WRTI Picks from NPR Music

WRTI Picks from NPR Music
3:39 pm
Mon April 28, 2014

Valentina Lisitsa: Chasing Pianos And YouTube Fans

Valentina Lisitsa's new album, Chasing Pianos, features music from Michael Nyman's score to the 1993 film The Piano.
Alexei Kuznetsoff Courtesy of the artist

Originally published on Fri April 25, 2014 7:15 pm

Born in Kiev a little more than 40 years ago, Valentina Lisitsa came to America in the early '90s to work as a concert pianist.

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WRTI Picks from NPR Music
9:14 am
Fri April 25, 2014

A Trove Of Celluloid, Primed For The Public

Maria Callas at home in her Milan Apartment, in 1958. One of 85,000 archive films British Pathé has uploaded to YouTube.
British Pathé

Originally published on Fri April 25, 2014 9:42 am

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WRTI Picks from NPR Music
5:00 pm
Sun April 20, 2014

Honey, Blood And Harmony: Jordi Savall's Balkan Journey

Early music specialist Jordi Savall has turned his attention to the widely varied music of the Balkans. "For me," he says, "it's one of the most exciting projects that happened in the last 20 years."
Courtesy of the artist

Originally published on Mon April 21, 2014 1:42 pm

Jordi Savall has made a career of reviving ancient music. Whatever the age of the songs, though, he doesn't play them as museum-piece recreations, preserved in isolation. Savall takes great pleasure in smashing together music from different times and different cultures.

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WRTI Picks from NPR Music
3:12 pm
Fri April 18, 2014

Why Metallica's Bassist Is Producing A Jazz Documentary

The late virtuoso bassist Jaco Pastorius enjoyed only a relatively brief career, but was influential to musicians across genres.
Courtesy of JPI

It seems an unlikely match.

In one corner, you have Metallica's Robert Trujillo. The most popular heavy metal bassist alive, he prowls beast-like across arena stages, rumbling guts with the low B on the 5-string instrument he slings to one side like a battle ax.

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WRTI Picks from NPR Music
2:32 pm
Thu April 17, 2014

Classical Quartet Gets All Twisted

Look, Ma! Behind our backs!
Courtesy of the artists

A German quartet calling themselves the Salut Salon is surging in social media right now with a bout of one-upwomanship that mixes together music, acrobatics and some good slapstick timing.

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WRTI Picks from NPR Music
5:07 am
Sat April 12, 2014

A Debut Symphony That Embraced The World

Gustav Mahler wanted each of his symphonies to contain a world of emotions and ideas.
Library of Congress

Originally published on Thu April 17, 2014 10:55 am

Conducting Gustav Mahler's First Symphony is an exhilarating and demanding task. Although it's one of his shortest symphonies (at about 55 minutes), it is an epic journey that requires countless hours of analysis and examination of the score. Still, it is a thrilling process to peel back and reassemble the many layers of Mahler's music.

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WRTI Picks from NPR Music
5:14 pm
Mon April 7, 2014

Musicians, Take Note: Your Instrument May Be Contraband

Antique bows were often made with a small piece of ivory that clamps the bow hairs onto the wood.
Courtesy of the artist

Originally published on Mon April 7, 2014 7:29 pm

New Obama administration rules aimed at protecting African elephants are causing widespread anxiety in the music world. From country to classical, working musicians say the policy will make them think twice about touring abroad.

The proposed regulations would place a near-total ban on anything made with ivory moving in and out of the U.S.

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WRTI Picks from NPR Music
11:09 am
Thu March 27, 2014

The Soul Of The World's Most Expensive Violin

Anne Akiko Meyers, with her recently acquired Guarneri violin, at NPR's Studio 1.
Jim Tuttle NPR

Originally published on Fri March 7, 2014 11:39 am

The Vieuxtemps Guarneri is a violin that is older than the United States of America — 273 years old, to be exact. It recently became the most expensive violin in the world, selling for an estimated $16 million. Its new owner anonymously donated the historic instrument to violinist Anne Akiko Meyers, on loan for the rest of her life.

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WRTI Picks from NPR Music
2:44 pm
Mon March 24, 2014

Joseph Calleja: Tiny Desk Concert

Joseph Calleja performed a Tiny Desk Concert November 26.
Abbey Oldham Abbey Oldham/NPR

Malta, the island nation 50 miles south of Sicily, may be small, but it's home to one of the biggest stars in opera, tenor Joseph Calleja. And like his country's name, which may originate in the Greek word for honey, Calleja's voice is a potent mix of Italianate passion and sweetness. Just listen to how he pulls the volume back to a slender golden ray of tone several times in Tosti's gorgeous "Ideale," and especially the word "disciogliea" in the Puccini aria that closes this performance.

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WRTI Picks from NPR Music
1:31 pm
Mon March 24, 2014

After A Painful Year, Bud Powell's Triumpant 1953 Return

Bud Powell pioneered bebop-style improvisation on the piano.
Metronome Getty Images

Originally published on Mon March 24, 2014 2:14 pm

The great bebop pianist Bud Powell played several engagements at the New York jazz club Birdland in 1953. Parts of his shows were broadcast on the radio, and one listener recorded some onto acetate discs. A new collection of those recordings is out now: Birdland 1953 on three CDs from ESP-Disk'. The sound quality isn't much, but the music is terrific.

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