Water is Life – For Flint

The top of a water tower at the Flint Water Plant is seen in Flint, Michigan

The top of a water tower at the Flint Water Plant is seen in Flint, Michigan January 13, 2016. REUTERS/Rebecca Cook

This Wednesday, February 10, 2016 from 5:30 – 11:00am EST, Classical  Discoveries presents:

Water is Life – For Flint – WPRB Radio Broadcast

As I was flipping through images for a possible Valentine special knowing that most likely everyone will focus on same subject, I stumbled on a picture that caused me to change my focus.

It was a picture of thick, almost brown compressed water coming out of a faucet in Flint MI, forming a thick residue in the shape resembling a heart – yes, in the shape of a heart.
flint-water-top-compressed

At this point, I knew that my Valentine special would be different and would be about water and how this most important source of our life inspired so many composers.

It will be a radio tribute to the people of Flint and to all others who have had their life destroyed because of fracking, oil and sludge spills and other environmental disasters caused by humans.
Water is of major importance to all living things; in some organisms, up to 90% of their body weight comes from water and up to 60% of the human adult body is made of water.
My heart goes out to the people of Flint and I am outraged that elected officials knowingly deprived a whole town of basic clean water in the name of the almighty dollar and possibly damaging them for life.
My heart goes out especially to children whose life may be ruined due to this horrific event. The lack of action to solve this problem by the people that caused this horrific crime is inexcusable and criminal! All involved should be prosecuted!

This is why this week’s Classical Discoveries special is called “Water is Life – For Flint” The show will be totally devoted to works inspired by different forms of water.
I know that this will not help Flint but I just want to remind people that it is very easy to pollute and destroy a life on our planet.

Here is a list of some of the works to be presented this Wednesday:
Become Ocean by American composer John Luther Adams (1953- )
In Hydraulis
by Franco-Flemish composer Antoine Busnoys (c.1430-1492)
Les Fleuves engloutis pour orchestre (The Rivers Engulfed, for orchestra)
by Franco-Lebanese composer Bechara EL-Khoury (1957- )
Four Pieces About Water
(Running Water, Salt Water, Frozen Water, Rain Water) by Canadian composer Emily Doolittle (1972- )
Symphony No. 63 “Loon Lake” by American composer Alan Hovhaness (1911-2000)
Water Music by American composer Libby Larsen (1950- )
Hafis (Drift Ice) Op. 63 by Icelandic composer Jón Leifs (1899-1968)
Living Waters by American composer Peter Lieuwen (1953- )
Dark Waters by American composery Ingram Marshall (1942-)
I Hear The Water Dreaming by Japanese composer Toru Takemitsu (1930-1996)
Future of Water by Australian composer Julian Yu (1957- )
Like Streams in the Desert by American composer Meira Warshauer (1949- )
as well works by composers: Douglas Knehans, Karen Tanaka, Lois V Vierk
and more works inspired by water

You can listen to the program on the radio in NJ, parts of PA, Delaware and NY at: WPRB 103.3FM Princeton NJ, or on the Internet at: http://www.wprb.com/

For Internet listeners link to excellent Time Zone Converter: http://www.timezoneconverter.com/cgi-bin/tzc.tzc
If you are on Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/events/1556090024704481/

Please check the Classical Discoveries website a few days before the event for more details at: http://www.classicaldiscoveries.org/
After the broadcast MP3 file will be available for limited time at: http://www.classicaldiscoveries.org/index_02_10_2016_temporary_file.html

Water (chemical formula: H2O) is a transparent fluid which forms the world’s streams, lakes, oceans and rain, and is the major constituent of the fluids of organisms. Water is a liquid at standard ambient temperature and pressure, but it often co-exists on Earth with its solid state, ice; and gaseous state, steam (water vapor). It also exists as snow, fog, dew and cloud.Water covers 71% of the Earth’s surface. It is vital for all known forms of life. Safe drinking water is essential to humans and other life forms even though it provides no calories or organic nutrient (per Wikipedia)http-_www.tangentcompany.com_world-water-day-celebrate-learn-share_

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Classical Discoveries – First 15 years on the air

When I nervously walked for the first time to the WPRB studio at about fifteen minutes to six on Thursday morning, May 29, 1997 I had no idea that I would be celebrating 15 years on the air.

