Simone Dinnerstein's latest CD Broadway-Lafayette is named after the subway stop in New York City. But, as Dinnerstein explains in her most recent visit to Crossover, there is an ulterior motive at play in the title - the relationship of America and France, dating back to the American Revolution, when the Marquis de Lafayette helped American colonists send the British back across the Atlantic licking their wounds. And there is yet another undercurrent in the theme of American and French relationships - that of the composers on the recording.
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 an elegiac walk among portraits, surrounding the remembrance of JFK on Now Is the Time, Saturday, November 23rd at 9 pm—our new time, every Saturday night at 9 on WRTI-HD2 and the all-classical stream at wrti.org.
In Gallery for solo cello, Robert Muczynski takes us past paintings, similar to the how Mussorgsky does in Pictures at an Exhibition. A Kennedy Portrait for narrator and orchestra uses the words of President Kennedy and also some from the composer, William Kraft, in this work of exhilaration and hope.
From the CD Portraits & Elegies is Philip Lasser's Vocalise, poignant music for violin and piano. Returning to the single cello, Andrew Waggoner's Le Nom (Upperline) is a beautiful reminiscence of his hometown of New Orleans both before and after Hurricane Katrina. John Harbison walks us again through a gallery, but Six American Painters is more about the artists themselves—including Thomas Eakins and Winslow Homer—rather than their work.
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You might call these fantastic lullabies on Now Is the Time, Sunday, August 25th at 10 pm. The birth of a friend's daughter inspired Rick Sowash's Lullabye for Kara for cello and piano. Steven Gerber's Violin Concerto is a rocking to sleep, of sorts, of a work he began as a student at Haverford College but never finished. One part of it, however, was born anew as this concerto's first movement.
From solo strings to more—but synthesized—is Carl Berky's The Synthelating Mariachi String Band. In Secret Geometry, James Primosch uses electronic tape with piano, and between explosive Variations and a brilliant Toccata is a Nocturne in the true spirit of night-music: the other side of a lullaby, perhaps. Phillip Lasser focuses on the singer of the lullaby rather more than the song itself, in Berceuse fantasque for violin and piano.