from Rick Sowash: Guitar Suite: For an Old Friend at Christmas
We're counting down the days on Now Is the Time, Saturday, December 20th at 9 pm. Less Than a Week Before Christmas is David Golub's work for chorus and orchestra: about the cold, about a friend. Morten Lauridsen contemplates the wonder of animals at the nativity manger in one of our time's most-sung pieces, O Magnum Mysterium.
Composer Jennifer Higdon becomes her own poet for Deep in the Night, pondering "this season of love with full brilliant lights." Daron Hagen combines two melodies we recognize with a beautiful one we don't—because he just wrote it—in a work for choir with cello, At Bethlehem Proper. Rounding out the choral works on the program is While All Things Were in Quiet Silence by Ned Rorem.
Two instrumental works find their way in, though. Advent has the same feeling that imbues Yearning, the lovely work for violin and strings by Shulamit Ran, dedicated to Yehudi Menuhin. For solo guitar is the suite of Rick Sowash, helping us count down the days, For an Old Friend at Christmas.
Daniel T. Peterson’s passion for music began early, but it took a long and winding path before it manifested as his career.
As a young child, Peterson exhibited some talent - singing shyly from the backseat of the car, but mostly engaged with music as a fan. His father’s extensive record collection captivated him, and Peterson spent much of his young life digging through a veritable treasure trove of albums where he was exposed to everything from Miles Davis to Jimi Hendrix.
Vibraphonist Tony Miceli tells of his musical journey as if it were a love story, one filled with joy and tribulation, optimism, and sincerity.
His tale begins in 1960s New Jersey, where his family would tune in to hear Frank Sinatra over every Sunday breakfast, starting what would become a long romance with jazz, but also radio. During his teenage years he would turn again to the radio for a kind of early-musical mentorship, following the tastes of trusted deejays for guidance.
It's John Adams's Nativity oratorio El Niño on Now Is the Time, Saturday, December 13th at 9 pm. We'll fit in as much as we can, since the concert-length work is too long for our one-hour show.
Adams says that the birth of his daughter in 1984 was like a miracle. "Four people were in the room, and then there were five," he says, and that became the inspiration for his take on the Christmas story. Along with Latin and English, much of El Niño is in Spanish. The director Peter Sellars, who worked closely with the composer to create this, says that it's like a triptych that cannot be seen all at once. Unfold a panel to see what's there, and you hide another.
Dawn Upshaw, Willard White, and the late Lorraine Hunt Lieberson sing alongside chorus and orchestra in this grand Christmas-time pageant.
What David Hughes seems to love best about music is the journey. As an artist, he embraces the growth process of taking on difficult pieces. As a performer, he delights in guiding audiences through a complete musical experience. He didn’t always know how to pace himself, though.
The entire Philadelphia Orchestra family was saddened this past summer by the death of a great friend of the Orchestra, and a musician of exemplary standards. The eminent Spanish conductor Rafael Fruhbeck de Burgos, who passed away in June, 2013, is featured in a rebroadcast of a program performed in February of 2013, one of his last performances with the Philadelphians.
It's been said that when you hear the vocal group Anonymous 4 perform, you're listening to the music of angels or something that can't possibly come from our world. In a word, unearthly. Unfortunately, that sound won't be around much longer, as the group has decided to retire their angelic vocal cords with the 2015-2016 season.
from Carter Pann: The Piano’s 12 Sides, Irish Tune
Maybe Thanksgiving is making us burst at the seams on Now Is the Time, Saturday, December 6th at 9 pm, but we're chock-full of music on this program. There's not even enough time to play all of Carter Pann's substantial work for solo piano, The Piano's 12 Sides. It comes in at over an hour, so we'll trim just a bit and give over the entire show to this one work.
Pann dedicated each of the movements to a separate pianist, and we hear distinct personalities throughout the work. What we hear in Carter Pann is a composer at ease with music; he breathes with music in the many styles he assembled in this piece from 2011-12. Silhouette, White Moon over Water, Classic Rock, Soirée Macabre, Grand Etude Fantasy, and Irish Tune are some of the movements. This isn't eclecticism (not that there's anything wrong with that) per se, but all the personalities are expressed by one big personality, unafraid of either plain speaking or lovely sound. Joel Hastings is the splendid performer.
We're thankful on Now Is the Time, Saturday, November 29th at 9 pm at wrti.org and WRTI-HD2. Film composer Victor Young (Shane, Around the World in Eighty Days) was a benefactor of the music department at Brandeis University, so when John Harbison had the opportunity to compose something for them, he wrote Thanks, Victor, echoing "When I Fall in Love" and other great tunes in this string quartet. Lawrence Dillon's Second String Quartet, "Flight," evokes flying and fugues, with, among other subjects, Daedalus and Icarus, birds, and paper airplanes.
Daedalus and Icarus also appear in William Bolcom's Inventing Flight for orchestra, as do Leonardo da Vinci and Orville and Wilbur Wright. Bolcom is grateful for the gift of flight, and we're grateful for the triumphant collaboration of this composer, his wife, mezzo-soprano Joan Morris, and librettist Arnold Weinstein in the ever-green Cabaret Songs. The program finishes with a fun, live recording of Vol. 4.