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Music News
4:54 pm
Thu February 26, 2015

A Wrong Note Sets The Right Mood In 'House Of Cards'

House of Cards stars Kevin Spacey as the ruthless politician Frank Underwood.
David Giesbrecht Netflix

Originally published on Thu February 26, 2015 8:42 pm

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Deceptive Cadence
7:27 am
Wed February 25, 2015

Bryan Hymel's Hefty High Cs

Tenor Bryan Hymel sings shining high Cs in the Rossini aria "Asile héréditaire."
Dario Acosta Warner Classics

Originally published on Wed February 25, 2015 2:22 pm

Pavarotti, roll over. There's a new king of the high Cs. His name is Bryan Hymel and he pops off no fewer than 10 of them in "Asile héréditaire," the Rossini aria that opens his new album Héroïque, released Tuesday.

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Deceptive Cadence
3:52 pm
Tue February 24, 2015

Podium Diplomacy: Conductor Takes Chinese Music West And Vice Versa

Chinese conductor Long Yu.
P.A.D. Studio Courtesy of the artist

Originally published on Wed February 25, 2015 1:40 pm

By some measures, China is now the world's largest economy. It's also a gigantic market for American brands, from Hollywood blockbusters to KFC and Pizza Hut. But one Chinese conductor, Long Yu, would like these cultures to hear each other a little more clearly. He's launching a new project to do just that, and it's starting tonight with the New York Philharmonic.

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Music News
4:53 am
Sun February 22, 2015

To Set The Mood In Period Drama, A Composer Paints Around The Emotions

Timothy Spall as the British painter J.M.W. Turner in Mike Leigh's Mr. Turner, whose score is nominated for an Oscar.
Sony Pictures Classics

Originally published on Sun February 22, 2015 11:36 am

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Deceptive Cadence
3:16 pm
Thu February 19, 2015

Composing The Folk Music Of A Made-Up Country

Ralph Fiennes and Tony Revolori as hotel concierge M. Gustave and his lobby-boy confidante, Zero, in The Grand Budapest Hotel.
Fox Searchlight Pictures

Originally published on Thu February 19, 2015 7:13 pm

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Deceptive Cadence
7:03 am
Tue February 17, 2015

Anderson & Roe's Personalized Bach

The new album by piano duo Anderson and Roe is devoted to J.S. Bach.
Ken Schles

Originally published on Thu February 19, 2015 6:04 am

Music lexicographer Theodore Baker, in his biographical dictionary of musicians, labeled J.S. Bach as the "supreme arbiter and lawgiver of music." And while Bach may have blanched had he read such a description, there is absolute power to much of his music.

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Deceptive Cadence
1:21 pm
Mon February 16, 2015

One Night Only: The Streets Meet The Opera House

The Dallas Street Choir performed in T-shirts, then changed into formalwear for the Street Requiem. Baritone Russell Rodriguez is in front, far right, in an orange T-shirt.
Courtesy of Mark Mullaney

Originally published on Mon February 16, 2015 6:35 pm

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Deceptive Cadence
2:39 am
Wed February 11, 2015

What It Means To Play Pablo Casals' Cello

Amit Peled is preparing to re-create a century-old cello recital by Pablo Casals, using the master's own instrument. Here, he shows if off in NPR's Washington, D.C., studios.
Colin Marshall NPR

Originally published on Thu February 12, 2015 1:47 pm

When Amit Peled was 10, his parents gave him a gift: a cassette of music by cello master Pablo Casals. Peled had no classical background; his parents were not musicians. He says his own budding interest in the cello was a scam, a way of getting close to a girl in his town who happened to play the instrument. And yet, every night, he would fall asleep with the tape playing from a boombox beside his bed. The music made an impression.

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Deceptive Cadence
7:03 am
Tue February 10, 2015

The Knights, Steve Reich: 'Duet' For Two Violins And Strings

The Knights play a mix of Reich, Bach, Stravinsky and a couple of their own compositions on their new album.
The Knights

Originally published on Thu February 19, 2015 6:09 am

Even trailblazing composers like Steve Reich sometimes look to the distant past for inspiration. His 1993 Duet for two violins and strings is music in which minimalism reaches back to its ancient roots. These six minutes of mesmerizing sunshine recall both the rigorous counterpoint of J.S.

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Deceptive Cadence
4:47 am
Sat February 7, 2015

The Cold Wrath Of Nature, Given Operatic Voice

Kevin Burdette stars in Everest as Beck Weathers, a Dallas doctor who survived a deadly blizzard on the mountain in 1996.
Karen Almond The Dallas Opera

Originally published on Sat February 7, 2015 10:48 am

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Deceptive Cadence
1:15 pm
Fri February 6, 2015

A Friday Surprise: Alan Gilbert Will Leave The New York Philharmonic

Alan Gilbert, music director of the New York Philharmonic, has announced he will step down in 2017.
Chris Lee New York Philharmonic

Originally published on Fri February 6, 2015 6:45 pm

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Field Recordings
7:03 am
Wed February 4, 2015

Joyce DiDonato Takes A Stand At Stonewall

Joyce DiDonato sings during a video shoot for NPR Music's Field Recordings series at the Stonewall Inn in New York City
NPR

Originally published on Wed February 4, 2015 7:25 am

On June 28, 1969, police raided the Stonewall Inn, a gay bar in New York's Greenwich Village. A riot broke out, sparking successive nights of protest and, many say, the emergence of the modern gay rights movement.

