Now is the Time

Saturday, 9 to 10 pm on HD-2 and the Classical Stream

Contemporary American music is being recorded all the time, and Now is the Time to take a listen and explore the music of American composers today. All types...all styles...listen to contemporary American music every Saturday night with host and composer Kile Smith.

Composer ID: 
53c7dc12e1c8b9c77b4b9b76|53c7dbe1e1c8b9c77b4b9b6e

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WRTI Arts Desk
11:50 am
Tue May 26, 2015

Pop Culture's Influence on Composer Michael Daugherty

Composer Michael Daugherty

Classical composer Michael Daugherty writes music about ideas, people, and places from popular culture. As WRTI’s Susan Lewis reports, his works invite listeners to engage with the music through their own experiences.

Radio script:

MUSIC: Metropolis

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WRTI Arts Desk
7:50 am
Mon May 25, 2015

A Tuba Concerto About The Mississippi River? Michael Daugherty's Composition Defies Expectations

Philadelphia Orchestra Principal Tuba Carol Jantsch, conductor Giandrea Noseda, and composer Michael Daugherty at a March, 2015 rehearsal with The Philadelphia Orchestra.

There are very few tuba concertos in the classical repertoire - Ralph Vaughn Williams' 1954 work is among a handful. But, as WRTI’s Susan Lewis reports, a new addition explores the largely untapped lyricism of the instrument.   

Carol Jantsch and The Philadelphia Orchestra perform Michael Daugherty's Concerto for Tuba and Orchestra, Reflections on the Mississippi, on Sunday May 31st, on WRTI.

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WRTI Picks from NPR Music
2:03 pm
Thu May 21, 2015

Mathias Eick's 'Midwest': A Musical Landscape

On Mathias Eick's new album, Midwest, he composes musical impressions of the Midwestern landscape.
Courtesy of the artist

Originally published on Thu May 21, 2015 7:07 pm

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MAD MEN, Music from the Original Soundtrack
12:40 pm
Thu May 14, 2015

Kile Smith Recommends...MAD MEN, Original Soundtrack from the TV Series

Matthew Weiner, the creator of the hugely popular TV series Mad Men - now in its final season - works very hard at going beneath the surface to capture the look of the 1960s, from company logo typefaces to office equipment tints to the shine in a pair of trousers. Mad Men composer David Carbonara labors just as much on the show's music to express that era; he’s a composer of acutely original pieces.



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WRTI Arts Desk
11:18 am
Thu May 14, 2015

An Interview With MAD MEN Composer David Carbonara

Jon Hamm as Donald Draper

As the popular AMC series Mad Men comes to an end, listen back to a revealing and humorous interview with Mad Men Music Editor David Carbonara from March, 2012, as he shares the inside story on how he writes music for Mad Men, how creator Matthew Weiner chooses the '60s songs, and how it's all mixed together to make a hit TV series. And how did he get this gig, anyway?

David, a former trombonist, spices the show with jazz-tinged music that lends flavor as much as the crisp dialogue and mod decor.

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WRTI Picks from NPR Music
7:59 am
Sat April 25, 2015

Roomful Of Teeth: A Vocal Group That's 'A Band, Not A Choir'

Roomful of Teeth's new album is Render, out April 28.
Bonica Ayala Courtesy of the artist

Originally published on Tue April 28, 2015 2:16 pm

The vocal ensemble Roomful of Teeth consists of eight classically trained singers incorporating Tuvan throat singing, Appalachian yodeling, operatic trills, rhythmic exhalations and whispered speech into music written by some of the most exciting young composers of the 21st century.

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WRTI Arts Desk
6:30 am
Mon April 20, 2015

Modern Music's Debt to Philip Glass

Philip Glass with WRTI's Kile Smith at the Free Library of Philadelphia
Andy Kahan

Philip Glass is one of the most influential composers of the last 50 years. He’s not the only composer to use slowly changing repetition as a formal device, but his prolific output and the legacy of decades of performances by the Philip Glass Ensemble, have made his sound-world recognizable to millions.

