Originally published on Fri November 29, 2013 2:19 pm
On Monday morning, national treasure Bruce Springsteen announced that he'll release a new studio album two weeks into the new year. For dedicated fans like me, the announcement was full of curious details to pick over and discuss: Three songs, including the the title track, "High Hopes," were not written by Springsteen. Tom Morello, who's been playing with him on tour and whom The Boss calls "my muse" in the announcement, plays guitar on eight.
With the holidays upon us, our friends at member station WQXR invited me along with Washington Post chief classical critic Anne Midgette and Sony Masterworks producer Steven Epstein, the winner of 17 Grammy Awards, to sit down with host Naomi Lewin for a Conducting Business podcast on the topic.
An extended ovation greeted conductor James Levine last May when he returned to performing after a two-year absence. In 2011, he resigned as music director of the Boston Symphony Orchestra and cancelled his performances at the Metropolitan Opera. He'd been plagued by health problems, injuries and operations, and it was painful for him to move. Many of his admirers, even he himself, feared he might never conduct again.
This week's pick for World Cafe: Next is Phèdre, a Canadian band that also serves as a highlight for this month's Sense of Place: Toronto series. The group was named by singer Daniel Lee and bassist April Aliermo after Nancy Sinatra's alter ego in "Some Velvet Morning," the classic duet with Lee Hazlewood.
The band released its second album — the synth-laden, oozy and outrageous Golden Age — in October. Listeners can hear and download two songs from the record with today's podcast.