Upcoming and Noteworthy

Medieval pilgrimages were undertaken for many reasons: As penance to fulfill a promise made during illness, to escape prison, or, as Geoffrey Chaucer suggests, simply as a cure for Spring fever.  Pilgrimage sites were often places where miracles had occured or sacred relics were discovered.  On Friday's Distant Mirror hear the Toronto Consort perform from their cd The Way of the Pilgrim many of the songs that might have been sung en route to the holy places.  Join Allan Kelly at 10pm.

Michel Legrand composed music that tugs at the heart even as it lifts the soul.  Take a nostalgic journey down Memory Lane with selections from “Summer of ’42,” “The Picasso Summer,” “The Go-Between,” “Yentl,” “The Thomas Crown Affair,” and “The Umbrellas of Cherbourg.”  Le Grand, indeed!  Get out your handkerchiefs.  We remember Michel Legrand, this Friday at 6 pm.

On Friday  evening (2-1) at 8 pianist Inon Barnatan joins the Princeton Symphony Orchestra and conductor Marcelo Lehninger in Beethoven's  1st, 2nd and 4th Piano Concertos. 

Tristan Cook

A Tempo this Saturday (2/2) previews highlights of the New Jersey Symphony Orchestra's 2019-2020 season. Host Rachel Katz will speak with Music Director Xian Zhang and President and CEO Gabriel van Aalst about the musical and artistic line-up and other plans for the NJSO's future, including its commitment to diversity and inclusion.

We’ll be traveling into the world of fantasy for this week’s Sunday opera (2/3 3:00 p.m.) with delightful works from Sweden and Germany by two self-taught composers.  We’ll begin with “Duke Magnus and the Mermaid,” an 1867 opera by Ivar Hallstrom whose composing credits are relatively few but important because of his use of Swedish folk music.  

The Lost Chord: February 3 - Black to the Future

Jan 31, 2019

Over 40 years after its original appearance, CBS Records’ landmark Black Composers Series has finally come to compact disc.  Made under the direction of conductor Paul Freeman and employing world class orchestras and soloists, these recordings originally appeared on vinyl between 1974 and 1978, providing rare exposure to 200 years worth of neglected music.  Sony Classical has reissued these invaluable documents as a boxed set.  To coincide with Black History Month, we’ll hear highlights from the 10-CD collection over four Sundays in February at 10 pm.

At 11  on Sunday evening, 2-3 we'll hear Richard Danielpour's Concerto for Orchestra, String Quartet No. 2 by Daniel Kessner and Raptures of Undream for percussion by Bruce Hamilton. Music from the past half-century on Half Past.

On Thursday, 1-31 the Noontime Concert from Concerts on the Slope in Brooklyn features Nanci Belmont, bassoon, Rosie Gallagher, flute, Stuart Brezcinski, oboe, Bixby Kennedy, clarinet & Patrick Jankowski, horn in music by Francis Poulenc, Tania Leon, George Rochberg, & Gyorgi Ligeti.

Wednesday at noon( 1-30) on Curtis Calls we'll hear pianist Chelsea Wang in Mendelssohn's Fantasy in F-sharp minor, En-Chi Cheng and Elena Jivaeva in the Viola Sonata by George Rochberg, Youjin Lee in Ysaye's Violin Sonata, op. 27, no. 6, harpist Abigail Kent in Hindemith's Sonata and percussionist Neil Rao in Humunculus by Nich DiBerardino. Performances from student recitals at the Curtis Institute of Music Wednesdays at noon and Monday evenings at 10.

Sunday evening, 1-27 at 11 we'll hear Alberto Ginastera's Sonata for Cello & Piano and Sinfonia a Granada by Spanish composer and conductor Lorenzo Palomo.  Music fromt the past half-cnetury on Half Past.

Join Ted Otten and Michael Kownacky as they celebrate the lives and careers of some of the wonderful performers we lost in 2018 on this week’s Dress Circle (1/27 7:00 p.m.).  This is one program we never enjoy planning, but it’s one that we feel compelled to do, and sadly, there were once again far too many to honor in our scant hour program.  Those we’ve chosen include Nanette Fabray, Vic Damone, Tab Hunter, Barbara Harris, and David Ogden Stiers.  

13th Century French composer Antoine Busnois was the leading figure of the Burgundian school after the death of Dufay.  He served at the court of Charles the Bold and followed the Duke on all his military campaigns.  Busnois was most noted for his secular music, especially his rondos, but some of his sacred pieces were very notable, especially his Missa O Crux Lignum which you can hear performed by the Orlando Consort on this Friday's Distant Mirror.  Join Allan Kelly at 10pm. 

Photo by Joan Marcus

Picture Perfect - January 25: What's in a Name?

Jan 24, 2019

Building a show around women’s names for titles permits us to travel across a broad of array of genres – contemporary drama, Regency Era comedy of manners, 1940s film noir, and 16th century costume picture.  Tune in for selections from “Rachel, Rachel” (Jerome Moross), “Emma” (Rachel Portman), “Laura” (David Raksin), and “Diane” (Miklos Rozsa).  The music by any other name would sound as sweet, this Friday at 6 pm.

As orchestras make efforts to reach new audiences, they are finding ways to incorporate traditions from non-Western traditions into their regular programming. In recent years, some have begun holding concerts celebrating the Chinese, or Lunar, New Year with a mix of works by Asian composers and traditional Western classics, and this Saturday (1/26 at 7 pm), A Tempo looks at some of the upcoming programs.

