2010: May - June

Dear WWUH Listener

Spring is in full swing, WWUH continues to be an amazing place to hear wonderful music, insightfull public affairs and a wide variety of things that will hopefully enrich your life and listening pleasure. Please enjoy this second issue of our new online WWUH Program guide. Feedback is always welcome. Email Us

Ambience News

Following the 23-year reign of Susan as the knowledgeable and gracious host of Ambience on Sunday mornings, Ambience is now being brought to you through the courtesy of the Ambience Team. The Ambience Team consists of four staff members who share an interest in ambient music, and who enjoy keeping the tradition of Sunday morning ambient music alive on WWUH. The members are Dave DeMaw, 30-year staff member of WWUH and former host of The Greatest Show From Earth, who filled in for Susan on many occasions during her Ambience years; Mark Time, who was a staff member of WWUH for several years during the late seventies and early eighties and who recently returned to the station; Larry Bilansky, who also hosts his own Friday Evening Classics show, "The 20th Century Limited" on WWUH, and Dave Cyr, the team's newest staff member, who joined the WWUH staff in December of 2008 after listening to the station for 30 plus years. The schedule for the Ambience Team is as follows:

On months with four Sundays:
1st Sunday: Mark Time
2nd Sunday: Dave Cyr
3rd Sunday: Dave DeMaw
4th Sunday: Larry Bilansky

On months with five Sundays:
1st Sunday: Mark Time
2nd Sunday: Dave Cyr
3rd Sunday: Dave DeMaw
4th Sunday: Mark Time
5th Sunday: Larry Bilansky

These four hosts bring a wide variety of sounds to the Ambience audience, as each has his own musical leanings and show style. We hope our listeners are enjoying the new mix! If you have any comments you'd like to pass along to any or all of the Ambient Team members, please send an email to wwuh@hartford.edu, or phone your comments in to the WWUH listener line, at 860-768-5913.

In this issue of the program guide, we hear from Dave DeMaw, who provides his focus and approach to Ambience ...

Music has influenced me since the earliest days when dad played boogie woogie on the piano and entertained the family with his 78 rpm record collection. My father later worked at WATT-AM, a small town radio station in northern Michigan where conservative tastes dictated that records with non-commercial content were discarded. Many of these unwanted records passed to my hands; everything from the whacky sounds of Spike Jones to the frenetic bass work of Charles Mingus. There was a never ending flow of unique rock, blues, jazz, and novelty songs that lived only in the confines of my room.

Listening to AM broadcast stations on a crystal set, and later on my first 6-transistor radio opened the wonderful world of air personalities and the endlessly repetitious top 40. At WLS in Chicago there was the infamous Dick Biondi. WOWO in Ft. Wayne was another big gun AM station that rocked my sensibilities.

photo: Doug DeMaw (on right) at WATT-AM

In 1975 I entered the University of Hartford as a mass communications major and quickly migrated to WWUH with its many eclectic, free-form shows. WWUH was a bubbling, creative vat of delicious sounds and blurred musical boundaries.

I assumed the controls of The Greatest Show From Earth when host Mark Persky left for his first commercial job in radio at WBLM in Maine. My weekly broadcast soon featured progressive rock, electronic, ambient, space, fusion, world, and avant garde sounds. Sunday night had become a place and time to experiment. In 1984 I moved out of state for a couple of years. Mark Delorenzo not only replaced me, but he continues to host the Greatest Show From Earth for 26 years.

Since 1986 I have been an alternate for Susan's Ambience show. Last year she stepped down as your regular host and passed the duties to four staffers; Mark Time, Dave Cyr, Larry Bilansky, and me, Planet DeMaw. Each of us brings varying tastes and styles, but we share Susan's enthusiasm for ambient music on Sunday mornings.

Thank you WWUH and all listeners and supporters of our non-commercial radio station. I continue to learn from the many dedicated show hosts as well as from knowledgeable listeners. Being a community volunteer at WWUH is one of the most rewarding facets of my life.

Join us for Ambience on 91.3 FM
each Sunday morning
from 9 AM to 1 PM

Blue Monday

Tune in to Blue Monday during May and June 2010 for the following features:

Featured Artist
May 3 Rory Block
May 10 Lil'Ed &The Blues Imperials
May 17 Travis Haddix
May 24 T-Bone Walker 100th DOB 5/28/10
May 31 Peach
June 7 Howlin' Wolf 100th DOB 6/10/10
June 14 Davis Coen
June 21 Roy Rogers
June 28 Debbie Davis

Back to the Roots
May 3 Mississippi Blues
May 10 Memphis Blues
May 17 Rhythm & Blues
May 24 Boogie Woogie
May 31 Texas Blues
June 7 Jump Blues
June 14 Delta Blues
June 21 Kansas City Blues
June 28 Chicago Blues

Tune in as we also go back in my blues history, 20 and 10 years ago on my weekly blues shows previously aired on Overnight Blues and Blue Monday.

Join me as we explore the diverse and interesting world of "the blues" every Monday night at 9 PM on WWUH's long running blues show, since 1980, "Blue Monday".

Bushnell Park Live Monday Night Jazz Series

WWUH will once again bring live jazz broadcasts to the 91.3 FM airwaves this summer when the Monday Night Jazz Series resumes in Hartford's Bushnell Park on July 5. Broadcasts will begin at 6 p.m. and continue through the end of each concert, usually between 9:15 and 9:30 p.m.

The Hartford Jazz Society, sponsor of the free outdoor series, is celebrating its 50th anniversary this year. For details about the longest-running nonprofit jazz society in the U.S., visit their web site at hartfordjazzsociety.com.

Stay tuned to WWUH radio for further information about the Monday Night Jazz Series and about live broadcasts of each concert.

The 2010 Bushnell Park Jazz Concert Series schedule is as follows:

July 5
Opening act: Mixashawn Trio
Headliner: Eric Reed Trio

July 12
Opening act: Fela Kuti Tribute Band
Headliner: Nat Reeves All Stars

July 19
Opening act: Espada
Headliner: Roland Matias & the Afro-Caribbean All Stars

July 26
Opening act: Brandee Younger Trio
Headliner: Carolyn Leonhart - Wayne Escoffery Quintet

August 2
Opening act: New Directions Jazz Ensemble
Headliner: Greg Osby Group

Is the War in Afganistan Justified by 9/11?

