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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Jazz Hot 11 Countdown
11:55 pm
Mon April 28, 2014

Jazz Hot 11 Countdown: April 28, 2014

WRTI's Jazz Hot 11 is a weekly countdown of your favorite new jazz releases in rotation.  
This week's Hot 11:  
1. Stacey Kent - Waiter, Oh Waiter - THE CHANGING LIGHTS 

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ENCORE!
3:26 pm
Fri April 25, 2014

Philadelphia Youth Orchestra on WRTI: Vaughan Williams, Barber & Rachmaninoff, April 27 at 4 PM

The Philadelphia Youth Orchestra
Bachrach Photography

Listen to WRTI at 90.1 FM or online at wrti.org this Sunday at 4 pm for a brilliant concert broadcast featuring the Philadelphia Youth Orchestra. Music Director Louis Scaglione conducts, and violinist Michael Ludwig plays the Barber Violin Concerto.  Also on the program, Vaughan Williams' haunting Fantasia on a Theme of Thomas Tallis ​and Sergei Rachmaninoff's romantic Symphony No. 2 in a complete performance.  

Now Is the Time
11:08 am
Fri April 25, 2014

Images from a Closed Ward

from Michael Hersch: Images from a Closed Ward

We remember the living and the dying on Now Is the Time, Saturday, April 26th at 9 pm at wrti.org and WRTI-HD2. The music of Michael Hersch is always strong, always dark, and always provocative, but its true power lies in its vibrancy, always reaching out to us. Images from a Closed Ward refers to drawings by Michael Mazur of psychiatric patients. The lithographs and the music are tough but compelling; the sadness is deep, but the humanity, sublime. The Blair String Quartet plays this riveting 13-movement work.

A separate string orchestra piece that is also part of her second symphony, Ghosts of Judith Lang Zaimont salutes the composers Scriabin, Britten, Ravel, Berg, Christopher Rouse, and Laurie Anderson. But—and this is important—it is by no means a pastiche of other styles. Ghosts is a thoroughly integrated work of imagination and depth.

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A Snapshot of Ella
6:39 am
Fri April 25, 2014

Ella Fitzgerald: Some Stories about the Queen of Jazz on Her Birthday!

Jazz icon Ella Fitzgerald (1917 to 1996)

WRTI's Susan Lewis takes a look at the life and music of the great jazz vocalist Ella Fitzgerald, with commentary by Jazz Host Bob Perkins. April 25th is Ella's birthday! She would have turned 98 today.

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The Fabulous Philadelphians on WRTI
3:51 pm
Thu April 24, 2014

The Philadelphians in Concert on WRTI: Vivaldi's THE FOUR SEASONS, April 27th at 1 PM

Antonio Vivaldi (1678—1741). His first four violin concerti, known as "The Four Seasons," were composed in 1723.

This Sunday at 1 pm on WRTI, it's a delightful Philadelphia Orchestra program from this past November at Verizon Hall, which begins with Vivaldi’s famous four violin concerti known as "The Four Seasons," as vivid today as they were nearly 300 years ago. Violinist Giuliano Carmignola joins Richard Egarr, two of the foremost early-music specialists in the world today, for performances of these works.

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WRTI Spotlight
12:05 pm
Wed April 23, 2014

SUMMER from Vivaldi's The Four Seasons: A Closer Look

Comprised of four violin concertos written by Vivaldi in 1723, The Four Seasons is probably the Baroque composer's best-known work. Each of the four concerti is based on a sonnet - supposedly written by Vivaldi himself. Each sonnet is divided into three sections (fast, slow, fast), which correspond with the three movements in each concerto. Read the "Summer" sonnet and listen to each part of The Four Seasons, Concerto No. 2 in G minor, Op. 8, RV 315, "L'estate" (Summer)

SUMMER SONNET

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WRTI Spring Member Drive
5:39 am
Wed April 23, 2014

You Listen to WRTI. It's the Simple Truth.

A faithful listener-member of WRTI.

How much do you listen to WRTI? Stop and think about it. Once a week? Twice a week? Three or more times a week? Whatever your answer, the simple truth is that you listen.

Right now, we're asking you to listen to this simple truth: WRTI relies on listeners who are willing to become members to keep this music service going for you and the entire community. Over 50% of our operating costs come from listener-members.

Donald Nally's Message to the Community
9:08 pm
Tue April 22, 2014

The Passing of The Crossing's Jeffrey Dinsmore

Tenor Jeffrey Dinsmore (1972-2014)

Jeffrey Dinsmore, co-founder and integral member of the Philadelphia choral ensemble The Crossing, died suddenly on April 14th in Los Angeles at age 42. The Crossing's conductor Donald Nally sent out this email message (below) about Jeff's passing. This is such a sad loss for Jeff's family and loved ones, and for everyone in Philadelphia's choral community.

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Creatively Speaking
9:03 pm
Tue April 22, 2014

The Beloved Ella Fitzgerald: First Lady of Song

Ella Fitzgerald recorded more than 200 albums in her lifetime.

The great Ella Fitzgerald was born on April 25th, 1917, and died in 1996; she would have turned 98 next week. As WRTI’s Susan Lewis reports, "The Queen of Jazz" - also called "The First Lady of Song," left a lasting legacy on American song and jazz.

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