Arts

Deceptive Cadence
11:30 am
Fri December 6, 2013

A Bumper Crop Of Classical Box Sets

It was a big year for extravagant classical box sets.
Denise DeBelius NPR

Originally published on Fri December 6, 2013 1:05 pm

This wound up being a spectacular year for elaborate, lavishly packaged reissues. Given all the fabulous classical box sets that appeared this year, you'd think we were in some kind of boom era for music served up on compact discs. (2013? More like 1993.)

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Music
5:13 am
Tue December 3, 2013

Classical Pranksters Don't Just Play Music: They Play With It

From left: Video director Joe Sabia, bassist Michael Thurber and recording engineer Matt McCorkle of CDZA.
Courtesy of the artist

Originally published on Wed December 4, 2013 12:14 pm

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NPR Story
2:10 pm
Mon December 2, 2013

Remembering A Congolese Rumba King

Tabu Ley Rochereau performing at a 2003 festival in Hertme, Netherlands.
Frans Schellekens Redferns

Originally published on Thu December 12, 2013 3:39 pm

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Deceptive Cadence
2:57 am
Mon December 2, 2013

Yuja Wang: Rooted In Diligence, Inspired By Improvisation

Yuja Wang at NPR's studio in Washington, D.C.
Denise DeBelius NPR

Originally published on Tue December 3, 2013 10:56 am

Sergei Rachmaninov's Piano Concerto No. 3 — "Rach 3," as fans fondly call it — is one of the most famously difficult pieces of music there is. The sheet music goes on and on, with notes so dense the pages start to look like modern art. The piece is so challenging that some noted pianists have declined to perform it — but Yuja Wang has recorded it for her newest album.

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Deceptive Cadence
5:20 am
Sun December 1, 2013

Da Vinci's String Organ Must Be Heard To Be Believed

Pianist Slawomir Zubrzycki presents the "viola organista" on Oct. 18 in Krakow, Poland. Zubrzycki spent almost four years building the instrument, which is based on a late 15th-century design by Leonardo da Vinci.
Tomasz Wiech AFP/Getty Images

Originally published on Mon December 2, 2013 11:41 am

The man who painted the Mona Lisa, and was the first to sketch out the helicopter and the submarine, also dabbled in music. So here's the question: What musical instrument did Leonardo da Vinci design?

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Deceptive Cadence
10:08 am
Wed November 27, 2013

Confronting The Ghosts Of Classical Christmas Albums Past

Ah, the holidays: time to enjoy some great seasonal music.
Cagri Ozgur iStock

With the holidays upon us, our friends at member station WQXR invited me along with Washington Post chief classical critic Anne Midgette and Sony Masterworks producer Steven Epstein, the winner of 17 Grammy Awards, to sit down with host Naomi Lewin for a Conducting Business podcast on the topic.

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Music Reviews
11:16 am
Tue November 26, 2013

After Ailing, A Favorite Conductor Stages His Comeback

Conductor James Levine in rehearsal with Russian virtuoso Evgeny Kissin.
Cory Weaver Courtesy of the artist

Originally published on Tue November 26, 2013 4:15 pm

An extended ovation greeted conductor James Levine last May when he returned to performing after a two-year absence. In 2011, he resigned as music director of the Boston Symphony Orchestra and cancelled his performances at the Metropolitan Opera. He'd been plagued by health problems, injuries and operations, and it was painful for him to move. Many of his admirers, even he himself, feared he might never conduct again.

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Deceptive Cadence
8:03 am
Tue November 26, 2013

As JFK Died In Dallas, Music Was Born In Boston

Composer William Jay Sydeman, whose first major orchestral premiere was with the Boston Symphony Orchestra on the afternoon of Nov. 22, 1963.
YouTube

Originally published on Tue November 26, 2013 7:30 pm

Fifty years after the assassination of President John F. Kennedy, it's still shocking to hear Boston Symphony Orchestra Music Director Erich Leinsdorf announce the horrific news to a stunned audience.

