Music

Around the Nation
2:34 pm
Tue November 27, 2012

Kennedy Center's New Organ No Longer A Pipe Dream

After years of waiting, the Kennedy Center has a new symphonic organ replacing its old Filene organ. The $2 million project will culminate in the organ's debut on Nov. 27. William Neil (left), the National Symphony Orchestra organist, speaks with NSO Assistant Conductor Ankush Kumar Bahl (center) during the organ's test with the orchestra on Oct. 18.
Kainaz Amaria NPR

Originally published on Wed November 28, 2012 9:16 am

It was almost spooky. Each night after 11 p.m., when nothing was stirring in the Kennedy Center Concert Hall, two men would enter. One would sit at the organ, playing a key or series of keys, and the other would crawl around inside the organ pipes, 40 feet off the floor. The process went on for months.

It was the all but final phase of installing a new organ for the Kennedy Center for the Performing Arts in Washington, D.C. And on Nov. 27, the organ makes its formal debut.

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Deceptive Cadence
2:30 pm
Tue November 27, 2012

Do Orchestras Really Need Conductors?

Does This Guy Matter? Conductor Leonard Bernstein during rehearsal with the Cincinnati Symphony at Carnegie Hall in 1977.
James Garrett New York Daily News via Getty Images

Originally published on Wed December 5, 2012 10:12 am

Have you ever wondered whether music conductors actually influence their orchestras?

They seem important. After all, they're standing in the middle of the stage and waving their hands. But the musicians all have scores before them that tell them what to play. If you took the conductor away, could the orchestra manage on its own?

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A Blog Supreme
2:14 pm
Tue November 27, 2012

'Treme' Ep. 31: To Call It Quits

The Lambreaux family meets with New Orleans city planners concerning a national jazz center.
Paul Schiraldi HBO

At the end of Treme's season three, with only an abbreviated season four to come, we find many characters walking away from opportunities. Spoiler alert for what follows.

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Music Reviews
1:52 pm
Tue November 27, 2012

Cecilia Bartoli's New 'Mission' Unearths Baroque Gems

On her new album, opera star Cecilia Bartoli tackles the work of Baroque composer Agostino Steffani.
Uli Weber Decca

Originally published on Tue November 27, 2012 3:17 pm

I never heard of the Baroque composer Agostino Steffani until last year, when the Boston Early Music Festival presented the North American premiere of Steffani's Niobe, an opera about the mythical queen who bragged so much about her many children, the gods killed them all in revenge. One of the leading roles, Niobe's husband King Amphion, was played by the early-music superstar countertenor Philippe Jaroussky, who sang the opera's most sublime aria — a hymn to the harmony of the spheres. I couldn't wait to hear Jaroussky again, and was eager to hear more Steffani.

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The Record
9:42 am
Tue November 27, 2012

A Critic Atones

Lana Del Rey performs in France in July. Her album, Born To Die, came out in January, to mixed reviews.
Sebastien Bozon AFP/Getty Images

Originally published on Tue November 27, 2012 11:07 am

It's beginning to look a lot like craziness — end-of-the-year craziness, to be precise. Now that Gray Thursday has officially reduced Thanksgiving to carbo-loading for the holiday shopping marathon, many people's winter holidays have become little more than a massive spinout.

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Deceptive Cadence
9:29 am
Tue November 27, 2012

Joyce DiDonato: Sublime Singing Makes The Unreal Real

Mezzo-soprano Joyce DiDonato.
Josef Fischnaller courtesy of the artist

Originally published on Mon June 3, 2013 12:24 pm

It's true — opera is totally over the top. Plots can strain even the barest semblance of credulity (too many cases of ghosts and mistaken identities to count), with characters that could get you thrown out of an introductory writing course, down to the blushing ingenues and the evil connivers who might as well be twirling waxed mustaches.

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All Songs Considered
8:03 am
Tue November 27, 2012

Old Music Tuesday: Le Tigre

Le Tigre.
Courtesy of the artist

Originally published on Tue November 27, 2012 5:39 pm

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Favorite Sessions
8:03 am
Tue November 27, 2012

San Cisco: An 'Awkward' Upstart From Down Under

San Cisco performs on The Current.
Nate Ryan The Current

Getting San Cisco to the U.S. airwaves was a serendipitous event. Early in the summer of 2012, The Current's local-music producer (Jon Schober) was watching the YouTube video for Metronomy's "The Look," and saw San Cisco's video for "Awkward" pop up as a recommended follow-up. The charming song, with its back-and-forth vocals between drummer Jordi Davieson and guitarist Josh Biondillo, stuck.

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Mountain Stage
6:37 pm
Mon November 26, 2012

Dave Alvin On Mountain Stage

Dave Alvin.
Brian Blauser Mountain Stage

Originally published on Mon December 3, 2012 12:03 pm

Dave Alvin makes his sixth appearance on Mountain Stage alongside his band The Guilty Ones, recorded live in West Virginia. Since 2009, Alvin has explored his acoustic honky-tonk side, but his latest album, Eleven Eleven, marks a return to his fiery electric roots. Alvin's road-worn '64 Stratocaster screams throughout "Harlan County Line," which he wrote for the TV show Justified.

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World Cafe
6:09 pm
Mon November 26, 2012

Next: Elephant Stone

Elephant Stone.
Courtesy of the artist

Originally published on Mon December 17, 2012 10:41 am

Though the shock value of dropping a sitar into Western pop music has decreased since George Harrison's Hare Krishna days, the metallic, resonant drones of the instrument can still take a normal pop song and twist it into something unexpected. Rishi Dhir, sitarist, bassist and founding member of Elephant Stone, takes full advantage of the juxtaposition.

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