Philadelphia classical music events, discussion, and directory
WXPN and World Cafe Live, who share the same building, know how to market music. I've been listening to 'XPN way back to the days when it was far more "Penn student station" and far less "big nonprofit adult contemporary music". Don't get me wrong, I truly applaud their success, and they deserve it. In fact, I'm convinced that the Philadelphia Orchestra should be at their doorstep taking notes. But I still miss the days when I could tune into their weak signal that barely made it Narberth (home to me at the time) and never know what I'd hear. It truly could be anything, and I was up for the challenge. It's almost impossible to find that kind of mix today as every streaming broadcast wants to homogenize the sound (Elvis Radio - a real SiriusXM station) to the point where you might as well turn it off and listen to the non-stop buzzing of air conditioners in a 14 day, 90+ degree heat wave.
Dolce Suono brought me back to those early 'XPN days with this fun program:
Philippe Gaubert: Three Water Colors, 1 movement
David Ludwig: Sonata, 1st movement
Sephardic song: Cuando el rey Nimrod
Richard Danielpour: A Quality of Love
Haydn: Trio for Flute, Cello, and Piano in D Major, 1st movement
Gerald Levinson: Odyssey
Leonard Bernstein: Cool, Maria, and America
Katherine Hoover: Mountain & Mesa, 1
Brazilian choros: Doce de Coco, and Dininha
Michael Djupstrom: Sejdefu majke budase
Jelly Roll Morton: Shreveport Stomp
Yes, that's right. Four contemporary classical music composers, most calling Philadelphia their home (underlined), made the list, and one, Gerald Levinson, was present. Those unfamiliar passages were softened with such a wide variety of music that every audience member had to like something in the mix. Making the atmosphere even more relaxed was that it was set in an active cafe with brunch served throughout to the patrons. Most got there early and were finishing their meals when the music started, so this was only a minor distraction.
Dolce Suono was joined on some pieces by percussionist, Gabriel Globus-Hoenich. This unfamiliar lineup on a small stage provided a few laughs with unintended cymbal strikes from exuberant cellist, Yumi Kendall. Charles Abramovic accompanied on piano, and leader, Mimi Stillman, flute, provided interesting information before each piece. There was no pressure to know when to clap, because it was clear from the start that all the selections were one movement.
I have witnessed time after time that audiences will tolerate a much wider variety of music than most presenters expect. If they are afraid of small audiences for classical music, rather than "dumbing it down", how about following Dolce Suono's lead and spicing it up with a bit of variety?
Photo credits: Vanessa Briceño.