Arts

Arts and culture

It's another new year and with it comes more resolutions, decisions and responsibilities.

How do you get off to a good start? That's a question many composers ask themselves when writing a piece of music. Some dive right in — BAM! Others ease into a new composition gently. See if you can identify these opening measures of music. Score high and consider yourself good to go for 2015. Score low and think about starting all over again!

Four a cappella voices making divine music: This has been the heart of Anonymous 4's mission for nearly three decades. And as the group bids farewell this season, they're saying goodbye in a poignant way — with the release of an album that couldn't feel more timely. It commemorates the 150th anniversary of the end of the Civil War and the beginning of Reconstruction.

Flickr user knownaa / "Piano" (CC BY 2.0)

The number of stores dedicated to selling pianos is dwindling across the U.S. 

The best year for new piano sales was 1909, when more than 364,000 were sold. Sales plunged more recently to about 35,000 annually.

Fewer people take up the instrument. Those who do, opt for a used piano or electronic keyboard.

New York is saying goodbye to another historic building. Steinway Hall, the main showroom for Steinway & Sons pianos, will be moving to a new location, leaving its home of almost 90 years on 57th Street near Carnegie Hall. The first floor has been designated a landmark and will be preserved, while the rest of the building will be torn down to build high-rise luxury condominiums.

This week on All Things Considered, NPR's Robert Siegel spoke with some of film's most thoughtful and high-profile composers — plus an up-and-comer — about what it means to tell a story with music, and how a score can enhance a scene.

We've collected five conversations that you can listen to below. You'll hear about the magic of the Wizard of Oz score, how 5/4 time inspired Halloween's terrifying theme, and why a Canadian says he's become to the go-to composer for films requiring South Asian-inspired soundtracks.

Guy Stephens / WNIJ

I’m standing in one of the galleries housing the exhibition with Freeport Art Museum Executive Director Jessica Modica.  In front of us is "At the World’s End: Only Evil Will Travel in a Straight Line," a painting by Dan Brinkmeier.

At first blush, it’s a farm family having a picnic. But then you notice the bleeding lamb, people flying or wearing animal masks and, like a scene from “The Wizard of Oz,” a house in the air.  Modica says the artist admits that the picture is chock-full of symbols.

Five Under-The-Radar Reads From Nancy Pearl

Dec 19, 2014
Guy Stephens / WNIJ

This weekend, Dec. 21, the Fox Valley Orchestra and Chorus present a "Sing-Along Messiah," an event often known as a "Do-It-Yourself Messiah."  Audience members are invited to join the choir in singing choruses from Handel’s masterpiece.

Boston's Handel and Haydn Society is one of the oldest continuously running performing arts organizations in the country. To celebrate its bicentennial this season, the group made a new recording of a holiday perennial, Handel's Messiah, which also happens to be one of the first works it staged nearly 200 years ago. Still, the Handel and Haydn Society is very different from what it was when it started.

Most years, Tom Huizenga and I spend a lot of time after Thanksgiving and well into December battling over — or, more truthfully, having many friendly but spirited discussions about — which recordings should comprise our 10 favorites of the year. We each come up with a list of 10, and then we start hammering things out in some amount of exquisite music-nerd agony. Some albums we agree upon, some are our individual picks.

Pages