Join us for a Philadelphia Orchestra in Concert broadcast that recaptures a performance that took place in November, 2011, when Yannick Nezet-Seguin was music director designate of The Philadelphia Orchestra, and the chemistry between the musicians and Yannick was already much in evidence.
All of the works on the program have an Italian theme, and represent a kind of celebration of Italian literature, culture, and landscape.
I’m not sure what year I became a June Christy fan, but it must have been during her later years with the Stan Kenton band. I liked Kenton’s innovative approach to jazz. I first saw the band perform at Philly’s Academy of Music in the early 1950s. Christy was a member of the band at the time, but I don’t remember seeing her that night. At that time, almost everyone went to see Kenton’s trumpet virtuoso Maynard Ferguson—whose high notes on the instrument threatened to bring rain.
On Discoveries from the Fleisher Collection, Saturday June 6th, 5 to 6 pm. Since his name is not Debussy or Ravel or Satie, and since his name was not in a group called “Les Six,” the overlooked French composer of the 20th century’s first half may well be Jacques Ibert. But since 2015 is the 125th anniversary of his birth, this is a good time for Discoveries from the Fleisher Collection to assess his music.
Critics have often called Jacques Ibert “eclectic,” but that may have more to do with their not being able to pigeon-hole him into one school of music or another. What stands out most of all about Ibert, though, is that he is a remarkably resourceful composer. His efficiently scored works are always beautiful, and more often than not have a theatrical flair.
He knew what he was doing from the beginning. He had already won the top prize, the Prix de Rome, at the Paris Conservatory, but then went into the French Navy during the First World War. Even through these years, however, his compositional gifts were percolating. He began a substantial orchestral work based on the Oscar Wilde poem, “The Ballad of Reading Gaol,” at this time. Wilde, who had been imprisoned at Reading, witnessed the hanging of a man who had murdered his wife. One line in the poem has become famous: “Each man kills the thing he loves.”
The 1922 premiere of The Ballad of Reading Gaol was conducted by fellow composer Gabriel Pierné, and was a success. Another success immediately followed it. Escales, or Ports of Call, is inspired by Ibert’s naval experiences in the Mediterranean. He salutes Rome and Palermo in the first movement, the Tunisian cities of Tunis and Nafta in the second, and gives over the final movement to the Spanish port of Valencia.
Ibert composed Divertissement as incidental music for a 1929 theatrical comedy, but within a year produced a concert version. It and Escales are his two most popular orchestral works, and along with Reading Gaol made a name for Ibert, opened doors to publishers, and eventually led to the directorship of the French Academy in Rome, where he spent much of his life as an ambassador in Italy for all things French. He composed operas, piano music, film music (even for Gene Kelly and Orson Welles), and much else.
His life was not without setback, however. World War II interrupted his stay in Italy, and then the Nazi-allied Vichy government ruling France banned his music. He ended up in Switzerland, but returned to France—and his beloved Italy—when peace returned to Europe.
So for the 125th anniversary of the birth of Jacques Ibert it’s two familiar works, and (because it’s Discoveries) something not so. All in all, it’s the hard-to-label but nevertheless gorgeous music of Jacques Ibert.
By the time our Philadelphia Orchestra in Concert broadcast airs on Sunday, June 7th, the Orchestra will have just completed its European tour with a concert at the Royal Festival Hall in London. WRTI will, however, continue to air Philadelphia Orchestra broadcasts of this season’s concerts through early July.
Get ready to hear some of the most beloved songs in musical theater - presented by one of the most beloved opera companies in America - "June is Bustin' Out All Over," "If I Loved You," You'll Never Walk Alone," and more! Saturday, June 13, 1 to 4 pm on WRTI.
Swaggering, carefree carnival barker, Billy Bigelow, captivates and marries the naive millworker, Julie Jordan. But all too soon, they fall on hard times and unbearable loss. Yet the power of love perseveres, as do the tuneful hits in Rodgers and Hammerstein's Carousel!
Doomed queen…tour-de-force drama! Anne Boleyn may be Queen of England, but she doesn't stand a chance. Henry VIII wants her gone — with Jane Seymour taking her place on the throne and in his bed. And Henry's minions do the dirty work, finding "proof" of Anne's infidelities.
The troubadour Manrico and Count di Luna are bitter enemies. But in a twist of fate, they're both in love with Leonora — and they're brothers without knowing it.
Emotions boil in an action-packed story that includes babies switched at birth, kidnapping, mistaken identity, poisoning, civil strife, witches burned at the stake, and a noblewoman who offers herself to a man she hates, to save the man she loves.
Join us this Sunday, May 31 at 4 pm as WRTI brings you the first in a series of broadcasts recorded live in concert at Carnegie Hall during the 2014/2015 season.
Re-live the opening night gala concert by the Berlin Philharmonic, led by Simon Rattle. Violinist Anne-Sophie Mutter – a longtime collaborator with the Philharmonic – is the soloist in the lush Bruch Violin Concerto No. 1 in G minor. The program opens with Rachmaninoff's Symphonic Dances and concludes with the final moments of Stravinsky's The Firebird.
Ten music educators from the Delaware Valley will be honored by the Philadelphia Youth Orchestra (PYO) during their Annual Festival Concert at the Kimmel Center on May 31st for "inspiration and outstanding leadership in music education." ***[Go to the bottom of this post for announcement of the 2015 Ovation Award Winner.]