Classical Albums of the Week

WRTI showcases a different album each week that's featured on the air. Learn more about each one of them here!

November 30, 2020. In his concerto for guitar and orchestra, Chris Brubeck pays homage to his father, the late jazz great Dave Brubeck. The pianist and composer, whose centennial we celebrate on December 6th, passed away in 2012. Brubeck's piece is the title track of our Classical Album of the Week. Guitarist Sharon Isbin's Affinity features music inspired by different cultures and genres, and has a personal story behind each work. 

November 22, 2020. The renowned British vocal ensemble VOCES8 celebrates its 15th anniversary with a gift to the musical world: After Silence, a double-CD set that embraces the themes of Remembrance, Devotion, Redemption, and the elemental force of Nature. The eight singers of VOCES8 bring to life repertoire from the Renaissance to contemporary times.

November 16, 2020. Vienna was the place to be in the year 1900. It was a time of cross-fertilization of intellectual life. Sigmund Freud psychoanalyzed Gustav Mahler. Arnold Scheonberg took painting lessons from the Secessionist artist Richard Gerstl, who had an affair with Schoenberg’s wife. Gustav Klimt painted a portrait of Ludwig Wittgenstein’s sister for her wedding. This period comes to life again through its music in our Classical Album of the Week: Vienne 1900.

We’ve been waiting for this one! For his new DG release, star pianist Lang Lang has tackled a major work by J.S. Bach for the first time. Yes, he has recorded short samples for a few collections, but never anything like Bach’s iconic Goldberg Variations.

While it's not easy to find duets for two tenors, Lawrence Brownlee and Michael Spyres uncovered a number of them in seven early 19th-century Rossini operas. After a video of their encore duet in 2018 at The Concertgebouw in Amsterdam went viral, they put together a groundbreaking album, Amici e Rivali, which collects over a dozen duets and trios and shines a light on the genius of Gioachino Rossini. 

November 3, 2020. Knowing how much you love the music of Antonio Vivaldi, an all-Vivaldi Classical Album of the Week would seem a natural! And since the gifted Swedish clarinetist Martin Fröst’s new disc, Vivaldi, from Sony Classical has him playing a handful of Vivaldi “clarinet concertos,” my interest was piqued.

October 12, 2020. The clarinetist and saxophonist Paquito D’Rivera, winner of a dozen Grammy awards, has nothing but superlatives for Wayne Marshall, chief conductor of the WDR Funkhausorchester in Cologne. D’Rivera’s contribution to Born to Play—Marshall’s swan song after a decade with the orchestra—complements the main course, works by George Gershwin.

October 19, 2020. Songs can entertain and touch us with emotions, from happiness to humor to heartbreak. The Contrast, a new release by soprano Carolyn Sampson and pianist Joseph Middleton, celebrates the range of works by five English composers writing over the last 120 years. 

October 5, 2020. Philadelphia native Ann Hobson Pilot became one of the first Black musicians to win a position in a major symphony orchestra when she joined the Boston Symphony Orchestra in 1969. A graduate of Philadelphia Girls’ High School and the Cleveland Institute of Music, Ms. Pilot was principal harp of the BSO for almost four decades.

September 28, 2020. The Philadelphia-based period instrument ensemble Night Music was formed to play classical works from the post-Baroque era. The ensemble's co-directors Steven Zohn and Heather Miller Lardin spoke with WRTI's Susan Lewis on Zoom about the fun of making their engaging debut album, Music for a Viennese Salon, and giving it context with an imaginative piece of historical fiction.