WRTI Spotlight

Jazz Organ in Philly
10:38 am
Thu February 26, 2015

They Made Philly The Jazz Organ Capital

Jimmy Smith at the Hammond B-3

Don't be mistaken: Philadelphia is complimented far and wide. The City of Brotherly Love is our well-known handle, and our fine-eating places are the talk of other towns. Also peculiar to the area are those gastronomic delights known as hoagies, soft pretzels, and cheese steaks. We've got Billy Penn; we've got the Liberty Bell.

Read more
Philadelphia Music Makers
5:35 pm
Mon February 23, 2015

A Violinist, a Violist, and the Romance of Tradition

Elissa Lee Koljonen, photo credit: J. Henry Fair

After violinist Elissa Lee Koljonen graduated from the Curtis Institute of Music in 1994, she was invited to perform at the Cape and Islands Chamber Music Festival (now the Cape Cod Chamber Music Festival). At a rehearsal there, she confessed to the violist she was to perform with that she had never before performed the popular Halvorsen Passacaglia for violin and viola (based on music of Handel). The violist, Roberto Díaz, then admitted the same thing to her.

Read more
The Fabulous Philadelphians on WRTI
10:25 am
Sun February 22, 2015

Ax Plays Bach, Jurowski Conducts: The Philadelphians In Concert on WRTI, Feb. 22, 1 PM

Russian conductor Vladmir Jurowski

This Sunday's Philadelphia Orchestra in Concert broadcast on WRTI 90.1 FM, led by Russian conductor Vladimir Jurowski, brings us two works by J.S. Bach, performed at Verizon Hall this past February, that give us a taste of the Baroque equivalents of the symphony and the concerto - the Orchestral Suite No. 2, and the Keyboard Concerto No. 1, more modest in size, but no less ambitious in vision.

Read more
Chamber Orchestra of Philadelphia
10:25 am
Sun February 22, 2015

Mozart and the Chamber Orchestra of Philadelphia, Sunday Feb. 22 at 5 pm

Thomas Hong. Photo credit: John Servies

Three of Mozart's most brilliant works make up the program for this Sunday afternoon's Chamber Orchestra of Philadelphia, Feb. 22nd on WRTI at 5 pm. Thomas Hong is the guest conductor for this exciting concert, featuring the Chamber Orchestra's concertmaster Miho Saegusa.

Join host Dave Conant as he brings you the best from the Chamber Orchestra of Philadelphia's recent performances.

AVA Opera
11:43 am
Sun February 15, 2015

AVA Opera Theater on WRTI: Puccini's La Bohéme, Feb. 15 at 3 pm

AVA resident artists Mackenzie Whitney (Rodolfo) and Marina Costa-Jackson (Mimi)

What a perfect way to wrap up Valentine's weekend! Spend Sunday, February 15 from 3 to 5:30 pm with one of the great operatic love stories of all time, Puccini's La Bohéme, presented by the Academy of Vocal Arts on WRTI.

The opera tells the story of a poor poet, and an equally poor seamstress, as they fall in love one cold winter in 19th-century Paris. The opera is based on Scenes of Bohemian Life, a book by Henri Murger. One of the most beloved operas in the repertoire, and a broadcast not to be missed! 

Read more
Valentine's Weekend on WRTI
4:24 pm
Wed February 11, 2015

Sweet Music for Sweethearts on WRTI

Sending you lots of love!

A sweet weekend of romantic music is planned for all of our listeners...so get ready! We're warming up for Valentine's Day on Friday, just after 12 noon. Jack Moore will bring you Romance for Cello, Harp and Strings by Hungarian composer Leo Weiner, Rachmaninoff's ultra-romantic Piano Concerto No. 3, and Pablo de Sarasate's virtuoso Fantasy on Gounod's Romeo and Juliet for violin and orchestra. 

Read more
Latest From ICON Magazine
3:21 pm
Wed February 11, 2015

Art Blakey Was Behind It All

Drummer and bandleader Art Blakey

Art Blakey was to the small band what Duke Ellington was to the big band, meaning that over the years Blakey’s small groups—like Ellington’s big bands—produced a great number of jazz artists, many of whom became jazz legends.

