Discoveries from the Fleisher Collection

The first Saturday of each month, 5 to 6 pm

In Discoveries from the Fleisher Collection, we uncover the unknown, rediscover the little-known, and take a fresh look at some of the remarkable treasures housed in the Edwin A. Fleisher Collection of Orchestral Music in the Free Library of Philadelphia. The Fleisher Collection is the largest lending library of orchestral performance material in the world.

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Discoveries from the Fleisher Collection
11:44 pm
Tue May 28, 2013

Haydn Symphonies, First and Last, on Discoveries from the Fleisher Collection

Haydn Hall, Esterházy Castle

Discoveries from the Fleisher Collection broadcasts Saturday, June 1st, 2013, 5-6 pm.

We call Joseph Haydn the “Father of the Symphony,” but he didn’t invent the form. A symphony is a multi-movement work, usually for orchestra, usually including a first movement that develops a theme, and another that’s a dance. When Haydn started producing these, people had already been writing them for about 20 years. His first is from around 1758 or so; fellow Austrian Georg Matthias Monn wrote one in 1740.

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Discoveries from the Fleisher Collection
4:10 pm
Thu May 2, 2013

Prokofiev Moves Back to Russia

On Discoveries from the Fleisher Collection, Saturday, May 4th at 5 pm...

Sergei Prokofiev lived in Paris in 1936 but longed for Russia. He had never relinquished his Soviet citizenship in the years he was abroad; since 1918 he lived in the U.S., Germany, and France. He toured America, Europe, and the USSR often, playing piano in and conducting his growing repertoire of increasingly popular works.

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Discoveries from the Fleisher Collection
4:09 pm
Thu April 4, 2013

Edvard Grieg Discovers Norway

On Discoveries from the Fleisher Collection, April 6th at 5 pm...

“Edvard Grieg,” they were saying in Germany and in Denmark. It was the name of that young pianist/composer from Norway they were noticing, for he was starting to become somebody. But then something odd happened. He discovered Norway.

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Discoveries from the Fleisher Collection
6:38 am
Fri March 8, 2013

How Delius Fell in Love with Music in Florida

Edvard Munch, The Dance of Life, 1899

On Discoveries from the Fleisher Collection, March 9th at 5 pm...The young Englishman watched the cigar smoke dance slowly as it dissipated into the hot, thick air. He was sitting on the porch of a cottage in an orange grove called Solano on a sleepy bank of a river named the St. Johns, a long, lazy waterway born in the southern marshes and in no hurry to creep up eastern Florida to lap, finally, into the Atlantic. St. Augustine was close by to the east, but 1884 St. Augustine was not yet a city, nowhere near a city, hardly a town. In this lonely grove by the river, in the wilderness of the Florida interior, St. Augustine could have been in Yorkshire, the young Englishman’s home, for all that.

He lit another cigar. As the smoke melted, barely lifted by the St. Johns breeze, 22-year-old Fritz Delius was happy to be far from St. Augustine, far from Yorkshire, and as far from his father as he could be.

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Discoveries from the Fleisher Collection
11:29 am
Sat February 2, 2013

Percy Grainger: Beyond Country Gardens

Percy Grainger, 1913

If you know Percy Grainger at all, you know Country Gardens, that simple frolic every beginning pianist, every wind band, every school orchestra has assayed at one time or another. Percy Grainger knew that you would know that, and that’s why Percy Grainger grew to detest Country Gardens.

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Discoveries from the Fleisher Collection
10:40 pm
Fri January 11, 2013

Impressions of Charles Tomlinson Griffes on Discoveries

On Discoveries from the Fleisher Collection, Jan. 12th at 5 pm... Impressionism is an imprecise, even controversial term, the first “impressionist” Debussy having none of it. Each of its elements—open form, reliance on tone color over melody, unpredictable harmonies with modal scales—is challengeable, and Debussy’s music is awash with counter-examples. But everyone agrees that impressionism, whatever it is, exists, and that it is French.

Which is why it is such a surprise that one of the leading impressionist composers lived and died in upstate New York and studied in, of all places, Germany.

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Discoveries from the Fleisher Collection
4:13 pm
Wed November 28, 2012

Who Does Havergal Brian Sound Like? Find Out On Fleisher Discoveries, Dec. 1st at 5 pm

Who does this sound like?

That’s the first question we ask when we hear music new to us. It’s as true with Havergal Brian’s as with anyone else’s—probably more true, since his music is so rarely heard, and consequently so often new.

If we know anything about him, it’s that his first symphony, the “Gothic,” is called the largest ever written, with brass bands, choirs, harps, drums, and organ along with a gargantuan orchestra. Our knowledge of Havergal Brian usually ends there.

But he wrote 31 other symphonies, and much more music besides. On top of that, 27 of his symphonies and four of his five operas were composed in the last 25 years of his life, and he lived to be 96. On top of that, for most of his life not one note of his music was performed.

Why not?

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Discoveries from the Fleisher Collection
4:44 pm
Wed October 31, 2012

William Grant Still: The Dean of African-American Composers

We call William Grant Still “The Dean of African-American Composers,” and the description strikes us as quaint. Not wrong, since it’s undeniable that Still was the leading Black American composer of concert music (although he opposed the term Black as one that divided people into false groups).

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Discoveries from the Fleisher Collection
12:47 pm
Wed October 10, 2012

Karol Szymanowski: Discoveries from the Fleisher Collection, Oct. 13th, 5 pm

Karol Szymanowski, 1935

Squeezed between a Russian revolution that destroyed his home, and a world war that destroyed the rest, Karol Szymanowski finally found escape in the art that had so long eluded him.

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Discoveries from the Fleisher Collection
3:57 pm
Sat September 1, 2012

Not What the Composer Had in Mind: Discoveries from the Fleisher Collection, Sept. 1st, 5 pm

Johann Sebastian Bach

Music will always challenge our assumptions...if we let it. For a couple of generations now, those who unearthed music from earlier times have wanted to play it the way it sounded in those earlier times. These “authentic” or “historically informed” performances open our ears to new delights hidden in Medieval and Renaissance music. As playing techniques and instruments improved, the movement grew to encompass Baroque and Classical music. Even Romantic and later music has been influenced by the growing research. We can now listen to Brahms symphonies on “original” instruments.

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