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Tiny Desk Concerts
2:03 pm
Mon November 25, 2013

Kronos Quartet: Tiny Desk Concert

Kronos
NPR

Originally published on Mon December 23, 2013 2:26 pm

Sunny Yang joined Kronos Quartet in June 2013. Now, just five months later, the cellist she says she's learned quite a few new works — not just a handful, but about 70 pieces.

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Deceptive Cadence
6:07 pm
Sat November 23, 2013

A Sound Of Fear, Forged In The Shadow Of War

Stanley Kubrick's The Shining strikes its terrifying tone with help from the Polish composer Krzysztof Penderecki, whose music underscores several of its tensest scenes.
Archive Photos Getty Images

Originally published on Sun November 24, 2013 12:09 pm

The Polish composer Krzysztof Penderecki turned 80 on Saturday. You may think you've never heard Penderecki's music, but I'm guessing you have — because I'm guessing you've seen The Shining.

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Deceptive Cadence
8:03 am
Sat November 23, 2013

The Sound of Struggle Tempered With Terror: Penderecki At 80

In Penderecki's music there is a struggle between melody and dissonance.
Bruno Fidrych

Originally published on Mon November 25, 2013 9:27 am

There's a beguiling photo of Krzysztof Penderecki, who turns 80 today, inside the brochure of this week's Warsaw music festival that bears his name. It shows the lauded Polish composer standing in his immense garden, surrounded by a labyrinth of trees and shrubbery trimmed to symmetrical perfection.

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Deceptive Cadence
5:01 pm
Fri November 22, 2013

Making Music To Be Useful, And For The Living

A singer takes the stage during the first performance of "Grimes on the Beach," an outdoor production of Benjamin Britten's opera Peter Grimes, on June 17, 2013 in Aldeburgh, England.
Bethany Clarke Getty Images

Originally published on Sun November 24, 2013 6:20 pm

Composer Benjamin Britten was born 100 years ago today, and the occasion is being marked by performances of his music around the world, from Carnegie Hall in New York to Memorial Hall in Tokyo.

Britten was a central figure of 20th-century classical music: He was a conductor, pianist and festival producer, as well as a composer. His best-known works include the opera Billy Budd, his War Requiem and The Young Person's Guide to the Orchestra.

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Deceptive Cadence
3:18 pm
Thu November 21, 2013

Hear What Happened At Boston's Symphony Hall After JFK's Assassination

Conductor Erich Leinsdorf has the Boston Symphony Orchestra play the funeral march from Beethoven's Third Symphony after breaking the news of John F. Kennedy's death.
YouTube

Originally published on Sat November 23, 2013 1:43 pm

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Deceptive Cadence
2:33 pm
Thu November 21, 2013

Consumed By Violence, With Hope For Peace: Britten's 'War Requiem'

Benjamin Britten takes a cup of tea during rehearsals for his War Requiem at Coventry Cathedral, in Coventry, England in May, 1962.
Erich Auerbach Getty Images

Originally published on Sat November 23, 2013 11:18 am

I'm a bit of a cynic when it comes to composer anniversaries but this year, marking 100 years since the birth of Benjamin Britten, has been absolutely fascinating for me. I am now living proof that such centenaries can indeed change the way we look at a composer and provide us with opportunities to explore their breadth and depth. In Britten I have found a new hero, a musically surprising and multi-dimensional citizen of the world.

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Music Interviews
5:04 am
Thu November 21, 2013

The Orchestral Recipe, From The Pilgrims To Today

Food and music mingle in Pieter Claesz's Still Life with Musical Instruments (1623).
Wikimedia Commons

Originally published on Thu November 21, 2013 6:55 am

If you're going to be cooking Thanksgiving dinner next week, you've probably already started gathering the traditional ingredients — but your ingredients are most likely very different from those that made up the first Thanksgiving meal in 1621. (Marshmallows with those sweet potatoes, anyone?)

