Arts Desk

Check out stories and album of the week features by WRTI's Susan Lewis, Debra Lew Harder, and Matt Silver.

January 27, 2019. Lyricist Alan Jay Lerner and composer Frederick Loewe worked together to create hit musicals for stage and film for decades. Many of the compositions went on to become part of the Great American Songbook, which, through the years, were subject to different levels of interpretation.

January 27, 2020. Virtuosic, majestic, spine-tingling—Rachmaninoff’s Sonata for Cello and Piano in G minor is one of the greatest chamber music compositions of the early 20th century, and forms the centerpiece of our Classical Album of the Week.

January 20, 2020. The Pretenders’ front woman Chrissie Hynde has cut her first jazz album, Valve Bone Woe, which includes 14 songs and some that weren't originally composed as jazz tunes—interpretations of music first conceived by pop-rock icons Brian Wilson, Nick Drake, and The Kinks’ Ray Davies sit right alongside takes on Hoagy Carmichael, Mingus, and Coltrane.

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January 20, 2020. As we’re on the cusp of the Chinese New Year, what better choice for the week could there be than China’s premier classical ensemble, the Shanghai Symphony Orchestra, in its debut release, Gateways, on the Deutsche Grammophon label.

January 13, 2020. Jeff Goldblum (yes, THAT Jeff Goldblum) and the Mildred Snitzer Orchestra are at it again, with more mash-ups, jazz standards, and collaborations on I Shouldn’t Be Telling You This, the follow-up album to 2018’s The Capitol Sessions.

January 13, 2020. At first glance, Whose Heavenly Touch throws no surprises. Here is a comprehensive, predictable set of songs by English composer John Dowland (1563-1626), complete with the most beloved titles — including "Flow, my tears," "Come Again!" and "Come away, sweet love." But wait! With a closer look and listen, some interesting curiosities emerge.


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A dramatic look at the cultural contributions of 20th-century Philadelphia arts champions Albert Barnes and Leopold Stokowski finds remarkable connections, starting with music of Giovanni Pierluigi da Palestrina, a master from the 16th-century Italian Renaissance.

Wikipedia Commons

Violinist Gil Shaham became enthralled by Beethoven's Violin Concerto as a child. Years later, he's still moved by its power. 

January 6, 2019. Looking for some good old-fashioned fun? Here it is. Rachael Price has made a name for herself as lead vocalist of Lake Street Dive, the harmonizing folk-rockers erring on the side of Motown. What fans of her sound might not know is that, for years, she’d been dying to sing jazz, more specifically the kinds of tunes popularized by the big-band singers of the '30s and '40s. 

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