It was only days after a trip to Poland and finding out that I would be losing my position as Classical CD Buyer at the Princeton University Store. The new management did not see any value in promoting classical music and got better returns in selling t-shirts.

After all, who needed culture in a University town? A few “3 Tenors” CD’s strategically placed between trashy books was enough to make a better profits with the average tourists visiting town. It did not count that my small, eclectic department attracted buyers (attending workshops and University conferences) from all over the world and that these buyers roamed around the store spending money on other stuff.

When I walked into the WPRB studio I did not know that this would be the only good thing keeping me going for the next 2 years.

I am very proud of Princetonians. The news of the closing CD department caused a public outcry that caused the temporary reversal of the initial decision, but I paid dearly for it. I resigned from my position after 2 years, when I could not endure any more harassment (privately and in front of all other management staff) and psychological bullying, something I will never forget. I should have walked out when the original decision was made because after that whatever I would do was insufficient or wrong for management.

This is when in the mist of all things Classical Discoveries, an idea of the advertising guru for Princeton University Store, was born. Since WPRB’s advertising rates were (and still are) the best around and they were looking for summer Classical DJ’s, my position in both places could help. Unfortunately again, management was not interested in promoting CD sales while helping a local station at the same time.

I remember like yesterday my first day when after 15 minutes of training (yes, 15 minutes before WPRB went on the air) by a DJ named Tyler, I had been left on my own and remember that my voice was shaking.  Boy, was I nervous! I even forgot to stop the CD player and announced the next work while the first CD was still playing.

New t-shirt with Classical Discoveries logo

It took several months for my program to become what it is now and you can read about that in one of my first blogs ”More about me”

Like everything in life, I have had good times and bad times, but I will never regret the moment when I realized that during my first trying months on the air, I could make a difference for music and composers that are not household names. Over the years many of them, as well as some listeners have become my friends.

To this day,  planning my radio show is one of the most fun things I do every week, and it is still amazing to think that this all started during one of the most difficult times of my life.  It has never been a chore to get up at 4:00am, or to stay awake for 24 hours during one of my marathons.

During the last 15 years I have had many mishaps and disasters. Some of these were funny and some were embarrassing. These keep live radio exciting since you never know what may happen next. I was turned into an icicle when locked out at 5:15am outside of Bloomberg Hall for 50 minutes with a wind-chill factor of 0 during a Christmas break. I was also locked out,  outside of the studio for 45 minutes during a Fund Drive. Luckily the music kept playing and the phones kept ringing during this time!  I barely made it to the hospital for hernia surgery, being saved by Jon Solomon, after the next DJ following me could not make to the station, with a FCC agent breathing down my neck.

I lived through the station moving from the dungeons of Holder Hall to the new place in Bloomberg Hall in 2004. I was delighted when we moved because I stopped getting parking tickets!  I also lived through the time when we became member supported several years ago.  During my 15 years, there have been at least 12 classical directors and 14 station managers as well as countless numbers of student and community DJ’s, some of whom I remember and some I do not.

At ASCAP Award Ceremony with Paul Moravec and Beata

I remember December 15, 2005, when after 2 hours waiting for my turn, I lost my voice during my acceptance speech at the ASCAP Award ceremony in NY. Imagine, getting a radio award and losing my voice in front of an auditorium full of people. Thinking about this now, really makes me laugh!

In 2001 with help of a friend, I created my website, with the picture of my first piano CD as a logo. The  website and logo went through a face-lift in 2009. In 2007, following the example of the Christmas Marathon Giant Jon Solomon, I presented my 1st 21st Century Music Marathon.  In the summer of 2008, the new program “Classical Discoveries Goes Avant-Garde” was born (program designed to accommodate works that very often fall between the cracks and are difficult to classify as well as many electronic selections and more avant-garde works ignored by most radio stations).

