Creatively Speaking

Creatively Speaking
11:40 am
Mon July 7, 2014

Listening to Missa Solemnis in Canterbury Cathedral

Great monuments aren’t always great concert halls. The Philadelphia Inquirer’s David Patrick Stearns recently visited the 11th-century Canterbury Cathedral in England, and came to learn a new way of listening.  

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Creatively Speaking
6:01 am
Mon July 7, 2014

Revisiting Beethoven's Symphonies with Yannick Nezet-Seguin

Yannick Nezet-Seguin
Marco Borggreve

The Philadelphia Orchestra is performing a two-year cycle of Beethoven’s symphonies. As WRTI’s Susan Lewis reports, although known to generations of music lovers, these great works continue to provide insights into Western musical heritage.

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Creatively Speaking
6:00 am
Mon July 7, 2014

The Musical Treasure Trove At The Library Of Congress

Leonard Bernstein (1918-1990) at work in his apartment in NYC in 1947.
Photographic proof by Victor Kraft Library of Congress

A manuscript of a J.S. Bach cantata casts a new light on how Bach intended the piece to be played. A singer gains insight from a line in a Porgy and Bess manuscript that differs from the final lyrics. The Music Division of the massive Library of Congress in Washington, DC,  is a place where performers, composers, scholars and the general public make discoveries of the musical kind.

Case in point: in a series of letters written in 1957 to his wife Felicia, while she was visiting her family in Santiago, Chile, Leonard Bernstein faithfully chronicles the progress of West Side Story during the final weeks of rehearsal through the show’s out-of-town opening in Washington, D.C.  The letters reveal Bernstein’s changing emotions about the show from frustration and agony to his final state of euphoria.  In addition to comments about West Side Story, Bernstein writes about signing his contract as conductor with the New York Philharmonic, his upcoming thirty-ninth birthday, and how much he misses Felicia and their children, Jamie and Alexander. Read the letters here.

The Special Collections of the Music Division are truly fascinating and constitute a resource for musical scholarship that is unmatched anywhere in the world. These unique bodies of materials are extraordinarily vast and diverse, yet very much interrelated. They include some of the greatest treasures of the Music Division and the Library of Congress.

Excerpts of Meridee Duddleston’s interview with Senior Music Specialist Raymond White and Music Division Director Susan Vita.

Creatively Speaking
2:31 pm
Tue July 1, 2014

A Python Set Loose In The London Coliseum

Tenor Michael Spyres sings the title role in Berlioz's Benvenuto Cellini.

Monty Python meets opera? That’s exactly what’s happened in London last week where the Philadelphia Inquirer’s David Patrick Stearns saw how smart vulgar humor can be.

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Creatively Speaking.
4:35 pm
Mon June 30, 2014

Losing His Head in the Opera, Salome: Bass-Baritone Alan Held

In Richard Strauss' SALOME, the character depicting John the Baptist is beheaded after he refuses the advances of Salome.

It was a Bible story, and then a French play by Oscar Wilde. Then it was translated into German, before Strauss turned it into his opera, Salome. As WRTI’s Susan Lewis reports, a production from May, 2014 continued the evolution of this complex and compelling work of art.

On Sunday, July 6, 2014 at 1 pm on WRTI, listen to a recorded broadcast of The Philadelphia Orchestra and Opera Philadelphia performing Richard Strauss' Salome.

Bass-baritone Alan Held talks with WRTI's Susan Lewis about his character, Jochanaan (John the Baptist).

Creatively Speaking
2:27 pm
Mon June 30, 2014

PAFA Celebrates African American Art

Alma Woodsey Thomas, WIND AND FLOWERS, 1973, watercolor on paper, 14 1/2 x 18 in, The Harmon and Harriet Kelley Collection of African American Art

The Pennsylvania Academy of the Fine Arts now has a two-part exhibition of works on paper by African American artists. As WRTI’s Jim Cotter reports, the works on view represent a wide range of explorations in this medium.

In his essay "Of Our Spiritual Strivings," the great academic and civil rights leader W.E.B. Du Bois argued that true equality for African Americans would ultimately have to also include an end to cultural isolation. This latest PAFA exhibition takes its title from that 1903 essay published in Du Bois' The Souls of Black Folk.

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Creatively Speaking
1:49 pm
Mon June 30, 2014

The President's Own: The United States Marine Band

President George W. Bush led the U.S. Marine Corps Band at the White House Correspondents Association Dinner in 2008.

One of the most prominent bands in nation, and the country's oldest, continuously active musical organization, is frequently heard on WRTI's weekday 7:15 am Sousalarm. WRTI’s Meridee Duddleston shares a glimpse of the U.S. Marine Band.

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Creatively Speaking
1:38 pm
Mon June 30, 2014

Soprano Camilla Nylund: Singing SALOME Throughout The World

Lyric dramatic soprano Camilla Nylund, a native of Finland, singing Salome with Opera Philadelphia and The Philadelphia Orchestra in May, 2014.
Dominic Mercier

Oscar Wilde’s late 19th-century play, retelling the biblical story of Salome, became the basis for Richard Strauss' one-act opera SALOME that premiered in Dresden in 1905. As WRTI’s Susan Lewis reports, the opera continues to shock and dazzle, nearly a century later.

On Sunday, July 6 at 1 pm, WRTI broadcasts The Philadelphia Orchestra and Opera Philadelphia in a joint production of Salome, with Camilla Nylund in the title role.

Soprano Camilla Nylund talks with WRTI' s Susan Lewis about the character Salome, which has become one of her signature roles.

Creatively Speaking
12:58 pm
Mon June 23, 2014

Your Brain On Music: The Science Behind The Pleasure

It’s no secret that a favorite piece of music can evoke profound pleasure and emotion. We've all experienced the “chills” response. WRTI’s Meridee Duddleston hears from a neuroscientist about the visceral and culturally conditioned effect of music on the brain.

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Creatively Speaking
10:54 am
Mon June 23, 2014

Frank Gehry's Plan for the Transformation of the Philadelphia Museum of Art's Iconic Building

In architect Frank Gehry's master plan, the heart of the Museum will be opened up, creating a clear sight line through the ground-floor and first-floor galleries that will greatly simplify wayfinding.

After more than a decade of planning, The Philadelphia Museum of Art is unveiling a blueprint for a major, multi-phase renovation and expansion designed by renowned architect Frank Gehry. As WRTI’s Susan Lewis reports, the transformation of the iconic structure will be nearly invisible from the outside. 

Making a Classic Modern: Frank Gehry’s Master Plan for the Philadelphia Museum of Art opens July 1st and runs through September 1st.

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