Masks are worn and removed on Now Is the Time, Saturday, September 13th at 9 pm at wrti.org and WRTI-HD2. The flutist and composer Katherine Hoover has greatly expanded the literature for her instrument with genial yet focused music. Masks, for flute and piano, includes the movements Haida Indian mask, Huichol Jaguar mask, Afro-American Death mask, and Clown mask. It succeeds in being charming and self-effacing at the same time.
The mask worn by murderer Joseph De Rocher slowly slips as Sister Helen Prejean visits, counsels, and shows love to him in Dead Man Walking, Jake Heggie's opera from just a few years ago. We have time for excerpts from both acts, including the riveting ending, with his confession and the echo of a gospel song. Joyce DiDonato, Philip Cutlip, and Frederica von Stade head the cast.
On Discoveries from the Fleisher Collection, Saturday September 6th, 5-6 pm...We continue to admire the scope of the Fleisher Collection, with a look at four more works premiered in Philadelphia by the Symphony Club, founded in 1909 by Edwin A. Fleisher. He had traveled throughout Europe to collect all the orchestral scores and parts possible to obtain for his collection, now housed in the Free Library of Philadelphia. A trip for us through three countries provides a good taste.
Anatol Lyadov from Russia and Ernest Chausson from France were both born in 1855 and the works weâ€™ll hear today were composed within a year of each other. In the Ballade (From Olden Times), which Lyadov composed originally for solo piano, he addressed what many other composers were addressing in Russia: music that was specifically, undeniably Russian. Nationalism can have a negative connotation, but the impulse is innocence itself, being the search for your own origin. In music this translates into the search for a folk language unsullied by commercialism and unaffected by outside influences. This going back to go forward, this building of a musical personality on a foundation in your own soil, is musical nationalism, and is heard to warm effect in Lyadov. He orchestrated the Ballade in 1906.
Thereâ€™s no denying the Frenchness of Chausson, yet he turned for inspiration to that most English of authorsâ€”and ironically, the most internationalâ€”Shakespeare. Weâ€™ve looked at The Bard in the Fleisher Collection through Hamlet, Falstaff, Macbeth, and others; this time itâ€™s Chaussonâ€™s incidental music Two Dances from The Tempest.
The sound of Spain is as marked in Turina as is Franceâ€™s and Russiaâ€™s in our other composers today. Edwin Fleisher reveled in collecting as much orchestral music from as many countries as he could, and it would be at his Symphony Club concerts that these works were first heard in Philadelphia.
Maybe this weekend you're traveling with Now Is the Time, Saturday, August 30th at 9Â pm. We start with City Columns for orchestra by Shawn Crouch, and then go way, way out with Michael Daugherty's percussion concerto UFO. Evelyn Glennie solos, sometimes on unidentified pieces of metal, in the work that's all about Roswell and Area 51 and improvising in front of a large wind ensemble.
It's also the time of year for going back to school, and Matthew McCabe remembers his first music teacher inÂ Everything Must Be Beautiful. The homage uses her voice, together with electronically processed sounds, in glorious, retro, two-channel tape. Whether you're here or far, far away (we stream online!), and whether you study, teach, work, or rest, have a great weekend!
All kinds of strings are circling on Now Is the Time, Saturday, August 23rdÂ at 9 pmÂ 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.
The Argentinian-American pianist Mirian Conti released her second album on the Steinway & Sons label in 2012. Nostalgias Argentinas is a statement...one that has been the subject of many books, plays, and theses.
When Michael Stairssits at an organ keyboard, the result is nothing but perfection. He is indeed the organist's organist. Michael has been organist for The Philadelphia Orchestra since his appointment by Riccardo Muti in 1985. He taught at The Haverford School for 25 years and was beloved by his students. A graduate of Westminster Choir College, he also holds an Artist's Diploma from the Curtis Institute of Music.
This week on Crossover it's a re-broadcast from 2013. Our guests are the musicians of the SerafinÂ String Quartet.Renown worldwide for their excellent music making and lively, infectious performances, the quartet is in residence at the University of Delaware's College of Arts and Sciences.Â
They come in twos on Now Is the Time, Saturday, August 9th at 9 pm at wrti.org and WRTI-HD2. Joan Tower responded to Copland's Fanfare for the Common Man with numerous Fanfares for the Uncommon Woman; we'll hear No. 2. Eric McIntyre doubles down on impressionism with Secondary Impressions for saxophone and piano, and Kronos performs the Quartet No. 2 of Philip Glass.
William Hawley's Two Motets on Roman poets, sung by Volti, separates the last two instrumental works, the Four Fanfares for Two Trumpets by Andrew Rindfleisch and John Novacek's Three Rags for Two Pianos.