The Grammys are important even if they relegate most of the classical awards to the afternoon well before the television cameras begins to roll, and it's much the same at the Latin Grammys, except more intimate, according to recording editor and mastering engineer Paul Blakemore.
This country is always in motion, or as one shipping company calls it "moving at the speed of business." Before the question of slavery became a civil war, American's enjoyed their minstrel shows, and after the conflagration, touring minstrel shows were once again one of this country's favorite pastimes.
This Sunday on "The Piano," music that has many fathers, music that comes together, ferments a bit and becomes something new - different and distinctly American.
Missy Mazzoli, a 32-year-old composer from Brooklyn, says she never wanted to write an opera until she read the journals of Isabelle Eberhardt, a Swiss adventurer from the turn of the 20th century. Oddly enough, Mazzoli first learned about Eberhardt while listening to NPR. Years later, she stumbled upon the explorer's journals in a bookstore.
Steven Spielberg and composer John Williams’s long and fruitful collaboration continues with “Lincoln.” The prolific Williams draws upon folk styles to create an impression of America’s 16th president.
Akiko Fujimoto is the assistant director of the San Antonio Symphony and her duties include giving pre-concert talks, knowing the repertory just in case (called cover conductor), conducting educational and pops concerts, and this year leading a new series of baroque concerts with musicians of the San Antonio Symphony. All of that happens to overlap this week with performances of the Nutcracker.
Last week, we played Wagner's Parsifal, which is often referred to as an Opera-Oratorio. This week, for the beginning of the holiday season, it's Johann Sebastian Bach's St. Matthew Passion; in its turn, the work is often called a Concertante Opera. If ever there was an oratorio that called out to be dramatized, the St. Matthew Passion is it. While living in New York, I met many scenographers who dreamed of the day they'd have a shot at the cosmic drama. Also termed, "The most monumental musical drama before the Ring," Bach's passion has it all.
If Carl Philipp Emanuel Bach wrote a dull piece of music, I've not yet heard it. And even if there is a workaday piece or two lurking within his 300 keyboard sonatas, you certainly won't find it on this new album by British pianist Danny Driver, who deftly uncovers the surprising restlessness of the music.
A new book, a new recording and some old instruments, all addressing the most memorable phrase in music: the opening of Beethoven's Fifth Symphony.
Matthew Guerrieri has written a book about this symphony, called The First Four Notes: Beethoven's Fifth and the Human Imagination. Guerrieri writes about how Beethoven's piece resonated with everyone from revolutionaries to Romantics, and German nationalists to anti-German resistance fighters.