On Discoveries from the Fleisher Collection, Saturday, December 6th, 5 to 6 pm. Does the Fleisher Collection of Orchestral Music have vocal works? It does now, although it didn’t originally. The Symphony Club had no singers, so it didn’t require vocal or choral music. But as its library expanded, became a part of the Free Library of Philadelphia, and began circulating to orchestras, the need to look beyond purely instrumental works increased. Requests came in for Handel’s Messiah, the Brahms German Requiem, a Schubert or Mozart Mass, opera arias here and there, and so by the late 1970s the Collection started purchasing some of the great voice with orchestra literature.
We'll wrap up our three-program excursion into the music of Johann Sebastian Bach with two of his works for voices. Last month we looked at concertos using harpsichords, which first saw the light of day in the 1730s at Zimmermann’s Coffee House in Leipzig, but the work most associated with that place, of course, is the Coffee Cantata. Bach wrote no operas, but this secular cantata is, in effect, a mini-opera.
“Schweigt stille, plaudert nicht” are the first words sung by the father Schlendrian to his daughter, and are a great beginning to any concert, as they mean, “Be quiet and stop yakking!” (more or less). Schlendrian, literally, “stick in the mud,” wishes to get his daughter out of the newly fashionable but addicting activity of coffee-drinking. She will not yield until he offers to get her—if she quits—a husband. She agrees, but lets us know that she’ll only marry a man who lets her drink coffee. And that’s the story, the libretto by a frequent collaborator of Bach’s, Christian Friedrich Henrici who wrote under the name “Picander.”
In 1716, Bach, at Weimar, composed the original version of Herz und Mund und Tat und Leben, “Heart and Mouth and Deed and Life,” a cantata for one of the weeks leading up to Christmas. When Bach moved to Leipzig to become Kantor, or music director, of the prestigious St. Thomas Church, he started to compose cantatas for each week of the church year. He needed one for a July Sunday, the Visitation of the expectant mother Mary to her cousin Elizabeth (soon to be the mother of John the Baptist), and remembered his old Weimar cantata.
It was a studied choice. Because of differences in the observance of Advent between Weimar and Leipzig, the old cantata wasn’t useable for him anymore, so instead of letting it sit in a desk drawer, he took it out and revised it. About half of it worked perfectly—it was already Marian in nature—but he added more sections. The last movement of it, however, will be recognizable to anyone who has ever heard Bach.
Alon Goldstein performs Jesu, Joy of Man's Desiring, arranged for piano by Dame Myra Hess:
“Jesus bleibet meine Freude” means “Jesus remains my joy,” but we hear this music at weddings, at Christmas, at Easter, and all through the year in every kind of arrangement, as “Jesu, Joy of Man’s Desiring” (the words by English poet Robert Bridges, 1844–1930). The chorale melody, unadorned by Bach’s bubbling triplets, is by Johann Schop (c.1590–1667), reminding us that there really is no such thing as a “Bach chorale tune.” He excelled in these chorale movements at taking old Lutheran hymn melodies and, in settings of exquisite craftmanship, creating new works of genius. Vocal works with orchestra indeed have a place in the Fleisher Collection.
Launched in 1931, the Metropolitan Opera's Saturday matinee broadcasts are the longest-running continuous classical music program in radio history.
The 84th broadcast season begins on Saturday, December 6th with Rossini's Il Barbiere di Siviglia, starring Isabel Leonard as Rosina, followed by Wagner's Die Meistersinger von Nurnberg on December 13th, and Mozart's Le Nozze di Figaro on December 20th.
How does this sound? A fabulous singer, known for championing the Great American Songbook, performing with the ultra-amazing Temple University Jazz Band led by Terell Stafford - in a free concert! Vocalist Ann Hampton Callaway and the TU Jazz Band will knock your socks off on Thursday, December 4 at 7:30 pm, Temple Performing Arts Center at 1837 North Broad Street.
Do you want to know what made the composer Frederic Chopin so special? I'll tell you. Chopin (March 1, 1810 - October 17, 1849) was one of the greatest pianists and composers who ever lived. Aside from revolutionizing the piano itself, enlarging its scope, the genres it lent itself to, and its breadth of color, Chopin essentially invented the scherzo and instrumental ballade as virtuoso piano movements, and reinvented the etude as a musically engaging genre, rather than a mere exercise.
Listen to Rossini's ARMIDA on WRTI, Saturday, November 29th at 1 pm. The Rossini Opera Festival is an international opera festival entirely devoted to Gioachino Rossini and takes place in his hometown of Pesaro, Italy along the Adriatic Sea. It was founded in 1980, using funds donated to Pesaro by Rossini himself when he died in the 1869. Its mission is to revive, to perform on stage and to study the musical heritage connected with the composer.
With Thanksgiving at hand, memories of holidays past begin to fill our minds. Over the river and through the woods. Friends, family, and groaning boards of food. Telling and retelling stories. And more food. It’s that second helping that makes Thanksgiving so special.
So WRTI, an old friend, and one you consider family, will be offering second helpings throughout Thanksgiving Day...just for you. Each hour a favorite composer will be featured twice to warm and comfort you.
Join us on Sunday, November 23rd at 3 pm for a concert broadcast by The Crossing chamber choir, led by Music Director Donald Nally, and recorded in October at the Church of the Holy Trinity, Rittenhouse Square.
Join us to hear Yannick Nezet-Seguin conduct The Philadelphia Orchestra in a concert from October, 2014 at Verizon Hall. You'll hear works by two Russian masters - Alexander Glazunov and Sergei Rachmaninoff - composed within a few years of one another at the end of the 19th century: the energetic and lilting final movement of Glazunov’s ballet The Seasons, and Rachmaninoff’s First Symphony, the premiere of which Glazunov conducted (and not so well, by various accounts).
Join us for an exciting two-concerto broadcast by the Chamber Orchestra of Philadelphia. From two different concerts in the Perelman Theater at the Kimmel Center, we’ll hear Mendelssohn and Haydn. From September 15, 2014, it's the Mendelssohn Piano Concerto No. 2 in D minor, Op. 40, and from October 20, 2014, the Haydn Cello Concerto in C Major.
Dave Conant is your host on Sunday, November 16, 4 to 5 pm - one hour earlier than usual.
Mendelssohn: Piano Concerto No. 2 in D minor, Op. 40
Join us for Opera Day on WRTI! This year, the opera in the starring role is AVA's current production of L'italiana In Algeri. Blurring the line between blatant sentimentality and utter lunacy, emotions and tensions flare in Gioachino Rossini’s jovial operatic drama of an Italian beauty shipwrecked and captured by the Bey of Algiers.