Arts

Arts and culture

Francophile romantics, and fans of violin sonatas, will discover a pleasant surprise in this new album of music by Luis de Freitas Branco, a Portuguese composer, teacher, musicologist and critic.

At age sixteen, Branco studied in Lisbon with Belgian organist-composer Désiré Pâque, who introduced him to Cesar Franck's music. And it must have made a great impression on the young composer if his four-movement first violin sonata of 1907 is any indication.

Gabriel Kahane seems to enjoy blurring the lines between indie rock and indie classical. He arrived at the NPR Music offices with a string quartet and an electric guitarist in tow, and though they hadn't played together for long, you'd never know it.

December is just around the corner — a time when we look back at musical events, catalog our favorite records of the year and, inevitably, remember musicians who died.

One of 2011's biggest losses was composer Daniel Catán. Tomorrow (Friday the 25th), many PBS stations will broadcast his final opera, Il Postino, in the world premiere LA Opera production starring Placido Domingo.

Emily Dickinson is all over Tucson, Ariz. Reading, lectures, classroom lessons — it's all part of the Big Read Project, a National Endowment for the Arts project devoted to "inspiring people across the country to pick up a good book." In Tucson, people aren't just picking up Dickinson's poetry books — they're celebrating her in reading, dance and even desserts.

For this sixth volume of their complete Shostakovich symphony cycle, conductor Vasily Petrenko and the Royal Liverpool Philharmonic Orchestra have a task and a half at hand: transforming two works – among Shostakovich's weakest conceptually and architecturally – into forceful, persuasive and galvanizing performances.

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