Music

Deceptive Cadence
2:13 pm
Tue February 7, 2012

Super Bass: Can You Hit This Note?

Composer Paul Mealor is searching for a voice that can hit a low E --circled in this fragment from his latest piece, De Profundis.
Paul Mealor

Calling all basses: Decca Records is on the hunt for someone who can sing a low E, nearly three octaves below middle C. The note is featured in a new piece called De Profundis (Out of the depths I cry to you, O Lord — Psalm) by the Welsh composer Paul Mealor.

I'm really attracted to the depths of the human spectrum," Mealor tells NPR's Robert Siegel. "We're seeking to find the person that can sing the lowest note ever written in choral music — and not just that note, but the solo in this piece for bass solo and choir. So we're looking for someone very special."

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The Record
12:01 am
Mon February 6, 2012

Get To Know The Song Of The Year Nominees: Bruno Mars, 'Grenade'

Bruno Mars.
Andreas Laszlo Konrath Courtesy of the artist

Originally published on Tue December 11, 2012 12:59 pm

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Music Reviews
3:11 pm
Thu February 2, 2012

Ani DiFranco: Embracing Stability, Remaining Outspoken

With more than a dozen studio albums to her credit, Ani DiFranco has a strong handle on outspoken, politically charged music. Her latest is Which Side Are You On?
Shervin Lainez Courtesy of the artist

For any Ani DiFranco fan amazed by her one fine album a year between 1995 and 1999, the many albums she put out in the '00s just weren't up to par. So her new record, Which Side Are You On?, comes as a surprise and a tremendous relief.

The first words out of her mouth are the most striking she's uttered on record in over a decade. The opening track, "Life Boat," is sung in the voice of a homeless woman who's pretty jaunty, considering:

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The Record
1:18 pm
Wed February 1, 2012

'Soul Train' Creator Don Cornelius Dies At 75

Don Cornelius posing for a portrait in 1973 in Los Angeles.
Michael Ochs Archives Getty Images

Originally published on Wed February 1, 2012 11:30 am

The host and executive producer of Soul Train has died. The Los Angeles police department is reporting that Don Cornelius was found dead at his home in Los Angeles this morning from a self-inflicted gunshot wound.

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Word of Mouth - Segment
12:49 pm
Tue January 31, 2012

Happy Birthday Philip Glass!

Photo by mae noelle, courtesy of Flickr Creative Commons

Composer Philip Glass turns 75 today. His birthday is being celebrated with festivals and performances around the globe and the premiere of his 9th symphony at Carnegie hall tonight. Glass is easily the most famous composer of his generation.  How many other composers have received commissions from the Metropolitan Opera and inspired a knock-knock joke? Philip Glass began playing works to tiny, often hostile audiences back in the 1960’s.

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Word of Mouth
10:16 am
Fri January 27, 2012

Word of Mouth for 01.28.12

Photo by urbanmkr, courtesy of Flickr Creative Commons

Part 1: "Ready for Liftoff: 3...2...None?"

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Word of Mouth - Segment
10:59 am
Thu January 26, 2012

Ancient Sound, Modern Virtuoso

 To the average American, Chinese music might evoke a stereotype, the atonal, plucky sounds of soundtracks to martial arts films, or the ambience in Chinese restaurants. But like Chinese culture, the traditions of Chinese music reach back thousands of years and pull from myriad styles that reflect the diverse landscape of the worlds most populous nation. And weaving through much of it is the distinctive strain on the pipa, the ancient, four stringed instrument sometimes referred to as the Chinese Lute.

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Word of Mouth - Segment
12:25 pm
Mon January 23, 2012

Musical Change

Photo by cjggbella, courtesy of Flickr Creative Commons

This segment begins with a recording of a 26-year-old Gustavo Dudamel conductor of the Orquesta Sinfónica Simón Bolívar in Leonard Bernstein’s Arrangement of Mambo. Dudamel is the most energetic young thing on the podium. Before being named music director of Los Angeles Philharmonic Orchestra and principal conductor of the Gothenburg Symphony in Sweden, he was a violinist in the Bolivar Youth Orchestra in Caracas, Venezuela.

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Word of Mouth
12:34 pm
Fri January 20, 2012

Word of Mouth for 01.21.12

Photo by Leo Reynolds, courtesy of Flickr Creative Commons

                                                         

 

Part 1: Revenge of the Web-nerds

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Word of Mouth - Segment
12:55 pm
Thu January 19, 2012

Darlingside

Photo by Abby McBride

The “string-rock” quintet Darlingside is based in New England, but its lineage includes California pop harmonies, Appalachian root riffs, and classical arrangements all shadowing that full-on American mongrel we call rock music.  After earning high praise and an eager following for a self-produced EP, Darlingside is rolling out a new subscription album, called Pilot Machines, throughout 2012. Darlinsgide

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Music News
12:01 am
Wed January 18, 2012

From Mega Man To Final Fantasy, Live Video Game Music

Nobuo Uematsu plays keyboard with Earthbound Papas, a rock band made up of video-game soundtrack composers.
Lindsay Totty NPR

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Deceptive Cadence
2:53 pm
Mon January 16, 2012

Violinist Joshua Bell: 'French Impressions,' Yesterday And Today

Joshua Bell revisits the classic Violin Sonata by Cesar Franck on his new album.
Lisa Marie Mazzucco

When Joshua Bell was 21, he recorded an iconic piece of chamber music for piano and violin — the Sonata in A major by Cesar Franck. Today, Bell is 44 and he's recorded it again. It's on his new album, French Impressions, with pianist Jeremy Denk.

All Things Considered host Robert Siegel invited Bell to listen to his old recording for a little session of compare-and-contrast.

"Do you hear the same violinist?" Siegel asks, after playing for Bell the opening bars of his 1989 recording.

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Folk Show - Tupelo Public Radio Project
8:00 pm
Sun January 15, 2012

Tupelo Public Radio Project Featuring Peter Yarrow

Kate hosts Peter Yarrow at the Tupelo Music Hall in White River Junction, Vermont.

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Word of Mouth
12:00 pm
Sat December 31, 2011

Capitol Steps: Politics Takes a Holiday

The Capitol Steps began as a group of Senate staffers who set out to satirize the very people and places that employed them.  In the years that followed, many of the Steps ignored the conventional wisdom ("Don't quit your day job!"), and although not all of the current members of the Steps are former Capitol Hill staffers, taken together the performers have worked in a total of eighteen Congressional offices and represent 62 years of collective House and Senate staff experience.  Since they began, the Capitol Steps have recorded 27 albums and have been featured on NBC, CBS, ABC, and PBS, an

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Special Program
6:00 pm
Sun December 25, 2011

A Carolina Christmas with Kathy Mattea

A Carolina Christmas from Biltmore Estate, with Kathy Mattea is a festive celebration of holiday music -- from one of the most magnificent acoustic venues in the country! A Carolina Christmas features soloists and large ensembles performing a rich variety of songs, including sacred music of the season, African-American spirituals, Celtic jigs and folk favorites.

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