Kile Smith

Classical Host

Kile Smith hosts the contemporary American music program Now Is the Time on Sundays at 10 pm on HD-2 and the classical stream, and co-hosts Discoveries from the Fleisher Collection on the first Saturday of every month at 5 pm with Jack Moore. Discoveries takes a fresh look at music in the Fleisher Collection of Orchestral Music at the Free Library of Philadelphia, where Kile was curator for 18 years. He also fills in as an on-air classical host.
 
When he's not producing podcasts of CD reviews for WRTI, writing for the Broad Street Review, teaching music history at Cairn University, music notation at Temple University, or private composition, Kile is busy composing orchestral, choral, chamber, and liturgical works. His music is praised by critics and audiences for its emotional power, direct appeal, and strong voice. Gramophone magazine calls his Vespers "spectacular," possessing "sparkling beauty." The Philadelphia Inquirer describes his music as "breathtaking."
 
He's composed for The Crossing, Piffaro, Orchestra 2001, and the Newburyport Chamber Music Festival. He's also written for David Kim, concertmaster of the Philadelphia Orchestra, Jennifer Montone, Philadelphia's principal horn, and Anne Martindale Williams, principal cello of the Pittsburgh Symphony. His website is kilesmith.com.

The weeds in his ever-widening gardens hint that he needs to get outside more.

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Now Is the Time
11:40 am
Sat October 19, 2013

Inspired by Bach on Now Is the Time

from Mark Hagerty: Cello Suite 2

J. S. Bach continues to illuminate us, on Now Is the Time, Sunday, October 20th at 10 pm. The Cello Suite 2 of Mark Hagerty does not ape the suites of the great master, but rather is lit from within by the spirit of Bach. It's a large-breathed, optimistic suite, given a luminous reading by Douglas McNames.

The third Quintet for Winds by David Maslanka is so dedicated to the spirit of Bach, that even a chorale confidently unfurling in its midst is caught up in the spirit—though it's an original tune. Still, quotes and feints abound, and the deft handling of these chamber forces not only warmly counterpoises Hagerty's solo cello suite, it introduces us to an appreciation for Maslanka, for Bach, and for the never-dying muse illuminating all music of good will.

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Now Is the Time
9:51 pm
Sat October 12, 2013

Rumors on Now Is the Time

Nazca drawing in Peru

from Harold Meltzer: Rumors

There are journeys and rumors of journeys on Now Is the Time, Sunday, October 13th at 10 pm. Harold Meltzer's Rumors is for one flutist and four flutes: piccolo, C flute, alto, and bass. He envisions a drum set, the breathing of conspiracies (con spirare, to breathe together), and an old man on a bench in Italy trying to remember a children's song.

Sergio Cervetti pictures Peru's desert drawings in Nazca for string orchestra. Seen from the air, they could be monkeys, spiders, hummingbirds, or extraterrestrials, but whatever they are, the music is rich and inviting. As is Elegant Journey with Stopping Points of Interest, using the drawn, or graphic, notation that Robert Moran was employing in the ’60s. He revised this for solo organ, and we hear the European premiere from 2009.

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Now Is the Time
5:03 pm
Sun October 6, 2013

Turn Me Loose on Now Is the Time

Terry Riley

from Terry Riley: Be Kind to One Another (Rag)

There's the unlikeliest motion on Now Is the Time, Sunday, October 6th at 10 pm. Kristjan Järvi conducts a live, rip-snortin' Roadrunner, a movement from the Chamber Symphony of John Adams. Singer-songwriter Gillian Welch's dark-edged Americana is on beautiful display in My Morphine, especially in this atomized arrangement by William Anderson of the Anderson-Fader guitar duo.

That leads nicely into the saxophone-and-piano Sleep Without Dreams, a lyrical work of Michael Jon Fink, and Dmitri Tymoczko's early string quartet This Picture Seems to Move. Andy Teirstein somehow combines into a piano trio Old West saloonery and the ecstatic mysticism of the dancing Rebbe, Baal Shem Tov, in Turn Me Loose.

Finally, for solo piano, is Terry Riley's answer to Sarah Cahill's request for music about either war or peace. He was "noodling around" on the piano one night, and his grandchildren asked him to keep playing this one bit. He did; it became Be Kind to One Another (Rag).

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Discoveries from the Fleisher Collection
3:41 pm
Sat October 5, 2013

1913: Popper, Butterworth, Britten, Lutosławski on Fleisher Discoveries

Witold Lutosławski

Discoveries from the Fleisher Collection broadcasts Saturday, October 5th, 5 to 6 pm. We enjoyed our 1813 bicentennial so much last month that we thought we’d move a little closer, to the centennial of 1913. In that year, cellist/composer David Popper died, Benjamin Britten and Witold Lutosławski first saw the light of day, and George Butterworth composed The Banks of Green Willow.

