Arts

Critics' Lists: Summer 2012
11:40 am
Thu May 31, 2012

5 New Mysteries Return To The Scene Of The Crime

Harriet Russell

Originally published on Tue July 24, 2012 7:59 am

Every summer for the past 33 years, a widely scattered group of close friends my husband made in summer camp in the 1960s has rented a beach house on the Jersey Shore for two weeks. I was enfolded into the group some five years into its existence. Apart from the camaraderie — which is precious beyond measure — one of the pleasures of returning to the same place every year lies in observing the subtle changes in the landscape: some new sand on a beach that's suffered erosion; the appearance of a new coffee-and-bagel joint within jogging distance of the rental house.

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Book Reviews
7:03 am
Thu May 31, 2012

'Me The People': A Less Than Perfect Parody

At the beginning of Me the People: One Man's Selfless Quest to Rewrite the Constitution of the United States of America, Kevin Bleyer calls our founding document "a God-sanctioned, fully realized, blessed, immutable, rock-solid, entirely glorified and purely calcified ... piece of [censored]." And despite what our current batch of lawmakers might have you believe, he's not alone in that opinion.

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PG-13: Risky Reads
6:19 pm
Wed May 30, 2012

Growing Up And Grasping Gone With The Wind

In mourning: Scarlett broods while Rhett Butler (Clark Gable) woos.
Hulton Archive/Getty Images

Originally published on Thu May 31, 2012 5:03 pm

Jesmyn Ward's novel Salvage the Bones was the 2011 winner of the National Book Award for Fiction.

When I was 13 I went to a small, mostly white, Episcopalian, junior high school.

Much of my free time was spent lurking in the library. I'd transferred from a more diverse public school, and as a working-class black kid, I felt out of place.

That's about the time I pulled Gone With the Wind from the library shelf.

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Books
6:18 pm
Wed May 30, 2012

Summer Books 2012: Cool Reads For Hot Days

Harriett Russell

Summer is glorious and far too short to waste on the wrong book. Let the NPR critics you know and trust help you find the year's best fiction, nonfiction, mysteries, cookbooks and more.

Copyright 2012 National Public Radio. To see more, visit http://www.npr.org/.

PG-13: Risky Reads
6:18 pm
Wed May 30, 2012

Ready For Romance: Reading Gone With The Wind

Margaret Mitchell's novel Gone With the Wind was published 75 years ago this month. A 1936 promotional poster for the book shows heroine Scarlett O'Hara running through the streets as Atlanta burns.
Hulton Archive/Getty Images

Originally published on Fri June 1, 2012 1:14 pm

Jodi Picoult's latest novel is Between the Lines.

One of my first childhood memories is of the moment I got my own library card, so it's clear that I grew up in a family of readers. I always had a book in my hand, and as I grew into my preteen years I began to veer away from the All-Of-A-Kind Family series to more modern Judy Blume novels, whose heroines held a mirror up to my own life. You can imagine my shock, then, when one day I came home from the library with Forever by Judy Blume — and was told by my mother that I wasn't allowed to read it.

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Deceptive Cadence
4:55 pm
Wed May 30, 2012

Genuflecting To A Master: Thomas Hampson On Dietrich Fischer-Dieskau

German baritone Dietrich Fischer-Dieskau performing in England in 1962.
Erich Auerbach Getty Images

Originally published on Tue September 18, 2012 4:52 pm

German baritone Dietrich Fischer-Dieskau, who died earlier this month at age 86, was a paragon of excellence for generations of singers and fans. After his passing, we called American baritone Thomas Hampson for his memories of Fischer-Dieskau, whom he has called "a Singer for the ages, an Artist for eternity."

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History
3:46 pm
Wed May 30, 2012

Kafka's Final Absurdist Tale Plays Out In Tel Aviv

Franz Kafka (shown here circa 1905) is considered one of the 20th century's most influential writers. Before his death in 1924, he had published only short stories and a single novella, The Metamorphosis.
Imagno Getty Image

Originally published on Sun June 3, 2012 8:31 am

Franz Kafka published just a few short stories and a novella during his lifetime, yet he was considered one of the 20th century's most influential writers.

