tuesday night from 9 pm to midnight.
We'll ring in the New Year with your top favorite new jazz releases of the year. So make sure you spend New Year’s Eve with WRTI, and find out this year's top pick!