Classical 91.5

Eric Townell

For a composer who was so important in the development of the sonata and concerto, there's a surprising lack on infomation about the early years of Arcangelo Corelli. This we do know: by the age of 22, he was working in Rome, where he would make a name for himself, performing for heads of state and the church.  And his sphere of influence extended well beyond Italy; Bach studied Corelli's works, and used them as inspiration.

One of the highlights of each year's Holiday Songbook on Classical 91.5 is John Rutter's setting of the Magnificat. It is a joyous outpouring, filled with rhythm and light. Inspired by Hispanic Christmas celebrations, Rutter conceived of the piece as a "bright Latin-flavoured Fiesta."


Ernest Bloch: Concerto Grosso No. 1

In March 2017, The Rochester Oratorio Society collaborated with the University of Rochester Humanities Center in the "Poetry for Peace" project--a month-long series that commemorated the centenary of the U.S. entry into World War I. Art, poetry, and music of that era were all explored in moderated discussions throughout Rochester, culminating in a concert on March 24. Included in the concert was Ernest Bloch's Concerto Grosso No. 1, a post WWI work written by Bloch to prove to his students at the Cleveland Institute of Music that "old" techniques of composition like tonality were still viable and interesting in this modern age.

Christopher Warren Green, who has played for royalty, takes on Handel's "Messiah" this weekend--a work that was premiered before royalty...during the Lenten season. So how did this glorious work become a corner stone of Christmas

programming? Maestro Warren Green and Eric Townell, Artistic Director of the Rochester Oratorio Society talk about that, along with the many ways one can perform what some have said is one of the greatest pieces ever written.