Arts

Deceptive Cadence
12:05 pm
Tue November 6, 2012

Young Cellist With An Old Soul Plays Elgar, Elliott Carter

Cellist Alisa Weilerstein.
Gerardo Antonio Sanchez Torres courtesy of the artist

Originally published on Wed November 7, 2012 9:29 am

American cellist Alisa Weilerstein has been attracting intense heat over the last few years. Not only did she win a 2011 MacArthur "genius" grant, but in 2009 she gave a blistering performance of Kodaly at the White House for President and Mrs.

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Deceptive Cadence
11:50 am
Mon November 5, 2012

Pianist Gabriela Montero's Election Improv

Gabriela Montero takes ideas from audience members to create on the spot improvisations.
Colin Bell

Originally published on Mon November 5, 2012 12:36 pm

Few classical musicians these days are serious improvisers — aside from organists and early-music practitioners. But pianist Gabriela Montero is absolutely fearless when it comes to creating a new piece, right out of the air, right on the spot. At her concerts she takes requests from audience members. They can suggest a song for her to improvise on, or simply a topic of interest.

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Deceptive Cadence
8:56 am
Mon November 5, 2012

Requiem For Sandy: What Music Gets You Through?

Little Ferry, N.J., photographed here Oct. 30, 2012, was one of the cities greatly affected by Hurricane Sandy.
Andrew Burton Getty Images

When catastrophe strikes, when lives and livelihoods are lost, we hold tight to family, friends and our deepest beliefs for consolation. We also sometimes turn to music. With its inexpressible power, music can help channel memories, soothe the loss and salve the pain. And it can uplift, reminding us of our resiliency.

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Deceptive Cadence
5:17 am
Sat November 3, 2012

Storm Scores: Finding Poignant Reminders In Water-Damaged Music

A window-screen view toward conductor Marin Alsop's studio, badly damaged during the hurricane.
courtesy of the artist

Originally published on Mon November 12, 2012 10:18 am

This past week has been filled with some truly tragic stories of loss and devastation in the wake of Hurricane Sandy. There are also a few stories of near misses and disasters averted. Marin Alsop, music director of the Baltimore Symphony Orchestra, fortunately has one of the latter.

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Deceptive Cadence
11:56 am
Fri November 2, 2012

Exercise Your 'Rite' To Vote

Pablo Helguera

Got an idea for a classical cartoon, or a reaction to this one? Leave your thoughts in the comments section.

Pablo Helguera is a New York-based artist working with sculpture, drawing, photography and performance. You can see more of his work at Artworld Salon and on his own site.

Deceptive Cadence
9:23 am
Fri November 2, 2012

Classical Crib Sheet: Top 5 Stories This Week

Some of the instruments, scores and other materials the New Amsterdam label is trying to salvage after Sandy.
David Andrako courtesy of New Amsterdam Records

Originally published on Fri November 2, 2012 9:57 am

  • Sandy has wreaked havoc for many musicians in the Northeast, along with everyone else up here. The New Amsterdam label for new music, located in Brooklyn's Red Hook neighborhood, says it took quite a hit: "Our space was flooded with almost four feet of polluted sea water. As a result, about 70% of our catalog of CDs has been destroyed — CDs we hold on behalf of our artists (we do not own them). Literally ALL of our financial records were destroyed, including our back-up hard-drive.
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Deceptive Cadence
11:37 am
Thu November 1, 2012

How Is The White House Like The Opera House?

With the presidential election set for Tuesday, we take a look at operas that tackle today's toughest political issues.
Scott Olson Getty Images

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Deceptive Cadence
3:13 pm
Wed October 31, 2012

Symphonic Superstorms: A Puzzler

A satellite's view of Hurricane Sandy as it moves inland, Oct. 30, 2012.
NASA Getty Images

Originally published on Wed October 31, 2012 5:20 pm

Call it what you want — superstorm, Frankenstorm, post-tropical cyclone — Mother Nature dished out something freakishly fearsome with Hurricane Sandy. It claimed more than 100 lives throughout the Northeast and the Caribbean, while causing what will surely be billions of dollars of damage in the form of washed-out businesses and flood-ravaged homes. It's a history-making hurricane that, alas, will not be soon forgotten.

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Deceptive Cadence
8:55 am
Tue October 30, 2012

Gidon Kremer's Bach Makeover

For violinist Gidon Kremer's new album, he commissioned 11 composers to rework and build on keyboard music by J.S. Bach.
Courtesy of ECM records

Perhaps no other composer's music has been dressed up (and down) in a wider variety of outfits than Johann Sebastian Bach's.

