Originally published on Thu March 28, 2013 5:17 pm
For Christians around the world, this week, leading up to Easter Sunday, is one of the most meaningful in the religious calendar. The dramatic story of Jesus' final days, as related in the four Gospels of the New Testament, has been meaningful for composers, too, and a rich source for many musical settings of the Passion story. J.S. Bach is still the benchmark when it comes to composing Passions. His St.
There are a handful of operas that define the genre; their time period irrelevant and their themes go to the very heart of the human condition.
We live with these creations daily without our knowing it and they are the very musical air we breath. They exist in the opera house, on the the concert stage (without scenery), in the recital hall (as excerpts, arranged for piano), in the elevator, on the radio, in the lightest cartoons and the darkest dramas - and yes, in the shower.
Each week on World Music (Saturday nights from 8-10 on KSTX 89.1 FM), I take a look at celebrations happening around the world. This weekend, Christians around the world celebrate Easter as a sacred Holy Day as well as with a little fun.
The Cypress String Quartet has been together for over 15 years, and the latest project shows their roots - and their uncanny charm in Antonin Dvorak's "Cypresses," & "Opus 106." The album also marks their first recording with Avie Records, having previously produced their own albums and worked with Naxos and Summit Records.
The Cypress Quartet's playing is refined and passionate. Both works on the album are highly crafted, although they come from different times in Dvorak's life, and the quartet allows each to shine.
Tokyo-based Kao=S (pronounced 'kaus' - like house) mixes modern acoustic rock guitar riffs with the tsugaru syamisen - a traditional Japanese string instrument - accompanied by the shakuhachi (Japanese bamboo flute) and Japanese sword performance.
The band is made up of Kaori (vocal/sword performance), Shuji (guitar/vocal), Jack (tsugaru syamisen and Daisuke (shakuhachi).
"Me and Jack played together in a different [group] and I met Shuji [when] I went to Shuji's live show and I talked to him [and said], 'Let's play together,'" Kaori said.
For his latest album, "In Focus?," Shugo Tokumaru maintained complete control over the creative process and played all the instruments on the recorded disk. In order to perform live, however, he needed some help, and had his band to back him up.
While the band delivered the songs with energy, complete with the subtle textural nuances that give Shugo's songs a little something special, he was visibly focused on the other two musicians during their performance the afternoon of March 14.
Diana Nyad is an athlete obsessed, but what's so unusual about that? Athletes are supposed to be obsessed. But to say Diana Nyad is a woman obsessed, now that's what makes her story so compelling, even worthy of a movie. And that movie was recently given several special screenings at SXSW.