Arts and culture

Super Bass: Can You Hit This Note?

Feb 8, 2012

Calling all basses: Decca Records is on the hunt for someone who can sing a low E, nearly three octaves below middle C. The note is featured in a new piece called De Profundis (Out of the depths I cry to you, O Lord — Psalm) by the Welsh composer Paul Mealor.

I'm really attracted to the depths of the human spectrum," Mealor tells NPR's Robert Siegel. "We're seeking to find the person that can sing the lowest note ever written in choral music — and not just that note, but the solo in this piece for bass solo and choir. So we're looking for someone very special."

Charles Dickens — one of the most beloved storytellers in the English language — was born 200 years ago Tuesday. He was a comic genius and a social reformer whose novels made him famous in his own time, and continue as classics in ours.

When Johnson and Ellen Sheriff Curtis moved their family from Minnesota to Seattle in 1887, two of their teenage sons developed a burgeoning interest in photography.

One of them, Edward Curtis, would go on to become famous for his photographs of Native Americans. But his brother, Asahel Curtis, who worked to less acclaim as a commercial photographer in Seattle, also left behind a remarkable body of work.

Around The Classical Internet: February 3, 2012

Feb 4, 2012
  • Set your DVRs: Hot off a Mahler cycle in LA, Gustavo Dudamel will be on the Sesame Street episode airing this coming Monday. (Different audiences, I suppose.)

Prokofiev And The 'Fourth Orange'

Feb 2, 2012

Joy In Repetition: Philip Glass Turns 75

Jan 30, 2012

Philip Glass turns 75 tomorrow. Impossible, you say? Given his two dozen operas, reams of orchestral music, virtually uncountable film scores and scads of projects in every discipline, isn't he like 90 or 100 or 110? Or, judging by his kaleidoscopic connections and collaborators, isn't he somewhere between 20 and 50, hunkered down among hipsters and plotting his next move toward musical world domination?

Around The Classical Internet: January 27, 2012

Jan 27, 2012
  • New York's Columbus Avenue isn't exactly the mean streets – but Chinese conductor Long Yu might not think so anymore. On the eve of making his New York Philharmonic debut last Tuesday, Yu was walking after dinner with a friend when a man approached to bum a cigarette. When Yu waved him off, the man lashed out and struck the conductor in the eye.

(Talk Like An Opera Geek attempts to decode the intriguing and intimidating lexicon of the opera house.)

It happens every day. You're at the opera and the know-it-all next to you starts analyzing arias, cataloging cabalettas and generally running on about recitatives. You gulp your champagne with equal measures of disgust and shame.

If you only knew what the oaf was pontificating about, you could call his bluff on buzzwords from da capo arias to ariosos. For such occasions, a little operatic ammunition — in the form of jargon-busting — is necessary.

A Quarter-Century Of Banging, And Still As Fresh As Ever

Jan 24, 2012

Here at Deceptive Cadence, we hope the music we share most Tuesdays — what's piqued our interest and pricked up our ears — will urge you towards discovering new sounds in a flash. But today's review has even more of a time-stamp than usual.

Happy New Year — Chinese New Year, that is. Today marks the first day in the Year of the Dragon and, according to the Chinese calendar, the end of the winter season. The Chinese think of it as their spring festival.