Thanks to the help of friend and composer, Steve Layton and my wife, you can listen to archived programs for over 2 weeks after their first broadcast just by going to special page on my website, or if you prefer you can record and download the programs through Dar.fm – Digital Recorder.  These new features began just a few months ago.

Some weeks ago, I finally located a box of memorabilia that contained 3 notebooks of old playlists from 1997 till March 2001. I forgot so many things and going through each page brought back many memories.

Classical Discoveries two first playlists

The most important thing is that without a station like WPRB – a station that supports individuality, my program could not exist.  I know, that no classical manager on a regular commercial or NPR station would allow me to program 100% the music of my choice. Thank you WPRB for my last 15 years on the air.

When you read this blog, please remember that thou all DJ’s at WPRB are volunteers, the station needs your support to survive and pay its expenses.

I  would like to thank to all listeners that supported me through all those years. Your phones and letters were and are very important to me.

I cannot end this memory trip without giving a credit to my wonderful wife, Beata. Without her endless support and hours of hard work on my website this program would never be what it is. I also want to thank her for her endless patience with me in learning correct Polish and other Slavic language pronunciation. I am always asked if I speak fluent Polish. No, I don’t speak Polish at all.  The only thing I can say in Polish is not very suitable to write, a sentence I used to say while walking our dog.

Yes, It has been an exciting 15 years and all I can say is that I hope that in 15 years from now I will be celebrating 30 years on the air.

I hope, that you will be able to join me and celebrate my 15th anniversary this Wednesday, May 29 at 5:30am till 1:00pm. The combined Classical Discoveries and the Avant-Garde Edition will include listener requests and many works, which were officially presented as première broadcasts during the last 15 years.

As always, you can find more find more at: http://www.classicaldiscoveries.org  – home page for the program where new music lives for 15 years and where many discoveries begin.

The Voice From The Kelp

If you tune in this week to Classical Discoveries you might hear coming through the airwaves from the WPRB studio “a voice from the Kelp.”

 

 

If you are a music blog fanatic you will be familiar with this blog, and if you are not, I urge you to explore it at: Notes From The Kelp

This wonderful blog has a mixture of music and nature, two my favorite subjects, and is the creation of composer and nature lover Alex Shapiro, who is visiting the East Coast.

 

She will be my guest  for two and half hours this Wednesday morning, in the WPRB studio from 9:30 until 12:00 eastern time.

There is no question that Alex’s music has very strong connections to nature and her home surroundings.

Just listen to her music and enjoy at the same time the wonderful pictures posted on her blog.

I feel almost envious, and as much I love civilization, I would love to live closer to nature and watch closely wonderful creatures like Alex’s little foxes, elks, whales and other critters.

I get excited when I see a pellegrino hawk, blue jays, chickadees and little bunny rabbits, and in the summer, wonderful little hummingbirds in our garden.

 Alex's fox

I hope that you will be able to listen to my conversation with Alex. We will talk about all those things close to her, and listen to her wonderful music this Wednesday morning between 9:30 and 12:00 eastern time on WPRB 103.3FM Princeton NJ. and all over the world on line at: http://www.wprb.com/listen.php

 

If you have different plans for that day you will be able now to listen to archive files for 2 weeks after their posting at: MP3 ARCHIVES PAGE

Alex Shapiro – Vista

Alex Shapiro – Deep

Composers Andrew Rudin and Robert Moran on Classical Discoveries

I conduct most live interviews when I have extra air time in the summer, but could not miss this opportunities to have two local composers popping to WPRB studio for very informal relaxing chats.

Andrew Rudin from Allentown, New Jersey will be my guest this Wednesday,  May 4 and Robert Moran from Philadelphia on May 11.

