JPR Classics

Classical music posts.

How To Practice Effectively, According To Science

Mar 6, 2017

Practice is a physical activity, of course, but it's also hard mental work — if you're doing it right. A new video published by TED Ed gets down to the scientific nitty-gritty of what good practice looks like, and what it does to your brain. (Think axons and myelin, not "muscle memory" — muscles don't have "memory.")

Featured Works for March – First Concert
(*Indicates March birthday)

Mar 1 W George Frideric Handel: Harp Concerto in B flat major
Mar 2 T Franz Joseph Haydn: Symphony No. 98
Mar 3 F Johannes Brahms: Alto Rhapsody

Mar 6 M Benjamin Britten: Simple Symphony
Mar 7 T Mily Balakirev: Tamara
Mar 8 W Lucie Vellère: String Quartet No. 3
Mar 9 T Samuel Barber*: Violin Concerto
Mar 10 F Pablo de Sarasate*: Concert Fantasy on Gounod’s Roméo et Juliette

The 15th Van Cliburn International Piano Competition, which takes place every four years, begins later this spring in Fort Worth, Texas. For the past six weeks, judges have been traveling the world to hear potential competitors audition. One notable stop is Moscow — where the American pianist for whom the contest is named stunned the world 59 years ago, winning the International Tchaikovsky Competition at the height of the Cold War.

Copyright 2017 NPR. To see more, visit http://www.npr.org/.

ROBERT SIEGEL, HOST:

A Philip Glass Moment That Could Last Forever

Jan 31, 2017

Featured Works for February – First Concert
(*Indicates February birthday)

Feb 1 W Victor Herbert*: Five Pieces for Cello and Strings
Feb 2 T Ulysses Kay: Suite from The Quiet One
Feb 3 F Felix Mendelssohn*: Sonata in B flat major

Feb 6 M Gary Powell Nash: In Memoriam: Sojourner Truth
Feb 7 T Wilhelm Stenhammar*: String Quartet No. 6
Feb 8 W Béla Bartók: Piano Concerto No. 3
Feb 9 T George Frideric Handel: Suite from Water Music
Feb 10 F Jerry Goldsmith*: Fireworks

American composer Philip Glass turns 80 years old on January 31. To mark the occasion, we asked several of Glass' colleagues and collaborators to pick a piece of his music and write about it.

For nearly five decades, Daniel Barenboim has been making a case for the symphonies of Anton Bruckner. Tonight at Carnegie Hall, the conductor begins a complete cycle of Bruckner's nine numbered symphonies, leading the storied Staatskapelle Berlin.

The pipe organ dates back to ancient Greece. It has grown ever more complicated and ever more associated with Christianity.

But virtuoso organist Cameron Carpenter (@CameronOrganist) is on a mission to change the whole organ world, from its religious ties to archaic technology. Carpenter spoke with Here & Now‘s Robin Young ahead of his performance with the Boston Symphony Orchestra.

Classical composers have long had their patrons: Beethoven had Archduke Rudolph, John Cage had Betty Freeman. For contemporary opera composers, there's Beth Morrison. She and her production company have commissioned new works from some of the most innovative emerging composers today.

Georges Prêtre, the French conductor with a seven-decade career that included close associations with Maria Callas and many of the world's top orchestras, died Wednesday in France at age 92.

Beethoven began writing his third symphony, the “Eroica,” when he was inspired by Napoleon Bonaparte, then a hero of the French Revolution.

But by the time the symphony was finished, the composer dedicated it “to the memory of a great man,” even though Napoleon was still alive.

Songs We Love: Naqsh Duo, 'Parlando'

Dec 29, 2016

In the last week of 2016, Songs We Love is featuring just a few of the songs that, for whatever reason, never got their due this year.

The clarinet and guitar are common enough instruments, but you've probably never heard them sound quite like this. In the hands of guitarist Golfam Khayam and clarinetist Mona Matbou Riahi, the instruments breathe together in music that borrows melody and improvisation from their Iranian homeland and classical structures from the West.

Featured Works for January – First Concert
(*Indicates January birthday) 

Jan 2 M Richard Wagner: Overture to The Flying Dutchman
Jan 3 T Peter Ilyich Tchaikovsky: Suite from Sleeping Beauty
Jan 4 W Johannes Brahms: Eight Piano Pieces, Op. 76
Jan 5 T Maurice Ravel: Concerto for the Left Hand
Jan 6 F Max Bruch*: Violin Concerto No. 1

Copyright 2016 NPR. To see more, visit http://www.npr.org/.

AUDIE CORNISH, HOST:

The top-selling music artists of 2016 is not who you'd expect. If you looked at the most popular songs today, it's not Drake. He's runner-up.

(SOUNDBITE OF SONG, "HOTLINE BLING")

The last time New York's Metropolitan Opera presented a work written by a woman was 113 years ago. It's a drought that lasted longer than the years between the Cubs' World Series victories. That situation has finally been rectified this week with the New York premiere of the opera L'Amour de Loin by Finnish composer Kaija Saariaho.

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