CD Selections

CD Selections
3:10 pm
Wed August 27, 2014

John Dowland's Art Of Melancholy

Wikimedia Commons

Originally published on Mon January 30, 2012 12:28 pm

  • Ted Libbey And Fred Child Recommend Dowland's Lute Songs

John Dowland (1563-1626) was an important instrumental composer at a time when the most serious music was vocal, and he was a popular composer at a time when there was no dichotomy between popular and classical music. Much of Dowland's music is sad and melancholy, but that's not to say that he was a self-pitying person. In his time, melancholy was the sign of a superior individual, of someone who was mature and capable of deep feeling.

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Classical CD Selections
3:10 pm
Wed August 27, 2014

Monteverdi's Pioneering 'Vespers'

Monteverdi's Poppea.
Wikimedia Commons

Originally published on Wed February 8, 2012 4:32 pm

  • Ted Libbey And Fred Child Recommend Monteverdi's Vespers

The Italian composer Claudio Monteverdi was arguably the most important musician of the first half of the 17th century. He absorbed the musical style of the late Renaissance and, in his early works, helped bring it to its highest expression. He also pioneered new compositional techniques in his madrigals and other vocal works, effectively laying the foundation for many of the stylistic conventions of the Baroque.

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Jazz CD Review
4:21 pm
Thu August 21, 2014

ICON Suggests: Jimmy Cobb, The Original Mob

The Original Mob, assembles drummer Jimmy Cobb, guitarist Peter Bernstein, pianist Brad Mehldau, and bassist John Webber.

Drummer Jimmy Cobb, an historically important musician who duly received an NEA Jazz Master award in 2009, needs no introduction. If his only connection to jazz was through Miles Davis and playing on Kind Of Blue in 1959, his reputation would still be assured.

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Mark Pinto Suggests...
4:59 pm
Tue August 19, 2014

Classical New Releases, Summer 2014: Check Them Out!

WRTI's Mark Pinto, host of the Classical New Releases show, fills you in on the latest and the greatest classical music CDs every Saturday at 5 pm. Here are six recordings to pay special attention to...

Milos, London Philharmonic Orchestra, Yannick Nezet-Seguin, conductor: Aranjuez. The young guitarist Milos from Montenegro continues to win new fans wherever he goes. Now with this recording he brings his trademark passion and intimacy to bear on the two most popular works for guitar and orchestra ever composed. In the tender moments he caresses the strings, and through some close miking, every caress can be felt. Having Yannick on hand to guide the London Philharmonic and let Milos "do his thing" should help the guitarist gain some new admirers in Philadelphia.

Ailyn Perez & Stephen Costello: Love Duets. This is a long-awaited debut disc from Philly’s "first couple" of opera (they met while students at the Academy of Vocal Arts and still perform together in the area), and it is as aurally delightful as they are photogenic. The husband-and-wife team makes convincing heat on these love duets from popular operas and classic Broadway musicals. A keepsake for Philadelphia opera fans.

Anne-Sophie Mutter and Lambert Orkis: The Silver Album. Violinist Anne-Sophie Mutter and pianist and Temple University professor Lambert Orkis celebrate 25 years as a performing team with this two-disc release. At first glance they may seem an unlikely pair. However, both share a keen interest in contemporary music and in other ways have found each other to be musical soulmates. "It quickly became clear how perfectly we breathe and phrase together," says Mutter.

Superb studio and live performances from their last 25 years of music-making, of violin/piano sonatas by Beethoven, Brahms, Mozart, and Fauré, are featured here alongside new recordings of Massenet and Ravel. Plus, there are two world-premiere recordings: a dazzling and fiendishly difficult solo violin work by Krzysztof Penderecki, and André Previn's touching and lighthearted duo sonata. This is a wonderful commemorative of an enduring artistic partnership.

Yundi: Emporer/Fantasy, Beethoven and Schumann. Chinese pianist Yundi (the artist formerly known as Yundi Li) has developed and matured significantly in the years since he became the youngest pianist to win the International Chopin Competition in 2000 at the age of 18.  His formidable technique is on display here in a Beethoven "Emperor" Concerto performance so assured it may strike some as a tad on the cool side. But his real achievement is the sheer poetry and architectural mastery he brings to Schumann’s masterpiece, which can come off as rather unruly and unwieldy in the wrong hands.  With awe, one wonders what Yundi's next musical conquest might be.