He’s composed numbers well into the double digits of symphonies, operas, and film soundtracks, along with string quartets, concertos, ballets, songs, and so much more. His autobiography Words without Music recounts what Ornette Coleman told him: there was a difference between the music world and the music business. It's a lesson he never forgot.

He worked in his father’s Baltimore record store, and was a furniture mover, cab driver, and plumber. He studied at Juilliard and with Nadia Boulanger in Paris, then formed his ensemble and began touring. Operas, beginning with Einstein on the Beach, made him so famous that Peter Schickele poked fun with a P.D.Q. Bach opera, Einstein on the Fritz. Philip Glass loved it.

He's worked with Ravi Shankar, Martin Scorsese, Samuel Beckett, and David Bowie, and broke down the wall between uptown classical and downtown vernacular. The sound of contemporary music is due, in no small part, to Philip Glass.

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Now Is the Time
11:09 pm
Fri April 17, 2015

Available Forms on Now Is the Time

The Lark Quartet

Forms traditional, and those not so, arise on Now Is the Time, Saturday, April 18th at 9 pm. Composers often wrestle over titles, hoping to trumpet putative musical originality with a never-seen-before moniker. Paul Moravec, however, writes a piece for string quartet plus piano and calls it what it is: Piano Quintet. With the Lark Quartet, with pianist Jeremy Denk, and with his keen ear for profound energy, Moravec has that ease to call things what they are, and we are rewarded.

John Hodian’s six-part MMU-14 is mysteriously-titled but engagingly entertaining. Written way back in the 1980s, it’s a work of surface repetition, but listen closely, as it’s rare that any two measures are exactly like the next two. For overdubbed acoustic instruments, MMU-14 uses just a soupçon of electronics to produce an attractive yet propulsive drive.

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Now Is the Time
7:29 pm
Fri April 10, 2015

Passover and Remembering

Passover passes and remembrance continues on Now Is the Time, Saturday, April 11th at 9 pm. The composer and guitarist David Leisner tells the story, in Acrobats, of circus performers on a concentration camp-bound train who mistakenly end up at a circus. Life-and-death decisions are made in split seconds. Raphael Mostel was concerned with the Second World War destruction and eventual liberation of Rotterdam, but as he composed in September 2001, a plane headed to the World Trade Center flew over his building. Shofars and brass shudder in Night and Dawn.

John Morton recalls, by way of a modified music box, a Passover meal’s interlude in The Parting. Conductor Gerard Schwarz is also a composer, and wrote In Memoriam for the passing of a friend. It premiered at a Holocaust memorial concert, and featured as soloist Schwarz’s cellist son Julian. The Hebrew term for the Red Sea actually translates to “Sea of Reeds,” so that may be the body of water that the Israelites crossed in their Exodus from Egypt. From the Sea of Reeds CD by Gerald Cohen is a work for violin, clarinet, and piano, an extended blues called Variously Blue.

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Now Is the Time
10:56 am
Fri April 3, 2015

The Women at the Cross

Two Philadelphia composers explore sacred themes on Now Is the Time, Saturday, April 4th at 9 pm. Holy the Firm is the song cycle by James Primosch on texts by Denise Levertov, Annie Dillard, Susan Stewart, and the 7th-century John Climacus, whose monastic treatise The Ladder of Divine Ascent takes its inspiration from the angels in Jacob's dream. From Primosch's Sacred Songs CD, this is magical and colorful writing for soprano and small orchestra.

Curt Cacioppo's Women at the Cross, from his recent CD Ritornello, is a suite for string quartet and piano focused on the week of the Passion of Christ. The movements are Maria gratia plena (Mary, full of grace), Procula, Veronica, Maddalena, La terza Maria, Salome, and Sons of Thunder; the finale refers to James and John, called "Boanerges" or "Sons of Thunder" by Jesus, and thought to be the sons of one of the women disciples, Salome.

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