WRTI Picks from NPR Music

WRTI Picks from NPR Music
12:18 pm
Mon August 4, 2014

Beethoven's 'Eroica,' A Bizarre Revelation Of Personality

Originally published on Mon August 4, 2014 12:07 pm

As Beethoven set about composing his Third Symphony, his hearing was failing and he felt certain his life was about to get worse. That it was born in a moment of despair may help explain why the finished work, for all its grandeur, is extremely odd — employing devices that are by turns aggressive and mundane, somber and practically danceable.

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6:00 pm
Fri August 1, 2014

Meet The Cast Of The Met Opera's Labor Drama

Members of the American Guild of Musical Artists and the American Federation of Musicians, two of the unions embroiled in contract negotiations with Metropolitan Opera management, rally this morning at Dante Park across from Lincoln Center.
Jeff Lunden for NPR

Originally published on Tue August 26, 2014 1:37 pm

Think opera plots are tough to follow? Try wading through the complicated drama playing out offstage at the Metropolitan Opera. At its most basic, it's the story of management and labor unions fighting over a supposedly dwindling pot of money.

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WRTI Picks from NPR Music
4:01 pm
Fri August 1, 2014

'As Long As They Want To Play': Newport Jazz At 60

Velma Middleton is accompanied by Louis Armstrong at the 1955 Newport Jazz Festival.
Paul S;ade Getty

Originally published on Mon August 4, 2014 4:22 pm

This year, the Newport Jazz Festival is celebrating its 60th anniversary. For most of that time, its guiding force has been producer George Wein, who remembers all too well the first event in 1954.

It was pouring rain. Wein was being urged to call it off but refused. The audience stayed, broke out their umbrellas, and the musicians played. The scene was caught by a photographer.

"And that picture went out all over the world," Wein says, "of people sitting for five hours in the rain, listening to jazz."

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WRTI Picks from NPR Music
5:00 am
Mon July 28, 2014

The Great War At 100: Music Of Conflict And Remembrance

Austrian pianist Paul Wittgenstein (who later became an American citizen) lost an arm in World War I. He commissioned composers including Maurice Ravel to write pieces for the left hand alone.

Originally published on Mon July 28, 2014 2:37 pm

One hundred years ago today, the Austro-Hungarian Empire declared war on Serbia. The conflict drew in country after country and grew to an unprecedented scale. An estimated 9 million combatants lost their lives and more than 21 million were wounded in what came to be known as The Great War and, eventually, World War I.

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WRTI Picks from NPR Music
8:35 am
Sat July 26, 2014

War Of Words At Met Opera May Signal Shutdown

Bryn Terfel as Wotan in the Met's production of Wagner's Ring cycle, one of the productions that has been criticized by some as too costly.
Ken Howard Metropolitan Opera

Originally published on Sat July 26, 2014 1:32 pm

When an opera company is in the midst of contentious labor negotiations, the results can be dramatic. This week, the war of words between unions and management at New York's Metropolitan Opera, the world's largest opera company, escalated. An Aug. 1 shut down now seems likely.

At the center of the debate is the ballooning Met budget, which stood at $200 million in 2006 but has since climbed to more than $325 million. Met General Manager Peter Gelb asserts that union salaries and benefits are his biggest costs, accounting for two-thirds of the operating budget.

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WRTI Picks from NPR Music
2:03 am
Sat July 19, 2014

Fred Hersch Floats On, With A Dynamic Trio In Tow

Jazz pianist Fred Hersch released his latest album, a trio recording called Floating, in July.
Vincent Soyez Courtesy of the artist

Originally published on Fri August 1, 2014 8:57 am

The last time Fred Hersch was featured on Weekend Edition Saturday, the headline read, "Back On Stage By No Small Miracle." It was 2009, and scarcely a year earlier, the jazz pianist had suffered AIDS-related dementia and fallen into a coma for several months. Since recovering, Hersch has come roaring back to music, releasing a string of live albums to critical success.

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4:58 pm
Tue July 15, 2014

A Sax Trio Taps Tradition While Thriving In The Present

Melissa Aldana and Crash Trio released its self-titled debut album in June.
Courtesy of the artist

Originally published on Tue July 15, 2014 7:23 pm

Melissa Aldana, who became the first female instrumentalist and first South American musician to win the Thelonious Monk International Jazz Saxophone Competition last fall, is not the average talent-contest winner.

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WRTI Picks from NPR Music
2:07 pm
Tue July 15, 2014

Remembering Jazz Legend Charlie Haden, Who Crafted His Voice In Bass

Originally published on Fri July 11, 2014 9:39 pm

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11:51 am
Tue July 15, 2014

A Voice Of Velvet And Bronze: Carlo Bergonzi At 90

Tenor Carlo Bergonzi as Radames in Verdi's Aida in 1956, the year of his Metropolitan Opera debut.
Metropolitan Opera Archives

Originally published on Fri July 11, 2014 8:03 am

Carlo Bergonzi endures. Not only is the Italian tenor approaching his 90th birthday (on July 13) but for decades he sang with tireless warmth and precision, representing a certain old school approach to carefully cultivating one's vocal resources.

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2:01 pm
Mon July 14, 2014

Conductor Lorin Maazel, Who Brought America To The Podium, Dies

Lorin Maazel conducing the Vienna Philharmonic in March 2010.
AFP/Getty Images

Originally published on Mon July 14, 2014 11:58 am

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