WWUH is bringing Dr. David Ray Griffin to campus to speak on May 7. The topic of his presentation will be: "Is The War in Afghanistan Justified by 9/11?" Dr. Griffin is a Prof. of Philosophy of Religion and Theology, Emeritus, Claremont School of Theology in CA where he remains the co-director of the Center for Process Studies and the author of 35 books.
Tickets are $10 and are available through the UH Box Office, 860-768-4228. http://davidraygriffin.com/ 

Notes from Celtic Airs

The Celtic Airs concert series is on a hiatus following a spectacular Spring concert season. Join us for our next live show in August - Jim Malcolm, Wilde Auditorium at 7:30 pm. More info below.
Celtic Airs can be heard on WWUH, 91.3 FM, every Tuesday from 6:00-9:00 am. If you can't listen on your FM radio, you'll find us steaming live on the internet. Use the "Listen" link at the upper left corner of the home page to make this simple connection. Thanks for listening!! I look forward to seeing you March 18th at the Dervish concert and at many more shows over the course of 2010.

Steve Dieterich,
Producer /host of Celtic Airs and the
WWUH/ Celtic Airs Concert Series
 

Remembering WWUH Jazz Announcer Dean Hildebrandt

"Somewhere There's Music Playing..."
By Chuck Obuchowski

"Today is National Aviation Day ... so why not take a pilot out to lunch?"

Dean HildebrandtLongtime WWUH Monday Morning Jazz host Dean Hildebrandt wasn't prone to cracking jokes or making small talk during his program. He kept his microphone breaks brief so that the music would always be front and center. But somewhere along the way, Dean started making his "national ... day" announcements, always with the suggestion that the listener treat a nurse, auto mechanic, convenience store clerk - whomever was being honored that day - to lunch. 

It was kind of corny, yes, but somehow it suited Dean perfectly: a touch of lightheartedness, and a tip of the jazz beret to someone in the listening audience who deserved to be acknowledged for his or her contribution to society. Perhaps it was inspired in part by the patter of legendary New York jazz DJs like "Symphony Sid" Torin and Fred Robbins, whom he'd listened to as a teenager. Whatever the case, Dean's weekly lunch invitation became a pleasant WWUH ritual for a dozen years or more.

Dean Hildebrandt died on March 15, 2010, a month shy of his 77th birthday. Monday Morning Jazz listeners will no longer be implored to dine with people of varied occupations, nor will they be greeted at 9 a.m. sharp by Erroll Garner's distinctive rendition of "How High the Moon," which also closed Dean's program each week, just before noon. However, many of us will always cherish those memories, just as we'll always fondly recall his exceptional taste and knowledge of mainstream jazz, from the 1940s to the present.

Although Dean had apparently been ill for some time, he never shared that news with any of his colleagues at WWUH. Rather, he continued doing his show - and engaging in station duties - up until the week he died, never complaining or indicating that he needed a respite. 

Dean joined the WWUH staff in early 1997, after he'd retired from a successful position at Travelers Insurance Company. Although he may not have fit the stereotype many have of an announcer at an alternative college radio station, Dean's passion for the music earned him immediate respect from his peers at 91.3 FM. Actually, his initial contact with the station occurred when he answered a request in the Hartford Courant for volunteer library assistance; he'd assumed the position was with the University of Hartford's Hartt School.

This proved a fortuitous "mistake," both for Dean and for the university radio station. He was able to further his love of jazz and classical music, while at the same time, doing a splendid job of reorganizing and expanding the WWUH recorded music collection.

As station manager John Ramsey explains, "With a collection of close to 100,000 LP and CD titles, it's a big job, but Dean was up to the task. It wasn't long before he had catalogued the entire jazz library ... and over the years, he continued to keep the library up to date in an incredibly efficient manner."

Jim Christensen, host of "Conscious Evolution," the program which precedes Monday Morning Jazz, is a carpenter by trade. Jim built many of the CD shelves used in the expansion of WWUH's library; he marvels at Hildebrandt's attention to detail: "Dean gave me a bunch of formulas [to help determine how much space would be needed.] He knew exactly how many inches we'd need, and how much time we'd have [before another expansion would be required.] " 

Jazzyjayne, Tueday Accent on Jazz host, enjoyed assisting Dean with CD storage tasks at the station: "I could see the huge effort he put into commandeering the general library all these years." She proudly recalls that it was Dean who first encouraged her to become a WWUH announcer. 

Once she'd completed training, Dean "was especially kind to sit in with me during my very first fill-in show, which was a Marathon [fundraiser] evening." According to Jazzyjayne, Dean guided her through that inaugural program and helped build her on-air confidence: "He was an amazingly caring, considerate, impassioned individual."

Curiously, when Dean began volunteering at WWUH, he had no intention of becoming a jazz announcer. I got acquainted with him during a series of conversations we shared on Tuesday afternoons in the station office. I'd be working on our jazz calendar after concluding my morning jazz program, and Dean would be painstakingly inputting artist names and album titles into the UH computer system, part of his ambitious cataloguing process. 

Right from the start, it seemed obvious to me that he'd make a great announcer. Dean had been a jazz fan since the age of 13, when he purchased a couple 78 rpm recordings by Benny Goodman. As a teenager, he witnessed firsthand the bebop revolution of the 1940s and became an avid radio listener. His family lived close enough to the Big Apple to allow him to pick up the air signals of the most influential jazz stations of that era. 

Dean didn't need much persuasion to try his hand at jazz programming. Once he'd completed his announcer training, he filled in on a number of classical shows until a jazz slot became available. Former UH Jazz Director Harvey Jassem, a U of H professor, had hosted the Monday morning program for about 10 years before deciding to leave Hartford on a sabbatical.

"I'd developed a good relationship with a lot of listeners but felt very comfortable leaving the slot in Dean's good hands," Harvey remembers. "Dean not only loved the music, he played the music ... it was fun seeing him performing with the various bands of which he was a member."

