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.

Pieces of this and that country make up Now Is the Time, Saturday, August 6th at 9 pm. Two works of Mason Bates seemingly float in space, as Chanticleer sings the Maori-inspired Observer in the Magellanic Cloud, and the Boston Modern Orchestra Project performs Mothership, along with electronics and a guzheng, the Chinese zither. Argentine sounds invest the lovely Dances of Mario Broeders for flute and harp, and the Cambodian American Chinary Ung brings Water Rings Overture for orchestra.

Slowly but surely, Lubomyr Melnyk is getting noticed. This summer, the enigmatic Ukrainian-born pianist, who looks like Rasputin's doppelgänger, released illirion on Sony Classical.

At the gateway of August, summertime looks like it will never end—but it won’t be long until it begins to fade. On Now Is the Time, Saturday, July 30th at 9 pm on WRTI-HD2 and the all-classical webstream at wrti.org, Dan Becker starts us off with a cut from his Fade album that looks forward and back, ReInvention 1a. Imagine a J. S. Bach invention run through a digital piano with postminimalist leanings, and maybe you can imagine the excitement and quirkiness of this piece. Then, Jennifer Higdon’s Dash for flute, clarinet, and piano is all that and a cloud of dust.

From its mesmerizing ebb and flow and the purity of the choristers' blend alone, you'd be forgiven for thinking this might be one of Henryk Górecki's many sacred choral works. There's a palpable air of serenity and reflection. But instead, it's a song about a little pony and a blue-eyed girl.

The Estonians are serious about singing. The power of human voices practically propelled the small Baltic country to independence during the Soviet era. In the late 1980s, hundreds of thousands of Estonians routinely gathered to perform forbidden patriotic songs. The events energized the nation, leading to what was called the "Singing Revolution."

The Danish String Quartet is one of the most widely acclaimed chamber groups at the moment — although, in the interest of full disclosure, we should tell you that one member of the quartet is actually Norwegian. The group has a new record called Adès/Nørgard/Abrahamsen that features a program of Danish and British music.

How do music and movement relate in contemporary ballet? Music can be composed for dance moves,  dance can be created for music, and sometimes they’re created independently – coming together on the stage. WRTI’s Susan Lewis has more. 


You might call it old wine in new bottles, but what sweet, masterfully crafted wine it is. Upheld by Stillness, the debut album by the young and vibrant British a cappella choir ORA, presents a contemporary twist on a 16th-century classic.

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