Music

Deceptive Cadence
7:03 am
Wed June 10, 2015

'Tristan Und Isolde,' The Love Story That Changed Opera For Good

Ludwig Schnorr von Carolsfeld and his wife Malwina were Wagner's original Tristan and Isolde in 1865.
Joseph Albert Wikimedia Commons

Artistic revolutions are rarely born easy. They complained about cubism, they grumbled about the "talkies" — and boy, did they bellyache over Wagner's trailblazing operas, especially Tristan und Isolde, which debuted 150 years ago Wednesday.

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Music News
4:14 pm
Tue June 9, 2015

The Man Before The Guitar: Remembering Les Paul At 100

Les Paul's career as a guitarist and innovator led him to play jazz, pop and country with other legendary musicians for decades.
Courtesy of the Les Paul Foundation

Originally published on Tue June 9, 2015 5:57 pm

Say the name "Les Paul" to anybody born after 1960, and they'll probably think you're talking about an electric guitar. But the musician and inventor, who was born 100 years ago Tuesday, was also an accomplished jazz guitarist. Paul was never happier than when playing for a live audience.

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Deceptive Cadence
7:03 am
Tue June 9, 2015

Evenly Odd: Carl Nielsen's Distinctive Symphonies

Danish composer Carl Nielsen wrote six exuberant symphonies.
Royal Danish Library

Originally published on Tue June 9, 2015 9:50 am

"Quirky" is a descriptor that seems to have stuck to Danish composer Carl Nielsen, born 150 years ago on June 9, 1865.

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Tiny Desk
3:26 pm
Mon June 8, 2015

Anna & Elizabeth: Tiny Desk Concert

Tiny Desk Concert with Anna & Elizabeth.
Emily Jan NPR

Anna & Elizabeth are almost single-handedly resurrecting the "crankie." If, like me, you didn't know what a "crankie" was, it's like a mural on a spool — each drawn and crafted to be hand-cranked and unfurled at the pace of a song. The effect, as experienced here in "Lella Todd Crankie," is breathtaking.

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Mountain Stage
2:01 pm
Mon June 8, 2015

Dar Williams On Mountain Stage

Dar Williams.
Brian Blauser Mountain Stage

Dar Williams plays Mountain Stage, recorded live at Charleston, W.Va.'s Culture Center Theater. Dar Williams has remained a fixture within the folk scene and beyond for nearly two decades, thanks in no small part to her lovely soprano voice and unique songs that are often beautiful, idiosyncratic and tart at the same time.

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Music News
2:14 am
Mon June 8, 2015

Amid Violence In Baghdad, A Musician Creates A One-Man Vigil

Karim Wasfi, conductor of the Iraqi National Symphony Orchestra, at his home in Baghdad, has been playing his cello at the sites of explosive attacks in Baghdad.
Ahmed Qusay for NPR

Originally published on Mon June 8, 2015 10:29 am

The roar of a car bomb has been the prelude to Karim Wasfi's performances of late.

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First Listen
10:03 pm
Sun June 7, 2015

First Listen: Richard Thompson, 'Still'

Richard Thompson's new album, Still, comes out June 23.
Courtesy of the artist

Originally published on Mon June 8, 2015 1:10 pm

Richard Thompson's 16th solo album Still closes with an unusual homage to his longstanding sources of inspiration. It's called "Guitar Heroes," and though it's predominantly a standard jump blues, it's laced with extended interludes in which Thompson — arguably the most under-appreciated guitar hero currently recording — tips his hat to Django Reinhardt, Les Paul and other titans.

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Mountain Stage
7:03 am
Sun June 7, 2015

Folk Alley Presents: Martin Sexton

Folk Alley

Originally published on Sun June 7, 2015 12:01 pm

Martin Sexton says that when he sat down to produce his latest album, Mixtape Of The Open Road, he'd originally set out to record around a theme, like a "Nashville, 1972 album or a bluegrass record or a Zeppelin-esque rockin' CD." But the songs that were coming out had a different plan — each had its own distinct feel. So, as Sexton says, he just "stepped on the gas and headed in that direction of making a mixtape ...

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Music
4:32 pm
Sat June 6, 2015

The Great Jazz Acts on Big Band Saturday Night

Tony Bennett
Wikipedia

Bing Crosby, current jazz singers Tony Bennett and Jane Monheit, some select times from Irving Berlin, Benny Goodman, Bunny Berigan and Glenn Miller...All these great acts, on Big Band Saturday Night this weekend! Join us for the great sounds at 8 o'clock on 89.5! You will be entertained!

Deceptive Cadence
6:48 am
Sat June 6, 2015

For Benedictine Monks, The Joy Of Making Albums And Beer

The monks of Norcia, Italy have recorded their first album, Benedicta.
Christopher McLallan Decca

Originally published on Sat June 6, 2015 11:44 am

"The monastic life is very plain and ordinary," says Father Cassian Folsom, the founder and prior of the Monks of Norcia, ensconced in the St. Benedict Monastery in central Italy. "You get up, and you pray, and you do your work and go to bed and then the next day you do the same thing."

A large portion of the monks' daily routine is singing. "We chant the Divine Office and the Mass every day," Folsom tells NPR's Scott Simon. "And if you put all of those moments together it takes about five hours a day. Three hundred sixty-five days a year."

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