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.

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Now Is the Time
5:56 am
Fri December 6, 2013

Mischievous, Menacing, and Minuetting Dances

from Daron Hagen: Bandanna

Mischievous, menacing, or minuetting, it's dancing on Now Is the Time, Saturday, December 7th at 9 pm—our new time, every Saturday night at 9 on WRTI-HD2 and the all-classical stream at wrti.org.

From her CD How She Danced comes Elena Ruehr's String Quartet No. 4. It includes, as do her other quartets, a dance—in this case, a minuet—among the four movements. There is always much going on beneath the surface of her music, but whether it's mathematics or literature, what we always hear is a focus on beautiful sound. Saxophone and clarinet comprise the sounding beauties of Perry Goldstein's Mischief. It pirouettes, dips, and delights on its way, and is over before we know it. We want to hear more.

Wanting more, desiring the other, and death are elements of opera; Daron Hagen brings them all together, to violent effect, in Bandanna, set on the U.S./Mexico border in the 1960s. Immigrants, law corrupted, and jealousy combine in this finely wrought yet roiling tragedy. We'll hear much of Act Two, where misunderstandings and machinations during a wedding dance propel the drama toward its conclusion.

Next week: Now Is the Time Show #200!

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Now Is the Time
12:54 pm
Fri November 22, 2013

A Kennedy Portrait

from Philip Lasser: Vocalise

It's an elegiac walk among portraits, surrounding the remembrance of JFK on Now Is the Time, Saturday, November 23rd at 9 pm—our new time, every Saturday night at 9 on WRTI-HD2 and the all-classical stream at wrti.org.

In Gallery for solo cello, Robert Muczynski takes us past paintings, similar to the how Mussorgsky does in Pictures at an Exhibition. A Kennedy Portrait for narrator and orchestra uses the words of President Kennedy and also some from the composer, William Kraft, in this work of exhilaration and hope.

From the CD Portraits & Elegies is Philip Lasser's Vocalise, poignant music for violin and piano. Returning to the single cello, Andrew Waggoner's Le Nom (Upperline) is a beautiful reminiscence of his hometown of New Orleans both before and after Hurricane Katrina. John Harbison walks us again through a gallery, but Six American Painters is more about the artists themselves—including Thomas Eakins and Winslow Homer—rather than their work.

If you're new to Now Is the Time, just go to wrti.org and click on the Listen: Classical button at the top. Day or night, that brings you the classical stream, and at 9 pm every Saturday, you'll hear Now Is the Time. In the Philadelphia area with an HD radio? Dial us up at 90.1 FM, HD2, or find all the frequencies here, depending on where you are, from the Shore to the Poconos to Harrisburg to Dover. Thanks for supporting American contemporary music on WRTI!

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Now Is the Time
8:12 pm
Wed November 13, 2013

Double Dance on Now Is the Time

from Bill Dobbins: Prelude III in F Major

  We connect through dance on Now Is the Time, Saturday, November 16th at 9 pm—our new time, every Saturday night at 9 on WRTI-HD2.

Easley Blackwood sets the stage with a Rondo Caprice for Flute and Guitar, then Mark Carlson keeps the guitar but switches to soprano saxophone in Two Ballads. Two rags by Brian Dykstra follow, Nancita and Noelito for pianists Nancy Roldán and Noel Lester, and then the Umgawa Rag, named for the trio who premiered it, alto saxophonist James Umble, pianist Carolyn Gadiel Warner, and violinist Stephen Warner.

Chuck Holdeman straddles the two worlds of Baroque and new music with a lovely Sonate en Trio. Two worlds and two works sandwich the Holdeman music: from the CD Double Dance: Classical & Jazz Connections II we hear Prelude VII and Prelude III of Bill Dobbins.

If you're new to Now Is the Time, just go to wrti.org and click on the Listen: Classical button at the top. Day or night, that brings you the classical stream, and at 9 pm every Saturday, you'll hear Now Is the Time. In the Philadelphia area with an HD radio? Dial us up at 90.1 FM, HD2, or find all the frequencies here, depending on where you are, from the Shore to the Poconos to Harrisburg to Dover. Thanks for supporting American contemporary music on WRTI!

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Now Is the Time
2:06 pm
Fri November 8, 2013

The Edge of the Infinite on Now Is the Time

from James Piorkowski: “Once Was Lost…”

We see from surprising paths on Now Is the Time, Saturday, November 9th at 9 pm—our new time, every Saturday night at 9 on WRTI-HD2.

Solo flute entices, with electronics, in Flutepaths by Lawrence Moss, and then the first of two works relate to the hymn "Amazing Grace." James Piorkowski's subtle variations "Once Was Lost…" are for solo guitar.

Christopher Theofanidis's large-breathed On the Edge of the Infinite, for violin and orchestra, brings us to Amazing Grace by Leslie Adams. While the title is familiar, both the music and the words are by Adams. Michael Colgrass bases the Winds of Nagual on Carlos Castaneda's mystic writings from the Mexican wilderness. Hallucinations and shape-shifting lead to a leap into the abyss, which explodes into a thousand views of the world.

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CD Selections
3:55 pm
Tue October 29, 2013

Mark Pinto Suggests: Pianist Michael Landrum's NOCTURNES

A little night music, please. Actually, there's a lot of it to enjoy on this beautifully conceived and performed two-disc set dedicated to the art of the piano nocturne. The French word means "nocturnal" or "of the night."  Though far from being lullabies, these single movement miniatures typically do begin and end softly and reflectively. But like an evening’s sleep interrupted by a bad dream or bout of insomnia, there is often much restlessness and turmoil within.
   

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Now Is the Time
10:32 pm
Sat October 26, 2013

Around Halloween on Now Is the Time

from Dan Visconti: Drift of Rainbows

The spirit of Halloween hovers over Now Is the Time, Sunday, October 27th at 10 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."

Benjamin Broening processes out-takes of recordings over and over until they sound hardly electronic anymore, but more, perhaps, like ghosts, in Traces (ii). Acoustically to Shake the Tree is Robert Carl's business at hand—for piano four-hands—and the fruit from the overtone series brilliantly litters his landscape. And William Bolcom wraps the program with one of his fortes in the Graceful Ghost Rag.

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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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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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