Favorite Sessions
7:45 am
Fri August 15, 2014

WAMU's Bandwidth Presents: Marissa Nadler

Marissa Nadler performed live for WAMU's Bandwidth.

On her latest tour, indie-folk songwriter Marissa Nadler has been joined by cellist Janel Leppin, who is based in D.C. The two stopped by Bandwidth's go-to music venue, the Wilderness Bureau, earlier this month on the morning of their kick-off show at the Rock & Roll Hotel.

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Field Recordings
9:42 am
Thu August 14, 2014

Chorale For Horns And iPad App, In The Pouring Rain

Brian Blade and the Fellowship Band. L-R: Blade, Myron Walden, Melvin Butler, Chris Thomas, Jon Cowherd.
NPR Music

Originally published on Thu August 21, 2014 11:20 am

We had hoped to get the great drummer Brian Blade to give us a little private exhibition after his set at the Newport Jazz Festival this year. The weather, however, was proving much less generous than he and his band were. Early that morning, a steady all-day rain settled in over coastal Rhode Island, making it difficult to transport dry instruments anywhere. On top of that, a last-minute change to travel plans meant that Blade needed to get out of town quickly — to an airport over four hours away.

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Deceptive Cadence
10:23 am
Wed August 13, 2014

Soul-Searching Music From A Serene Desert Monastery

The Monastery of Christ in the Desert in northern New Mexico inspired Robert Kyr to compose the music on his new album of choral works.
Karen Kuehn for NPR

Originally published on Wed August 13, 2014 10:36 am

Inspiration can come from unlikely places. For composer Robert Kyr, the silence of a desert monastery is key to the radiant music on his new disc of recent choral works performed by the vocal ensemble Conspirare and its director Craig Hella Johnson.

Kyr travels frequently to the Monastery of Christ in the Desert, in northern New Mexico, from his home in Eugene, Ore., where he teaches composition at the University of Oregon. Living among the monastery's Benedictine monks, Kyr hikes along the winding Chama River by day and composes music in a bare-walled room at night.

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Music Interviews
2:10 pm
Tue August 12, 2014

Help Find The Man Who Inspired Passenger's 'Riding To New York'

Passenger is Mike Rosenberg. Whispers is out now.
Shervin Lainez Courtesy of the artist

Originally published on Tue August 12, 2014 8:45 pm

Last year during a tour stop in Minneapolis, Passenger's Mike Rosenberg had made a late-night gas-station trip to buy cigarettes when he walked past an older man.

"I walked past him and he said, 'This is the best cigarette I've ever had in my life,' " Rosenberg tells NPR's Melissa Block. "It was such a bizarre thing for him to say. It was almost surreal."

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Deceptive Cadence
8:44 am
Tue August 12, 2014

Read These While They're Still Free

Pianist Helene Grimaud, the subject of a 2011 New Yorker profile.
Mat Hennek Courtesy of the artist

Last month, The New Yorker announced that it was teasing a new "freemium" version of its website (which launches this fall) with an alluring proposition. All of its most recent pieces, plus the full archives back to 2007 and some even older selections, are free for the rest of the summer.

So we took this opportunity to dig up some delicious classical music-minded pieces from the magazine's archives. They're perfect long reads for a lazy August afternoon.

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Marian McPartland's Piano Jazz
11:40 am
Fri August 8, 2014

Burt Bacharach On Piano Jazz

Olaf Heine Courtesy of the artist

Burt Bacharach has written more than 600 songs and more than 70 Top 40 hits. In 1957, Bacharach met fellow songwriter Hal David, and the two began a collaboration that would result in some of the most memorable songs of their day.

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All Songs Considered
7:03 am
Fri August 8, 2014

Drum Fill Friday: Classical Headbanging Edition

John Bonham of Led Zeppelin at the Los Angeles-area Inglewood Forum in 1973.
Jeffrey Mayer WireImage

Sooner or later it had to happen — an all-classical Drum Fill Friday. This week's puzzler proves that the world of Beethoven, Stravinsky and Bartók can serve up beats as thunderous as any double drummer metal band.

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World Cafe
4:08 pm
Thu August 7, 2014

Latin Roots: 'Uncommon Common Ground'

Bio Ritmo.
Courtesy of the artist

World Cafe's Latin Roots series continues with an unusual segment from Catalina Maria Johnson, who explores what she calls "uncommon common ground" — specifically, bands that consciously create hybrids from outside the boundaries of common Latin genres.

The new and exciting examples discussed here include the unexpected combination of Mexican and Indian music with a sitar player, as well as an American band that fuses jazz with salsa.

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Music Interviews
2:49 pm
Thu August 7, 2014

Before War, A Punk Drummer Preserved Syrian Chants

Between 2006 and 2010, Jason Hamacher made many trips to Syria to photograph and record ancient chants.
Jason Hamacher Lost Origins Productions

Originally published on Thu August 7, 2014 3:37 pm

Before the civil war in Syria destroyed ancient religious sites — and scattered some of the oldest Christian communities in the world — Jason Hamacher made several trips there, taking photos and recording ancient Sufi and Christian chants.

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11:32 am
Thu August 7, 2014

The Capitol Days on Big Band Saturday Night


This week on Big Band Saturday Night: The second part of our three-part series on the life and music of Frank Sinatra! These are "The Capitol Days.". Some of his most popular and best recognized hits.You'll hear a rare glimpse into his recordings at the famed "Sands in Vegas." Join me at 8 o'clock this weekend for Big Band Saturday Night!