Arts Desk

Throughout the week

Listen to WRTI's Arts Desk features for a daily look into the world of music, arts, and culture. Listen to brief features throughout the day!

Six critically acclaimed seasons of the British television series about life on an English estate in the early 20th century captured the imaginations of audiences on both sides of the Atlantic. A new feature film picks up the story of Downton Abbey in 1927, where the TV series ended.

A concert piece for cello and orchestra uses sacred music from the center of Jewish tradition. Max Bruch's Kol Nidre is a work with wide appeal from an unlikely composer.
 

Nicolas Bets

In 1921, Sergei Prokofiev himself described his 3rd Piano Concerto as 'devilishly difficult' as he prepared to play the premiere in Chicago. One hundred years later, it's among the most popular works in the genre, with ideas that are ever relevant. WRTI's Susan Lewis has more.

Bettmann/Getty Images

Ranked as the 4th greatest symphony of all time in a 2018 BBC Magazine poll of 151 conductors, Gustav Mahler's 9th Symphony, the last symphony the austrian composer completed before he died,  is explored by WRTI's Susan Lewis in a conversation with Philadelphia Orchestra Music Director Yannick Nézet-Séguin.

Leighton Smith /Unsplash

WRTI looks at the origins of this famous ballad, its mysteries, and why it is sung to convey deeply felt emotion and love during times of mourning.

Klezmer music so beautifully expresses the joys and pains of life. WRTI's Debra Lew Harder takes us into its rich world and heritage with esteemed Klezmer scholar and musician Hankus Netsky, a Mount Airy native now living in Boston, who has collaborated with Itzhak Perlman, Theodore Bikel, and other big mahoffs, and who authored a facsinating book in 2017 about Klezmer music in 20th-century Jewish Philadelphia.

Lars Gundersen

Sir Edward Elgar wrote his violin concerto for the great Austrian violinist Fritz Kreisler, who premiered it in 1910. Among those who champion it today is a violinist who feels a personal connection when performing it.

Bettmann/Getty Images

In the early years of the Cold War, with tensions between the U.S. and the Soviet Union at all-time high, a tune by Russian composer Sergei Prokofiev became the unlikely theme song for a radio drama about FBI cases involving international espionage. 

Choumoff/Roger Viollett via Getty Images

The Philadelphia Orchestra's semi-staged version of Prokofiev's Romeo and Juliet from this past May featured much of the music from the ballet, with dancers from Brian Sanders' company JUNK often moving high above the orchestra. WRTI's Susan Lewis spoke with Yannick Nézet-Séguin about the experience.

Jessica Griffin/Philadelphia Orchestra

Composer and jazz trumpeter Hannibal Lokumbe has written Healing Tones as a hymn to Philadelphia, an oratorio-like work that celebrates the healers among us, including midwives, doctors, artists and musicians.

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