Creatively Speaking
7:25 am
Mon May 5, 2014

Mozart's Gran Partita: An Ambitious Serenade

Wolfgang Amadeus Mozart (1756-1791)

Classical serenades by chamber ensembles were often light, outdoor entertainment in late 18th-century Vienna. As WRTI’s Susan Lewis reports, this week’s WRTI concert broadcast of the Philadelphia Orchestra features one of the more ambitious creations in the genre.

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Creatively Speaking
7:21 am
Mon May 5, 2014

Celebrating C.P.E. Bach: The Sentimental Rebel

Carl Philipp Emanuel Bach (March 8, 1714 – December 14, 1788)

J.S. Bach’s second-surviving son, Carl Philipp Emanuel Bach (1714-1788), was a musical force in his own right. His fame, at least after the mid-1700s, overshadowed that of his now-legendary father. This year, six German cities with ties to C.P.E.’s musical footprint in Hamburg, Berlin, Frankfurt (Oder), Leipzig, Potsdam, and Weimar are leading a celebration of the 300th anniversary of his birth.   

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Creatively Speaking
6:00 am
Mon May 5, 2014

Dirk Brosse's Life In Music...On Film!

Chamber Orchestra of Philadelphia Music Director Dirk Brosse

A new film portraying the life story of one of Philadelphia's most prominent musical leaders has its U.S. premiere this week.  As WRTI's Jim Cotter reports, the film documents the accomplishments of an internationally renowned conductor, composer and...knight.

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Crossover
2:12 pm
Fri May 2, 2014

A Virtuoso Violinist With A Legendary Violin: Anne Akiko Meyers Makes History

The Four Seasons: The Vivaldi Album is violinist Anne Akiko Meyers' newly released CD.

Virtuoso violinist Anne Akiko Meyers tells the story of seeing an old Jack Benny routine on TV. Mr. Benny had two violins: an el cheapo model, and an expensive Stradivarius. He wanted to show the difference between the two instruments.  The comedian launches into Mendelssohn on the el cheapo and gets, "...squeak, SQUEAK, SQUONK, squeal..." Benny then picks up the Strad and plays the same piece. "...Squeak, SQUEAK, SQUONK, squeal..."   Yes, comedy. But Meyers' point was that it's not really the instrument that makes the artist.

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WRTI Spotlight
1:52 pm
Fri May 2, 2014

Yannick Nezet-Seguin And His New Conducting Team

The Philadelphia Orchestra has a new "dream team" of conducting talent! From left: Cristian Măcelaru, conductor-in-residence; Yannick Nezet-Seguin, music director; Stéphane Denève, principal guest conductor; and Lio Kuokman, assistant conductor.

The Philadelphia Orchestra has announced a new roster of conductors, selected by Music Director Yannick Nezet-Seguin, to lead the ensemble in a growing number of artistic endeavors and collaborations across seasons and venues.

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Now Is the Time
10:33 am
Fri May 2, 2014

Gardening at Gropius House

from Neil Rolnick: Gardening at Gropius House

Two violin concertos breathe the air of outdoors on Now Is the Time, Saturday, May 3rd at 9 pm at wrti.org and WRTI-HD2. Neil Rolnick at Harvard was looking for extra work, and answered an ad for a gardener. It happened to be at the house of the world-famous Bauhaus architect, Walter Gropius. In Gardening at Gropius House, for chamber ensemble with computer, Rolnick combines his love of two things in art that he hopes are not in conflict: avant-garde modernism and a good tune.

Twilight, Midnight, Romance, and Dawn are some of the movement titles in Ned Rorem's Violin Concerto. He almost named the piece Concertino or Variations, since there is no real program behind the music. Still, that combination of lightness and gravity, which suffuses all of Rorem's works, breathes of spring, and of air.

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Opera on WRTI
1:53 pm
Thu May 1, 2014

The Met Opera on WRTI: Bellini's I PURITANI, May 4, 1 PM

Soprano Olga Peretyatko sings Elvira in Bellini's last opera, I PURITANI.