Dean had played clarinet as a young man, and he returned to performance after retirement, eventually adding saxophones and trombone to his musical arsenal, too. He played in several bands in the Simsbury area, where he lived with his wife Marge. One of his ensembles - the Farmington River Royal Ragtime Ramblers - even gave an in-studio concert on WWUH during one of our "It's All Live" days several years ago.

Friday Night Accent on Jazz announcer Doug Maine observes that "Dean set very high standards for himself," regarding show preparation and organization. Whenever he was involved with one of the summertime Bushnell Park jazz broadcasts, for instance, Dean would carry a notebook filled with questions and comments for artist interviews, as well as details about upcoming concerts.

He relished his Monday morning airshift because it allowed him to debut the latest releases; his enthusiasm for sharing these sounds with his listeners never diminished. As much as he appreciated classic material from the 40s and 50s, Dean knew that jazz is a living, ever-changing music - and he made sure to support young and/or local artists, on the air and at the many concerts he attended. But he honored jazz veterans too, frequently offering birthday salutes and previews of upcoming concert appearances.

Despite all his talents and the rich experience he brought to WWUH, Dean Hildebrandt remained humble to the end. He'd probably have scoffed at an article like this one, preferring to do his work quietly and behind the scenes. Yet, those who were privileged to know him won't soon forget his tireless efforts on behalf of the station, nor the good humor with which he approached his tasks. A plaque acknowledging Dean's music cataloguing contributions will be installed in the WWUH library in the near future.
 

Robert Rich to Perform Ambience In The Wilde

This concert continues the  "Ambience in the Wilde" series.  "We will be treated to a magical evening of organic electronic music and sonic surrealism; a rare chance for fans of this genre to see a major artist in an intimate concert setting" said Susan Mullis, former host of WWUH's popular Ambience program which airs on Sunday's 9 AM to 1 PM. The Wilde Auditorium seats 200 persons.   This concert is part of an extensive tour that is taking Rich throughout the US and Canada this spring.

With over 30 albums to his name, Robert Rich has helped define the genres of ambient music, dark-ambient, tribal and trance, yet his music remains hard to categorize. Part of his unique sound comes from using homemade acoustic and electronic instruments, microtonal tunings, computer-based signal processing, chaotic systems and feedback networks. Rich began building his own analog synthesizers in 1976, when he was 13 years old, and later studied for a year at Stanford's Center for Computer Research in Music and Acoustics (CCRMA).

The tour this spring is in support of his newest CD, Ylang.
The CD is best described as organic, lush and sensual.

Robert Rich's first solo studio album in three years seductively blends languid polyrhythms with influences as diverse as South Indian Karnatic music, post-rock, jazz, and minimalism.

The title comes from ylang ylang, a flowering tree that grows in South Asia, with a mysterious fragrance that embodies elements of shadow and light, eros and gnosis, earth and sky.

Musicians:
Robert Rich: flutes, lap steel , piano, percussion, MOTM modular & synths
Ricky Carter: drums
Sakthivel Muruganandhan: mrdungam
Sunilkumar Sankarapillai: bansuri
Haroun Serang: guitar
Emily Bezar: voice
Forrest Fang: violin
Hans Christian: cello
Paul Olguin: upright bass

Pushing the boundaries of Robert's melodic world-fusion vocabulary, such as on Seven Veils or Propagation, Ylang blends Rich's expressive steel guitar, shimmering organic electronics and yearning flute melodies with influences as diverse as south Indian Karnatic music, pulsing minimalism and pensive jazz; while its deconstructed drums and blurry guitar feedback might feel at home with Sigur Ros or Bark Psychosis.

Rich enlists help for this undertaking from a circle of trusted musician friends. The rhythmic scaffolding for the album comes from two very different drummers. Ricky Carter adds his intelligent sparse drumming, fluid with syncopation but complex in meter. These rhythms could be a slow tempo homage to Jaki Leibzeit from Can. Post-processing transforms them into rubbery chuffing abstractions. The other rhythmic foundation comes from the Karnatic mrdungam playing of Sakthivel Muruganandhan, which also wanders into Rich''s sonic blender, shifting from time- stretched blurs into organic live duets with bansuri master Sunilkumar Sankarapillai.

Lilting in and out of this heady atmosphere of South Indian music and minimalist space jazz, the wordless voice of art-pop virtuoso Emily Bezar adds a feminine intelligence to several pieces, and subtle melodic guitar additions from Haroun Serang augment Rich's soaring lap steel feedback. With acoustic bass from Paul Olguin and string additions from Forrest Fang and Hans Christian, the sonic texture warms to a glowing woody earthiness. Rich's audiophile production and delicate sound design glue the textures together into a seductive and inviting mossy nest. From these disparate elements, Ylang forms a sonic entity unto itself.

Rich has performed in caves, cathedrals, planetaria, art galleries and concert halls throughout Europe and North America. His all-night Sleep Concerts, first performed in 1982, became legendary in the San Francisco area. In 1996 he revived his all-night concert format, playing Sleep Concerts for live and radio audiences across the U.S. during a three-month tour (including a stop at WWUH).  This will be his 4th visit to WWUH.

Rich has worked with Steve Roach, Robert Lustmord, Graeme Revelle, David Torn, Alio Die, Paul Haslinger, Ian Boddy, Vidna Obmana and others.  His sound design graces numerous films and instrument libraries.

Tickets are $20 and are on sale now through the University of Hartford Box Office at (860) 768-4228 or 1-800-274-8587.

For more information about Robert Rich, visit his website at www.robertrich.com or http://www.facebook.com/robertrichmusic

Sunday Afternoon at the Opera

YOUR LYRIC THEATER PROGRAMMING
WITH HOST KEITH BROWN
FOR THE MONTHS OF
March and April 2010

SUNDAY March 7th: Charpentier, David et Jonathas. The influence of the Italian immigrant composer Jean Baptiste Lully was so overwhelming upon the Royal French court that no native born French composer in the reign of Louis XIV could get an opera of his own performed before the king. Only after Lully died in 1687 did the field become open once again to French opera composers of merit. One of the best of them, Mark Antoine Charpentier (1643 - 1704), wrote a Lullian-style opera on a Biblical subject for performance at the Jesuit college in Paris, where he was musical director. This was David et Jonathas (1688), which was intended as a special Lenten entertainment for his churchly patrons. It is the only surviving example of "sacred lyric tragedy" from the era of the Sun King. The one existing copy of the score for David et Jonathas is corrupt, with a lot of transcribing mistakes and actual gaps running into many bars of music. Michel Corboz, a pioneer in the authentic recreation of baroque music, painstakingly reconstructed David et Jonathas for a staged revival of the work by Opera de Lyon in 1981. Corboz conducts the English Bach Festival Baroque Orchestra and a cast of French singers, as recorded for the French Erato label. Erato made this recording available again in CD format on two silver discs in its "Libretto" series. I last broadcast David et Jonathas on Sunday, March 14, 1993.

