WFIT Features

Eighty years ago -- almost to the day -- Porgy and Bess went on the road for a try-out prior to opening in New York in October, 1935. The initial reception was disappointing.

To salvage something from the score, George Gershwin collected some of the music into a symphonic suite, Catfish Row. But then, in a turn of events, Porgy developed an audience and it was the suite that sat on a shelf for 25 years.

Thursday's program opens with Catfish Row.

Then it's off to New France and the music of Colonial Quebec.

Antonio Vivaldi got his first opportunity to publish his music in 1712 with his concerto collection, l'Estro Armonico. Johann Sebastian Bach got ahold of a copy and thought highly enough of it that he transcribed some of it for organ. We'll hear both versions of the concerto in D minor -- Vivaldi's and Bach's -- on this week's program.

J.S. Bach's Two-part Inventions demonstrate some of the simplest, most elegant counterpoint ever written.

These miniatures -- most take about a minute -- were intended to introduce his music students to two-voice playing, yet they have fascinated both students and listeners for  three hundred years. Are they music or are they mathematics. Listen to the fifteen of them this Thursday night and see what you think.

Sybil Gage
sybilgage.com

Sybil Gage is by far one of the area's best singers. With a musical sophistication not exactly common, her expressions of her influences come through in her music, both obvious and wonderfully nuanced.

It doesn't happen often in the Classical world, but once in a while a piece of music gets re-arranged (or metamorphosed) into a version so successful that the original almost becomes forgotten.

This is what happened to Mussorgsky's Pictures at an Exhibition. Maurice Ravel orchestrated Mussorgsky's score and the work became so popular that many never even knew that it was written as a solo piano piece.

This week we'll take a look at what happened, and then we'll hear "Pictures" as Mussorgsky intended it.

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