Classical New Releases

Saturdays, 5 to 6 pm

Your host Mark Pinto sifts through all of the recently released classical CDs to bring you the very best recordings.

Black History Month would not be complete without acknowledging R. Nathaniel Dett, one of the most successful black composers. An authoritative new recording of his complete piano works by Clipper Erickson shines a welcome light on a major portion of Dett’s output.

Audio Pending...

We're counting down the days on Now Is the Time, Saturday, December 19th at 9 pm. Less Than a Week Before Christmas is David Golub's work for chorus and orchestra: about the cold, about a friend. Morten Lauridsen contemplates the wonder of animals at the nativity manger in one of our time's most-sung pieces, O Magnum Mysterium.

Composer Jennifer Higdon becomes her own poet for Deep in the Night, pondering "this season of love with full brilliant lights." Daron Hagen combines two melodies we recognize with a beautiful one we don't—because he just wrote it—in a work for choir with cello, At Bethlehem Proper. Rounding out the choral works on the program is While All Things Were in Quiet Silence by Ned Rorem.

Two instrumental works find their way in, though. Advent has the same feeling that imbues Yearning, the lovely work for violin and strings by Shulamit Ran, dedicated to Yehudi Menuhin. For solo guitar is the suite of Rick Sowash, helping us count down the days, For an Old Friend at Christmas.

WRTI's Mark Pinto, host of the Classical New Releases show, fills you in on the latest and greatest classical music CDs every Saturday at 5 pm. Here are five newly released recordings he recommends:

The spirit of Copland looks over Now Is the Time, Saturday, November 14th at 9 pm. It would be the 115th birthday of the son of Lithuanian immigrants, the son of Brooklyn, who, more than any other composer, defined what is “American” in American music. We think that there is at the very least a little of his spirit in the works on today’s show. 

It’s two pianos, four hands, and more on Now Is the Time, Saturday, November 7th at 9 pm. Lowell Liebermann has two works on the program, starting off with two pianos and eight hands (two belonging to himself), on Daydream and Nightmare. Later we’ll hear his Sonata for Two Pianos.

The spirit of Halloween hovers over Now Is the Time, Saturday, October 31 at 9 pm. Strings, bells, melodicas softly accompany waning desert sunlight: such is Drift of Rainbows by Dan Visconti. William Moylan's setting of the Yeats poem The Stolen Child tells an Erlkönig-like story: "Come away, O human child! / To the waters and the wild / With a faery, hand in hand, / For the world's more full of weeping than you can understand."

This week’s blood-red super-moon eclipse informs Now Is the Time, Saturday, October 3rd at 9 pm. Blake Wilkins’s Compendium, from the University of Oklahoma Percussion Ensemble’s CD Twilight Offering Music, is a moodily colorful start to the program. An eerie string quartet is The Gloaming by Michael Whalen, from his CD The Shadows of October.

We look up and out on Now Is the Time, Saturday, September 26th at 9 pm. In Philadelphia there’s no escaping the influence of the pope’s visit this weekend, so there’s a sacred tinge to this Saturday’s program. Curt Cacioppo gives the solo piano a workout, negotiating the potential of a rock-ribbed hymn in his Ostinato-Fantasia on "All Creatures of Our God and King."

Summer CD Roundup

Aug 23, 2015

James Horner: Pas de Deux
Disillusionment with atonal contemporary music then being written drove the young James Horner to film scoring. In November 2014, after years of movie successes, the 61-year-old film composer (Titanic, Avatar, The Amazing Spider-Man) returned to the concert hall with a triumph, his Double Concerto for violin and cello. The work was premiered by its dedicatees, the Norwegian Samuelsen siblings Mari and Hakon.

The New York Times calls Alisa Weilerstein the "sovereign of the American cello," and continues, "it’s not technical brilliance that makes Alisa Weilerstein’s recording of Dvorak’s much-loved cello concerto special, though the young American cellist has it in spades. It’s the take-no-prisoners emotional investment that is evident in every bar, but never more so than in the heart-wrenching slow movement, where Ms. Weilerstein’s cello appears to take on human shape."

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