WRTI Picks from NPR Music

WRTI Picks from NPR Music
12:06 pm
Tue May 21, 2013

Gods And Monsters: 5 Unforgettable Wagner Moments

The Valkyries, led by Brunnhilde (soprano Debra Voigt, lower left), are the warrior maidens of Richard Wagner's epic Ring cycle.
Ken Howard Metropolitan Opera

Originally published on Wed May 22, 2013 4:02 pm

  • William Berger on 'Parsifal'
  • William Berger on 'Das Rheingold'
  • William Berger on 'Die Walküre'
  • William Berger on 'Tristan und Isolde'
  • William Berger on 'Die Meistersinger'

How much do you know about Richard Wagner? Probably two unfavorable facts: He wrote very long, grandiose operas and was Hitler's favorite composer. As true as they are, those simple examples barely hint at the complexity of this endlessly creative and confounding artist.

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WRTI Picks from NPR Music
2:29 pm
Fri May 10, 2013

A DIY Guide To The History Of Women In Jazz

Trombonist and arranger Melba Liston is one of the women featured in a new documentary about female instrumentalists in jazz, The Girls in the Band.
Carol Comer & Diane Gregg Courtesy of the artist

New York City Mayor Michael Bloomberg has issued a proclamation declaring Friday "Women in Jazz Day" — an attempt at cultural reform that's bound to enjoy the same resounding success as banning oversized sodas. Which is to say: Nice try, Mr. Mayor.

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WRTI Picks from NPR Music
6:40 pm
Wed May 1, 2013

Coaxing The Baby To Sleep: A Violinist's Hand-Picked Lullabies

Violinist Rachel Barton Pine says she had her infant daughter in mind when she decided to record an album of lullabies.
Andrew Eccles Courtesy of the artist

Originally published on Wed May 1, 2013 7:48 pm

In German, it's wiegenlied; in French, berceuse; in Norwegian, vuggevise. In any language, the universal effect of what we know as the lullaby is, of course, to coax a baby to sleep.

Violinist Rachel Barton Pine had her own baby in mind when she decided to record a collection of lullabies. Her infant daughter appears on the cover of the new album Violin Lullabies — all folded up, fast asleep, so tiny she just about fits in her dad's hands.

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WRTI Picks from NPR Music
6:03 am
Tue April 30, 2013

Meet The Man Who Assembles The World's Biggest Jazz Concert

John Beasley has now served as music director for both editions of International Jazz Day.
Tim Sassoon Courtesy of the artist

Originally published on Tue April 30, 2013 12:40 pm

The pianist and composer John Beasley has one of the most formidable tasks of anyone associated with today's International Jazz Day, the celebration produced by UNESCO and the Thelonious Monk Institute of Jazz. He's music director of the centerpiece concert to be live-streamed from Istanbul tonight (2 p.m. ET in the U.S.).

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WRTI Picks from NPR Music
4:20 pm
Mon April 29, 2013

Remembering Janos Starker, The Cellist 'Born To Be A Teacher'

Cellist Janos Starker with one of his classes at Indiana University. He said he was "put on this earth to be a teacher."
Indiana University Jacobs School of Music

Originally published on Mon April 29, 2013 5:48 pm

Renowned concert soloist and prolific, Grammy-winning cellist Janos Starker died Sunday. He was 88.

Starker's career began in his native Hungary, where he entered the Budapest Academy at age 7 and made his solo debut four years later. Starker dedicated his life to music, and left a legacy of teaching and performing.

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WRTI Picks from NPR Music
10:15 am
Thu April 25, 2013

Piano Vs. Piano, And Why Style Matters

Jaki Byard (left) and Tommy Flanagan.
Tom Copi Resonance Records

Comparisons have always helped me appreciate jazz. An artist plays a tune fast; another does it as a ballad. A trumpeter finishes his solo, and a saxophonist takes that closing phrase and morphs it in a different direction. A musician revisits a composition years later with a new arrangement and ensemble. Aligned side by side, you get a good sense of why jazz is a music of individual style, and of gradual accretion, and of friendly "Oh, yeah, watch this" motivation.

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WRTI Picks from NPR Music
5:22 am
Sat April 20, 2013

A Moment With Pulitzer-Winning Composer Caroline Shaw

Caroline Shaw, who composed the piece Partita for 8 Voices for her vocal group Roomful of Teeth, is the youngest-ever recipient of the Pulitzer Prize for music.
Dashon Burton Courtesy of the artist

Originally published on Sat April 20, 2013 1:57 pm

How do you write something like Partita for 8 Voices, the a cappella vocal piece that is this year's winner of the Pulitzer Prize for music?

"Very late at night," says the composer, Caroline Shaw, speaking with NPR's Scott Simon. "Sometimes it comes from having a sound in your head that you really want to hear, that you've never heard before, and struggling to make that sound happen in any way you can."

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WRTI Picks from NPR Music
3:09 pm
Wed April 17, 2013

The Conductor Who Gained Power By Giving It Up

Colin Davis found power in humility later in his career — and one astonished music journalist.
Alberto Venzago

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WRTI Picks from NPR Music
4:27 pm
Tue April 16, 2013

How Taxes And Moving Changed The Sound Of Jazz

The bebop innovator Dizzy Gillespie on 52nd Street in New York, which was filled with small jazz clubs in the 1940s.
William Gottlieb The Library of Congress

This week — when many of us at NPR rushed to file our U.S. federal income-tax returns, then moved to a new headquarters — I'm reminded of a moment in jazz history. Namely, the mid-1940s, when a new style called bebop came into popularity.

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WRTI Picks from NPR Music
6:09 pm
Mon April 15, 2013

Winning A Pulitzer For Music At Age 30

Caroline Shaw, winner of this year's music Pulitzer, performing with the ACME ensemble in New York in September 2012.
AJ Wilhelm for NPR

Originally published on Mon April 15, 2013 6:16 pm

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