Listeners of Classical Discoveries know both of them from prior visits. Robert  Moran is an old veteran and was a guest for the first time long before my website began. Gosh, it feels like centuries ago.

Left picture: from left Marvin Rosen and Andrew Rudin in Princeton, August, 2010

Right Picture: Marvin Rosen and Robert Moran in Philadelphia, May, 2009

Andrew Rudin has two new releases of his music available, one on Innova and one on Centaur.  We will talk about these, his association with orchestra 2001 and more.

Robert Moran has just come back from Scotland where he witnessed the world premiere of his ballet Alice.  I just wish that this ballet would come to the States. I did see some great clips on Vimeo.  In recent years he has had releases of his music on the Innova label.  We will be talking about these recordings as well as the upcoming premiere of the 9/11 Oratorio for children’s choir and of course, predicaments of the Philadelphia Orchestra and Robert’s personal feelings about his cities orchestra.

For more details about both of these guests, please check my website Classical Discoveries  the day before the broadcasts.

Both guests are delightful and are fun to work with.

http://vimeo.com/22342345

Sacred Bridges

I love all kinds of holidays, civic and religious. Somehow this is one of few things in today’s world that reminds me who I am and from where I came from.

Maybe the fact that I am Jewish and married to a Catholic woman makes my thinking easier. One thing I have learnt from my relationship is that except for some different traditions we are very sentimental about, there is not much difference between our beliefs.

I rather call myself an open-minded spiritual man that is always searching for the similarity between religions rather than differences. I apply these similar feelings to all kinds of music. For example, I do not see a Renaissance mass as religious church music even if it was created for a church, but rather as a spiritual expression of the composer.

The concept of Sacred Bridges was rather accidental. No question that the Cd titled “Sacred Bridges” with the Kings Singers and Sarband was an inspiration, as well as my favorite monarch in medieval history – the 13th century king Alfonso the X called El Sabio.

Since the Christian and Jewish Holidays are often celebrated close to each other I was faced with the dilemma as to which holiday I should give my attention. The annual March series “In Praise of Woman” made the situation worse since the holidays often fall in March. For sometime now, additional show times are, in addition, not available for these special programs on WPRB.  The concept of the program celebrating the spiritual music of many religions was born three years ago.

Last year the main features of the program was  “The Arabian Passion According to J.S. Bach” by Vladimir  Ivanoff.  This year the beautiful “Messe de Requiem” by the little known French Composer, Alfred Desenclos (1912-1971) will be included.  This little known work was a victim of plagiarism, which you can read about by clicking the link below.

http://www.requiemsurvey.org/composers.php?id=256


For idea what you can expect if you tune into this program see prior programs:

03/30/2010

Alfonso X, El Sabio – Cantiga No. 76

Massaino, Tirburtio – Lamentations of Jeremiah the Prophet

King David – Song of Exile, Psalm 137, Verses 1 thru 6  Anon.

Devotional Sufi Song  – “Ya Hou Ya man Hou”

Caceres, Avraham  -“Hiski Hizki”

Harrison, Lou – Easter Cantata

Wronowicz, Maciej – De Profundis

Hersant, Philippe   – Le Chemin de Jerusalem (2003)

Hovhaness, Alan  – Shepherd of Israel (Last Section)

Hovhaness, Alan – Jesus Christ is Risen Today, Op. 100, No. 3b (from Easter Cantata)

Marcello, Benedetto  – Psalm X “In te Domino confido”

Anonymous Middle Ages  – Gregorian Alleluia and improvization on sitar

Cohen, Egon – Stabat Mater (2006)

Anon. Sephardic – Morena me llaman

Nasco, Giovanni  – Lectio Prima: “Da lamentatione Hieremiae prophetae”

Satoh, Somei  – Homa

Skempton, Howard – How Sits this City” from Lamentations (2001)

Ali Ufki (Wojciech Bobowski)/Claude Goudimel – Psalm 5

Anon. Sephardic – Ea Judios

Silvestrov, Valentin – Psalm 150 from “Two Psalms of David” (2007)

