Musical Tidings for the Holiday

Many things have changed since my last blog devoted to the 15th annual series “In Praise of Woman”– one and a half years ago. Since I have a full time job, some private teaching and radio, I do not have much time left for other things.

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I would like to bring to your attention a number of special annual holiday programs listed on my website and to the Holiday line-up on Facebook.

Already aired part 1 of the Christmas Trilogy Christmas Around the World.

 

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  • This Friday’s special broadcast is titled Christmas in America (6:00-9:00am)
  • Next week 2 broadcasts titled “A Medieval, Renaissance & Baroque Christmas” will be presented. (Wednesday, Dec. 18, 5:00-11:00am and Friday, Dec. 20, 5:00-9:00am)
  • On Friday, December 27, I will air music of black composers in observance of Kwanzaa
  • On Saturday, December 28 at 2:00 pm, the fifteenth 24-hour Marathon & fourteenth titled “Viva 21st Century” will begin. For the second consecutive year, the marathon will be equally divided between men and women composers. (Details are in next blog I am working on, so stay tuned!!!)
  • New Year’s Morning, Wednesday, Jan. 01, the 23rd annual program “Shall We Dance” will be presented.

I have also decided that it is time to give my website a facelift and will begin this project shortly after January 1st. I am looking forward to getting involved with this.

For those who are not familiar with my program here are a couple of things you should know:

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Classical Discoveries began in May of 1997 on WPRB (a member-supported station with students and community volunteers like myself).

The excitement of preparing weekly programs and playing music rarely presented on the radio, while supporting living composers has kept me on the air for the last 23 years.

I maintain my website, and purchase many recordings with my own funds. The only one time I ask for money is during the station fund drives since WPRB is member supported.

I do not need to prove my commitment to presenting women & living composers and music from countries that rarely get exposure on the airwaves.

I have presented many specials, annual programs, like “In Praise of Woman”, Marathons, including a whole Marathon devoted to women composers in 2008 (long before anyone else devoted large blocks of time to the music of women).

If you check my playlists you will see that my programs are always diversified, and almost always include women composers from around the world, even during the early years of this program when women were largely ignored in general.

I almost never include music from the Romantic and Classical periods (with occasional digressions during special programs) for the simple reason. These two periods are featured regularly on other radio stations. I would rather focus on really neglected music written before 1750, and after 1950.

You can check my two first blogs: Finally, I am here and More about me

Last year brought some positive changes in the focus on works of women composers thanks to the incredible project from The Institute for Composer Diversity,  the brainchild of composer Rob Deemer of Fredonia, State University of New York.

This project started with just a database of women composers from all over the world but became much more – an incredible resource for anyone who wishes to expand their knowledge of women composers and their works. This project also brought attention to the minimal programming of women composers on concert programs and radio broadcasts.

This shamed some orchestras for excluding women to the point that they adjusted their programs.

We are also seeing more women played on some radio stations. Unfortunately, most stations focus more on 19th century and early 20th century music (same like male counterparts). It seems that many are afraid of new music and often treat new music as a token.

I am very happy that in recent times it is much easier to obtain recordings of music by women composers which was much more difficult during my initial years on the air.

In conclusion, I want to take this opportunity to thank you all for your many kind words over the years about Classical Discoveries. Your comments keep me going week after week after week.

I wish you all a Happy Holiday Season.

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Stay tuned. More new music is coming up!

 

 

 

Music of the Americas for Thanksgiving

I have not been keeping up with my blog at all. I really do not know where and how fast my time goes. I get too involved with each blog subject and have no time to finish and post it.

I envy people that constantly write about different issues, have time to attend wonderful new music evening concerts and do a variety of other things. I am thinking about getting Dragon Dictate to speed up my writing. Unfortunately I always miss concerts and events because of my teaching schedule.

I am bit sentimental about Thanksgiving, not because of the boring family dinners in an overpriced, snobbish restaurant outside of Atlantic City with the air conditioner running full steam and my wife turning to icicles, but because of my Thanksgiving specials that in my early years at WPRB actually aired on Thursdays.

My first Thanksgiving at WPRB, 15 years ago had all characteristics of my current program as well as the same title “Music of the Americas”. I never imagined that 15 years later I would prepare for the same show.

Driving to Atlantic City each holiday (before CD players were in the car) was very uninspiring, since I relied only on the radio at that time.

Yes, we had at least 3-4 stations within the listening range, but changing the dial did not help the situation. Each station played the same popular warhorses with an occasional token of Americana. In fact each Thanksgiving morning between 4-5 am while driving to Princeton from Pennsylvania I hard exactly the same works.

After 4 years of listening to same stuff, I switched to WOGL in Philadelphia with the hope to hear the golden voice of Jim Nettleton, my major inspiration in radio. It is hard for me to believe that he is gone for over 2 years!

A big diversion after my show on the way to dinner was a stop at the old good Tower Records in Cherry Hill, despite the fact that each year the classical section was constantly shrinking. Over the years, I purchased quite few wonderful CD’s. Yes, great memories!  I think that the only thing that inspired me to go to the boring family dinner was the fact that there would be a stop at Tower on the way.