An exciting newcomer joins three acclaimed bel canto stars in Bellini’s final opera, a vocal showcase that features one of opera’s greatest mad scenes. Olga Peretyatko makes her highly anticipated Met debut as Elvira, the young woman driven to madness, opposite Lawrence Brownlee, Mariusz Kwiecien, and Michele Pertusi. Vincenzo Bellini: I PURITANI, Saturday, May 4, 1 to 4:30 pm on WRTI.

Synopsis

Cast:

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The Philadelphia Orchestra in Concert on WRTI
1:24 pm
Thu May 1, 2014

A Feast for Organ and Brass: The Philadelphians on WRTI, May 4th, 1 PM

Conductor Alain Altinoglu

What a program! It's The Philadelphia Orchestra in Concert on WRTI, May 4 at 1 pm. The Fred J. Cooper Memorial Organ and organist Michael Stairs are two of the biggest stars in a firmament of many! Philadelphia Orchestra Music Director Yannick Nézet-Séguin had to withdraw from this performance in March, but it brought conductor Alain Altinoglu to Verizon Hall at Yannick’s recommendation, and was he ever in his element!

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ENCORE!
5:20 pm
Wed April 30, 2014

AVA Opera Theater on WRTI: Massenet's MANON, May 4 at 3 PM

Bass-baritone Daniel Noyola and soprano Sydney Mancasola

Jules Massenet's most enduring opera, Manon, will be presented in a not-to-be-missed broadcast on Sunday afternoon on WRTI by the Academy of Vocal Arts. The opera, based on the 1731 novel L’histoire du chevalier des Grieux et de Manon Lescaut by the Abbé Prévost, tells the story of a young girl with conflicting desires for love and luxury, corrupted by the idea of the glamorous life.

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Discoveries from the Fleisher Collection
5:59 am
Wed April 30, 2014

The Influence of Leó Weiner

"Leo Weiner, 1911" by Róbert Berény

On Discoveries from the Fleisher Collection, Saturday May 3rd, 5-6 pm... In addition to being one of Hungary’s great 20th-century composers, Leó Weiner taught generations of world-famous musicians, including cellist János Starker and conductors Georg Solti, Antal Doráti, and a certain Jenö Blau, who went on to be known as Eugene Ormandy.

The unmistakable Eastern European flavor of Weiner’s music charms today as it ever did. Its beauty is of a different kind from Béla Bartók’s and Zoltán Kodály’s, two other Hungarians we’ve already met on Discoveries. Bartók and Kodály collected and transcribed folk music, and that source material came to affect their own original music. From the harmonies and rhythms of this hidden edge of Europe, Bartók, especially, created a musical language so personal that it stands apart from traditionalists and atonalists alike.

Weiner, however, was a romantic. He uses Hungarian tunes the way Brahms uses Hungarian tunes: They are exotic yet grounded in a thoroughly Germanic soundscape. But what a soundscape! He was being noticed and was winning prizes for works in which he included very un-classical folk instruments such as the cimbalom, a type of hammered dulcimer. By 1914, when Fritz Reiner conducted the premiere of Weiner’s early Prince Csongor and the Kobolde, based on a Hungarian fairy tale, his career was already taking off.

He started teaching at the main conservatory in Budapest, and remained there the rest of his life. In addition to composition, he accompanied and coached opera singers, and began teaching in the area where he would have the most international influence, chamber music.

The musicians who came through his chamber music classes learned to develop a full-blooded yet highly accurate approach to sound. Many would become conductors, yet whether in playing or in directing the playing of others, the combination of boundless passion with razor-sharp technique ironically catapulted American orchestras (Ormandy’s Philadelphia and Solti’s Chicago, for instance), into the vanguard of European classical performance.

The 1930s saw the composing of his Divertimento and the Opus 18 Suite of Hungarian dances. America was the first to hear the Suite, now perhaps his most-played work. It was Reiner, again, with the Rochester Philharmonic in 1933. Weiner dedicated it to composer László Lajtha, who had introduced him to many of these Hungarian tunes. Where did Lajtha learn them? Why, from working alongside Bartók and Kodály.

Through his rigorous teaching and his brilliant music, Léo Weiner is rightly considered one of the leading lights of Hungarian music in the 20th century.

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