Hamburg, Jeff – Psalm 29 and Psalm 150 from David – Five Psalms (1999)

Buddhist Chant, arr. Jean-Philippe Rykiel  – Hope for Enlightment

Avni, Tzvi  – Psalm 150 from “Mizmorei Tehillim”

Jenkins, Karl  – “Are You Lost Out of Darkness?” from “Stabat Mater” (2008)

Anon. Religious Easter song from Provence – Lei planchs de nostra-Dama

Ivanoff, Vladimir  – The Arabian Passion According to J.S. Bach (USA Premiere broadcasts)

Poleva, Victoria – “David’s Psalm 50” (2001)

Von Bingen, Hildegard – O Splendissima gemma

Machajdik, Peter – Namah (2000)

Fanshawe, David – Crucifixus: Rain Song from “African Sanctus”

04/07/2009

Ali Ufki (Wojciech Bobowski) – Genevan Psalter, Psalm 6

Binder, Abraham Wolf – Two Hassidic Moods

Escobar, Pedro de – Stabat mater

Rahbari, Alexander – Persian Mysticism around G

Alfonso X el Sabio – Cantiga #292

Handel-Gallus, Jacobus – Lamentation 1

Horvit, Michael – Aleinu (Adoration) for Violin, Baritone, Choir and Organ

Williams, Julius- Meditation from the Easter Celebration

La Rue, Pierre de – Lesson 1 from Lamentations of Jeremiah

Waclaw of Szamotul – Psalm 85

Muzafar (17th Century Turkish court) – Bashraf zenjir husseyni

Caceres, Avraham – Cantata Le El Elim (To the God of Gods)

Gubrou, Tsegue Maryam – Golgotha

Al-Ansari, Ali Zakaria – Tranquil Moment

Pamintuan, John August – Crucifixus

Attributed to Emperor Leo the 6th – Hymn to the Virgin at the Foot of the Cross

Warshauer, Meira – Bracha

Lukaszewski, Pawel – Recordationes de Christo moriendo for Soprano and Strings

Ben-Amots, Ofer- Psalm 137

Arcadelt, Jacob – Lamentations

Sidiq, Mohammad Othman – Memoirs

 

Why must we categorize music?

I do not like dividing music into categories.  I do not even like the term classical music.  Music is music and good music is good music!

Through the centuries in every part of the world music was created for religious, spiritual, and personal needs and most importantly for fun, joy and entertainment.  Music is a magical International language, which can be understood by all.  We should try to understand and embrace music from every source and culture. Our Western European classical music is only a small part of that equation.  India has classical music too, as well  many other countries.

We can find much similarity between past and present. Michael Praetorius was a Rock and Roller of his time. Magic Flute was a Broadway Musical. Chopin and Bartok were inspired by folk music and Gregorian Chant could be considered New Age music. There is a great similarity between Bach’s music and jazz, etc.  So, why do we have a problem with the music of our time?

Unfortunately, classical music (in its traditional form) has become music for a small aging élite, with no connection to a wider audience.   This is not what composers would want.

Since music education in the schools is generally almost non-existent it has become very difficult inspire a younger audience to listen to the traditional masterworks of the great composers such as Mozart, Haydn and Beethoven, etc.  Even students who study music privately generally only know the repertoire they are learning on their instrument.  How sad!

I feel that the music of our time is music that young people can relate to and can close the gap between various groups that are intimidated by classical music.   With our increasing population we should have more listeners enjoying the music of our time on the radio and concert halls.  The students in my Music History classes are exposed regularly to new music and they love it.  Many old forms that are found centuries ago can be found in today’s recent music.  In teaching the Concerto Grosso in my Baroque History classes for example I always find it valuable to see how the form is used in the music of our time as well.  After listening to a Concerto Grosso of Corelli, why not listen to a Concerto Grosso of Schnittke for example?  We need to make the experience of Classical music relevant to the experience of our younger students.