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Music Videos
8:03 am
Wed November 20, 2013

Britten Goes Back To Brooklyn With Nicholas Phan

Tenor Nicholas Phan and harpist Sivan Magen perform at a group house in Fort Greene, Brooklyn.
Mito Habe-Evans NPR

Originally published on Mon December 23, 2013 1:21 pm

Composer Benjamin Britten, whose 100th birth anniversary falls on Nov. 22nd, is so deeply associated with his native England that he's on a new 50-pence coin issued by the Royal Mint.

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Deceptive Cadence
11:02 am
Tue November 19, 2013

Act Like You Know: Benjamin Britten

A portrait of the composer Benjamin Britten from 1948.
Denis De Marney Getty Images

Originally published on Wed November 20, 2013 12:57 pm

British composer Benjamin Britten was born 100 years ago this Friday, Nov. 22. Before you ask "Benja-who?" consider this: Did you see Wes Anderson's film Moonrise Kingdom last summer, or Pedro Almodovar's Talk to Her back a decade or so ago? (Well, maybe you have to be an art-house denizen for those.

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Arts
9:36 am
Tue November 19, 2013

Dr. Danielle Cumming

Dr. Danielle Cumming

Dr. Danielle Cumming (guitar instructor at Salisbury University) has an international resume, and multiple

events coming up this fall, as well as pre-planning the Spring Guitar Festival.   She plays a bit for us, and talks with Kara Dahl Russell about her upcoming performances.  A “tiny desk concert” from WSCL 89.5.

  Guitar in the Gallery

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Deceptive Cadence
9:13 am
Sun November 17, 2013

'The Biggest Jazz Riff Ever Written:' Jeremy Denk's 'Goldberg Variations'

Jeremy Denk played Mozart at Carnegie Hall Wednesday with the San Francisco Symphony.
Eric Thayer for NPR Music

Originally published on Mon November 18, 2013 11:01 am

In the classical music world right now, many eyes are focused on Jeremy Denk.

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Deceptive Cadence
4:11 pm
Tue November 12, 2013

Remembering 'Holy Minimalist' Composer John Tavener

John Tavener's ethereal music was influenced by the Russian Orthodox traditions.
Simone Canetty-Clarke Courtesy of the artist

Originally published on Tue November 12, 2013 7:47 pm

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Classics in Concert
10:34 am
Fri November 8, 2013

Carnegie Hall Live With The San Francisco Symphony

The elegant conductor Michael Tilson Thomas leading the San Francisco Symphony in a live performance from Carnegie Hall on November 13, 2013.
Eric Thayer for NPR

Originally published on Fri June 20, 2014 9:33 am

Last March, when the San Francisco Symphony was slated for an East Coast tour, including a stop at Carnegie Hall, the musicians went on strike. Fortunately, the labor dispute was settled in 18 days — a blink of an eye compared to the recent drawn-out disruptions in Minnesota and Detroit. Still, it left New Yorkers hungry for the San Francisco Symphony's brand of tonal luminescence and programming bravado, nurtured by forward-thinking conductor Michael Tilson Thomas.

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Classical Sessions
3:20 pm
Thu November 7, 2013

Paul Lewis: Confronting Schubert's Nightmare

Pianist Paul Lewis is drawn to the late piano sonatas by Franz Schubert.
Josep Molina Harmonia Mundi

Originally published on Wed July 9, 2014 11:07 am

Pianist Paul Lewis came to Boston to make his recital debut on Jan. 12. The evening before, at this performance he gave at WGBH's Fraser Performance Studio, he told the audience he suddenly realized there was a certain magic in that date. It had been exactly 20 years earlier — Jan. 12, 1993 — when the great pianist Alfred Brendel came to London's Guildhall School of Music & Drama to do a master class. "I thought he'd tell me to do something else with my life," Lewis remembered with a laugh.

