It's music for different duos on Now Is the Time, Saturday, January 25th at 9 pm Eastern on the all-classical stream at wrti.org and WRTI-HD2. Charles Knox's Suite for Piano Four-Hands is puckish and not a little bold: its six movements take four minutes to play, and include an "Etude" that lasts all of six seconds. Chen Yi channels, for two violins and strings, two ancient Chinese instruments in her Romance of Hsiao and Ch’in, and George Crumb, in his Otherworldly Resonances for two amplified pianos, honors, in the "Palimpsest" movement, old manuscripts that have been erased and written over (and quotes the Gospel song "Bringing in the Sheaves").
Van Stiefel sets poetry of Sidney Lanier for voice and two electric guitars in Souls and Raindrops, and Ursula Mamlok's brilliant Sonatina is for two clarinets. Lance Hulme composed Manic Music, he said, for "two maniacal pianists," and the playing seems to demand a certain craziness, as cavalier as you can be while staying in step with your duo partner.
It’s our 200th show and we’re celebrating on Now Is the Time, Saturday, January 4th at 9 pm! Judith Lang Zaimont starts us off in a poignant mood as we look back with Reflective Rag. The two pianists of Quattro Mani bring us Kindred Spirits of William Bland, the title summing up how we feel about all our contemporary American composers. Then another duo, of clarinets, brings us the fresh Aphorisms II of Ursula Mamlok.
Allen Shawn’s Nostalgic Pieces party with a waltz and a boogie-woogie, and David Wolfson’s Time and Tide (Benediction) marks the passage of the years with four cellos (multi-tracked by one player). Minton’s Playhouse by James Syler translates the jazz club to saxophone quartet and wind ensemble, the spirit of Charlie Parker hovering over this bopping concerto grosso.
Then we program a composer whose only other appearance on NITT was in Show #100. Kile Smith’s American Spirituals, Book 2, for cello and piano, blushingly closes out the celebrations. We’re grateful to all of you, composers and listeners, for keeping contemporary American music alive on WRTI!
If you're new to Now Is the Time, just go to wrti.org and click on the Listen: Classical button at the top. Day or night, that brings you the all-classical stream, and at 9 pm every Saturday, you'll hear Now Is the Time. In the Philadelphia area with an HD radio? Dial us up at 90.1 FM, HD2, or find all the frequencies here, depending on where you are, from the Shore to the Poconos to Harrisburg to Dover. Thanks for supporting American contemporary music on WRTI!