It is indeed very sad but many classical stations and orchestras have closed their door forever in recent years. I am really not interested to quote any numbers because this is not important. The fact is that they are closing.

Meanwhile booming New Music scenes in a few big cities around the USA are proving that new music attracts younger people.  Unfortunately all of this excitement is confined to a few cities and to a selected group of people.  We are also lucky now that we have many excellent new music Internet radio programs and stations, but they are confined to the Internet and technologically oriented listeners. This takes out of circulation a whole group of people and sentences them to listening to the warhorses and Muzak.

A sad excuse for continuing stale programming for classical radio is saying that according to the polls: “this is what listeners want.”

From my personal experience, the pollsters are professional statisticians, and often they do not know what questions to ask.  They also tend to bend questions to fit needs and expectation.  They should stick to calculating how many pair of shoes one person can produce in one hour, not how many Mozart’s you should listen to at breakfast and within 12 hours and how many Brahms pieces you should listen to at dinnertime.

How do listeners know what they want if they never heard anything else except what is played on their radio station?  This is like saying “I love bananas (Mozart) and strawberry (Schubert) for breakfast but I hate pomegranates and kiwis (new unknown music).” Did you ever try any out? “No, I never tasted them because they are too exotic for me.”

I get mad when I hear people saying that obscure music is obscure for a reason. Yes there is a reason, but not always because the music is bad. It is because no one takes the time to listen. Why take time? Let us play something that was tested 100 times at 100 stations each day.

Even a professional musician like myself, gets tired of listening to same old stuff and wants change. In fact, I do not attend concerts that have just standard repertoire. I rather listen to one of my CD’s.  Most radio programs are so predictable that it does not make any difference to me which station I tune to. To put it mildly, they are boring!!!  So many stations lack vision and do not look to the future. How sad!!!!

A few years ago I had the opportunity to meet my radio hero, Jim Nettleton who was a rock and roll DJ and had a 50-year career.

He inspired me for many years, and was an incredibly personable man.  I met him few times before his early death of lung cancer at the age of only 69.  I felt I knew him for many years just after talking to him for just 1 minute at our first meeting.  I always think about him before beginning my radio show.  Of course we talked a great deal about radio and he said something that will always stay with me.  Hi said; “Unpredictability is entertainment.” How true this is in everything we do!!!

Please do not take me wrong. I still do love and have respect for Beethoven, Brahms, and countless others, and I remember growing up and being excited about so many works, but I am tired of listening to same works  over and over again.

I do not advocate not playing those composers. I just feel that we should have a good balance of all periods with a major focus on new music from the end of the 20th and the 21st century.  I would rather spend my energy on exposing living composers and little known music of other periods.

We are the only society that lives in the past and considers works written 80 years ago as a new 20th century work. Yes, it was a new work 80 years ago and guess what, it was most likely performed then. The time line for new music froze in 1943, when Rachmaninoff died.

Unfortunately, this applies not only to radio and the concert halls, but also to many institutions teaching future musicians. Just this last statement would take up a whole new blog.  Each century cherished it’s new music and older music was confined to libraries.

I chuckle when I try to imagine how music would develop if our ancestors in earlier centuries would treat new music like we do now. Composers would have to find other jobs, like cleaning barns full of cow manure, working as smiths, or working as horse carriage drivers.  Who would need new music if only Gregorian chants would be required in churches and at official ceremonies at the times of Bach and Handel.  For fun, everyone would dance to the tunes of the pilgrim songs from the “Llibre Vermell de Montserrat”. Hmm, Bach in Gregorian mode? Can you imagine Bach’s Gregorian St John Passion and what about a Gregorian Coronation Mass and a Gregorian Messiah?

It might be funny to imagine, but I am very sad………Do to the variety of music being written today, there is music for everyone from literally all over the world.  I feel  that because of this we are living in one of music’s most exciting times.  Unfortunately, most people who are in the position to help spread the word don’t do so.It is time that we give more support to all of our living composers from all over the world and New Music!!!!
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