The rest of his work was largely kept secret, and literary scholars have long wondered what gems they might find among Kafka's papers.

The answer may ultimately lie on Tel Aviv's Spinoza Street, inside a small, squat apartment building covered with dirty, pinkish stucco that looks like it's seen better days.

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New In Paperback
3:29 pm
Wed May 30, 2012

New In Paperback May 28-June 3

Fiction and nonfiction releases from Daniel Orozco, Donald Rumsfeld, Jim Axelrod and Simon Kuper.

Copyright 2012 National Public Radio. To see more, visit http://www.npr.org/.

Classics in Concert
1:33 pm
Wed May 30, 2012

Carnegie Hall Live: Lang Lang Plays Bach, Schubert And Chopin

Pianist Lang Lang in recital at Carnegie Hall on May 29, 2012.
Melanie Burford for NPR

Originally published on Wed May 30, 2012 3:24 pm

PROGRAM:

  • BACH Partita No. 1 in B-flat Major, BWV 825

  • SCHUBERT Sonata in B-flat Major, D. 960

  • CHOPIN Twelve Etudes, Op. 25

  • LISZT Romance, S. 169

  • LiSZT Grande Etude de Paganini, S. 141 "La Campanella"

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Book Reviews
7:03 am
Wed May 30, 2012

Pioneering Feminist Mixes It Up With 'Menage'

Alix Kates Shulman is the author of books including Memoirs of an Ex-Prom Queen and To Love What Is.
Marion Ettling

Originally published on Wed May 30, 2012 8:18 am

Zoltan Barbu is a once-exalted author now exiled in Los Angles. He wears capes, seduces actresses in Jacuzzis and hasn't produced anything in decades. If it sounds cliche, that is the point. In Ménage, her first novel in 25 years, the feminist writer Alix Kates Shulman has given us a modern parable: caricatured characters interacting and standing in for real-world archetypes. Zoltan, predictably enough, is her catalyst.

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Deceptive Cadence
4:24 pm
Tue May 29, 2012

Britten's War Requiem: 50 Years On, Still As Harrowing As Ever

Coventry Cathedral in ruins, November 1940. Britten's War Requiem was written for the church's reconsecration more than 20 years after it was destroyed by Nazi bombers.
Central Press Getty Images

There are two war-related anniversaries this week that make today's album review all the more timely. Yesterday was Memorial Day here in the U.S.; tomorrow, May 30, marks 50 years since the world premiere of English composer Benjamin Britten's War Requiem at Coventry Cathedral. The War Requiem was commissioned for the cathedral's reconsecration after it had been destroyed by a Nazi bombing raid in 1940.

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PG-13: Risky Reads
4:00 pm
Tue May 29, 2012

'I Am The Cheese': A Nightmarish Nail-Biter

promo image
Random House

Originally published on Tue May 29, 2012 8:45 pm

Ben Marcus is the author of The Flame Alphabet.

I Am the Cheese opens with Adam Farmer riding his bike. He carries a package for his father and needs to get it to him fast. So far, it's a perfectly harmless adventure story.

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Book Reviews
10:17 am
Tue May 29, 2012

'Selected Poems': The Essential Nabokov In Verse

promo

The publication of Vladimir Nabokov's Selected Poems is a major literary event. The great, grand and much missed novelist (Lolita, Pale Fire) was "first a poet," as the book's editor Thomas Karshan writes. Yet there hasn't been a new collection of his poetry in more than three decades — which is especially shocking given the insatiable hunger for his work.

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Books News & Features
4:34 am
Tue May 29, 2012

Libraries Grapple With The Downside Of E-Books

Originally published on Tue May 29, 2012 5:51 am

Digital books are the fastest growing area of publishing. Libraries are seeing a surge in demand for e-book titles as well, but there's a downside. Most major publishers won't allow libraries to lend their titles, while others impose restrictions or charge double or triple the print price.

