Arts & Culture

• Check out our list of New Hampshire museums, galleries, performance venues & independent bookstores, sorted by region.

• You can also find art exhibits, book readings, live music and more on our Public Events Calendar.

Super Bass: Can You Hit This Note?

Feb 7, 2012

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."

Tuesday marks the 200th anniversary of the birth of Charles Dickens — the great 19th century English novelist who gave us stories of pathos and comedy, and colorful portraits of the people of London, from the poor in the back streets, to the rich in the parks and avenues.

Lots of Dickens' phrases — like "Bah humbug" and "God bless us, every one!" — have slipped into our minds and our memories. And along with the words, the characters, too — from hungry orphan Oliver Twist to Little Dorrit to cruel Mr. Murdstone.

This Sunday the annual Grammy Award winners will be announced. One of the biggest categories is Song of the Year, which goes to a songwriter. Every day this week, we'll give you a little intel on one of the nominees. Today, Bruno Mars' "Grenade."

The Accordion Family

Feb 3, 2012

For centuries, that transition between teen-hood and adulthood has been accompanied with a newfound independence, where young men and women leave the roost, go to college, buy a house and raise a family.  But according to author Katherine Newman, high unemployment rates, the rise of short-term employment, longer life expectancies and the high cost of living have forced many a young adult back home to live with mom and dad.  They are called 'Accordion Families' and depending on the culture, they're met with a variety of acceptance.  Today we look closer into this new phenomenon called Accord

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:

S'il-Vous-Plait: Raising Your 'Bebe' The French Way

Feb 1, 2012

When her first child was born, Pamela Druckerman expected to spend the next several years frantically meeting her daughter's demands. In the U.S., after all, mealtimes, living rooms and sleep schedules typically turn to chaos as soon as a baby arrives. That's the reason one friend of mine used to refer to his child as a "destroying angel."

'Soul Train' Creator Don Cornelius Dies At 75

Feb 1, 2012

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.

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.

Photo by urbanmkr, courtesy of Flickr Creative Commons

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

We talk to the co-authors of a new book who spent years in the field of  political “opposition research”.   They’re the folks that dig up the dirt and unveil the skeletons on candidates for Presidential on down to the local school board.  It’s a story that involves shady characters, clandestine meetings and piles of documents, all aimed at bringing down your opponent and winning elections.

Guests

Historian Simon Schama calls it another example of British television’s “cultural necrophilia”. Well then, bring out your dead…the Downton Abbey miniseries now airing Sunday nights on PBS has invigorated public television, revved up sales of cloche hats and maxi skirts, and has publishers scrambling to appeal to readers who devour period dramas.

 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.

Musical Change

Jan 23, 2012
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.

Photo by Leo Reynolds, courtesy of Flickr Creative Commons

                                                         

 

Part 1: Revenge of the Web-nerds

Darlingside

Jan 19, 2012
Robb Stey

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

Every year, thousands of video-game fans flock to the Washington, D.C., metropolitan area for a unique music festival called MAGFest. It's short for "Music and Gaming Festival," and it's designed to celebrate the music of video games.

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.

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

OH. MY. GODS.

Jan 12, 2012
Photo by Sp!ros via Flickr Creative Commons

How many times have we heard that studying the classics is no longer useful, an anachronism? Then out come movies like Clash of the Titans, or Troy, and suddenly everyone is hungry for more. From Star Wars to Harry Potter, references to ancient myths are inescapable.

Hope: A Tragedy

Jan 11, 2012

 There are strange noises and a rotten smell  coming from the attic of Solomon Kugel’s old farmhouse in upstate New York. His wife resents him, his kid is sickly and his mother, who grew up in the United States, imagines herself a Holocaust survivor with PTSD. Yet, Kugel remains an optimist, which his shrink declares is the problem: the more hell bent one is on life, the more terrified of death.

Karen and Casey Jordan via Flickr

Statistics from the Pew Research Center show that single women over 35 now account for around fifteen percent of the birthrate in the united states. One reason may be that there are so many more options for women who have delayed motherhood -- from adoption to using donor sperm to freezing their own eggs. Journalists Pamela Ferdinand, Carey Goldberg, and Beth Jones all had fulfilling careers, rich friendships, and hapless relationship histories.

According to our guest today, Colin Woodard, America's political divisions aren't between red states and blue states, right and left, Republicans and Democrats but between 11 distinct North American cultural regions.  They are regions the he names "Yankeedom", "Greater Appalachia", "The Deep South" and "The Far West" and they have been created by centuries of Americans who settled there, each with their own unique cultures, religions, political traditions and ethnographic characteristics.  Woodard suggests that only by truly understanding these regions can we begin to see beyond these deep 

Photo by Spychick via Flickr Creative Commons

With the first in the nation primary swirling around us, we turn to the spread of the Tea Party…circa 1774. We’re talking about the Annapolis Tea Party…the New York Tea Party, and other protests that boiled over in the colonies from Maine to North Carolina. These copycat protests were buried by the 92,000 pounds shoved overboard in Boston.

News of the spectacular break-up between actress Adah Issacs Menken and bareknuckle boxing champ John Heenan splashed across the papers that year. Heenan accused his wife of bigamy. That was just one charge against the woman who was best known for bounding across the stage strapped to a horse in a skin-tight flesh colored costume.

Photo by Mr.T in DC, courtesy of Flickr creative commons

Winter is a bountiful time for booklovers…the choices are abundant, and publishers and retailers are tripping over themselves to get people buying books - in any format.  The e-book has breathed some life into the publishing industry, but traditional books are still selling at independent bookstores. As part of Word of Mouth’s 2012 Nostradamus Edition, Jason boog, blogger and editor of the publishing website Galley Cat, makes his predictions for what the publishing industry will face in the coming year.  

1493 (Rebroadcast)

Jan 2, 2012

In a new book, author Charles Mann explores what happened in the years after Columbus’s famed voyage to the Americas.  He says it altered everything:  sparking a new era of globalization and not just in commerce:  but radical changes in crops, cultures, and politics.  We’ll talk with Mann about this expansive look at this new era and how the world changed after Columbus.  

Guests

  • Charles C. Mann - Author of 1493:Uncovering the New World Columbus Created

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

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.

Echoes of Christmas

Dec 25, 2011

This program features moving selections of choral classics celebrating Christmas. The Dale Warland Singers provided magical performances to listeners across the country for over 30 years and were acclaimed as America's premier choir. Their signature holiday concert—beloved by public radio listeners nationwide—was the annual Echoes of Christmas program. Drawing upon the archive of their live performances, Dale Warland and host Brian Newhouse create a very special Christmas musical treat.

A Chanticleer Christmas

Dec 25, 2011

A Chanticleer Christmas is American Public Media's one-hour celebration of the season as told through the glorious voices of Chanticleer, the 12-voice San Francisco-based men's choir. The program spans the globe and the centuries — from England in the 1300s to new arrangements of classic and contemporary carols.  Information is available at http://americanpublicmedia.publicradio.org/programs/chanticleer_xmas/

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