Arts

Deceptive Cadence
5:15 pm
Sun March 23, 2014

John Adams' Psychedelic Oratorio Gives Voice To 'The Other Mary'

Composer John Adams.
Margaretta Mitchell

Originally published on Wed March 26, 2014 10:36 am

For the millennium, in 2000 American composer John Adams completed a compelling, large-scale oratorio based on the nativity story called El NiΓ±o. Now he's composed a companion piece, The Gospel According to the Other Mary, a Passion oratorio mounted with his usual collaborator, the stage director and librettist Peter Sellars.

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Deceptive Cadence
11:44 am
Fri March 21, 2014

Wig Out With The Big Bach Puzzler

Match your wits against the granddaddy of composers in this big Bach puzzler.
Wikimedia Commons

Johann Sebastian Bach, with his big white wig, might stand as the "supreme arbiter and lawgiver of music," as musicologist Nicolas Slonimsky says. But the composer, organist, choirmaster and teacher could also be surprisingly witty and irreverent.

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Deceptive Cadence
12:52 pm
Thu March 20, 2014

In The First Violins β€” At Least For One Night

Conductor Jeffrey Grogan led a motley β€” but very happy β€” assembly of professional, student and amateur musicians at the New Jersey Symphony's #OrchestraYou project in Newark, N.J. Saturday.
Fred Stucker Courtesy of the New Jersey Symphony Orchestra

Originally published on Wed March 26, 2014 8:24 pm

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Deceptive Cadence
2:37 pm
Wed March 19, 2014

For Opera Powerhouse Dolora Zajick, 'Singing Is Connected To The Body'

When hitting a high note, mezzo-soprano Dolora Zajick says, "You have to have support. You have to have resonance. People have to understand what you're saying."
David Sauer Courtesy of the artist

Originally published on Wed March 19, 2014 3:29 pm

Dolora Zajick discovered opera as a 22-year-old pre-med student. "That's when I discovered I had a voice," she tells Fresh Air host Terry Gross, "and I actually had a crack at a singing career. And I decided to take the chance."

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Deceptive Cadence
11:21 am
Tue March 18, 2014

Bless You!

Sometimes, you just can't overcome nature.
iStock

We've all been there: You try (and try, and try) to hold back a sneeze, and nature prevails.

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Deceptive Cadence
8:54 am
Tue March 18, 2014

Pitch Perfect: 3 Must-Hear Vocal Albums

A late 15th-century icon of St. Sergius of Radonezh with the Saints of Rostov adorns the cover of a new album of Russian Orthodox Church music by the vocal ensemble Conspirare.
Harmonia Mundi

Originally published on Wed August 13, 2014 10:50 am

The human voice, the true original instrument, is still the most expressive and personal of all. It's one reason more than 42.5 million Americans sing in choirs, and why we seem to be hardwired to tell our stories through song. It also probably explains why I'm a vocal music junkie, eagerly pawing over the operas, recitals and choir albums that land on my desk and in my download folder.

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Music Videos
12:03 am
Mon March 17, 2014

Timo Andres On Q2 Music's 'Spaces'

Timo Andres in his studio in Bed-Sty, Brooklyn.
Q2

Originally published on Tue July 8, 2014 11:58 am

Connecticut-born composer-pianist Timo Andres likens his music to "walking into an interesting apartment and seeing a few things next to each other that tell you something about a person." At once familiar and modern, forward-looking and reverent, Andres's music tells the story of a composer striving to reconcile a fascination with the past and composers ranging from Mozar

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First Listen
11:03 pm
Sun March 16, 2014

First Listen: The Bad Plus, 'The Rite Of Spring'

The Bad Plus' new album, The Rite of Spring, comes out March 25.
Courtesy of the artist

Originally published on Wed March 26, 2014 10:40 am

This is a recording of a jazz trio playing the score to a 101-year-old ballet. It is not a "jazzing the classics" record or a "fantasia on the themes of" sort of project. It is a band translating one of the landmark works in music history to piano, bass and drum set, and doing it as literally as possible.

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Deceptive Cadence
8:03 am
Fri March 14, 2014

How Irish Are You? A St. Paddy's Day Puzzler

Hoist a pint for this St. Patrick's day. But first take this quiz!
iStock.com

Originally published on Fri March 14, 2014 1:33 pm

With St. Patrick's Day upon us, it's hard to escape the allure of the Emerald Isle, with its rolling heaths, swirling jigs, frothy beer and curious legends. While we can't afford to fly you to Dublin we can offer this humble St. Paddy's Day puzzler. Score high and be rewarded with the pot 'o gold at the end of the rainbow. Mess up and yours is a sad bowl of soggy Lucky Charms.

