He's made his list and checked it twice: Critic Alan Cheuse recommends the best books to give as gifts in 2011. This year, it's mostly fiction — books that will light up dark winter nights with warm stories, large characters and beautiful language.
Originally published on Tue December 13, 2011 12:54 pm
Winter Words, the debut solo album by American tenor Nicholas Phan, is a total pleasure on all fronts. The nearly 33-year-old Phan's career has been heating up on the opera stage — he'll be spending much of this coming spring touring Handel's Ariodante across Europe with Joyce DiDonato, Il Complesso Barocco and conductor Alan Curtis. This program, with sensitive and lyrical accompaniment provided by Myra Huang, proves Phan to be a powerful force in recital as well.
Originally published on Sun December 11, 2011 1:57 pm
Elliott Carter turns 103 today. Amazingly, he's still composing, still doing fine. At the end of the birthday concert given in his honor last Thursday, the composer trundled up to the stage of Manhattan's 92nd Street Y to receive a resounding rendition of "Happy Birthday," which, in Carter-like fashion, devolved into clusters of wild sounds.
Originally published on Thu December 8, 2011 12:41 pm
The silly season of endless lists is upon us. You might notice that here at Deceptive Cadence, we don't even try to enumerate which albums were "best" — we use the word "favorite" quite intentionally, as you'll see from the pan-genre list painstakingly compiled with our NPR Music colleagues.
Originally published on Mon December 5, 2011 2:10 pm
High expectations lie with Iván Fischer as he prepares to step in as music director of Berlin's Konzerthaus and principal conductor of the house orchestra next season.
In a guest appearance with the Berlin Philharmonic last weekend, the Budapest native explored his passion for the Austro-Hungarian tradition, which he cited as a main incentive for taking on the former East Berlin ensemble earlier this year.
"Our native language is the music of the Hapsburg Empire," he told the local press.
Originally published on Wed November 30, 2011 1:52 pm
Berlin would seem the obvious candidate to occupy the cutting edge of developments exploring the common ground between electronica and contemporary classical music.
The city boasts a techno music culture still colored with the anarchy of the city's post-wall years; a new music scene envied for its experimentalism and generous state funding and elegant converted industrial spaces that lend themselves perfectly to everything from DJ events to sound installations.