We’re trying to kick-start spring on Now is the Time, Sunday, March 24th at 10 pm. Leaps and Bulls is all funky frogs and swamps, from the group Blob. Yes, Blob. Gary Schocker tempts us out of the house with Out of Doors Duets for two flutes, and Ned Rorem’s long-limbed Day Music and Night Music is for violin and piano.
The Symphony No. 5 of Charles Fussell is an expansive memorial to Virgil Thomson, and Ronn McFarlane honors all things spring with modern music for the lute, in Over the Green Earth.
WRTI celebrates Passover with two great specials Monday evening: A Musical Feast for Passover with Itzhak Perlman at 8 pm, and The Passover Story at 9 pm - bothon HD-2 and the All-Classical web stream.
In A Musical Feast for Passover with Itzhak Perlman, violinist Itzhak Perlman shares Passover music from many traditions, plus songs and memories from his childhood in Israel. The program draws its shape from the Passover seder and, like that ancient family ritual, the music gets progressively giddier as the show moves along.
So beautiful! Bach's St Matthew Passion BWV 244 is performed here under the baton of Enoch Zu Guttenberg, founder of the prestigious Neabeuern Choral Society. Vocalists include: Jard Van Nes, Hermann Prey, Claes-Hakan Ahnsjo, Margaret Marshall, and Aldo Baldin. Listen to the entire St. Matthew Passion on WRTI on Good Friday, March 29th at 12 noon, and in a Philadelphia Orchestra live, concert recording on Sunday, April 28th.
Musicians of The Philadelphia Orchestra remember Wolfgang Sawallisch in this tribute. Susan Lewis speaks with violinists Davyd Booth and Jonathan Beiler, cellists Gloria de Pasquale, Kathy Reed, and Richard Harlow, and bassoonist Mark Gigliotti.
The Philadelphia Orchestra is mourning the loss of its conductor laureate, Wolfgang Sawallisch, who served as the ensemble's sixth music director from 1993 until 2003. He passed away on February 22, 2013 at his home in Grassau, Germany at age 89.
The maestro guest conducted all over the world, and had previously led the Opera Theater of Augsburg, the Vienna Symphony, L'orchestre de la Suisse Romande, the Hamburg Philharmonic, and for more than two decades, the Bavarian State Opera. He was also a gifted pianist, playing chamber music and filling in for The Philadelphia Orchestra itself during an ice storm when an all-Wagner with singers was scheduled.
Susan Lewis profiles the maestro, focusing on his Philadelphia years, speaking with Philadelphia Orchestra violinists Davyd Booth and Jonathan Beiler, cellists Gloria de Pasquale, Kathy Reed, and Richard Harlow, and bassoonist Mark Gigliotti about their memories of the Sawallisch years.
Pianist Emanuel Ax on Crossover with Jill Pasternak, March 17, 2013
This week's Crossover guest is one of the most well-known pianists in classical music - Emanuel Ax. Mr. Ax is a multiple Grammy winner in both solo and chamber performances, and has enjoyed a career that has spanned over four decades.
Emanuel Ax was born in Lviv in western Ukraine in the summer of 1948, and raised in Poland. His first piano teacher was his father, who started him on the keyboard at age 6. At 7, he started official studies at the Miodowa School in Warsaw, eventually winding up in Winnipeg, in Manitoba, Canada when the family moved there two years later. There he studied piano in school, and as a member of the Junior Music Club of Winnipeg.
In 1961, the family moved once again to New York City, where Mr. Ax began studies at Juilliard under Mieczyslaw Munz, eventually winning the Young Artists Award in 1973. He came to prominence in 1974, after winning the first Arthur Rubenstein International Piano Competition in Tel Aviv. He followed that in 1975 with the Michaels Award for Young Artists, and the Avery Fisher Prize in 1979. From there, he has embarked on a career that has taken him around the world, performing solo, and with some of the most prominent chamber ensembles and orchestras in classical music.
Since 1973, Mr. Ax has been Yo-Yo Ma's main duo recital partner. He also formed a quartet with Ma, Jaime Laredo and Issac Stern, releasing several CD's for Sony/CBS before Stern's death in 2001 adjourned the ensemble.