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CD Selections
11:13 pm
Sun September 29, 2013

Kile Smith Suggests: THRUM, the Minneapolis Guitar Quartet

Kile Smith's review of Thrum, with music examples

From the opening moments of its recent CD Thrum, the Minneapolis Guitar Quartet throws its cards on the table. Attitude and refined sound are the driving forces here. Even the first percussive beats that herald the strut through Harlem—the first movement of Daniel Bernard Roumain’s Ghetto Strings—are nuanced, a combination of tap, stroke, and pound. This is delicious playing.

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Now Is the Time
9:44 pm
Fri September 27, 2013

Sound Moves Blues on Now Is the Time

from Paul Epstein: Three Sonnets

We move beyond autumnal blues, should we have them, on Now Is the Time, Sunday, September 29th at 10 pm. Saxophone, clarinet, and piano turn up the heat in Robert Aldridge's Sound Moves Blues, while Patrick Beckman honors blues tradition on the piano in Blues. Laos, Greece, Bolivia, Bulgaria, and the Tuskegee Institute's Gospel sound all inform Matthew Davidson's wide-ranging Etudes for Piano, Book 1.

Lisa Bielawa calls forth text of Jeremiah in her elegiac Lamentations for a city, a muted but compelling work for chorus and English horn. And then Philadelphia's Paul Epstein works through Isolation, Rapport, and Threnody in Three Sonnets, on words sent to him by a poet who heard his music. How lovely for that to happen, and what warm and tender songs these are, on this cusp of autumn.

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Now Is the Time
11:50 am
Sat September 21, 2013

A Wind of Fall on Now Is the Time

from James DeMars: Colors Fall

It’s a piquant greeting to autumn on Now Is the Time, Sunday, September 22nd at 10 pm. Adolphus Hailstork’s Romance No. 2, “Amoroso” from his CD As Falling Leaves features viola, while Colors Fall by James DeMars is a juicy work for flute and saxophone. Stephen Yip’s orchestral Raining in Autumn elicits longing cadenzas from the solo violin.

The song cycle A Wind of Fall is a setting of the poetry of Léonie Adams (Poet Laureate 1948–49) with warm and lucid music by Joel Mandelbaum. Finally, Russell Platt’s Autumn Music for violin and piano carries summer into fall with writing that is both luscious and bright.

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WRTI 60th Anniversary Limited-Edition CDs
12:06 am
Thu September 19, 2013

60th Anniversary Classical CD Highlight: Thompson, Alleluia

Randall Thompson

from Randall Thompson: Alleluia
Randall Thompson's Alleluia, performed by Voices of Ascension, Dennis Keene, conductor, is featured on CD 2 in the WRTI 60th Anniversary Classical 3-CD set.

From Randall Thompson, then Director of the Curtis Institute of Music, Serge Koussevitzky wanted a choral fanfare, loud and festive, for the opening of the Berkshire Music Center at Tanglewood. But Thompson couldn’t do festive, not in July 1940. Evil was spreading in Europe, and France had fallen the month before.

Over five days Thompson took the word “Alleluia”—literally, “Praise the Lord”—and turned it on its head, just as (he said later) it is in the Book of Job: “The Lord gave and the Lord has taken away. Blessed be the name of the Lord.” Thompson calls this a sad piece, this slow and insistent six-minute layered intoning of “Alleluia,” ending in “Amen.” It’s an atypical fanfare, but the Thompson Alleluia is one of the most beloved choral works of all time.

Check out all of the 60th anniversary Classical CD highlights here!

Contribute today at the $160 level and we'll thank you with our limited-edition WRTI 60th Anniversary CDs. Choose either our Classical (3 CDs) or Jazz (2 CDs) sets with notes from your favorite hosts. Pledge Here, and Thanks! 

Now Is the Time
7:41 pm
Sun September 15, 2013

Some Jazz at the End of Summer on Now Is the Time

It's good-bye to summer with a little—and more than a little—jazz on Now Is the Time, Sunday, September 15th at 10 pm. Quartet San Francisco starts off the program with Jeremy Cohen's summery Tango Toscana. Saxophonist Rudresh Mahanthappa honors his heritage and also the victims of 9/11 in Are There Clouds in India? Bassist John Patitucci works grooves into Scenes for Viola and Percussion, and Linda Robbins Coleman spins out a piano rag in Bill’s Song.

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WRTI 60th Anniversary Limited-Edition CDs
11:18 pm
Mon September 9, 2013

60th Anniversary Classical CD Highlight: Myers, Cavatina (Theme from The Deer Hunter)

from Stanley Myers: Cavatina

The Cavatina by Stanley Myers, used as the theme to The Deer Hunter, performed by guitarist Norbert Kraft, is featured on CD 3 in the WRTI 60th Anniversary Classical 3-CD set.

Film composer Stanley Myers scored The Walking Stick in 1970, and then guitarist John Williams convinced him to work up one bit of it for guitar. Williams played it eight years later on the sound track of one of the greatest movies of all time, The Deer Hunter.

Juxtaposing this bittersweet song against the struggle with brutality and love—in Southeast Asian jungles and Pennsylvania mountains—is as piercing now as it was in the years following the Vietnam War. Norbert Kraft performs the solo guitar arrangement with a graceful, glowing sound. 

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