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Deceptive Cadence
11:45 am
Mon February 2, 2015

Aldo Ciccolini, An Italian Pianist With A French Soul, Dies At Age 89

Italian-born pianist Aldo Ciccolini was closely associated with French music. He died this weekend at age 89.
Sabine Weiss Courtesy of the artist

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Deceptive Cadence
4:05 pm
Sat January 31, 2015

Bach, Brits And A Bodacious Boston Orchestra: New Classical Albums

Composer Andrew Norman's new album is called Play.
BMOP Sound

Originally published on Thu February 5, 2015 9:10 am

It may be deep midwinter, when music releases are usually sparse, but this month a surprising crop of intriguing classical albums has popped up. In this visit to All Things Considered, host Arun Rath and I listen to a fearless Boston orchestra powering through a symphonic blockbuster by American composer Andrew Norman, as well as a smartly programmed album by the British Aurora Orchestra that includes a Paul Simon song.

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Deceptive Cadence
7:03 am
Tue January 27, 2015

Fifty Years Of Steve Reich's 'It's Gonna Rain'

Steve Reich, with a phase-shifting pulse gate, photographed in New York in 1969.
Nonesuch

Originally published on Tue January 27, 2015 6:14 pm

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Deceptive Cadence
7:03 am
Mon January 26, 2015

Soundtrack To The Outback: Remembering Peter Sculthorpe

On Australia Day, we salute composer Peter Sculthorpe.
Bridget Elliot Sono Luminus

Originally published on Tue January 27, 2015 8:16 am

They're celebrating Down Under. Today is Australia Day, a holiday marking the arrival of British ships at Sydney Harbour in 1788. A perfect day then to salute something truly Australian, something that speaks of national pride, austere landscapes and even the darker side of Australian history — the music of Peter Sculthorpe, who died last year at age 85.

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Alt.Latino
11:33 am
Thu January 22, 2015

Latin Symphony: How Classical Music Saved Dinorah Marquez's Life

Young members of the Latino Arts: Strings program.
Courtesy of the artist

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Deceptive Cadence
7:03 am
Wed January 21, 2015

John Luther Adams' Ode To Sundogs

John Luther Adams' new album, The Wind in High Places, evokes austere landscapes and mysterious light.
Kris Serafin

Originally published on Wed February 4, 2015 10:19 am

The day composer John Luther Adams won the 2014 Pulitzer Prize for his symphonic seascape Become Ocean, I tracked him down in Houghton, Mich., in the northernmost reaches of the Upper Peninsula. Over a crackly phone line, Adams — who turns 62 Friday — said he never thought much about a career with a capital C.

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Author Interviews
6:41 am
Sat January 17, 2015

A 'Down-To-Earth Diva' Confronts Her Flaws And Good Fortune

Deborah Voigt regularly hosts and performs in the Metropolitan Opera's The Met: Live in HD series.
Heidi Gutman HarperCollinsPublishers

Originally published on Sat January 17, 2015 10:57 am

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Deceptive Cadence
2:41 pm
Thu January 15, 2015

What We Love And Hate About 'Mozart In The Jungle'

Gael García Bernal (right), Bernadette Peters and Malcolm McDowell star in the classical music comedy series Mozart in the Jungle.
Nicole Rivelli Amazon Studios

Pill popping, pot smoking, back-stabbing, bed hopping and tantrum throwing — now we're talking classical music! At least that's what the new Amazon series Mozart in the Jungle would have us believe is all in a day's work for orchestra musicians. The 10-part series is based on a tell-all book of the same name published a decade ago by oboist Blair Tindall.

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Deceptive Cadence
7:35 am
Fri January 9, 2015

Swan Songs: Classical Musicians We Lost In 2014

Conductor Claudio Abbado was one of the many great classical musicians we bid farewell to in 2014.
Getty Images

Farewells are never easy, especially when you're saying goodbye to a favorite musician. From conductors and composers to pianists, singers and critics, the classical music world lost many masterful musicians in 2014.

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Deceptive Cadence
2:40 am
Wed January 7, 2015

Marian Anderson's Groundbreaking Met Opera Moment

Contralto Marian Anderson in the role of Ulrica from a Metropolitan Opera production of Verdi's Un ballo en maschera in 1955. Anderson was the first African-American soloist to appear at the Met.
Sedge LeBlang Metropolitan Opera Archives

Originally published on Wed January 7, 2015 11:35 am

It was conductor Arturo Toscanini who said a voice like Marian Anderson's comes around only once in a century.