Deceptive Cadence
1:55 pm
Mon March 10, 2014

Gerard Mortier, A Polarizing Impresario Who Transformed Opera

Belgian opera impresario Gerard Mortier in Germany in 2003. He died Saturday at age 70.
Volker Hartmann AFP/Getty Images

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Music News
8:40 am
Sun March 9, 2014

After A Bitter Struggle, DSO Brings 'Joy' To The People Again

Like many regional orchestras, the Detroit Symphony Orchestra has struggled financially. But after a lot of work, it's set itself on solid footing and become a bright spot in a struggling city.
Courtesy DSO

Originally published on Mon March 10, 2014 9:55 am

Detroit's Orchestra Hall is one of the best symphony concert halls in the country. The acoustics are top-notch. The theater itself is grand. Important music is made there by some of the country's most talented classical musicians.

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Deceptive Cadence
7:53 am
Sat March 8, 2014

A Kid Named Carl Stirs Up The Bach Musical Dynasty

Carl Philipp Emanuel Bach, captured around 1733, in a portrait by one of his relatives, Gottlieb Friedrich Bach.
Wikimedia Commons

Originally published on Sat March 8, 2014 11:31 am

When it comes to musical dynasties, it's tough to top the Bach family. From town fiddlers to court composers, the Bachs dominated German music for seven generations. Today, Johann Sebastian towers above all his relatives, but there's another important Bach we shouldn't forget β€” especially today, on the 300th anniversary of his birth.

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Deceptive Cadence
3:15 am
Fri March 7, 2014

The Soul Of The World's Most Expensive Violin

Anne Akiko Meyers, with her recently acquired Guarneri violin, at NPR's Studio 1.
Jim Tuttle NPR

Originally published on Fri March 7, 2014 11:39 am

The Vieuxtemps Guarneri is a violin that is older than the United States of America β€” 273 years old, to be exact. It recently became the most expensive violin in the world, selling for an estimated $16 million. Its new owner anonymously donated the historic instrument to violinist Anne Akiko Meyers, on loan for the rest of her life.

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Deceptive Cadence
12:58 pm
Tue March 4, 2014

Robert Ashley, Opera's Misunderstood Innovator, Dies At 83

Robert Ashley's operas for television redefined the genre.
Joanne Savio Courtesy of the artist

Originally published on Thu March 6, 2014 7:50 pm

Robert Ashley, a restlessly innovative American composer, died at his home in New York March 3 from complications of cirrhosis of the liver. NPR confirmed the composer's death through his wife and manager Mimi Johnson. Ashley was 83.

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First Listen
11:03 pm
Sun March 2, 2014

First Listen: Augustin Hadelich, 'Sibelius, Adès: Violin Concertos'

Violinist Augustin Hadelich pairs a classic concerto with a contemporary one on this new album.
Rosalie O'Connor

Originally published on Wed March 19, 2014 10:54 am

Looking for a new violinist to fall in love with? Meet Augustin Hadelich, the 29-year-old Italian-born son of German parents. On his new album, to be released March 11, he pairs two searching, seemingly disparate violin concertos β€” one classic and one contemporary.

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Deceptive Cadence
5:12 pm
Sun March 2, 2014

Philippe Jaroussky And The Impossibly High Male Voice

Philippe Jaroussky's new album is Farinelli: Porpora Arias.
Marc Ribes Erato/Warner Classics

Originally published on Sun March 2, 2014 7:09 pm

Philippe Jaroussky cuts a masculine figure on the cover of his new album, Farinelli: Porpora Arias, but you might do a double take upon hearing the music. The arias the French opera singer performs on this release were written in the 18th century for a castrato β€” a boy singer castrated to retain his high singing voice through adulthood.

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Music Articles
8:03 am
Fri February 28, 2014

Music Takes Center Stage In Oscar-Nominated Documentaries

Egyptian singer-songwriter Ramy Essam, in the heady early days at Tahrir Square in 2011.
Mark LeVine Courtesy of the artist

Originally published on Fri February 28, 2014 10:06 am

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Music News
2:13 pm
Thu February 27, 2014

And The Oscar Goes To ... Mr. 'Star Wars' Or Arcade Fire?

William Butler of Arcade Fire: not the most typical contender for Best Original Score.
Jason Oxenham Getty Images

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Deceptive Cadence
4:00 pm
Mon February 24, 2014

Gil Shaham And When The World 'Got Much Smaller, Much Faster'

Star violinist Gil Shaham, whose newest recording project surveys the wildly different violin concertos of the 1930s.
Luke Ratray Courtesy of the artist

Originally published on Mon February 24, 2014 8:02 pm

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Deceptive Cadence
11:42 am
Wed February 19, 2014

We Love Him For More Than Twizzles: Charlie White Plays Violin, Too

Ice dancing champions Meryl Davis and Charlie White visit the set of the NBC TODAY Show in Sochi on February 18, 2014.
Scott Halleran Getty Images

It's no secret that gold-winning American ice dancers Meryl Davis and Charlie White have become favorite faces in Sochi. But it turns out that the charming White has done his share of woodshedding along with his hard work on the ice.