 

Sunday, March 14TH: Mendelssohn, Paulus. Felix Mendelssohn-Bartholdy completed two oratorios, Elias or Elijah (1846) and Paulus or St. Paul (1836). Elijah is much better known, with a considerable discography. At Easter of 1996 I broadcast the Telarc CD recording of it, with Robert Shaw and the Atlanta Symphony Orchestra and Chorus. The earlier work, Paulus, is Mendelssohn's successful experiment in combining the eighteenth century oratorio traditions of Bach and Handel with the new romantic style of the nineteenth century. It was Mendelssohn who revived the Bach St. Matthew Passion at Berlin in 1829 and in so doing began the general revival of J.S. Bach's music in modern times. Mendelssohn was consciously trying to follow in the master's footsteps. Paulus/St. Paul has lately received more attention on disc. On Easter Sunday, March 31, 2002 I presented the Chandos recording of Paulus with Richard Hichox conducting the BBC National Chorus and Orchestra of Wales. (A Musical Heritage Society release in the US.) The German label Hännssler/Profil came out with a period instrument recording of Paulus in 2008. Doris Hagel directs the players of the Capella Weilburgensis and the singers of the Weilburg Schlosskirche Kantorei; sung in the original German.

 

Sunday, march 21st: Haydn, Die Sieben Letzte Worte, Stabat Mater. Lenten programming continues on this fifth and last Sunday before Holy Week with two rarely heard recorded choral works of Franz Josef Haydn. Die Sieben Letzte Worte, ("The Seven Last Words of Christ," 1786) is better known in a purely instrumental version for string quartet. The oratorio version that came before it Haydn wrote on commission from the Cathedral of Cadiz in Spain. Every year the Cathedral called for a new oratorio to be performed, not in the church proper, but in the Santa Cuero grotto, where it would be part of Good Friday rites. The composition posed a challenge to Haydn. It had to be written in the form of seven separate adagio movements. How to make so much slow music interesting to listen to? Haydn decided to end the sequence with a brief but dramatic and descriptive "earthquake" movement when Jesus dies upon the cross. (Wagner, by the way, knew this music and much admired it.) We'll hear the "Seven Words" oratorio as recorded in 2002 with Nicol Matt leading the Palitinate Chamber Orchestra of Mannheim and the Chamber Choir of Europe, with four vocal soloists.

Haydn's setting of the Latin devotional poem Stabat Mater is a very early work in his ouevre, dating from 1767 shortly after he was appointed Kapellmeister to the Hungarian Prince Esterhazy. Many composers before and after Haydn set the Stabat Mater. He had to compete with Pergolesi's setting from 1736, still very popular all over Europe. Haydn's Stabat is composed in similar Neapolitan style: a string of various numbers, solo arias alternating with choruses. The distinguished Haydn scholar H.C. Robbins Landon says of this work, "There are moments when we feel that the composer has completely penetrated the sense of the text... establishing its composer as a first rate writer of vocal music." (Haydn's Chronicle and Works, Vol. II p.245.) This Stabat was Haydn's first large-scale vocal composition to appear in print. We hear it, also relatively recently recorded with Frieder Bernius conducting the Wurttemberg Chamber Orchestra and Stuttgart Chamber Chorus, with four solo singers. The two recordings, "The Seven Last Words" and the Stabat Mater were taken up in 2008 into a massive 150 CD compendium Haydn Edition release from Brilliant Classics.

 

Sunday, MarcH 28TH: Palm Sunday Telemann, Brockes' Passion. One of the single most prolific composers in the history of Western art music, George Phillip Telemann composed 1700 (!) church cantatas, at least 27 settings of the Passion and six other oratorios, a recording of one of them, Der Tag des Gerichts ("The Day of Judgement," 1762), I broadcast on Sunday, January 11, 1987. Like many other composers of the baroque era Telemann wrote music for the popular German language Passion text by Barthold Heinrich Brockes. Handel famously set Brockes' Passion twice, employing both times the same Hungaroton LPs (Sundays March 17, 1991 and April 5, 2009). Now you get to hear Telemann's take on the Brockes text in a brand new recording from French Harmonia Mundi. Rene Jacobs has given us so many fine historically-informed recorded interpretations of opera and oratorio of the eighteenth century. He leads the period instrument players of the Akademie für Alte Musik Berlin and the RIAS Radio Berlin Chamber Chorus with the six solo singers. Telemann's Brockes Passion was released in 2009 onto HM compact discs.

 

Sunday, april 4th: I have broadcast Sir Edward Elgar's The Dream of Gerontius (1900) five times before over three decades at Easter. It has become one of my lyric theater broadcasting traditions; and with good reason. With its libretto taken from English Catholic Cardinal Newman's mystical poem about death and transfiguration, it's the obvious programming choice for the highest of all Christian holy days. All the significant British conductors of the latter twentieth century have given us recordings of Gerontius. Elgar himself conducted portions of his oratorio for very early electric recordings made in 1927. I've broadcast those historic recordings, as well as the first complete recording of the work made in 1945 with Sir Malcolm Sargeant in charge. This time around we listen to Alexander Gibson's take on Gerontius. He leads the Scottish National Orchestra and Chorus with tenor Robert Tear as Gerontius, also baritone Benjamin Luxon and contralto Alfredo Hodgson. CRD Records issued this interpretation on two LPs in 1976.

