JPR Classics

Classical music posts.

John Luther Adams' Ode To Sundogs

Jan 21, 2015

The day composer John Luther Adams won the 2014 Pulitzer Prize for his symphonic seascape Become Ocean, I tracked him down in Houghton, Mich., in the northernmost reaches of the Upper Peninsula. Over a crackly phone line, Adams — who turns 62 Friday — said he never thought much about a career with a capital C.

What We Love And Hate About 'Mozart In The Jungle'

Jan 16, 2015

Pill popping, pot smoking, back-stabbing, bed hopping and tantrum throwing — now we're talking classical music! At least that's what the new Amazon series Mozart in the Jungle would have us believe is all in a day's work for orchestra musicians. The 10-part series is based on a tell-all book of the same name published a decade ago by oboist Blair Tindall.

Copyright 2015 NPR. To see more, visit http://www.npr.org/.

Transcript

DAVID GREENE, HOST:

And, Renee, there is one change that has come to the neighborhood you were just talking about.

(SOUNDBITE OF GABRIEL FAURE SONG, "THE REQUIEM")

For this edition of the Here & Now DJ Sessions, Steve Staruch, a host at Classical Minnesota Public Radio, joins Jeremy Hobson to survey a range of choral music.

Staruch takes us through older classics — including one from the late Swiss composer Frank Martin — to the virtual choir created by Eric Whitacre.

Swan Songs: Classical Musicians We Lost In 2014

Jan 9, 2015

Farewells are never easy, especially when you're saying goodbye to a favorite musician. From conductors and composers to pianists, singers and critics, the classical music world lost many masterful musicians in 2014.

It was conductor Arturo Toscanini who said a voice like Marian Anderson's comes around only once in a century.

Getting Off To A Good Start: A New Year's Puzzler

Jan 6, 2015

It's another new year and with it comes more resolutions, decisions and responsibilities.

How do you get off to a good start? That's a question many composers ask themselves when writing a piece of music. Some dive right in — BAM! Others ease into a new composition gently. See if you can identify these opening measures of music. Score high and consider yourself good to go for 2015. Score low and think about starting all over again!

First Listen: Anonymous 4, '1865'

Jan 5, 2015

Four a cappella voices making divine music: This has been the heart of Anonymous 4's mission for nearly three decades. And as the group bids farewell this season, they're saying goodbye in a poignant way — with the release of an album that couldn't feel more timely. It commemorates the 150th anniversary of the end of the Civil War and the beginning of Reconstruction.

This week on All Things Considered, NPR's Robert Siegel spoke with some of film's most thoughtful and high-profile composers — plus an up-and-comer — about what it means to tell a story with music, and how a score can enhance a scene.

We've collected five conversations that you can listen to below. You'll hear about the magic of the Wizard of Oz score, how 5/4 time inspired Halloween's terrifying theme, and why a Canadian says he's become to the go-to composer for films requiring South Asian-inspired soundtracks.

At 90, 'Fiddler' Lyricist Tells His Story

Dec 29, 2014

"Any successful lyricist has to be part playwright and has to be able to put himself into the minds and the hearts and the souls of the characters," Sheldon Harnick tells Fresh Air's Terry Gross.

Originally broadcast April 30.

Copyright 2014 NPR. To see more, visit http://www.npr.org/.

On Thursday morning at 8am, join JPR's Classics & News Service for New Year's Day from Vienna 2015, a live broadcast featuring the Vienna Philharmonic.

Steinway Bids Farewell To Its Historic Hall

Dec 27, 2014

New York is saying goodbye to another historic building. Steinway Hall, the main showroom for Steinway & Sons pianos, will be moving to a new location, leaving its home of almost 90 years on 57th Street near Carnegie Hall. The first floor has been designated a landmark and will be preserved, while the rest of the building will be torn down to build high-rise luxury condominiums.

Audiences who come to see the Holiday Pops can usually expect jaunty chestnuts like “How the Grinch Stole Christmas” or “The Polar Express.”

But this year conductor Keith Lockhart was stirred by a bittersweet episode from history: an impromptu and unsanctioned ceasefire that took place during World War I.

“The particular thing about this story is that the uniting force, the thing that brings people together, is music,” Lockhart explained.

Copyright 2015 NPR. To see more, visit http://www.npr.org/.

Transcript

ROBERT SIEGEL, HOST:

Seeing a movie isn't just about seeing. It's equally about hearing words and music.

(SOUNDBITE OF VARIOUS FILM SCORES)

Copyright 2014 NPR. To see more, visit http://www.npr.org/.

Transcript

RENEE MONTAGNE, HOST:

Here is a holiday tradition that seems as old as Christmas trees and mistletoe.

(SOUNDBITE OF PYOTR ILYICH TCHAIKOVSKY SONG, "NUTCRACKER OVERTURE")

JPR's Classics & News Service presents the second season of a special classical series from WFMT called Living American Composers: New Music From Bowling Green, Sunday evenings at 7pm through the end of March.

Boston's Handel and Haydn Society is one of the oldest continuously running performing arts organizations in the country. To celebrate its bicentennial this season, the group made a new recording of a holiday perennial, Handel's Messiah, which also happens to be one of the first works it staged nearly 200 years ago. Still, the Handel and Haydn Society is very different from what it was when it started.

Best Classical Albums Of 2014

Dec 12, 2014

Most years, Tom Huizenga and I spend a lot of time after Thanksgiving and well into December battling over — or, more truthfully, having many friendly but spirited discussions about — which recordings should comprise our 10 favorites of the year. We each come up with a list of 10, and then we start hammering things out in some amount of exquisite music-nerd agony. Some albums we agree upon, some are our individual picks.

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