Arts

Deceptive Cadence
10:30 am
Fri December 6, 2013

A Bumper Crop Of Classical Box Sets

It was a big year for extravagant classical box sets.
Denise DeBelius NPR

Originally published on Fri December 6, 2013 12:05 pm

This wound up being a spectacular year for elaborate, lavishly packaged reissues. Given all the fabulous classical box sets that appeared this year, you'd think we were in some kind of boom era for music served up on compact discs. (2013? More like 1993.)

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Book and Exhibit
4:46 am
Fri December 6, 2013

RAM100: Rockford Art Museum's Centennial Celebration

Roy Lichtenstein, at Rockford Art Museum
Rockford Art Museum

Rockford Art Museum is wrapping up its 100th year in a number of big ways. Saturday, the museum hosts its 25th annual Evergreen Ball. Patrons will dine and dance among two-hundred of the museum’s greatest works, which are showcased in the on-going centennial exhibition. There’s also a new book highlighting the stories behind the museum’s growth from a sketch club to a community institution.

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Music
4:13 am
Tue December 3, 2013

Classical Pranksters Don't Just Play Music: They Play With It

From left: Video director Joe Sabia, bassist Michael Thurber and recording engineer Matt McCorkle of CDZA.
Courtesy of the artist

Originally published on Wed December 4, 2013 11:14 am

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NPR Story
1:10 pm
Mon December 2, 2013

Remembering A Congolese Rumba King

Tabu Ley Rochereau performing at a 2003 festival in Hertme, Netherlands.
Frans Schellekens Redferns

Originally published on Thu December 12, 2013 2:39 pm

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Arts
6:25 am
Mon December 2, 2013

Trust The Snakewoman? Novelist Defends His Narrator

Sunny is a woman just released from prison for attempting to kill her husband, a snake-handling preacher. Jackson is an anthropologist who falls in love with Sunny, but then joins her estranged husband to research religious snake handling.

This is the basic premise of Snakewoman of Little Egypt, a novel by Robert Hellenga.

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Deceptive Cadence
1:57 am
Mon December 2, 2013

Yuja Wang: Rooted In Diligence, Inspired By Improvisation

Yuja Wang at NPR's studio in Washington, D.C.
Denise DeBelius NPR

Originally published on Tue December 3, 2013 9:56 am

Sergei Rachmaninov's Piano Concerto No. 3 — "Rach 3," as fans fondly call it — is one of the most famously difficult pieces of music there is. The sheet music goes on and on, with notes so dense the pages start to look like modern art. The piece is so challenging that some noted pianists have declined to perform it — but Yuja Wang has recorded it for her newest album.

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Deceptive Cadence
4:20 am
Sun December 1, 2013

Da Vinci's String Organ Must Be Heard To Be Believed

Pianist Slawomir Zubrzycki presents the "viola organista" on Oct. 18 in Krakow, Poland. Zubrzycki spent almost four years building the instrument, which is based on a late 15th-century design by Leonardo da Vinci.
Tomasz Wiech AFP/Getty Images

Originally published on Mon December 2, 2013 10:41 am

The man who painted the Mona Lisa, and was the first to sketch out the helicopter and the submarine, also dabbled in music. So here's the question: What musical instrument did Leonardo da Vinci design?

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Deceptive Cadence
9:08 am
Wed November 27, 2013

Confronting The Ghosts Of Classical Christmas Albums Past

Ah, the holidays: time to enjoy some great seasonal music.
Cagri Ozgur iStock

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.

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Arts
6:15 am
Wed November 27, 2013

For The 68th Year, It's "Messiah" Time in Rockford

Credit Rockford Choral Union

The Rockford Choral Union presents its 68th annual performances of Handel’s oratorio “The Messiah” Saturday and Sunday, November 30 and December 1, at Rockford’s Trinity Lutheran Church.  Nat Bauer has led the performances for the last 12 years. Bauer says the Choral Union was begun back in 1945, as members of the armed forces were returning home from fighting in World War 2.

“The Lutheran churches got together and said we need to do something to welcome everybody back, so they got together and said let’s do Messiah.”

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Music Reviews
10:16 am
Tue November 26, 2013

After Ailing, A Favorite Conductor Stages His Comeback

Conductor James Levine in rehearsal with Russian virtuoso Evgeny Kissin.
Cory Weaver Courtesy of the artist

Originally published on Tue November 26, 2013 3:15 pm

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.

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