 

Sunday, april 11TH: Verdi, Nabucco. Giuseppe Verdi's third Opera, Nabucco (1842), is truly a milestone in his nascent career as a composer. Oberto (1839) was an encouraging success on the boards at La Scala, but his second Opera, Un Giorno di Regno (1840), was a disaster. Verdi vowed never again to write for the lyric theater. The impresario Merelli prevailed upon the young Verdi to try one more time. The result was a work of genius not to be equaled for the rest of the decade, until perhaps Lusia Miller (1849) or certainly Rigoletto (1851). Nabucco is actually a contraction of the name Nebuchadnezzar. The libretto of the opera is drawn from episodes in the Old Testament dealing with the Babylonian captivity of the Hebrew nation. Tito Gobbi sings in the title role as the ill-fated King of Assyria. He's been called the greatest Italian baritone of all time, and his dramatic interpretations of Verdi's male characters have never been surpassed. In 1966, when he was at the height of his powers, he recorded Nabucco for Decca/London. Lamberto Gardelli led the Vienna Opera Orchestra and Chorus of the Vienna State Opera. I last broadcast these three London stereo LPs on Sunday, September 11, 1988.

 

Sunday, april 18TH: Adams, Nixon in China. There will be an awful lot of operas - certainly American operas - of the second half of the twentieth century that will soon be forgotten. But one particular American opera may well stand the test of time and that is John Adams' is Nixon in China (1987). It continues to be performed all over the place. It was revived yet again in 2008 in special presentation during the National Performing Arts Convention in Denver, Colorado. The performance was given in the Ellie Caulkins Opera House in Denver by Opera Colorado in celebration of its twenty fifth anniversary as an arts organization. Marin Alsop directs the Colorado Symphony Orchestra and Opera Colorado Chorus. Heard in the title role is baritone Robert Orth. This American operatic star has portrayed several famous historical figures on the lyric stage. I remember him especially for portraying Harvey Milk, the gay rights pioneer and martyred San Francisco city supervisor, in Stewart Wallace's 1994 operatic treatment. The world premiere Teldec recording of Harvey Milk went over the air on my program on Sunday, June 20, 1999. Then Orth was cast in the leading role as the architect Frank Lloyd Wright in Daron Hagen's Shining Brow (1993), as recorded for the Naxos label in 2006. Shining Brow I broadcast earlier this year on Sunday, January 17. I have also broadcast Nixon in China once before in a different recording for Elektra/Nonesuch (Sunday, September 4, 1988).
 

Sunday, april 25th: Pelleas et Melisande (1902) was Claude Debussy's only excursion into full-fledged operatic form. (He made a mass of sketches for another opera to be called Cid which never amounted to anything.) Pelleas is a product of Debussy's youth going back as early as 1889, when he saw, and was much impressed, by a production of Wagner's Tristan und Isolde at Beyreuth. After a fairly successful premiere Debussy continued revising his Opera until 1907, by which time it was becoming known throughout Europe. Pelleas is not at all in Wagner's vein of music drama. Like Tristan, however, it portrays in lyric form a page out of the literature of medieval courtly love. Pelleas has a not-so-courtly extramarital affair with the wife of his own, much older, half brother. Maurice Maeterlinck's tragic drama is set forth in the haunting melodic phrases and pastel tonal colorations so characteristic of Debussy's impressionistic style. He took great care to fit the music to the accents of the French language. It has been almost an entire quarter of a century since I last broadcast this work. Back on Sunday, October 13, 1985 I used an LP recording made with the musical resources of the Royal Opera House, Covent Garden, with Pierre Boulez conducting. That was a vintage studio recording from the 1960s. Today you hear Pelleas and Melisande taped live in performance at the Glyndebourne opera house in the summer of 1963. Vittorio Cui is in the pit directing the Royal Philharmonia Orchestra and the Glyndebourne Festival Chorus. Pelleas is tenor Hans Wilbring, Melisande soprano Denise Deval. Historic recorded performances from Glyndebourne are now being issued on silver disc under the opera house's own record label.

In this two-month period of programming I drew upon only one recording from my personal record collection: the Erato CD set of Charpentier's David et Jonathas. All the other featured selections are taken from our station's ever-growing library of classical music on disc. Thanks again this go-round to Vickie Hadge of Virtually Done by Vickie for the preparation of these notes for publication.

Thursday Evening Classics

Composer Capsules for
May and June 2010
Presented by Steve Petke

May 13
Arthur Sullivan

Birth: May 13, 1842 in London, England
Death: November 22, 1900 in London, England