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Arts
11:47 am
Fri November 1, 2013

Classics for a Cause

Classics for a Cause

James M. Bennett students and pianists Kaya Manizade (Sr.) and Kieran Murphy (Jr.) have planned a dual recital to benefit the SWAC Instrument Barn. The Instrument barn is an organization which distributes instruments to low-income students aspiring to play in band or orchestra through Salisbury Music and Instrument Store (925 Eastern Shore Drive, Salisbury, MD).

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Deceptive Cadence
3:13 pm
Tue October 29, 2013

And You Think You're Having A Bad Day

Pianist Maria João Pires realized in a shock onstage that she'd been booked to play another piece of music altogether.
YouTube

An old video is suddenly making the internet rounds, because living vicariously through a performance nightmare is an ever-popular sport, I guess. (And we've collected plenty ourselves.)

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Deceptive Cadence
2:28 pm
Tue October 29, 2013

Bach Unwigged: The Man Behind The Music

This rare portrait of Bach, by Elias Gottlob Haussmann, hung in John Eliot Gardiner's home during World War II.
courtesy of William H. Scheide, Princeton, N.J.

Originally published on Tue October 29, 2013 9:51 pm

Johann Sebastian Bach has been a central figure in the life of British conductor John Eliot Gardiner since he was a youngster. On his way to bed, he couldn't help glancing up at the famous 18th-century portrait of Bach that hung in the first floor landing of the old mill house in Dorset, England where Gardiner was born.

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Music Interviews
6:35 am
Sun October 27, 2013

From 'Crouching Tiger' To 'Secret Songs': Composer Tan Dun's Next Move

Chinese composer Tan Dun's latest work, Nu-Shu: The Secret Songs of Women, was inspred by an ancient language spoken in a remote area of Tan's home province of Hunan.
Courtesy of the artist

Originally published on Mon October 28, 2013 1:24 pm

Chinese composer Tan Dun has written an opera for Placido Domingo and his works have been performed by the some of the world's greatest orchestras. In addition to writing music for the Beijing Olympics, he wrote the Oscar-winning score for Crouching Tiger, Hidden Dragon.

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Books News & Features
5:48 am
Sun October 27, 2013

Energetic, Intimate 'Letters' Reveal Private Leonard Bernstein

Composer and conductor Leonard Bernstein, shown here conducting the New York Philharmonic orchestra in 1963, was a legend in American music. Letters to and from Bernstein have been compiled into The Leonard Bernstein Letters, a new book edited by Nigel Simeone.
Express Newspapers Getty Images

Originally published on Sun October 27, 2013 2:10 pm

Leonard Bernstein was a singular American genius. One of the great orchestra conductors of the 20th Century, he was also a composer of hit musicals like West Side Story, as well as symphonies and ballets. He was a teacher and television personality — his Young People's Concerts introduced generations of children to classical music.

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Deceptive Cadence
8:03 am
Thu October 24, 2013

Soothing The Savage Beat: When Electronic Artists Conjure Classical

Electronic artists such as Mason Bates (pictured above), Aphex Twin and Tiësto have blended classical music into their dance beats.
Courtesy of the artist

Originally published on Thu October 24, 2013 10:19 am

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Deceptive Cadence
11:23 am
Wed October 23, 2013

Get To Know Ned Rorem, Now That He's 90

Composer Ned Rorem in 1953 in Paris, where he lived for nearly a decade and wrote his infamous Paris Diary.
Courtesy of the artist

Originally published on Wed October 23, 2013 11:52 am

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Music Interviews
5:03 pm
Sat October 19, 2013

LA's Own 'Amazing And Unique Instrument' Turns 10

An Angeleno revels at 10 Times The Party, a celebration of Walt Disney Concert Hall's 10th Anniversary, on Oct. 5 in Los Angeles.
David Livingston Getty Images

Originally published on Sun October 20, 2013 12:23 pm

If you were listening to NPR 10 years ago this week, you might have heard this enthusiastic proclamation: "The wait is finally over for architect Frank Gehry, for the musicians and staff of the LA Philharmonic, and for all of Los Angeles. Tonight, for the first time in public, the orchestra plays its magnificent new instrument: Walt Disney Concert Hall."

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