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Jazz CD Review
2:44 pm
Tue August 5, 2014

ICON Suggests: Sean Jones Quartet, im.pro.vise never before seen

Sean Jones' uniquely titled seventh album, im.pro.vise never before seen, reunites Jones with longtime friends and self-assured improvisers—pianist Orrin Evans, bassist Lucques Curtis and Obed Calvaire on drums.

An exceptionally gifted musician and leader, trumpeter Sean Jones has an accomplished track record. As a young man, he turned to jazz after hearing John Coltrane’s A Love Supreme. But it was the music of Miles Davis that pushed Jones toward his destiny as a player with the capacity to lead the pack.

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CD Selections
11:55 pm
Mon August 4, 2014

Jazz Hot 11 Countdown: August 4, 2014

WRTI's Jazz Hot 11 is a weekly countdown of your favorite new jazz releases in rotation.  
This week's Hot 11:  
1.  Cyrus Chestnut - Bag's Groove - MIDNIGHT MELODIES   

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CD Selections
4:35 pm
Tue June 24, 2014

June Jazz Picks from ICON Magazine

Here's Nick Bewsey from ICON Magazine with a bunch of great jazz CDs to tell you about.

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Classical CD Selections
12:54 pm
Thu May 22, 2014

Matthew Levy: People's Emergency Center

WRTI's Kile Smith, host of Now Is the Time, recommends...

Saxophonist and Prism Quartet founder Matthew Levy has spent his career getting other composers played; now the spotlight's on him in a new CD, and what a brilliance it reveals.

Call the Prism Saxophone Quartet contemporary-classical, call them avant-jazz, even call them omnivorous, but whatever you call them, they've been setting the gold standard for three decades. 2014 is in fact their 30th anniversary, and in that time, while centered in Philadelphia, they've been everywhere, stretching styles while inhabiting classical, jazz, world, and rock idioms.

Prism has commissioned more than 150 works, but in People's Emergency Center (Innova) they turn the entire two-disc set over to Matthew Levy.

People's Emergency Center is the first movement of Been There, and is also the name of a shelter helping women and children in West Philadelphia. It and the second movement, Gymnopedie (the word Erik Satie coined for his most famous piece), are culled from Levy's music for a documentary about the shelter. The Prism four (Timothy McAllister, Taimur Sullivan, Zachary Shemon, and Levy), bass, drums, guitar, and former Prism member Tim Ries on soprano saxophone all create magic with swirling precision.

Levy's voice is at once vernacular and otherworldly, steeped in jazz but living in—as Henry Cowell would have it—the whole world of music. Serial Mood seems to ponder that post-Schoenberg world of harmony, and in doing so reveals a tasty secret known to Dizzy Gillespie, Gunther Schuller, and a few other hep cats: If you play 12-tone music with a hard, swinging beat, it sounds for all the world like be-bop.

That's one of the unexpected treats that Levy offers. Another is the overarching spirit of generosity—to the listener and to each player. All the music of his I've heard exhibits this. Whether it's rhythmically striking, sonically challenging, or a charming tune, it is genial music offered warmly to a real world filled with real people who want something good to hear. An excellent example is Brown Eyes, which here employs the whole band, but which Levy first had played in public in a smaller version. The occasion of the premiere? His wedding.

[Been There and Brown Eyes were featured on Now Is the Time, May 10, 2014.]

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Check Out These Jazz CDS!
4:17 pm
Tue May 20, 2014

May Jazz Picks from ICON Magazine

Nick Bewsey from ICON Magazine has a bunch of great jazz CDs to tell you about.

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Latest from Icon Magazine
2:54 pm
Thu May 8, 2014

Bob Perkins’ Jazz Library: Memories of Saxophonist Hank Mobley

I don’t recall hearing much about Hank Mobley, until he recorded a certain record album in 1963. But, this was my fault for not listening closely enough to Philly’s all-jazz radio station that prevailed at the time. The station must have played Mobley often, because he was a hot jazz commodity about that time.

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