Author Interviews
3:05 am
Tue May 29, 2012

The First Lady Cultivates 'American Grown' Gardening

First lady Michelle Obama tends to the presidential garden during the third annual White House kitchen garden fall harvest in October 2011. The last vegetable garden planted at the White House was Eleanor Roosevelt's victory garden.
Pablo Martinez Monsivais AP

Originally published on Tue May 29, 2012 4:34 am

One of the first things Michelle Obama did as first lady was to dig up part of the beautifully manicured South Lawn of the White House and plant a vegetable garden. The garden was just one of Obama's many efforts to encourage Americans to eat nutritious food and live healthier lives. Her latest project, a book called American Grown, is a diary of that garden through the seasons and a portrait of gardening in America, past and present.

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Studio Sessions
5:51 pm
Sun May 27, 2012

Vanessa Perez: A Rising Star From Venezuela

Pianist Vanessa Perez performs at NPR in Washington, D.C.
Becky Lettenberger NPR

Originally published on Wed May 30, 2012 10:25 am

Some of the best recent classical music stories have come from Venezuela, that country's youth orchestra program El Sistema and its most popular graduate, Los Angeles Philharmonic conductor Gustavo Dudamel.

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Music Interviews
6:33 am
Sun May 27, 2012

Canadian Brass: Spiking The Recital With Humor

"Given that we were brass players when we started out, we had a very tall hill to climb just to get people interested in our music," says Canadian Brass founding member Chuck Daellenbach (center).
Bo Huang Courtesy of the artist

Originally published on Sun May 27, 2012 8:55 am

When the Canadian Brass came to NPR for a Tiny Desk Concert, the group kicked off the show with a piece its members say has been central to its repertoire for more than 40 years. It's a transcription of an organ work, Johann Sebastian Bach's "Little" Fugue in G Minor.

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Music Interviews
6:33 am
Sun May 27, 2012

Deep In The Desert, Monks Make Transcendent Music

The monks of The Monastery of Christ in the Desert, on the grounds in Abiquiu, N.M.
Sergio Salvador Courtesy of the artist

Originally published on Sun May 27, 2012 8:55 am

If you drive about an hour and a half north of Santa Fe, N.M., into a place called the Chama Canyon, you might hear the clanging of church bells in the distance. The Monastery of Christ in the Desert was founded there in 1964 and is home to a community of Benedictine monks. They spend their days in prayer, work, meditation — and music.

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Classics in Concert
3:35 pm
Fri May 25, 2012

Carnegie Hall Live: Lang Lang Plays Bach, Schubert And Chopin

Pianist Lang Lang in recital at Carnegie Hall on May 29, 2012.
Melanie Burford for NPR

Originally published on Fri June 22, 2012 4:36 pm

PROGRAM:

  • BACH Partita No. 1 in B-flat Major, BWV 825

  • SCHUBERT Sonata in B-flat Major, D. 960

  • CHOPIN Twelve Etudes, Op. 25

  • LISZT Romance, S. 169

  • LiSZT Grande Etude de Paganini, S. 141 "La Campanella"

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Deceptive Cadence
12:03 pm
Fri May 25, 2012

Yet More News From 'Opera News'

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
5:37 pm
Wed May 23, 2012

An Online Debate Of Operatic Intensity: The Met And Its Critics

Peter Gelb speaks at an event in New York City in April 2012.
Astrid Stawiarz Getty Images

Originally published on Tue September 18, 2012 4:53 pm

Yesterday, the opera world was jolted by a rapid-fire sequence of stunning turns at the Metropolitan Opera — and not by divas onstage. In the morning, the New York Times carried a front-page story by Daniel J.