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Field Recordings
8:28 am
Wed February 19, 2014

On A Chilly Factory Floor, Yuja Wang's Piano Sizzles

Mito Habe-Evans NPR

Originally published on Wed February 19, 2014 10:16 am

Chinese-born pianist Yuja Wang isn't one to do anything in half measures. So when we invited her to record a performance in a room at the Steinway & Sons piano factory, she showed up in Queens that frigid morning with her A game.

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Deceptive Cadence
3:25 pm
Thu February 13, 2014

Sex, Drugs And Wandering Batons: Classical Musicians (Finally) Get Some Screen Time

Gael Garcia Bernal stars in the pilot of Mozart in the Jungle as a hyper-charming young conductor on the rise.
Courtesy of Amazon

Originally published on Thu February 13, 2014 5:08 pm

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Music News
10:26 am
Thu February 13, 2014

Collecting Money For Songwriters, A 100-Year Tug Of War

ASCAP CEO John LoFrumento, member Katy Perry and president Paul Williams at the 2012 Annual ASCAP Pop Music Awards in Hollywood, Calif.
Frank Micelotta PictureGroup

Originally published on Thu February 13, 2014 6:06 pm

A hundred years ago, the Italian operatic composer Giacomo Puccini was having lunch in New York with Victor Herbert, the leading composer of operettas in this country. Then, the band in the restaurant began playing music from Herbert's current hit, Sweethearts. Puccini became outraged, according to songwriter Paul Williams, the current president of the performing-rights organization ASCAP.

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Deceptive Cadence
8:03 am
Wed February 12, 2014

Fiddler On The Slopes

Violinist-turned-Olympian Vanessa-Mae checks out her fellow skiers in Sochi, Russia on Feb. 10.
Clive Rose Getty Images

Originally published on Thu February 13, 2014 5:08 pm

Classical music has managed to take center stage at sports events in the last few weeks. Soprano RenΓ©e Fleming sang the National Anthem at the Super Bowl two weekends ago.

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Deceptive Cadence
11:36 am
Tue February 11, 2014

Classical Couples: Sweethearts Sharing The Stage

Soprano Ailyn Perez and tenor Stephen Costello met in music school. Now married, the couple sings together around the world β€” as in Gounod's Romeo and Juliet at Opera Philadelphia in 2001.
Kelly & Massa Photography Opera Philadelphia

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Deceptive Cadence
2:03 am
Tue February 11, 2014

Monastic Life At The Top Of The Charts

Benedictines of Mary, Queen of the Apostles.
Courtesy of the artist

Originally published on Tue February 11, 2014 1:28 pm

When the sisters of Benedictines of Mary, Queen of the Apostles aren't hard at work on the monastery grounds, they're topping the charts with albums of sacred music.

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Deceptive Cadence
5:09 pm
Sat February 8, 2014

'Philomena' And The Power Of A Quiet Film Score

Judi Dench and Steve Coogan in the film Philomena.
Alex Bailey Courtesy of the artist

Originally published on Tue February 25, 2014 5:53 pm

In the 1950s, Philomena Lee was a naive Irish teenager who got pregnant, gave birth in a convent, and was forced by the nuns to sign away her parental rights. The 2013 film Philomena is based on what happened five decades later, when Lee went looking for her son with the help of a journalist. Directed by Stephen Frears and starring Judi Dench and Steve Coogan, Philomena is up for several Academy Awards, including one in an unlikely category.

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Deceptive Cadence
3:32 pm
Thu February 6, 2014

Seen The 'Brokeback Mountain' Movie? Now Watch The Opera

Tom Randle (left) and Daniel Okulitch star in the opera Brokeback Mountain.
Javier del Real Teatro Real

Originally published on Fri February 7, 2014 9:24 am

In 2006, at the 78th Academy Awards, the film Brokeback Mountain captured three Oscars and the attention of movie fans everywhere. That two handsome stars β€” Heath Ledger and Jake Gyllenhaal β€” played the lead roles helped propel the film's popularity.

But the tale of star-crossed sheepherders who fall in love on a rugged Wyoming mountain originated long before the film, as a tightly focused short story by Annie Proulx that was published in the New Yorker in 1997.

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Deceptive Cadence
12:32 pm
Thu February 6, 2014

Update: 'I Have Begun To Hear A Little Again'

Takashi Niigaki stepped forward today in Japan as the ghostwriter for popular composer Mamoru Samuragochi β€” and added another twist to the breaking story.
Yoshikazu Tsuno AFP/Getty Images

Originally published on Wed February 12, 2014 9:50 am

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The Two-Way
11:25 am
Thu February 6, 2014

Stolen Stradivarius Found By Milwaukee Police

A Stradivarius violin is pictured in December 2009 at the restoration and research laboratory of the Musee de la Musique in Paris.
Patrick Kovarik AFP/Getty Images

Originally published on Fri February 7, 2014 11:26 am

Police in Milwaukee have recovered "Lipinski" – a 300-year-old Stradivarius stolen last month from a concertmaster as he was walking to his car with the rare violin.

The Milwaukee Journal Sentinel, quoting law enforcement officials, says the instrument has been found:

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