In the minds of many, he is inseparable from librettist W.S. Gilbert, yet in his own time Arthur Sullivan was known for his serious music as much as for comic opera. Sullivan was the son of a bandmaster and was encouraged to pursue his musical talent as a boy. Arthur could play every instrument in the military band by the age of eight and also joined the choir of the Chapel Royal. At 14, he won the Mendelssohn Scholarship at the Royal Academy, and in 1858 went to study in Leipzig, where his teachers included Ignaz Moscheles and Julius Rietz. In April 1862 his music to Shakespeare's The Tempest was performed at one of the celebrated Crystal Palace Saturday concerts. It was an immediate and enormous success - so much so that a repeat performance had to be given the following week. In 1864, Sullivan became the organist at Covent Garden, where his ballet L'île enchantée had its premiere. Commissions began to emerge, and 1866 saw the first performances of his Cello Concerto and Symphony, as well as the overture In Memoriam, the composer's outpouring of grief at the death of his father. In 1867, he collaborated with Francis Cowley Burnand on two operettas, Cox and Box and The Contrabandista. In 1869, Sullivan produced his first large-scale sacred work, the hour-long oratorio The Prodigal Son, for the Three Choirs Festival at Worcester. The peace cantata On Shore and Sea and a massive Festival Te Deum to commemorate the recovery of the Prince of Wales from typhoid, led to The Light of the World, a full-length oratorio telling the story of the life of Christ. Sullivan also composed for the stage during this period, writing incidental music for productions of The Merchant of Venice and The Merry Wives of Windsor and, also collaborating with William Schwenck Gilbert on a Christmas novelty, Thespis, for John Hollingshead's Gaiety Theatre. The piece was moderately successful, but not enough for its creators to continue working together immediately. In 1875, however, the theater manager Richard D'Oyly Carte reunited the two to craft an afterpiece for a production of Offenbach's La Périchole. The result was Trial By Jury, a pithy satire of the judicial system. It proved so successful that this time the partnership continued. Gilbert and Sullivan's first two-act work for Carte, The Sorcerer, appeared in 1877 and new operas followed roughly annually until 1889: H.M.S. Pinafore, The Pirates of Penzance, Patience, Iolanthe, Princess Ida, The Mikado, Ruddigore, The Yeomen of the Guard, and The Gondoliers. During the run of Patience, Carte moved his company from the Opera Comique to the Savoy; from then on, Gilbert and Sullivan's operas became collectively known as Savoy Operas. In these operas, Sullivan's unfailing sense of musical parody perfectly matched Gilbert's witty social satire. A quarrel broke up the team but they reconciled and G & S wrote two more operas, Utopia Ltd and The Grand Duke. But these failed to catch on and the partnership ended permanently. In 1880 Sullivan was appointed conductor of the Leeds Triennial Musical Festival. For Leeds he wrote his two most famous and successful choral works: the sacred musical drama The Martyr of Antioch and the cantata The Golden Legend. The success of the Legend was so great in Sullivan's lifetime that it was second in popularity only to Handel's Messiah and the composer actually took steps to suppress performances to prevent the piece from becoming a cliché. One of his best known compositions in his day was The Lost Chord, a song to a text by Adelaide Proctor written at the time of his brother Fred's untimely death. Sullivan was acclaimed for his oratorios, including The Prodigal Son, and hymns, of which Onward, Christian Soldiers was and remains particularly popular. In 1883, Queen Victoria rewarded Sullivan for his services to English music with a knighthood. But, Sullivan's greatest ambition was to compose grand opera. Carte, wishing to establish an English opera tradition, built the English Opera House, and here Sullivan's opera Ivanhoe, to a libretto by Julian Sturgis, premiered in 1891. After initial success - 155 successive shows - the opera fell out of favor and remained Sullivan's only attempt at grand opera. A professionally produced performance of that work has only just been released on compact disc by Chandos Records. Sullivan never married, but carried on a discreet relationship with an American-born woman Mary Frances (Fanny) Ronalds until his death in London in 1900. His own wish to be buried with his beloved parents and brother in Brompton Cemetery was over-ridden by the Queen, who commanded that he be laid to rest in St. Paul's after what amounted to a state funeral.

May 27
Joseph Joachim Raff

Birth: May 27, 1822 in Lachen, Switzerland
Death: June 24, 1882 in Frankfurt, Germany

An essentially self-taught musician Raff was a prolific composer who wrote in almost every musical genre including symphonies, operas, choral music, concertos, suites, overtures, quintets, quartets, and solo piano. His father, Joseph, was an organist, music teacher and schoolmaster. Joseph was sent to the Rottenberg Gymnasium in his father's native Württemberg to study philosophy, philology and mathematics before financial pressures forced his return to Switzerland. He finished his education with two years at the Jesuit Seminary in Schwyz, where he won prizes in German, Latin and mathematics. As a child, Raff had already shown great natural talent as a pianist, violinist and organist. Having taught himself the rudiments of music, he began to compose. Raff's early works found their way to Felix Mendelssohn-Bartholdy, who was sufficiently impressed to recommend them to his publisher, Breitkopf & Härtel. Encouraged by this success, Raff gave up his teaching job and moved to Zürich in 1844 to start a career as a composer. He endured poverty in Zürich, but his great opportunity came when he learned of an appearance by his idol Franz Liszt on June 19, 1845 in Basle, some 50 miles away. Determined to hear Liszt play but being unable to pay the fare to Basle, Raff walked there from Zürich through driving rain. He arrived just as the concert was about to begin to find that all the tickets were sold. Luckily Liszt's secretary noticed the dejected, disappointed Raff and told Liszt, who decided not only that Raff should be admitted, but insisted that he should sit on the stage with him amidst a widening pool of water from his wet clothes. Raff would accompany Liszt on the remainder of his tour through southern Germany and the Rhineland, with Raff making the concert arrangements. When the tour ended, Liszt found Raff a job in Cologne selling pianos and music scores, and later musical positions in Hamburg and Weimar. Despite working for Liszt, Raff's financial affairs continued to worsen and he eventually spent several weeks in jail for an old Swiss debt. During the Weimar years, Raff continued to write much piano music, but gradually his works became more ambitious. He was even able to have his first opera King Alfred performed three times in Weimar's Hoftheater, though with no great success. While in Weimar, Raff wrote his famous book "The Wagner Question" which addressed the issues raised by Wagner's then revolutionary approach to music drama. Gradually Raff distanced himself from the Liszt/Wagner School and focused on a mission to combine the best of their styles with a more academic regard for the forms and traditions of the past such as counterpoint, fugue and sonata form. In 1853 Raff met his future wife Doris Genast, the actress daughter of Eduard Genast, the director of Weimar's court theatre and a friend of Liszt. Raff left Weimar in 1856 with his fiancée Doris to Wiesbaden where she had some acting engagements. After all the tumult, poverty and obscurity of the first half of his life, Joachim Raff's final 26 years were altogether calmer and marked by growing fame and recognition. He set himself up in Wiesbaden as a piano teacher and Doris, whom he married in 1859, started the process of improving Raff's chaotic financial affairs. His larger scale compositions were beginning to attract audiences, helped by his friend Hans von Bülow, who championed the Konzertstück Ode to Spring, and by successful performances of King Alfred in Wiesbaden in 1860. Raff's breakthrough as a composer came with first prize in an 1863 competition organized by the Gesellschaft der Musikfreunde in Vienna. Raff's Symphony #1 was preferred over 32 other entries by such eminent composers as Hiller, Reinecke and Volkmann. His symphonies were listened to with great respect and, of these, the third and fifth symphonies were amongst the most popular during the second half of the century. His chamber works were also praised, but the most played work, was the Cavatina - the third of the Six Pieces Op. 85. Though originally written for violin and piano it was subjected to innumerable arrangements. The only works of his with which he did not have much success were his operas. Of the six, only King Alfred and the comic piece Dame Kobold were performed. But Raff was not without his critics. Their main complaint was that he wrote too much and was not self-critical. He was accused of being an eclectic whose style was a synthesis of other composers' styles rather than being his own. Raff could be a blunt and tactless person, who enjoyed argument and confrontation. He did little to placate his critics and with growing success tended to become arrogant. In 1877, Raff was appointed to a ten-year term as the first director of the newly opened Hoch Conservatory in nearby Frankfurt, having been preferred over such illustrious younger candidates as Brahms and Rheinberger. The family moved to Frankfurt, where Raff spent the rest of his life. Raff died at 60 of a heart attack after several months of illness brought on by his heavy workload.