Emanuel Ax's latest CD is called, "Variations: Haydn, Beethoven and Schumann," on the Sony Classics label. The pianist points out that each of these sets of Variations is unusual, “each revolutionary in its own way.” He has also discovered that they go very well together in a concert program. Now, surely to the worldwide delight of fans of virtuoso classical piano performance, he presents them together on a recording as well. In the world of the pianist, says Mr. Ax, “we’re so centered on the sonata style. What’s nice sometimes is to look at other ways to deal with structure, other ways to deal with expression, other ways to deal with forming your thoughts.”
Emanuel Ax will perform on Tuesday March 19th at 8 pm at the Leffler Performance Center at Elizabethtown College, as part of the Gretna Music series. Tickets and information here or call 717-361-1508.
Listen for Jill's conversation with pianist Emanuel Ax, and music from his latest CD, "Variations: Haydn, Beethoven and Schumann," on Crossover, Saturday morning at 11:30 am on WRTI-FM, with an encore the following Friday evening at 7 pm on HD-2 and the All-Classical web stream at wrti.org.
Time's marching on Now is the Time, Sunday, March 17th at 10 pm. Whether it's the change of clocks or seasons, something is trying to get our attention. Former Take 6 member Cedric Dent arranges the gospel song Somebody's Knocking at Your Door for piano, Margaret Garwood sets Tombsongs for choir, and Leonardo Balada puts an amplified classical guitar through its paces, with orchestra, in Persistencies.
New-music standout Zeitgeist rips through Chris Gable's game-show send-up Beat That Clock, and Dick Hensold applauds their three-decade longevity in Zeitgeist Anniversary Tune. Sebastian Currier persistently works his own tune in Variations on "Time and Time Again" for flute and piano.
We're honoring ladies of jazz this month on WRTI. Take a moment to listen to jazz vocalist Julie London sing "Cry Me A River." In case you didn't know, Julie was named Billboard's most popular female vocalist in 1955, 1956, and 1957, and was on the cover of LIFE magazine in 1957. This video is from 1964.
Etudes for piano and for bongos are on Now is the Time, Sunday, March 10th at 10 pm. Maria Corley performs seven of the twelve neo-romantic Etudes by Leslie Adams, journeying through changing harmonic relationships, with a sure touch by composer and pianist.
Bang on a Can co-founder Michael Gordon wrote XY for Doug Perkins, who hypnotizes on this recording. Perkins works over five (we think) bongos with mallets. It’s an etude in itself, a study in polyrhythms, but most of all, a seductively fascinating work.
We're telling stories on Now is the Time, Sunday, March 3rd at 10 pm. Stephen Vincent Benét's The Ballad of William Sycamore ("My father, he was a mountaineer, His fist was a knotty hammer; He was quick on his feet as a running deer, And he spoke with a Yankee stammer...") is set pungently by John Biggs. Benjamin Broening accompanies the same clarinet music in two different—and fascinating—ways: with piano (Arioso), and with computer sounds (Arioso/Doubles).
Maurice Wright tantalizes with an excerpt from his Mythology cycle, and David Amram mythologizes a bit himself in his Elizabethan-inspired Sonata for piano.
Burak Bilgili speaks with Jill Pasternak on Crossover, Saturday March 2, 2013
Last week's guest on Crossover was Turkish Bass Burak Bilgili. Turkish? Not necessarily the first nationality that comes to mind when you think "opera singer." But, wait till you hear that voice!
A 2004 graduate of the Academy of Vocal Arts in Philadelphia, Bilgili made his international debut in 2002 - while still a student at AVA - as Duke Alfonso in Donizetti's Lucrezia Borgia at La Scala. His Metropolitan Opera debut was May 7, 2004, when he sang Leporello without either a full-stage or orchestra rehearsal in the final performance of Don Giovanni that season. When he took his solo bow at the end of the performance, the audience roared in appreciation. He returned to the company in 2009 as Ferrando in Il trovatore.