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Deceptive Cadence
3:02 pm
Mon October 29, 2012

Composer Hans Werner Henze Remembered

Late composer and conductor Hans Werner Henze, circa 1965.
Erich Auerbach/Hulton Archive Getty Images

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Deceptive Cadence
8:03 am
Mon October 29, 2012

Halloween Fright: Five Versions Of That Terrifying Toccata And Fugue

Originally published on Mon October 29, 2012 10:43 am

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Deceptive Cadence
11:58 am
Fri October 26, 2012

I Know What You Did Last Measure

Pablo Helguera

Got an idea for a classical cartoon, or a reaction to this one? Leave your thoughts in the comments section.

Pablo Helguera is a New York-based artist working with sculpture, drawing, photography and performance. You can see more of his work at Artworld Salon and on his own site.

Deceptive Cadence
7:03 am
Fri October 26, 2012

Classical Crib Sheet: Top 5 Stories This Week

St. Paul Chamber Orchestra violists Evelina Chao and Maiya Papach wage battle in happier times.
courtesy of the Musicians of the St. Paul Chamber Orchestra
  • Uff da: Along with the Minnesota Orchestra, the St. Paul Chamber Orchestra has also locked out its musicians, leaving the Twin Cities bereft for now. "Players at the St. Paul Chamber Orchestra did not vote on an offer from management, and the board of directors shut the doors and canceled concerts through Nov. 4 ... So for the first time since the SPCO launched in 1959, neither orchestra will be playing for at least the next two weeks."
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Deceptive Cadence
12:35 pm
Wed October 24, 2012

The Politicians In Opera Puzzler

Bass Boris Christoff plays Philip II of Spain in Verdi's Don Carlo. Although the real Philip was a successful politician, he bankrupted his government four times.
Erich Auerbach Getty Images

As the presidential campaign heads into the homestretch, with binders, bayonets and a profusion of political ads, perhaps it's time to step back from the election hubbub.

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Deceptive Cadence
2:02 pm
Tue October 23, 2012

Roomful of Teeth: Experimental Singing, Smiles Guaranteed

The vocal ensemble Roomful of Teeth, founded and directed by Brad Wells (left).
Stephen Spinelli Courtesy of the artists

Originally published on Wed October 24, 2012 1:15 pm

Roomful of Teeth is an exciting young vocal octet founded just three years ago and directed by Brad Wells. And if the group's name is a little, um, in your face, that's entirely intentional. Their eponymous debut album on New Amsterdam Records (funded via Kickstarter) is a thoroughly 21st-century re-imagining of a capella vocal music — experimental, multi-textured and more than ready to blur the lines between pop and art music.

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Deceptive Cadence
5:00 pm
Mon October 22, 2012

'Nixon In China': An American Opera Inches Toward Classic At 25

The original production of John Adams' Nixon in China (at Houston Grand Opera) celebrates the 25-year mark.
Jim Caldwell Houston Grand Opera

Twenty-five years ago today, Houston Grand Opera mounted the world premiere of Nixon in China, the first opera by a young composer named John Adams. Two days later, The New York Times described it as a "coy and insubstantial work" and "hardly a strong candidate for the standard repertory."

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Music Interviews
2:48 pm
Sun October 21, 2012

Stephen Hough's 'French Album,' A 'Musical Dessert Trolley'

Stephen Hough's newest release is the French Album.
Sim Canetty-Clarke Courtesy of the artist

Originally published on Sun October 21, 2012 7:40 pm

As with food, as with fashion, as with film, there does seem to be a distinct French style when it comes to composition. The much-heralded English pianist Stephen Hough has been studying what makes a piece of music uniquely French. It's resulted in his latest collection: the French Album.

With works by Debussy, Faure, Poulenc and a number of lesser-known composers, Hough says he considers this new album "a sort of musical dessert trolley."

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Author Interviews
12:21 pm
Fri October 19, 2012

Baratunde Thurston Explains 'How To Be Black'

Baratunde Thurston is an American comedian and the digital director of The Onion. He co-founded the black political blog Jack & Jill Politics. He is also a prolific tweeter.
Courtesy of the author

Originally published on Fri October 19, 2012 12:55 pm

This interview was originally broadcast on Feb. 1, 2012. How to Be Black will be released in paperback on Oct. 30.

It's no coincidence that Baratunde Thurston's new memoir and satirical self-help book How to Be Black was slated for release on the first day of Black History Month.

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Deceptive Cadence
11:53 am
Fri October 19, 2012

On The Bright Side, Unlimited Harp Music

Pablo Helguera

Got an idea for a classical cartoon, or a reaction to this one? Leave your thoughts in the comments section.

Pablo Helguera is a New York-based artist working with sculpture, drawing, photography and performance. You can see more of his work at Artworld Salon and on his own site.