June 17
Charles Gounod

Birth: June 17, 1818 in Paris, France
Death: October 18, 1893 in Saint-Cloud, France

Gounod was the son of a draftsman father and a pianist mother, who was Charles' first piano teacher. While still in his youth she arranged for him to receive composition lessons from Anton Reicha. After Reicha's death, Gounod began studies at the Paris Conservatory, where he won the Prix de Rome in 1839 for his Cantata Fernand. After two years of composition studies in Rome, where he focused 16th century church music, particularly the works of Palestrina, he became deeply interested in religion and by 1845 was contemplating the priesthood. Though he would eventually reject the idea and marry, he remained devout throughout his life and wrote many sacred works, including his most popular, the Saint Cecilia Mass. Gounod also wrote two charming symphonies, which gained some attention. Gounod wrote his first opera, Sappho, in 1851, but had no great success until Faust in 1859. This remains his best-known work. The romantic and highly melodious Roméo et Juliette premiered in 1867, also remains in the repertoire. From 1870-1875 Gounod lived in England to escape the Franco-Prussian War. In his years there and in the period following his return to France, Gounod wrote much music, especially choral music. He also devoted himself to chamber music, composing four string quartets. Among his more compelling and imaginative late works is the 1885 Petite Symphonie for winds. Except for concertos, he composed music in the major genres. Stylistically, he was a conservative whose influence nevertheless extended to Bizet, Saint-Saëns, and Massenet. Though his reputation began to fade even before he died, he is still generally regarded as a major figure in 19th century French music.
 

WWUH Classical Programming

Sunday Afternoon at the Opera... Sundays 1:00 - 4:30 pm
Evening Classics... Weekdays 4:00 to 7:00/ 8:00 pm
Drake's Village Brass Band... Mondays 7:00-8:00 pm
 

 May

Sun

2

Elgar - Caractacus; Holst - Choral Symphony & Choral Fantasia

Mon

3

Parker - Organ Works; Ravel - Bolero, Rapsodie Espagnole, Gaspard de la Nuit; Martinu - Nonet; Stravinsky - Septet

Drake's Village Brass Band  US Marine Band - Feste Part 1

Tue

4

Alan Rawsthorne - Symphony #1, Symphony #2 "A Pastoral Symphony" and Symphony #3; A classical film score

Wed

5

Zemlinska - Symphony in B Flat Major; Obrecht - Missa Sicut Spina Rosam; Schumann - Piano Quintet; Schubert - Sonata, D84; Marx - Spring Music

Thu

6

Lully - Ballet de Xerxes; Weber - Six Pieces Op. 3; Lassus - Motets; Classical Happy Hour - Suppe - The Beautiful Galatea Overture; L. Mozart -  Symphony in D; Myslivecek - Violin Concerto in C; Verdi - Don Carlos (Ballet Music).

Fri

7

Chuck Obuchowski, filling-in for Larry, presents Compositions and Improvisations: music of Mark-Anthony Turnage, Fred Hersch, Anthony Davis and Gunther Schuller.

Sun

9

Martinu- Spalicek; Bartok - Bluebeard's Castle

Mon

10

Kronos Quartet - Night Prayers; Rachmaninoff - Isle of the Dead; Strauss - Ein Heldenleben; Villa- Lobos - Choros #10

Drake's Village Brass Band  US Marine Band - Feste Part 2

Tue

11

Kodály - Sonata for Solo Cello; Dvořák - Symphony #7; Tchaikovsky - String Quartet #2;
Martin - Messe pour double choeur

Wed

12

Mahler - Symphony No. 5; Hakenberger - Motets;

Stenkel -Concerto for Piano and Orchestra; Verdelot - Madrigals

Thu

13

Pez - Overture in B Flat, Concerto Grosso in g; Boccherini - Quintet in a Op. 25 #6; Sheppard - Anthems; Sullivan - Symphony in E "Irish", Highlights from Operettas; Kalkbrenner - Piano Concerto #1 in d, Op 61; Moreno-Torroba - Suite Castellana

Fri

14

Elgar and more to honor the graduates

Sun

16

Donizetti - Maria Stuarda

Mon

17

Holst - Choral Hymns from the Rig Veda; Britten - A Young Person's Guide to the Orchestra; Walton - Cello Concerto; Alwyn - Concerto Grossi #1-3

Drake's Village Brass Band  Grimethorpe Band: Brass Favorites

Tue

18

Stanley - Concerto in c; Rimsky-Korsakov - Symphony #2; Grieg - String Quartet in g; Haydn - Mass #11 in d, "Nelsonmesse"

Wed

19

Humperdinck - Moorish Rhapsody; Palestrina - Mass for St. Lawrence; Nicolai - Fantasy; Titelouze - Hymnes de L'Eglise

Thu

20

Multi-National Mozart.  Music of Arriaga, Chopin, Devienne, Kraus, Mozart, and Wesley

Fri

21

It's not jazz . . It's the "Duke"! Extended works of Duke Ellington

Sun

23

Rossini - Semiramide

Mon

24

Kronos Quartet - Short Stories; Arnold - Clarinet Concerto #1; Alwyn - Oboe Concerto; Villa-Lobos - Introduction to Choros, Bachianas Brasilieras #3

Drake's Village Brass Band  US Army Field Band - Legacy

Tue

25

Music by Robert Schumann

Wed

26

J. C. Bach - Meine Freundlin; Copland - Symphony no. 3; Lecuona - Danzas Cubanas; Messiaen - Visions de L'Amen

Thu

27

Purcell - The Virtuous Wife, The Double Dealer; Weckmann - Motets; Musgrave - Orfeo II; Raff - Symphony #5 "Lenore"; Durey - Romance Sans Paroles

