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Fanfare: Brooklyn Rider, the PYO, and some music for giving thanks

Welcome to Fanfare — our weekly guide to live classical music in the Philadelphia area. Subscribe now to get the weekly mailing delivered straight to your inbox. To let us know about an event on the horizon, or share other feedback, drop us a line!

Spotlight: Brooklyn Rider — Tuesday, American Philosophical Society

The innovative quartet bring their usual mix of familiar and unknown chamber music to the American Philosophical Society. It will be a special treat to hear the juxtaposition of well-loved Haydn and Schumann with Sofia Gubaidulina’s “Reflections on the theme B-A-C-H.” The program is rounded out by a Philadelphia premiere of the latest installment of the Brooklyn Rider Almanac - with works by Penn professor Tyshawn Sorey, as well as Clarice Assad and Gabriel Kahane.

Nov. 21 at 7:30 p.m, Benjamin Franklin Hall, American Philosophical Society, 427 Chestnut Street, $30, purchase tickets.

The Philadelphia Youth Orchestra.
courtesy of the artist
The Philadelphia Youth Orchestra.

The Philadelphia Youth Orchestra — Sunday, Verizon Hall

The Philadelphia Youth Orchestra gives its inaugural concert of the season, featuring Brahms’ Symphony No. 2 and Elgar’s iconic Enigma Variations. Founded in 1939, the PYO continues the tradition of challenging and encouraging young musicians while thrilling local audiences with their committed performances.

Nov. 19 at 3 p.m., Verizon Hall, Kimmel Cultural Campus, 300 South Broad Street, $25 to $35; purchase tickets.

‘Stop the Bells’ Tolling’ — Sunday, The Church of the Good Shepherd

Hear music from Philadelphia’s past, courtesy of local ensemble The Publick Pleasure. Yellow fever swept through the city in 1793, and everything changed. Bells were silenced, people fled the city, and gunpowder exploded in the streets during this time of plague. Main Line Early Music presents this program as a part of their mission to support local ensembles. This is a great opportunity to hear artists that perform widely, but live locally.

Nov. 19 at 3 p.m. The Church of the Good Shepherd, 1116 West Lancaster Avenue, Bryn Mawr, $10 to $30; purchase tickets.

The Allentown Band — Sunday, Miller Symphony Hall

The Allentown Band presents its annual Americans We Tribute to Veterans concert. With special guest artists, the U.S. Air Force Band Singing Sergeants, the program will include several holiday and patriotic favorites.

Nov. 19 at 3 p.m. Miller Symphony Hall, Allentown, free but tickets required; tickets and information.

Thanksgiving is in a few short days, and we are thankful for you, our community, and the wonderful music that brings us together. Whether you are staying in or gathering with friends and family, here is a selection of pieces to set a mood of gratitude and thankfulness.

“Grand Teton (A symbol of America’s strength),” from William Grant Still’s American Scene, was written in 1957 as a part of a larger lesson in US geography through music. It will leave you yearning for open spaces.

“And when we find ourselves in the place just right, ‘twill be in the valley of love and delight” - it is always a good time to listen to “Simple Gifts,” but it is particularly resonant at Thanksgiving. This is a lovely collaboration between Yo-Yo Ma and Alison Krauss.

And here is a classic recording of Aaron Copland conducting Appalachian Spring, which uses “Simple Gifts” so effectively.

Joseph Curiale’s “Prairie Hymn” is a song of thanksgiving that evokes the open landscape of America’s heartland.

You may remember the haunting and lovely “Ashokan Farewell” by Jay Unger that was used so effectively in Ken Burn’s Civil War. Whether you are traveling to be with your loved ones, or staying home, this song will tug at your heart.

Margaret Bond’s lyrical “I believe” from Credo, played by Lara Downes, is based on sketches from the original 1965 score. It’s based on prose by W.E.B. DuBois: “I believe in liberty for all men, the space to stretch their arms and their souls…”

Wishing you a very Happy Thanksgiving from all of us at WRTI!

As a young violinist, Meg Bragle regularly listened to her local classical music station and loved calling in on Saturday mornings to request pieces, usually by Beethoven. The hosts were always kind and played her requests (often the Fifth Symphony), fostering a genuine love for radio.