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Deceptive Cadence
11:24 am
Tue January 6, 2015

Getting Off To A Good Start: A New Year's Puzzler

Where do you start? That's a question composers ask when beginning a new piece.
iStockphoto.com

Originally published on Wed January 28, 2015 6:20 pm

It's another new year and with it comes more resolutions, decisions and responsibilities.

How do you get off to a good start? That's a question many composers ask themselves when writing a piece of music. Some dive right in — BAM! Others ease into a new composition gently. See if you can identify these opening measures of music. Score high and consider yourself good to go for 2015. Score low and think about starting all over again!

First Listen
10:03 pm
Sun January 4, 2015

First Listen: Anonymous 4, '1865'

Anonymous 4's new album, 1865, comes out Jan. 13.
Dario Acosta Courtesy of the artist

Originally published on Wed January 14, 2015 9:38 am

Four a cappella voices making divine music: This has been the heart of Anonymous 4's mission for nearly three decades. And as the group bids farewell this season, they're saying goodbye in a poignant way — with the release of an album that couldn't feel more timely. It commemorates the 150th anniversary of the end of the Civil War and the beginning of Reconstruction.

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Music Interviews
3:26 pm
Fri December 26, 2014

A Week With Musical Storytellers Of The Silver Screen

"Canadian culture is so new and almost nonexistent that it's easy for us to see through the eyes of other nations," says Mychael Danna of his scores. Danna won the 2013 Academy Award for his score for Life of Pi.
20th Century Fox

Originally published on Tue January 6, 2015 6:35 pm

This week on All Things Considered, NPR's Robert Siegel spoke with some of film's most thoughtful and high-profile composers — plus an up-and-comer — about what it means to tell a story with music, and how a score can enhance a scene.

We've collected five conversations that you can listen to below. You'll hear about the magic of the Wizard of Oz score, how 5/4 time inspired Halloween's terrifying theme, and why a Canadian says he's become to the go-to composer for films requiring South Asian-inspired soundtracks.

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Deceptive Cadence
4:17 am
Sat December 13, 2014

A Bicentennial For Boston's Handel And Haydn Society

Harry Christophers leads the Handel and Haydn Society, now celebrating its bicentennial.
James Doyle Handel and Haydn Society

Originally published on Wed December 17, 2014 2:14 pm

Boston's Handel and Haydn Society is one of the oldest continuously running performing arts organizations in the country. To celebrate its bicentennial this season, the group made a new recording of a holiday perennial, Handel's Messiah, which also happens to be one of the first works it staged nearly 200 years ago. Still, the Handel and Haydn Society is very different from what it was when it started.

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Deceptive Cadence
7:05 am
Fri December 12, 2014

Best Classical Albums Of 2014

The Pulitzer Prize-winning Become Ocean by John Luther Adams is one of NPR Classical's favorite albums of 2014.
Cantaloupe

Originally published on Fri December 12, 2014 9:59 am

Most years, Tom Huizenga and I spend a lot of time after Thanksgiving and well into December battling over — or, more truthfully, having many friendly but spirited discussions about — which recordings should comprise our 10 favorites of the year. We each come up with a list of 10, and then we start hammering things out in some amount of exquisite music-nerd agony. Some albums we agree upon, some are our individual picks.

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Deceptive Cadence
5:02 am
Sat December 6, 2014

In The Italian Alps, Stradivari's Trees Live On

Marcello Mazzucchi, a retired forest ranger, stands in the Fiemme Valley in the Italian Alps. Renaissance luthiers such as Antonio Stradivari came here to handpick trees that would be crafted into the world's finest instruments.
Graziano Panfili for NPR

Originally published on Tue January 6, 2015 6:05 pm

Antonio Stradivari, the master violin maker whose instruments sell for millions of dollars today, has been dead for nearly three centuries. Only 650 of his instruments are estimated to survive.

But the forest where the luthier got his lumber is alive and well. And thanks to the surprising teamwork of modern instrument makers and forest rangers, Stradivari's trees are doing better than ever.

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Tiny Desk Concerts
12:27 pm
Thu December 4, 2014

Dublin Guitar Quartet: Tiny Desk Concert

Claire Eggers NPR

Originally published on Sat December 6, 2014 4:09 pm

Don't ask the members of the Dublin Guitar Quartet to play the time-honored classics of the Spanish repertoire. They might play traditional Spanish style classical guitars, but they're not your standard guitar ensemble. The Dubliners are strictly devoted to contemporary music. They've been commissioning new pieces and adapting others for both acoustic and electric guitars since 2002, when the group formed at the Dublin Conservatory of Music and Drama.

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Deceptive Cadence
10:03 am
Mon December 1, 2014

What's Your Top 100 Of The Last 100 Years?

Composer Steve Reich, whose Music for 18 Musicians pulled out ahead of Gershwin, Shostakovich, Bartok, Ives, Berg and all others in last year's Q2 poll.
Wonge Bergmann Courtesy of the artist

For the past few years, member station Q2 in New York City has been enlisting listeners in a thought-provoking year-end poll. Forget the best music of the last year — what are the very best compositions of the last century?

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