Music

Arts & Life
10:19 am
Tue December 25, 2012

No Sugar Plums Here: The Dark, Romantic Roots Of 'The Nutcracker'

E.T.A. Hoffmann's original story, "Nutcracker and Mouse King," is darker and spookier than the ballet version most people know.
iStockphoto.com

Originally published on Tue December 25, 2012 4:20 pm

This is the time of year when one man's work is widely — if indirectly — celebrated. His name used to be hugely famous, but nowadays, it draws blank stares, even from people who know that work. We're speaking about E.T.A. Hoffmann, original author of The Nutcracker.

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Favorite Sessions
8:03 am
Tue December 25, 2012

The New Standards: A Supergroup Celebrates 'Snow Days'

The New Standards recently performed "Snow Days" for The Current in Minneapolis.
Steven Cohen The Current

Originally published on Tue July 8, 2014 11:50 am

A jazz trio and Minnesota music supergroup, The New Standards features singer and pianist Chan Poling of The Suburbs, singer and bassist John Munson of Semisonic and Trip Shakespeare, and vibraphonist Steve Roehm of Electropolis and Billy Goat. With a repertoire composed largely of holiday classics and unexpected covers of contemporary pop and rock favorites, the band has long been a must-see live, but it's also hit the studio a handful of times, releasing albums in 2005 and 2008.

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World Cafe
6:23 pm
Mon December 24, 2012

Pink Martini On World Cafe

Pink Martini.
Autumn De Wilde

From Portland, Ore., stems a global sound that is powerful in its orchestral beauty. Thomas Lauderdale started Pink Martini more than 15 years ago, a fitting name for the colorful and classy orchestra. Lauderdale's mission was to create a sound that would support political fundraisers for civil, environmental and educational causes, among others. Since then, the group has sold millions of albums worldwide.

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World Cafe
5:35 pm
Mon December 24, 2012

Pink Martini On World Cafe

From Portland, Ore., stems a global sound that is powerful in its orchestral beauty. Thomas Lauderdale started Pink Martini more than 15 years ago, a fitting name for the colorful and classy orchestra. Lauderdale's mission was to create a sound that would support political fundraisers for civil, environmental and educational causes, among others. Since then, the group has sold millions of albums worldwide.

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Movie Interviews
4:29 pm
Mon December 24, 2012

'White Christmas': A Concert With Rosemary Clooney

Transcript

TERRY GROSS, HOST:

This is FRESH AIR. I'm Terry Gross. Merry Christmas. Today we have something truly special, one of my favorite recordings in our archive. It's an onstage concert and interview with Rosemary Clooney, recorded in 1997, five years before her death. Christmas is a perfect time to listen back to this because she starred with Bing Crosby in the classic 1954 film "White Christmas."

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Music
3:22 pm
Mon December 24, 2012

Another Year, Another 'Christmas With The Chipmunks'

The Chipmunks, left to right: Simon, Theodore, Alvin.
Courtesy of the artist

Originally published on Mon December 24, 2012 6:37 pm

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Mountain Stage
2:33 pm
Mon December 24, 2012

Billy Joe Shaver On Mountain Stage

Billy Joe Shaver.
Brian Blauser Mountain Stage

Originally published on Wed July 2, 2014 9:27 am

Legendary country singer-songwriter Billy Joe Shaver makes his sixth appearance on Mountain Stage. Backed by his own band, Shaver sings a few of his favorites like "Georgia On Fast Train," "Old Chunk of Coal," and the bittersweet "Live Forever," which was co-written with his late son, guitarist Eddy Shaver.

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Music Interviews
1:58 pm
Mon December 24, 2012

A Tribute To Marvin Gaye's Forgotten Classic

Originally published on Tue December 25, 2012 12:03 pm

Transcript

CELESTE HEADLEE, HOST:

This is TELL ME MORE, from NPR News. I'm Celeste Headlee. Michel Martin is away. Forty years ago, the movie "Trouble Man" debuted in theaters. It starred Robert Hooks as a tough guy hustler named Mr. T - no, not the one of from "The A-Team." Mr. T makes his living sticking his neck out to help people who can pay him, and for people who need his expertise to discreetly solve problems.

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World Cafe
12:44 pm
Mon December 24, 2012

Tracey Thorn On World Cafe

Tracey Thorn.
Edward Bishop Courtesy of the artist

Originally published on Mon December 24, 2012 6:19 pm

When veteran U.K. singer-songwriter Tracey Thorn decided to put together her own Christmas album — a project she'd been pursuing for several years — she opted for a slightly less traditional approach.

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Best Music Of 2012
11:50 am
Mon December 24, 2012

The Year In Pop Charts: Return Of The Monoculture

Originally published on Sat January 5, 2013 9:44 am

To capture the year in pop, let's think back to some of its most memorable songs:

  • A left-field hit sung almost entirely in a foreign language, whose throbbing dance beat masked lyrics that were more political than one might suspect.
  • A rock-pop crossover smash about holding onto youth into your thirties, even when your head is throbbing from self-reflection and encroaching decrepitude.
  • A fluttery, buttery pop classic about a girl fretting over — yet exulting in — not knowing where that boy's head is at or where he thinks he's going.
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