On Discoveries from the Fleisher Collection, Saturday Jan. 4th at 5 pm... In 1914, if you were in the market for the stuff that makes big things move—rope, sails, block and tackle gear, every kind of ship, railroad, or mill supply—you would’ve known George B. Carpenter & Co. of Chicago. Its predecessors went back to 1840. After burning down in the 1871 Great Fire it was rebuilt in a year. George Carpenter, who had been helping run the company, bought it outright in 1882.
His son John had music on his mind, not a manufacturing and wholesale business, and the family supported his evident gifts. John went to Harvard, was President of its Glee Club, and composed for Hasty Pudding larks. More seriously, he studied with John Knowles Paine, and then traveled to England and Rome, where he studied with Edward Elgar. He came back to Chicago in 1909 and composed, but also took on the day job he’d hold until his 1936 retirement, Vice President of George B. Carpenter & Co.
Perhaps machinery was in his blood after all, because in 1914 his creative breakthrough was an evocation of the baby carriage. Adventures in a Perambulator is a symphonia domestica relating a child’s point of view all the way from Envoiture! (All aboard!) to Dreams, the two sections we’ll hear (in between are a policeman, a hurdy-gurdy, a lake, and dogs). Carpenter’s skill was not lost on audiences and critics, who were charmed by his humor and light touch with a large orchestra. His precise program notes narrate the child’s inner voice, ending with: “It is pleasant to lie quite still and close my eyes, and listen to the wheels of my perambulator. How very large the world is. How many things there are!"
Across the ocean in 1914, England saw the premiere of a symphony by a composer who was already well regarded, Ralph Vaughan Williams. His 1909 Fantasia on a Theme by Thomas Tallis and 1910 A Sea Symphony moved him beyond his successes editing folk music, Henry Purcell, and The English Hymnal. A London Symphony remains, out of his nine symphonies, the most popular.
After its premiere, he sent the score to Germany, to the conductor Fritz Busch, but it was lost in the turmoil of the World War. The composer then rewrote it from the orchestral parts, changing it greatly, for a 1920 performance under Albert Coates, who provided program notes to which the composer grudgingly agreed. Vaughan Williams insisted he did not have a story in mind when composing it, although he said one might perhaps call it Symphony by a Londoner.
That he composed a “symphony” at all is due to his good friend, the composer George Butterworth, who insisted he ought to. So he took sketches for a symphonic poem about London, worked them into four movements, and dedicated the music to Butterworth, who would die in that same World War, in 1916.
After the 1920 revision, Vaughan Williams reworked it again in the 1930s, and the version heard most often today is two-thirds the length of the original. The ending, Vaughan Williams suggested just before he died, was inspired by “Night and the Open Sea,” the last chapter of the 1909 novel of H. G. Wells, Tono-Bungay, where the machinery of empires and schemes, small and large, sink into dreams.
WRTI wishes you a happy, healthy, and peaceful 2014! Join us on New Year's Day at 11 am for the 74th annual Vienna Philharmonic concert broadcast from the Golden Hall of the Musikverein in Vienna. Daniel Barenboim conducts works by the Strauss family including Eduard Strauss, Josef Strauss, Johann Strauss, sen., Johann Strauss, Jr., Josef Hellmesberger, Jr., Richard Strauss, Joseph Lanner, and Leo Delibes. Wednesday, January 1, 11 amon WRTI.
Join us this Sunday, from 1 to 4 pm, for a Philadelphia Orchestra in Concert broadcast from a series of fall 2013 concerts that introduced Philadelphia audiences to three major new works commissioned by the Orchestra.
Benjamin Britten’s adaptation of Shakespeare’s magical romance returns to the Met for the first time in ten years, in celebration of the composer’s centennial. James Conlon conducts the gifted ensemble, which includes soprano Kathleen Kim as Tytania and countertenor Iestyn Davies as Oberon - the fairies' Queen and King. Saturday, December 21, 1 to 4:30 pm
Join us as we take a walk through the wonderful new jazz releases of the year. The Top 100 of 2013 will kick off at 8 pm on Sunday, December 29th with Jeff Duperon, and will run until midnight. J. Michael Harrison will continue the Countdown on Monday and Tuesday night from 9 pm to midnight.
We'll ring in the New Year with your top favorite new jazz releases of the year. So make sure you spend New Year’s Eve with WRTI, and find out this year's top pick!
It's beginning to sound a lot like Christmas starting this weekend on WRTI. And Crossover kicks off the festivities with a special show on December 14 at 11:30 am. We'll be surveying the new CD by Joshua Bell and Friends called Musical Gifts. The Sony Masterworks release features favorites for the season performed by virtuoso violinist and great friend of WRTI, Joshua Bell, with guests ranging from Placido Domingo and Renee Fleming, to Branford Marsalis and Chris Botti, to Alison Krauss and Gloria Estefan, and man more.