Paperback Fiction Bestsellers
9:03 am
Fri October 19, 2012

NPR Bestsellers: Paperback Fiction, Week Of October 18, 2012

At No. 10, Amor Towles' Rules of Civility begins with a chance encounter on New Year's Eve 1937.

NPR Bestseller List
9:03 am
Fri October 19, 2012

NPR Bestsellers: Week Of October 18, 2012

The lists are compiled from weekly surveys of close to 500 independent bookstores nationwide.

Hardcover Fiction Bestsellers
9:03 am
Fri October 19, 2012

NPR Bestsellers: Hardcover Fiction, Week Of October 18, 2012

Sherman Alexie's Blasphemy, a collection of stories about Native American life, debuts at No. 15.

Paperback Nonfiction Bestsellers
9:03 am
Fri October 19, 2012

NPR Bestsellers: Paperback Nonfiction, Week Of October 18, 2012

David Brooks edits the latest edition of The Best American Essays. It debuts at No. 14.

Hardcover Nonfiction Bestsellers
9:03 am
Fri October 19, 2012

NPR Bestsellers: Hardcover Nonfiction, Week Of October 18, 2012

Who I Am, Pete Townshend's candid memoir of a life and career in rock 'n; roll, debuts at No. 5.

Three-Minute Fiction
4:46 pm
Thu October 18, 2012

Marta

iStockphoto.com

Light seeped out from under the door again. Marta rested her chin on the roll of paper towels that sat on top of her cart. For two years she had cleaned these rooms, late at night when everyone else was gone, and often that light was on. It still made her uneasy. She had finished the other rooms, the sitting area for people who would wait hours for a five minute meeting, the administrative offices with desks that looked like they were made out of stacks of paper. Now all that stood between her and the end of her shift was on the other side of this door.

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Book Reviews
2:51 pm
Thu October 18, 2012

'Master' Jefferson: Defender Of Liberty, Then Slavery

Hulton Archive Getty Images

Originally published on Thu October 18, 2012 2:59 pm

His public words have inspired millions, but for scholars, his private words and deeds generate confusion, discomfort, apologetic excuses. When the young Thomas Jefferson wrote, "We hold these truths to be self-evident, that all men are created equal," there's compelling evidence to indicate that he indeed meant all men, not just white guys.

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Author Interviews
2:51 pm
Thu October 18, 2012

In Constant Digital Contact, We Feel 'Alone Together'

Courtesy of Basic Books

Originally published on Thu October 18, 2012 2:56 pm

As soon as Sherry Turkle arrived at the studio for her Fresh Air interview, she realized she'd forgotten her phone. "I realized I'd left it behind, and I felt a moment of Oh my god ... and I felt it kind of in the pit of my stomach," she tells Terry Gross. That feeling of emotional dependence on digital devices is the focus of Turkle's research. Her book, Alone Together, explores how new technology is changing the way we communicate with one another.

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Deceptive Cadence
10:35 am
Thu October 18, 2012

Simone Dinnerstein's Bach Between The Notes

Simone Dinnerstein communes with the music of J.S. Bach at the NPR studio.
Doriane Raiman NPR

Originally published on Thu October 18, 2012 10:49 am

There's something about Johann Sebastian Bach's music that nourishes musicians. Pianist Andras Schiff and cellist Yo-Yo Ma have said that they play Bach almost every day — like having breakfast, it seems essential for them.

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Book Reviews
7:03 am
Thu October 18, 2012

Assaying The Legacy Of 'The Big Screen'

Courtesy of Farrar, Straus and Giroux

Originally published on Thu October 18, 2012 9:56 am

"The fact is I am quite happy in a movie, even a bad movie," admits Binx Bolling, the hero of Walker Percy's 1961 novel The Moviegoer. It's the same for a lot of us — cinema affects us in ways we don't always understand, and even the worst films appeal to our nostalgia and sense memories in manners that defy the normal rules of taste and logic. (Currently, on my DVR: La Dolce Vita, a classic I know I should see at some point, and Gymkata, a truly terrible 1985 martial-arts flick I've watched a dozen times.

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Deceptive Cadence
2:03 am
Thu October 18, 2012

Philadelphia Orchestra Reboots With New Music Director

Yannick Nezet-Seguin leads the Philadelphia Orchestra.
Ryan Donnell

Originally published on Thu October 18, 2012 12:11 pm

Everywhere you look right now, it seems like American symphony orchestras are fighting for their lives — strikes, lockouts, bankruptcy. Perhaps the biggest example is the world-renowned Philadelphia Orchestra, which is just coming out of its own bankruptcy. Tonight, its new 37-year-old music director takes the podium as the venerable orchestra begins a reboot.

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