Happy New Year! Join us for our annual Met Opera broadcast of Hansel and Gretel - perfect for listeners of all ages! This witty production of Humperdinck's fairy-tale opera is conducted by Sir Andrew Davis. Listen as two children face off against a wicked witch. Aleksandra Kurzak as Gretel and Christine Rice as Hansel lead a delightful feast for the entire family. Saturday, January 3, 1 to 3:30 pm.
On Discoveries from the Fleisher Collection, Saturday 5-6 pm... One hundred years ago saw the birth of David Diamond, who would enter the first rank of 20th-century American composers. His most-played work, Rounds for string orchestra, is the only work of his many people have heard, so we will not play that today. Instead, a large work for orchestra, a small work for orchestra, and a memorial to a composer who was a great influence will walk us through his career.
One may wonder why someone who is held in such great esteem isn’t played more, but that points up the dichotomy of David Diamond, and the sometimes-difficult trajectory of his music. He was born in Rochester, N.Y. in 1915 and died there in 2005, but in between lived in Cleveland, New York City, France, and Italy. He was immensely talented and early on played violin and composed. His family moved to Cleveland, he studied at the Cleveland Institute of Music, and when the great Maurice Ravel visited the Cleveland Orchestra, Diamond visited him. The French composer looked at the 13-year-old’s compositions, recognized his talent, and told him that he must study in Paris with Nadia Boulanger.
He would do that (as had many other American composers, including Aaron Copland) eight years later, after a stint at Eastman in Rochester and then in New York City, studying with Roger Sessions. Finally in Paris with Boulanger, he studied Ravel’s music as part of his training. Ravel died in 1937, and Diamond wrote the exquisite Elegy to the Memory of Maurice Ravel.
Back in the States he played violin in theaters, wrote some commercial music, and began to produce vast amounts of chamber and orchestral pieces. The earliest of his 11 symphonies appeared at this time, as did his Concerto for Chamber Orchestra in Two Parts, filled, as most of his music is, with fugues and counterpoint, every bit of it lyrical but not always warm and fuzzy at first hearing.
And he was not always warm and fuzzy at this time. Stories of his being tossed from rehearsals and of other altercations followed him. He later admitted, "I was a highly emotional young man, very honest in my behavior, and I would say things in public that would cause a scene between me and, for instance, a conductor." Not good for a career, and yet he continued to produce.
Shifting fashions in high-octane contemporary classical music left him, for a time, without much of a profile beyond Rounds, but fortunately he lived to see a strong resurgence of interest in his music, after teaching in Italy and elsewhere and, for 25 years, at Juilliard. Conductor Gerard Schwarz’s recordings have led much of the comeback. The Symphony No. 8 honors Copland’s 60th birthday; we’ll hear American similarities and differences in the voice of David Diamond. A National Medal of Arts in 1995, among many awards, recognized his importance to music, and 100 years after his birth, we recognize David Diamond’s voice as one we still need to hear.
WRTI invites you to experience The Crossing chamber choir’s 2014 Christmas concert, The Crossing @ Christmas, recorded live on December 19th at The Presbyterian Church of Chestnut Hill.
This annual performance is known for creating an aura of tranquility, and has become a holiday tradition for many vocal music lovers throughout our region. You can hear this year’s concert on WRTI - on the radio or online - Thursday, December 25, 2 to 4 pm.
Verdi's consumptive courtesan returns in Willy Decker's timeless setting, with rising soprano Marina Rebeka as the title heroine, Stephen Costello as Alfredo, and Quinn Kelsey as Germont. Marco Armiliato conducts. Saturday, December 27th from 1 to 4:45 PM.
What became known as the "Resurrection" Symphony is one of the longest, most ambitious, and profoundly moving orchestral works ever composed; its unusual impact and philosophical import have been recognized ever since Mahler conducted the premiere in Berlin in 1895.
Richard Eyre's season-opening new production of Mozart's eternal masterpiece is set in an 18th-century manor house in Seville during the 1930s. Erwin Schrott in the title role leads a stellar cast that also includes Mariusz Kwiecien as the Count and Danielle de Niese as Susanna, along with Met debutantes Rachel Willis-Sørensen as the Countess and Serena Malfi as Cherubino. Edo de Waart conducts. Saturday, December 20th from 1 to 4:45 pm.
On Monday, December 15th, WRTI will begin to drizzle a bit of the holidays into our regular smorgasbord of jazz delights. There are exciting, new festive winter releases from the likes of Irvin Mayfield and the Jazz Playhouse Review, David Ian, and the top-notch performers from Mack Avenue Records.
You'll also hear the Yuletide classics you expect from WRTI - selections from Stan Kenton, Jimmy Smith and Ella Fitzgerald - all mixed in with regular jazz programming. Join as us we set the mood for holiday tables and fireplace gatherings.
Dashing through the snow, to your radio you shall go! WRTI brings you the holidays in all their sonic glory. Here are highlights from our classical schedulefor Monday, December 15th through Thursday, January 1st, 2015. WRTI celebrates the season with a carefully chosen selection of holiday favorites. Highlights include: Wednesday, December 24th - The Nutcracker in its entirety. On Christmas Day, we bring you the Messiah, New York Philharmonic with NY Choral Artists and soloists.
It's a special holiday broadcast with Symphony in C on Sunday, December 14 at 3 pm. You'll hear Vivaldi’s exuberant Gloria celebrating the season in Baroque style. Exciting arrangements of holiday favorites will round out the program. Joining Symphony in C is the New Jersey MasterChorale and soloists, under the direction of Wayne Richmond. Rossen Milanov conducts.