When I got my first 6 hour Thanksgiving special actually on Thursday, (because all students went home for holidays), I decided to devote my whole program to music of the American Continent and yes, classical music aired on WPRB until noon.

Why the Music of the Americas on such a nationalistic holiday? I always played much American music but I thought that Thanksgiving should be a celebration of the continent where the first pilgrims made their home at the beginning of a new nation.

I guess my decision made many people very happy since the phone was often ringing until the end of the program with inquiries about repertoire.

I still remember a phone call from a Boston listener visiting her family. Yes, that was a 2 years before I got an e-mail address, 4 years before my website was born, and 7 years before the WPRB playlist was added.

I miss those phone calls, telling me about cooking preparations, visiting family members and other exciting things.

Most listeners now just check WPRB or my playlist and do not care to talk to me anymore. Oh, well, I guess I am dull!! The technology somehow prevents people from close and more personal contacts.

So here I am again for my 15th annual Thanksgiving program with one difference, 2 hours of Avant-Garde and electronic music for those of you with a taste for it.

It might not be on Thursday, but it shares the same holiday spirit celebrating music by all the wonderful composers of the American Continent.

My Thanksgiving holiday is different now. All my family is gone and we will be spending the holiday with good friends. Unexpectedly I got an invitation to spend Thanksgiving in the Pennsylvania Dutch County. I know it will be not boring like those old family dinners.  Time for a few pieces of shoofly pie!! Actually, since I love it so much I will probably bring a couple of them home!! Yum, Yum!!!!

A safe and Happy Thanksgiving to you all!

 

Fourteen years already, where did the time go?

The  Classical Discoveries  home page motto is:

“Host and producer Marvin Rosen celebrates new music and living composers all year-long, on the air since May 1997”

The months of May and June are always memorable for me at the time when WPRB shifts into the summer schedule.  This is when, in 1997, I presented my first Classical Discoveries broadcasts.  The Avant-Garde Edition became a regular weekly program in the summer of 2008.

The best way to celebrate this is with music of course – especially with new music  composed from the time Classical Discoveries went on the air.  I am going celebrate my 14th radio anniversary with a trio of programs with music I love – New Music, Music by American Composers as well as music from the Baltic Region.

  • Monday, June 27, 2011 – 5:30 – 11:00 AM – LATVIA – FROM RIGA WITH LOVE – 2nd  show from Classical  Discoveries Around the World  Summer Travels Series, with special Latvian guest at 8:30.

Riga. View from St Peters Church

View of Riga

Ēriks Ešenvalds - photo by Aivars Krastiņš

I am very excited about this special that will be crowned by the visit of the very talented, young (born in 1977) Latvian composer Eriks Esenvalds, who is known mainly for his choral works but  has written other works including the opera “Joseph Is a Fruitful Bough” (2007).  He is in the USA for a world première of his music by the Philadelphia Chamber Choir “The Crossing.”  Despite his young age, he has received many awards and has had his music performed in many countries around the world.

I am proud to say that his works were broadcast for the first time in the USA on Classical Discoveries.

The other composers that you can expect to hear on the first part of Monday’s program are: Rihards Dubra, Maija Einfelde, Janis Ivanovs, Imants Kalniņš, Juris Karlsons, Arturs Maskats, Georgs Pelecis, Pēteris Vasks, Jāzeps Vītols and Imants Zemzaris plus others.

  • Wednesday, June 29, 2011 from 5:30am till 1:00pm

7½ Hours Around the World.

Last year, on June 02, 2010 on a combined edition of both programs, I celebrated the 13th Anniversary of “Classical Discoveries” with a special: 11½ Hours Around the World. 

This year again,  7½ Hours Around the World.

I will present only music written in the last 14 years – the length of time “Classical Discoveries” has been on the air.

And here again, I am trying to prove that we do not have to be scared of new music and that there is so much exciting and wonderful music being written today. There will be some known names for listeners of my show and some totally unknown ones as well.  Included will be music by Robert Aldridge, Eric Biddington, Sylvia Bodorova, Ross Edwards, Gareth Farr, Giya Kancheli, Victoria Poleva, Somei Satoh, Valentin Silvestrov and many more.

 

 

  • Monday, July 04, 2011 – 5:30  – 11:00 AMUSAAMERICA THE BEAUTIFUL 15th July Fourth Special.

For the last 14 years I have presented one of 2 programs: Viva America – devoted to all American Composers or America the Beautiful – devoted to music describing USA landmarks.

Many composers have been inspired by the wonders and beauty of our country and that will be our theme this year when we travel this time just around the USA.

What can you expect from this special? You will definitely not hear Antonin Dvorak’s America inspired works and  will leave these for other stations.

You will instead hear works by, for example, Nancy Bloomer Deussen, Carson Cooman, Michael Daugherty, Don Gillis, Alan Hovhaness, Michael Mauldin, just to name some.

I hope that you can listen to at least some of these specials. Please check my website for more information closer to the broadcasts as well as Facebook.  It should be a very exciting trilogy. This is definitely a great way to celebrate the beginning of my fifteenth year on the air.



 

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