WRTI Picks from NPR Music

WRTI Picks from NPR Music
8:14 am
Sat December 8, 2012

Top 10 Jazz Albums of 2012

The Vijay Iyer Trio is Marcus Gilmore (left, drums), Iyer (center, piano) and Stephan Crump (right, bass).
Jimmy Katz Courtesy of the artist

Originally published on Sat December 29, 2012 9:31 am

For the better part of this year, I haven't been able to shake a certain phrase from the back of my mind. It was written by the pianist and composer Vijay Iyer in the liner notes to his brilliant trio album Accelerando: "[T]his album is in the lineage of American creative music based on dance rhythms."

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WRTI Picks from NPR Music
3:29 am
Thu December 6, 2012

Anonymous 4 Marks A Milestone Year Performing Medieval Music

To mark the group's 25th anniversary, Anonymous 4 commissioned the new piece love fail from Pulitzer Prize-winning composer David Lang.
Chris Carroll Brooklyn Academy of Music

Originally published on Thu December 6, 2012 9:05 am

As of this year, the vocal group Anonymous 4 has been introducing modern audiences to medieval music for a quarter century. When the all-female quartet asked David Lang to help mark the occasion by writing them some music, he didn't need any convincing. The Pulitzer Prize-winning composer was already a big fan.

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WRTI Picks from NPR Music
9:11 am
Tue December 4, 2012

Classical Lost And Found: Hubert Parry's Glorious England

A 1910 portrait of King George V in procession. A new album of choral works by Hubert Parry features music he wrote for the king's coronation one year later.
Chandos Records

Originally published on Wed December 5, 2012 10:53 am

Composers Hubert Parry, Charles Villiers Stanford and Edward Elgar dominated the British musical scene in the latter half of the Victorian age through the Edwardian era. Albums of Parry's music have been rare lately, so this new recording by Neeme Järvi and BBC National Orchestra and Chorus of Wales is most welcome. Except for Parry's ever-popular Jerusalem, all the selections here are world premiere recordings.

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From The Top Alums
5:45 pm
Mon December 3, 2012

Beatboxed Bach

From The Top

Originally published on Sun December 9, 2012 9:14 am

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WRTI Picks from NPR Music
2:30 pm
Tue November 27, 2012

Do Orchestras Really Need Conductors?

Does This Guy Matter? Conductor Leonard Bernstein during rehearsal with the Cincinnati Symphony at Carnegie Hall in 1977.
James Garrett New York Daily News via Getty Images

Originally published on Wed December 5, 2012 10:12 am

Have you ever wondered whether music conductors actually influence their orchestras?

They seem important. After all, they're standing in the middle of the stage and waving their hands. But the musicians all have scores before them that tell them what to play. If you took the conductor away, could the orchestra manage on its own?

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WRTI Picks from NPR Music
12:18 pm
Mon November 26, 2012

Jason Kao Hwang: From The Blues To China And Back

Burning Bridge personnel, left to right: Jason Kao Hwang (violin), Wang Guowei (erhu), Sun Li (pipa), Ken Filiano (string bass), Andrew Drury (drum set), Joseph Daley (tuba), Steve Swell (trombone), Taylor Ho Bynum (cornet/flugelhorn).
Scott Friedlander Courtesy of the artist

Originally published on Wed August 21, 2013 2:20 pm

Jazz reflects who we are as a people — democracy in action and all that. But a jazz tune or solo is also a portrait of the musician who makes it; the music reflects the particular background and training that influences how composers compose and improvisers improvise. Jason Kao Hwang makes that autobiographical component explicit throughout his extended composition for eight pieces, Burning Bridge. His parents made the move from China around the end of WWII, and he grew up attending Presbyterian services in suburban Chicago.

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WRTI Picks from NPR Music
12:13 pm
Mon November 26, 2012

100 Years Of Don Byas And Teddy Wilson

Teddy Wilson (center) and drummer Zutty Singleton in 1940.
William Gottlieb The Library Of Congress

Originally published on Mon November 26, 2012 5:31 pm

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WRTI Picks from NPR Music
4:13 pm
Fri November 23, 2012

Missy Mazzoli: A New Opera And New Attitude For Classical Music

As a young classical composer, Missy Mazzoli borrows music and business strategies from the indie rock world.
Stephen Taylor

Originally published on Sat November 24, 2012 4:36 am

Missy Mazzoli, a 32-year-old composer from Brooklyn, says she never wanted to write an opera until she read the journals of Isabelle Eberhardt, a Swiss adventurer from the turn of the 20th century. Oddly enough, Mazzoli first learned about Eberhardt while listening to NPR. Years later, she stumbled upon the explorer's journals in a bookstore.

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WRTI Picks from NPR Music
5:23 pm
Mon November 19, 2012

Beethoven's Famous 4 Notes: Truly Revolutionary Music

An autographed portrait of Ludwig van Beethoven.
Hulton Archive Getty Images

Originally published on Tue November 20, 2012 11:00 am

A new book, a new recording and some old instruments, all addressing the most memorable phrase in music: the opening of Beethoven's Fifth Symphony.

Matthew Guerrieri has written a book about this symphony, called The First Four Notes: Beethoven's Fifth and the Human Imagination. Guerrieri writes about how Beethoven's piece resonated with everyone from revolutionaries to Romantics, and German nationalists to anti-German resistance fighters.

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WRTI Picks from NPR Music
4:38 pm
Fri November 16, 2012

Classical Crib Sheet: Top 5 Stories This Week

Minnesota Orchestra music director Osmo Vänskä, whose pleas to his symphony's management and players just went public.
Todd Buchanan courtesy of the Minnesota Orchestra

Originally published on Fri November 16, 2012 11:07 am

  • Minnesota Orchestra music director Osmo Vänskä has finally (and unusually for a conductor) spoken out about management's lockout of his players.
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