Fri

28

Classical Conversations with Connecticut Composers- a quarterly feature

Sun

30

Hindemith - When Lilacs Last in the Dooryard Bloomed; Copland - Lincoln Portrait; Welwod - Threads of Blue and Gold

Mon

31

Memorial Day Special 2010... Gould - Lincoln Legend; Gershwin - Rhapsody in Blue, Piano Works; Harris - Symphony #6 "Gettysburgh"; Melillo - In A Cause So Glorious; Gould - West Point Symphony 

Drake's Village Brass BandCheer, Boys, Cheer! Music of the 26th North Carolina Regimental Band, CSA Volume 2

June

Tue

1

Dvorak - String Quartet #1 in A major, op. 2 and String Quartet #6 in A minor, op 12 and newly released classics in celebration of Spring

Wed

2

Cui - Preludes; Mosonyi - Piano Trio, Op. 1;

Hellendaal - Concerti; Bazzini - Trois Morceaux;

Faure - Piano Quartet No. 2

Thu

3

Berwald - Piano Quintet in Two Movements; Schmidt - Notre Dame (excerpts); Schubert - Sonatina in g D 408; Tunder - Choral Music; Clement - Violin Concerto in D; Classical Happy Hour Danzi - Bassoon Concerto #1 in F; Lehar - Overtures; Krommer - Partita in F Op. 57; Hoffmeister: Lizst - Paganini Etudes

Fri

4

Celebrating the anniversary of a premiere: Philip Glass' La Belle et la Bête (1994)

Sun

6

R. Strauss - Die Frau ohne Schatten

Mon

7

Grofe - Tabloid Suite; Gershwin, Arr. Grofe - Concerto in F; Berlin - Songs; Villa-Lobos - Choros #11 for Piano and Orchestra

Drake's Village Brass Band  Brass of the Royal Concertgebouw Orchestra Live

Tue

8

Tchaikovsky - Variations on a Rococo Theme; Ravel - String Quartet in F; Dvořák - Symphony #8;
des Prés - Missa Pange lingua

Wed

9

Michael Haydn - Symphony No. 33; Goudimel -Psalms; Kempff - Piano Sonata; Shostakovich -Piano Quintet in G Minor; Halvorsen - Norsk Rapsodis No. 1 and 2

Thu

10

Pugnani - Overture #1 in d, Quintet #2 in C; Herzogenberg - Drei Legenden Op. 62; Victoria - Lamentations of Jeremiah; Lucien Hillemacher - Songs; Khrennikov - Violin Concerto #1; Roussakis - Short Pieces for Two Flutes; Graupner - Sinfonie in D, F

Fri

11

Celebrating the anniversary of a premiere: Alan Hovhaness' And God Created Great Whales(1970)

Sun

13

Britten - The Rape of Lucretia, Phaedra

Mon

14

Adams - A Guide to Strange Places; Kern - Silver Linings; Glass - Heroes Symphony

Drake's Village Brass Band Music for Tuba

Tue

15

Mozart - Sinfonia Concertante in E-flat, K. 364; Berwald - Piano Trio #4; Gouvy - Symphonie #6; Bruckner - String Quintet in F

Wed

16

Halffter - Symphony in D; Carissimi - The Story of Jephthah; Mendlssohn - Piano Trio in D Minor;

Bach - Suite for Flute and Strings; de Frumerie -Songs of the Heart

Thu

17

Heinichen - Overture in G; Gounod - Petite Symphony for Winds; Reed - La Fiesta Mexicana; Englund - Symphony #4, "Nostalgic"; Ustvolskaya - Piano Sonata #6

Fri

18

From Vivaldi to Carlos - variations on Summer

Sun

20

Vivaldi - Farnace

Mon

21

Music for Midsummer...Mendelssohn/Korngold - A Midsummer's Night Dream; Alfven - Rhapsody - Midsummer Vigil; Harrison - Solstice; Riley - The Cusp of Magic

Drake's Village Brass Band  John Holt trumpet Facets 3

Tue

22

Heitor Vllla-Lobos: Complete Bachianas Brasileiras

Wed

23

Beethoven- Symphony No. 2, Mass of Saint Francis Xavier; Krommer - String Quartet in E Minor; Medtner - Sonatas; Roman - Violin Concerto

Thu

24

New Releases. A sampling of the latest Classical Music CDs

Fri

25

Leonard Bernstein meets Rusty and Tubby in a concert for children of all ages

Sun

27

Mahler - Symphony  No. 8

Mon

28

Monday Night at the Movies... Steiner - The Adventures of Mark Twain; Korngold - The Prince and the Pauper; Moross - The Adventures of Huckleberry Finn

Drake's Village Brass Band  Hakan Hardenberger trumpet Plays H. K. Gruber and Mark-Anthony Turnage

Tue

29

Ives - Emerson Concerto; Jerusalem Consort, music of Jacquet, Marais, et al; Janacek - Sinfonietta; Saint-Saens - Violin Concerto; Mendlessohn et al, Romantic Choral Music; Piazzolla - Tango (YoYoMa); R. Strauss - Serenade for Wind Instruments; Piazzolla - Concerto for bandoneon; Hovhaness -  Concerto for Cello, Preludes; Paul Rutman - Russian Piano Music

Wed

30

Respighi - Violin sonata in B Minor; Dobrogosz - Te Deum; De Monte - Hymns; Volkman - Piano Sonata in C Minor

WWUH Scholarship Fund

In 2003 WWUH alums Steve Berian, Charles Horwitz and Clark Smidt helped create the WWUH Scholarship Fund to provide an annual grant to a UH student who is either on the station's volunteer Executive Committee or who is in a similar leadership position at the station. The grant amount each year will be one half of the revenue of the preceeding year.
To make a tax deductable donation either send a check to:

WWUH Scholarship Fund
c/o John Ramsey
Univ. of Hartford
200 Bloomfield Ave.
W. Hartford, CT 06117

Or call John at 860-768-4703 to arrange for a one-time or on-going donation via charge card.
If you would like more information please contact us at wwuh@hartford.edu.