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Music Interviews
10:24 am
Wed May 23, 2012

Jeremy Denk: Playing Ligeti With A Dash Of Humor

Jeremy Denk has recently written for The New Yorker and The New York Times Book Review.
Courtesy of the artist

Originally published on Thu November 8, 2012 10:03 pm

Not many classical pianists maintain blogs where they ruminate on everything from eating a terrible bowl of meatballs while on tour with Joshua Bell to seeing Twilight: New Moon (twice) and hearing strains of a Schubert song.

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Deceptive Cadence
2:33 pm
Tue May 22, 2012

Classical Lost And Found: Fine Quartets From A Forgotten Frenchman

A portrait of French composer Félicien-César David (from 1876), celebrating his famous orchestral ode Le Désert.
Edmond Morin Naive Records

Originally published on Wed May 23, 2012 7:04 am

Orphaned at age five from a musical family, French composer Félicien-César David had a religious upbringing, and would go to study at the Paris Conservatory in 1830. But he left after eighteen months, later making his way to Egypt, where music of the East would make a lasting impression on him.

David wrote a significant body of work, including a highly acclaimed and innovative symphonic ode Le Désert in 1844. It established him as the first French romantic orientalist and gained him a reputation throughout the continent.

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Classics in Concert
6:46 pm
Mon May 21, 2012

Carnegie Hall Live: The Cleveland Orchestra Plays Brahms, Shostakovich And Saariaho

Mito Habe-Evans NPR

Originally published on Wed May 23, 2012 10:42 pm

PROGRAM

  • BRAHMS Violin Concerto

  • KAIJA SAARIAHO Laterna magica

  • SHOSTAKOVICH Symphony No. 6 in B Minor

The Cleveland Orchestra brought an intriguing mix of old and new to this concert at Carnegie Hall: one of the best-loved violin concertos of all time played by a master soloist, an emotionally inscrutable mid-20th century symphony and an exciting new work by a Finnish master.

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Deceptive Cadence
9:57 am
Mon May 21, 2012

Come Sing In A Philip Glass World Premiere — In Times Square!

Composer Philip Glass.
Barron Claiborne courtesy of the artist

Originally published on Tue May 29, 2012 3:31 pm

Ever dream of participating in a world premiere of music by one of the world's most widely beloved and celebrated composers? Here's your big chance.

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Deceptive Cadence
4:04 pm
Fri May 18, 2012

Around The Classical Internet: May 18, 2012

Baritone Dietrich Fischer-Dieskau and pianist Gerald Moore in an undated recital rehearsal.
Erich Auerbach Getty Images

Originally published on Sun May 27, 2012 9:51 am

  • This week has ended on a very sad note with the passing of Dietrich Fischer-Dieskau, who died earlier today in Bavaria at age 86.
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Arts
2:22 pm
Fri May 18, 2012

Voices of Delmarva 05-18-2012

Today we meet fencer, artist and caterer Angela Herbert-Hodges, who came to Delmarva from Northern England. 

Deceptive Cadence
12:52 pm
Fri May 18, 2012

It's A Marvel-ous Wagner Production

Pablo Helguera

Originally published on Fri May 18, 2012 5:47 pm

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
11:56 am
Fri May 18, 2012

Remembering 'A Born God' Among Singers: Dietrich Fischer-Dieskau

A portrait of Dietrich Fischer-Dieskau taken circa 1965.
Erich Auerbach Getty Images

Originally published on Tue September 18, 2012 4:53 pm

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Deceptive Cadence
3:14 am
Fri May 18, 2012

150 Years Of 'Taps'

A lone bugler stands at attention in the rain at Wilmington National Cemetery in North Carolina, in 2009.
Logan Mock-Bunting Getty Images

Originally published on Fri May 18, 2012 4:49 pm

This Saturday, 200 buglers will assemble at Arlington National Cemetery to begin playing "Taps," a call written 150 years ago this year.

Retired Air Force Master Sgt. Jari Villanueva, a bugle player, says he started out as a Boy Scout bugler at about age 12. He went on to study trumpet at the Peabody Conservatory before being accepted into the United States Air Force Band — where one of his duties over the next 23 years was to sound that call at Arlington National Cemetery.

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