Read more
The Philadelphia Orchestra in Concert
3:21 pm
Fri February 6, 2015

Tchaikovsky, Prokofiev and The Philadelphia Orchestra on WRTI: Feb. 8 at 1 PM

Jaap van Zweden, Photo credit: Marco Borggreve

On Sunday, February 8th, The Philadelphia Orchestra in Concert broadcast features Amsterdam-born conductor Jaap van Zweden, music director of both the Dallas Symphony Orchestra (since 2008) and the Hong Kong Philharmonic Orchestra (since 2012).

In a concert first broadcast on WRTI in May of 2013, Maestro van Zweden conducts two works composed by the Russian masters Pyotr Ilyich Tchaikovsky and Sergei Prokofiev that could hardly be more different in their purpose and effect.

Read more
Crossover: Feb. 7 at 11:30 AM
2:29 pm
Fri February 6, 2015

Remembering the Elegant Pianist Aldo Ciccolini, 1925-2015

The spectacular pianist Aldo Ciccolini passed away on Saturday, January 31, 2015 at age 89. Ciccolini was on the "Crossover Bucket List" of prospective guests for a very long time. And we’re not only saddened by his death, but also that we were never able to speak with him. But we do have the music and wonderful performances of this great pianist.

Read more
Discoveries from the Fleisher Collection
5:46 am
Wed February 4, 2015

1915: Waldteufel and Taneyev

Émile Waldteufel

On Discoveries from the Fleisher Collection, Saturday, 5-6 pm... One hundred years ago, and the world was in upheaval. The 19th century was fast becoming a memory by 1915. The previous generation’s nationalism in classical music had catapulted new languages into the concert hall, but it was now seen as irrelevant, corrosive, or at best, old-fashioned. Nationalism was now viewed through the War, in its second year, called “Great” by some and “World” by others. In a few decades it would take on a name even more horrible than World War; it would be called the “First.”

Two very different composers who died in 1915 signify the passing century remarkably well. One was the friend of royalty; another, the friend of musical royalty.

Émile Waldteufel’s violinist brother Léon won admission to the Paris Conservatory, and the father Louis moved the entire family there, from Strasbourg in the Alsatian region of France. It was a smart move, for Louis Waldteufel conducted his own successful orchestra, and found even more fame in the country’s capital city. Émile went on to study piano at the Conservatory, soloed with the Waldteufel Orchestra, and at 27, became the court pianist for Empress Eugénie.

But the Franco-Prussian War of 1870–71 greatly altered royal life. Waldteufel continued to play for small elite gatherings but was otherwise little-known. The Prince of Wales (the future King Edward VII), however, attended one of those events, loved a little waltz he heard, and invited the piano-playing composer, Émile Waldteufel, to London. It was there that he became famous, writing dances that are still heard today, including Les Patineurs, or The Skater Waltz. He composed and conducted throughout Europe and retired to Paris. After a hugely successful career, he died when Debussy and Stravinsky were au courant.

Sergei Taneyev was also a pianist—a brilliant one—and a music critic and voracious scholar of seemingly any subject that came along. Mathematics, philosophy, science, and history all came under his intense interest, but it was composition that was his dearest love. It expressed itself for him in rigorous counterpoint, the exacting placement of note against note and line against line. Large washes of sound or simple folk tunes evoking a Russian mythos little interested him. Bach and Mozart were to be revered.

Tchaikovsky, 16 years older than Taneyev and one of his best friends, nevertheless feared his criticism. The world-famous composer would ask him sincerely to tell him what he thought of a certain work, and Taneyev obliged, in brutal frankness. He rubbed other composers the wrong way, but his friendship with Tchaikovsky remained undiminished, if needing, here and there, a couple of days’ cooling off. Taneyev, in fact, was the soloist for the Moscow premiere of Tchaikovsky’s First Piano Concerto, and gave the Russian premiere of the Second as well as the world premiere of the Third.

Their outlook was indeed similar, and after Tchaikovsky’s death Taneyev completed and edited some of the unfinished works. Searching for a more international or cosmopolitan expression, they had not bought into the Russianism of Balakirev or Mussorgsky. But Taneyev’s Suite de Concert, really a violin concerto, is his most famous work, and is filled with, ironically, folk-like beauty. A heart attack killed him as he recuperated from pneumonia he caught attending the funeral of another world-famous composer, Scriabin. 1915 was certainly a year of upheaval.

Read more

Pages