We study etudes, "studies," on Now Is the Time, Saturday, March 8th at 9 pm at wrti.org and WRTI-HD2. No idea what Defensive Chili means, but this second etude for piano by Marc Mellits really sets the table. John McDonald comes in with two pieces for violin and piano, the poetic studies he calls Lily Events, and Lyrical Study.
Tomas Svoboda plays his own powerful music for piano, the Nine Etudes in Fugue Style, Vol. 2, and then we include an etude for an instrument not nearly as ubiquitous, the bassoon. John Steinmetz's Etude No. 5 is a lovely fantasy on the cowboy lament "Streets of Laredo," how about that?
All kinds of strings are circling on Now Is the Time, Saturday, March 1st at 9 pm Eastern on the all-classical stream at wrti.org and WRTI-HD2. The Minneapolis Guitar Quartet starts off with Daniel Bernard Roumain's homage to places he's lived and loved. Ghetto Strings visits Harlem, Liberty City in South Florida, the Motor City, and the land of his parents, Haiti. Ethel is the string quartet playing String Circle 1 by Kenji Bunch, who, since he's also an accomplished violist, knows his way around strings.
But we go to Phillip Rhodes for a solo viola dance suite, and inspired by Bach. It's the Partita, from 1977. Full circle is how we'll finish the show, with guitars, but this time two of them, the wonderful Anderson-Fader Duo. From their CD Le Cirque is Fantasy on 12 Strings by Martin Rokeach.
It's funny. Just when you think you know someone inside out and upside-down, you're hit with the realization that you really only know half the story. That's Jose Serebrier. The 76-year-old, Uruguayan-born Serebrier is one of the best-known and most-frequently recorded conductors of his generation. But, did you know he is also quite a prolific and accomplished composer? He is. So much so that he considers himself not a conductor who also composes, but a composer who also conducts.
We're all family on Now Is the Time, Saturday, February 22nd at 9 pm Eastern on the all-classical stream at wrti.org and WRTI-HD2. Excerpts from the third film in the Philip Glass "Qatsi" trilogy begin the show. Naqoyqatsi from 2002 included much digital imagery, so Glass decided to balance that with a completely acoustic musical underlay. Prominently featuring cellist Yo-Yo Ma, Naqoyqatsi explores our relationships to each other and the world.
The Gene Pool, Siblings, Cousins and Uncles and Aunts, Loss, and The Gathering are the five movements comprising Extended Family by Neil Rolnick. Moving away from family, family moving back, grandchildren, neighbors, neighbors' children, more family, life and death are all springboards for this string quartet put together with the humor, panache, and skill Rolnick brings to all his music. The string quartet Ethel plays.
We hope it's not too late for Valentines on Now Is the Time, Saturday, February 15th at 9 pm Eastern on the all-classical stream at wrti.org and WRTI-HD2. We start with soprano and guitar, and with an orphan's dream of an angel in Romance by William Ortiz. Irving Berlin's "They Say It's Wonderful" is the inspiration behind Love Twitters by Augusta Read Thomas, for piano, but Morten Lauridsen asks, "Against whom have you formed these thorns?" in Contre qui, rose. A lover asks for a handkerchief (she'll return it when no one's looking), in a four-hand piano setting of the Italian folk song Amor dammi quel fazzolettino by Andrew Violette.
David Bennett Thomas works with some of the greatest love poetry in his Juliet: Five Songs from Shakespeare, and we hear Eric Whitacre's first published choral work, Go, lovely Rose. Finally, Allen Shawn sends us into the evening with a last-minute Valentine's Day present for his wife, titled simply, Valentine.
It's not often that we hear about a work for harp getting its world premiere. So it's rather special when it does happen. And, when the work is a harp concerto by Michel Legrand - well, that kicks it up a notch. Add to that, world-renowned harpist Catherine Michel as soloist, and you have a blockbuster. Couple that with Dirk Brosse and the Chamber Orchestra of Philadelphia accompanying Ms. Michel and you have a spectacular musical event.
It's a story as old as love, and a computer before there were computers, on Now Is the Time, Saturday, February 8th at 9 pm Eastern on the all-classical stream at wrti.org and WRTI-HD2. Philip Lasser's Nicolette et Aucassin are in love, and like Romeo and Juliet, their families disapprove. Unlike R&J, however, this ends happily. Two sopranos sing the 13th-century–inspired musical lines of the boy and girl, and actor Michael York's narration fills in the story.
A triple concerto for violin, cello, piano, and strings is the construction behind The Difference Engine by Graham Reynolds. The title is the name of a machine by the 19th-century inventor Charles Babbage, who was trying to build what we now call a computer. With movements such as "The Cogwheel Brain" and "Cam Stack and Crank Handle," Reynolds invents a propulsive concerto that imagines what goes with what. Like love, we suppose.
It's ice and echoes on Now Is the Time, Saturday, February 1st at 9 pm Eastern on the all-classical stream at wrti.org and WRTI-HD2. Figure-skating and Stravinsky inspire Joan Tower's gliding Petroushskates, and Allen Ginsberg narrates his own poem in Echorus by Philip Glass, for two violins and strings. From the CD Winter is Eric Ewazen's Elegia, for trumpet and piano.
The Tibetan Heart Mantra is at the center of Echoes by Paul Fowler, for the women of The Crossing, and Peru echoes in the harpsichord work by Kent Holliday, Dances from Colca Canyon. Barton McLean runs environmentalist John Muir's descriptions of glaciers through his own software to construct Ice Canyons. The echoes of minimalism by way of Steve Reich close out the program, in this recording of New York Counterpoint arranged by saxophonist Dave Camwell for his CD Time Scape.