You're invited to a birthday party on this week's Sunday Opera (1/27 3:00 p.m.) as we celebrate number 263 for Wolfgang Amadeus Mozart.  As part of the celebrations that began on Friday, we'll be presenting four hours of his music with the centerpiece being an excellent live 1962 performance of "Le nozzi di Figaro" from Glyndebourne.  Heinze Blankenburg is our cunning Figaro and his charming Susanna, Mirella Freni.  

The Lyric Stage: Jan. 27 - Rigoletto Highlights

Jan 24, 2019

Based on a play by Victor Hugo, Rigoletto is one of Verdi's best and most popular operas, and this week, we have highlights of the music from a 1960 studio recording with Ettore Bastianini as Rigoletto, Renata Scotto as Gilda, and Alfredo Krauss as the Duke of Mantua. All three singers were in the early prime of their careers, and of the many fine recordings of Rigoletto, this is one of the best. Gianandrea Gavazzenni  conducts the Orchestra and chorus of the Maggio Musicale Fiorentino.

Marcel Tyberg was a casualty of the Holocaust.  Targeted because of his Jewish ancestry (a mere 1/16th of his make-up), Tyberg was deported to Auschwitz, where his death was recorded on New Year's Eve, 1944.  His music alone should not have attracted unfavorable attention from the authorities.  His symphonies are very much in the Austro-German tradition.  Nevertheless, it was only in the last decade or so that his output was revived, thanks in large part to JoAnn Falletta and the Buffalo Philharmonic.  Tyberg lives again, through his Symphony No. 3, this Sunday at 10 pm.

Works by cellist-composer Zoe Keating form the program of The Classical Network in Concert this Friday (1/25 at 8 pm) in a performance from the Institute for Advanced Study in Princeton, part of its Edward T. Cone Series.

Wednesday, 1-23 on Curtis Calls we'll hear Bela Bartok's String Quartet No. 6, selections from Urban Dances for trumpets, horn, trombone and tuba by Richard Danielpour and NoaNoa for solo flute by Kaija Saariaho.  Performances from recitals at the Curtis Institute of Music, Wedesdays at noon and Monday evenings at 10.

On Thursday, 1-24 the Noontime Concert comes to us from the Zimmerli Art Museum.  Mark Hyczko and members of the NBCO present music by Antonin Dvorak, David Lang, Gabriela Lena Frank, Alexander Glazunov and John Adams.

Sunday evening, 1-20 at 11 on Half Past we'll hear:

Sonata for Viola & Piano, op. 147 by Dmitri Shostakovich

Trumpet Concerto by Thomas Sleeper

Thirteen Ways of Looking at a Blackbird, setting of the Wallace Stevens poem by Louise Talma

Music composed in the past half-century.

In 1979, the Metropolitan Opera revived Kurt Weill's opera Rise and Fall of the City of Mahagonny which had originally appeared in Berlin in 1929, when Weill's wife, Lotte Lenya, sang Jenny. Teresa Stratas took the  role in 1979 at the Met. Lenya saw Stratas do it, and then packed up some unpublished and little known songs by Weill, and gave them to Stratas. Here, said Lenya, nobody sings Weill's music like you do and you should have these. Or words to that effect. The result was Stratas recorded an album of 14 of these songs, and this week we have some of them for you.

This week’s Dress Circle (1/20 7:00 p.m.) epitomizes that great television interjection, “But wait!  There’s more!” as we look at some “bonus tracks” from the age of the CD.  With the advent of a CD being able to hold 80 minutes of music, many companies gave us material from cast recordings, film scores, and demo recordings that was never available in the age of 78’s and LP’s.  

It's music from Elizabethan England on Friday night's Distant Mirror as Alfred Deller and the Deller Consort perform selections from their CD The English Madrigal School.  Hear music from Thomas Morley, Thomas Weelkes, Robert Johnson, John Wilbye and others.  Then in the second part of the program lutenist Hopkinson Smith is featured with preludes, chansons and dances collected by 16th century French music publisher Pierre Attaignant.  Join Allan Kelly at 10pm.

Experience the Power of Alfred Newman – TYRONE Power, that is.  It’s music from Power swashbucklers made at 20th Century Fox, where Newman served as music director for 20 years.  Romance and swagger characterize these selections from “Captain from Castile,” “The Black Swan,” “The Mark of Zorro,” and “Prince of Foxes.”  Catch some Z’s with Zorro.  Alfred Newman makes his mark, this Friday at 6 pm.

Friday, 1-18 on the Noon Concert we'll hear the Dryden Ensemble with soloists, Kristen Dubenion-Smith, Andrea Salazar, Jason McStoots & William Sharp in Cantatas 87 & 154 and selections from other J.S. Bach works.

Photo by Matthew Murphy

Join host Amanda Quist this Sunday (1/20 at 2 pm) for some of Johannes Brahms' secular choral works.

Getting young people interested and involved in music, particularly classical music, has long been a goal of orchestras, and this Saturday (1/19 at 7 pm) A Tempo looks at two upcoming concerts designed along that mission. Host Rachel Katz will speak with Hunterdon Symphony Conductor Lawrence Kursar, whose own composition, Gingerbread Boy, designed to introduce young listeners to the brass section, will be premiered by the orchestra Saturday Feb. 2. The program will also preview the Capital Philharmonic's Youth Orchestra Festival on Saturday Jan.