It’s a piquant greeting to autumn on Now Is the Time, Sunday, September 22nd at 10 pm. Adolphus Hailstork’s Romance No. 2, “Amoroso” from his CD As Falling Leaves features viola, while Colors Fall by James DeMars is a juicy work for flute and saxophone. Stephen Yip’s orchestral Raining in Autumn elicits longing cadenzas from the solo violin.
The song cycle A Wind of Fall is a setting of the poetry of Léonie Adams (Poet Laureate 1948–49) with warm and lucid music by Joel Mandelbaum. Finally, Russell Platt’s Autumn Music for violin and piano carries summer into fall with writing that is both luscious and bright.
Violinist Nicola Benedetti's latest CD on the Decca label is "The Silver Violin." The CD contains Ms. Benedetti's take on music used in film by Korngold, Shostakovich, Marianelli, Shore, Mahler and more.
The reaction upon first seeing the CD when it arrived at the station: "Yawn...OK...another film music disc." But! When the disc actually made it into the CD player, the scales fell from both the eyes and the ears, and all one could say was, "Wow." We have no doubt you'll have the same final reaction we did. "Wow."
It was an unforgettable performance! Re-live it on Sunday, September 22, 2 to 4 pm as then Music Director-Designate Yannick Nezet-Seguin took the podium in March, 2011 to conduct The Philadelphia Orchestra, Westminster Symphonic Choir, and soloists Dorothea Roeschmann and Matthias Goerne in a critically acclaimed performance of Johannes Brahms's humanistic and glorious Ein Deutsches Requiem, A German Requiem - a symphonic as well as a choral masterpiece.
The program also features one of the pillars of the classical repertory: Mozart's Symphony No. 40. Gregg Whiteside is host and producer.
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Franz Schubert's Notturno in Eb, D. 897, performed by the Stuttgart Piano Trio, is featured on CD 1 in the WRTI 60th Anniversary Classical 3-CD set.
The Notturno in Eb or Adagio was probably written just one year prior to Schubert's death at the early age of 31. Although the work was published posthumously with the title Notturno (Nocturne), Schubert merely labeled it "Adagio" as it may have been intended as a movement in a larger work for piano trio. With the clarity and contrast of the piano and two, stringed instruments, listen for the simple, Schubertian melody to be exchanged.
In the opening, for example, the violin and cello sing a soft duet while the piano accompanies with rolling, harp-like chords. Then the roles are reversed as the piano takes the melody, and the strings respond with a pizzicato accompaniment. The pianissimo conclusion of this little night music drifts off into a nocturnal dream.
Randall Thompson's Alleluia, performed by Voices of Ascension, Dennis Keene, conductor, is featured on CD 2 in the WRTI 60th Anniversary Classical 3-CD set.
From Randall Thompson, then Director of the Curtis Institute of Music, Serge Koussevitzky wanted a choral fanfare, loud and festive, for the opening of the Berkshire Music Center at Tanglewood. But Thompson couldn’t do festive, not in July 1940. Evil was spreading in Europe, and France had fallen the month before.
Over five days Thompson took the word “Alleluia”—literally, “Praise the Lord”—and turned it on its head, just as (he said later) it is in the Book of Job: “The Lord gave and the Lord has taken away. Blessed be the name of the Lord.” Thompson calls this a sad piece, this slow and insistent six-minute layered intoning of “Alleluia,” ending in “Amen.” It’s an atypical fanfare, but the Thompson Alleluia is one of the most beloved choral works of all time.
Ludwig van Beethoven's Bagatelle in A minor, "Für Elise," performed by Balazs Szokolay, is featured on CD 1 in the WRTI 60th Anniversary Classical 3-CD set.
If you’ve ever taken piano lessons, then Beethoven’s Bagatelle in A minor is no stranger to you. The instantly recognizable tune is a must for all beginning piano students, and the staying power of this lovely work is legendary. Listen to it here performed by Balazs Szokolay. There! Of course you know that one. Told you so.
Join us this Sunday, September 15th at 2 pm on WRTI as Sir Simon Rattle taps into an historic connection that The Philadelphia Orchestra has enjoyed with the great Finnish composer Jean Sibelius, conducting his final two symphonies without interruption, right after intermission.
Before intermission, Curtis grad and piano superstar Lang Lang will perform Beethoven’s Piano Concerto No. 3.
from Arrigo Boito: Mefistofele, Prologue in Heaven
The "Prologue in Heaven" from Arrigo Boito's Mefistofele, performed by soprano Dimitra Theodossiou, mezzo-soprano Monica Minarelli, tenor Giuseppe Filianoti, tenor Mimmo Ghegghi, bass Ferruccio Furlanetto, the Palermo Teatro Massimo Symphony Orchestra, Chorus, and Children's Chorus, with organist Sonia Zaramella, and conducted by Stefano Ranzani, is featured on CD 3 in the WRTI 60th Anniversary Classical 3-CD set.
Arrigo Boito is best remembered as a very successful writer who provided Amilcare Ponchielli with texts for La Gioconda, as well as libretti for three of Giuseppe Verdi’s best-loved operas. Success as a composer, though, eluded Boito. His one completed opera, Mefistofele, based on Goethe’s Faust, was a dismal failure at its first production. It took Boito several years to rework Mefistofele into what we know it as today, an opera in four acts with a Prelude and Epilogue.
It’s the Prelude that’s most frequently performed as a stand-alone concert piece today and is always a musically thrilling experience, scored as it is for solo voices, multiple choruses including children’s choruses, large orchestra, off-stage band, organ, harps, and percussion.
In the Prologue, a heavenly chorus praises God the Creator. Mefistofele scornfully declares that he can win the soul of Faust, a challenge accepted by the Forces of Good.
Samuel Barber's Adagio for Strings, performed by Capella Istropolitana, is featured on CD 3 in the WRTI 60th Anniversary Classical 3-CD set.
This iconic masterpiece by West Chester, Pa. native Samuel Barber began its existence in 1936 as the slow movement of his only String Quartet. Barber immediately recognized the expressive possibilities of his music and rearranged the movement for string orchestra later that same year. A continuous ebb and flow of sustained-note cadences that only gradually resolve produces an effect of a great heaving or sighing.
The deep sadness the music evokes has led to the work’s performance as an anthem of mourning for heads of state and during national tragedies. It has also been used to great effect in many film soundtracks.