WRTI Picks from NPR Music

WRTI Picks from NPR Music
5:41 am
Sun November 16, 2014

'Twinkle' Sparks Fireworks As Fiddler Guts Violin Method

Shinichi Suzuki makes a rare visit to Britain in 1980 to demonstrate the method he developed for learning to play the violin.
Ian Tyas Getty Images

Originally published on Mon November 17, 2014 5:37 pm

If you're a parent, the sound of a small child sawing away at the strains of the "Twinkle Variations" may be all too familiar.

It's Song One, of Book One, of the Suzuki method, a musical pedagogy developed by Shin'ichi Suzuki in the 1960s.

But lately there has been discord among music educators, a feud over methods and credentials and accusations of fraud.

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WRTI Picks from NPR Music
4:54 pm
Sun November 9, 2014

'The Black Horn': Blowing Past Classical Music's Color Barriers

Robert Lee Watt was a member of the Los Angeles Philharmonic for more than three decades.
Courtesy of Rowman & Littlefield Publishers

Originally published on Mon November 10, 2014 9:44 am

Robert Lee Watt fell in love with the French horn at an early age. He met a lot of resistance from people who thought his background and his race made a career with the instrument unlikely — but he went on to become the first African-American French hornist hired by a major symphony in the United States.

He became the assistant first French horn for the Los Angeles Philharmonic in 1970, and stayed with the orchestra for 37 years. His memoir, The Black Horn, tells how he got there.

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Jazz Night in America: November 9th, 8 PM on WRTI
2:11 am
Thu November 6, 2014

A Night At The Museum

Emmet Cohen performs at the Rubin Museum of Art.
NPR

Originally published on Thu November 13, 2014 12:10 am

Jazz musicians find inspiration in many things. Himalayan art is not typically one of them.

Jazz Night in America visits the Rubin Museum of Art in New York City to hear interviews and live performances from each of the five finalists for the American Pianists Association's Cole Porter Fellow In Jazz: Kris Bowers, Emmet Cohen, Sullivan Fortner, Zach Lapidus and Christian Sands. Hear what visually inspires some of the most promising young jazz talent, from mandalas to fish.

WRTI Picks from NPR Music
5:41 pm
Sun November 2, 2014

Amid Hunger And Cold, An Unforgettable Symphony Premiere

Citizens of Leningrad collect water from a broken main in the winter of 1942, during a blockade of the Russian city by Nazis.
AP

Originally published on Tue November 4, 2014 12:30 pm

In early 1941, Dmitri Shostakovich was nervous. He was one of Soviet Russia's most brilliant composers, but he had fallen out of favor with the ruthless dictator Joseph Stalin.

He'd been forced to denounce several of his own pieces of music, and some of his friends and family had been imprisoned or killed. He knew the same thing could happen to him.

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WRTI Picks from NPR Music
4:32 am
Sun October 19, 2014

After 200 Years, A Schubert Song Still Resonates

Scottish-American soprano Mary Garden (1874-1967) portrayed Goethe's character Gretchen, known as Marguerite in Charles Gounod's opera Faust.
Bettmann/CORBIS

Originally published on Mon November 3, 2014 7:32 pm

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WRTI Picks from NPR Music
4:32 am
Sat October 18, 2014

Postlude To A Kiss: Scriabin's Raging 'Poem Of Ecstasy'

Alexander Scriabin originally set out to write a piece called "Orgiastic Poem," centered on physical ecstasy, but later decided to alter the title to something more ambiguous.
Hulton Archive Getty Images

Originally published on Tue October 21, 2014 11:03 am

I love composer anniversaries because they afford us opportunities to look at musicians anew, and 2015 will mark the centenary of the death of Russian composer Alexander Scriabin. It's quite possible that you've never heard of Scriabin, but take comfort in the fact that even his biographer said, "No one was more famous during their lifetime, and few were more quickly ignored after death."

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WRTI Picks from NPR Music
3:52 pm
Tue October 14, 2014

The Royal Shakespeare Company Releases Music From Its Archive

The Royal Shakespeare Company is releasing albums of the music commissioned for its productions of many of the plays in this first collected edition of William Shakespeare's works.
Leon Neal AFP/Getty Images

Originally published on Sun October 12, 2014 1:14 pm

For more than a century, the Royal Shakespeare Company in England has hired composers to write original music for its productions. That sheet music has sat in a vault for decades — until now.

The company has started releasing albums that combine music from its contemporary productions with much older works.

Bruce O'Neill, head of music for the Royal Shakespeare Company, describes the archive as "a bit like a bank vault."

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WRTI Picks from NPR Music
3:48 pm
Mon October 13, 2014

The Case Of The Stolen Stradivarius

The Lipinski Stradivarius is worth between $5 million and $6 million. Only about 650 Strads, made by master luthier Antonio Stradivari, survive today.
Courtesy of Frank Almond

Originally published on Sun October 12, 2014 6:52 pm

Stradivarius violins are so important that they come with their own biographies. Several hundred of them survive today, and they're so prized, you can trace their lineages through the musicians who played them over the centuries.

The instruments have been valued at prices ranging from hundreds of thousands of dollars to several million. That kind of money attracts a lot of nonmusicians, like investors — and thieves.

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WRTI Picks from NPR Music
5:24 pm
Wed October 8, 2014

Art As Conversation: Three New Collaborative Albums

Nels Cline and Julian Lage's new collaborative album is called Room.
Courtesy of the artist

Originally published on Tue October 14, 2014 4:37 pm

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WRTI Picks from NPR Music
5:44 pm
Mon October 6, 2014

A Ferguson Protest Brings New Meaning To Brahms' Requiem In St. Louis

Rebecca Rivas, a reporter for the St. Louis American newspaper, captured video of the Ferguson protest at the St. Louis Symphony concert Saturday night.
St. Louis American/YouTube

Originally published on Mon October 6, 2014 6:30 pm

At the St. Louis Symphony concert Saturday night, the intermission may have been the most memorable part of the performance. Demonstrators in the audience sang a "Requiem for Mike Brown," referencing the 18-year-old African-American shot to death by a Ferguson, Mo., police officer in August.

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