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Sharing releases, present and past, to brighten your day. WXXI Classical has its eyes and ears on the latest releases from classical artists working today. When we come across a story or a release we think you might enjoy, we’ll be sharing it with you on CD Spotlight. You’ll learn more about the artists online at WXXI Classical, and you’ll hear selections from these artists on FM 91.5. CD Spotlight shares new releases by artists that you’ll want to know and some by great artists and ensembles that deserve to be in the spotlight again.

CD Spotlight: Balance of Power by Peter Boyer

CD cover of Balance of Power by Peter Boyer
CD cover of Balance of Power by Peter Boyer

Peter Boyer struck gold in 2005. His epic “Ellis Island: The Dream of America,” an exploration of the lives of American immigrants, was released on Naxos Records, garnering critical acclaim, national airplay, a performance on PBS, and a Grammy nomination. Since then, the commissions have been rolling in for Mr. Boyer. His newest release, Balance of Power – Orchestral Works, has shot up the classical charts…and with good reason. It is chock full of melodic and energetic pieces, played with gusto by the London Symphony Orchestra.

The centerpiece of the CD is the title track, a symphony written at the behest of Henry Kissinger for his 95th birthday. Dr. Kissinger wanted neither a biographical work nor a political one. His requests for Boyer were simple: “Please don’t make it too abstract, so I can understand it” and “Could it be a humorous symphony.” Mission accomplished. The first movement, “A Sense of History” is the weightiest, followed by the witty “A Sense of Humor (Scherzo politco)” and capped off by the grand third movement, “A Sense of Direction.” Seven other commissions are on the set list, including “Fanfare for Tomorrow,” written for the presidential inauguration of Joe Biden and Kamala Harris. Particularly moving is “Rolling River (Sketches on “Shenandoah:),” written on commission for the Cincinnati Symphony Orchestra and “Elegy,” which was composed for a play scripted from wartime letters.

Boyer’s website is dubbed “Propulsive Music,” an apt moniker for this new release, which is filled with pieces to touch every heart.

A Strong Memorial baby and Greece Arcadia grad, Julia Figueras was the Music Director and mid-day host for WXXI Classical until June 30, 2023 when she retired after more than 26 years of service. She also hosted the award-winning monthly interview/performance show, Backstage Pass.