The Mystical Power of Music

Wednesday, August 24, 2011

Ten years ago on September 11, I was on the air here at WQXR from 7 p.m. until midnight. I had been called in at the last minute to cover for my colleague, June LeBell, who had been evacuated from Battery Park City to New Jersey earlier in the day. As I walked to the station that night, I remember how absolutely lost I felt. "What should I say? What should I do? How can we help?" It seemed so illogical to be playing music while television and radio stations all over the city were trying desperately to explain what had happened and to advise us about what to do next.

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Gavin Bryars on Cadman Requiem

Sunday, August 21, 2011

I last saw my friend and sound engineer Bill Cadman in Paris at the beginning of December 1988 when we had a drink together. On December 21st, Bill and his new girlfriend Sophie were killed in the Lockerbie air crash. I was very badly affected by his death and for some time I found it hard to sleep and had constant nightmares. I wrote an obituary for The Independent newspaper shortly after his death, which helped me quite a lot.

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Quiet Acts of Kindness

Saturday, August 20, 2011

As part of Q2's Requiem Project, we've been searching the NYPR archives for voices that offer perspective on 9/11 and help us better understand the world in which we now live. The stories that immediately stood out to me were of the volunteers who for months helped feed, clothe and comfort the people working at the site. "We have to understand that their existence in millions for each evil act is what keeps us going," the late evolutionary biologist Stephen Jay Gould told WNYC's Marianne McCune.

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Ingram Marshall on Gradual Requiem

Thursday, August 18, 2011

Musicians write requiems for all sorts of reasons. The Connecticut composer Ingram Marshall wrote his seminal tape piece Gradual Requiem in tribute to his father, who had recently died. He explains its significance.

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Requiems Discovered

Tuesday, August 16, 2011

Over the next few weeks, as we listen to your requiem suggestions and start to sketch out the 9/11 anniversary weekend programming, a ton of new music will be crossing our desks. But some of our recent discoveries are simply too moving to wait an additional moment before sharing: including work by a Polish film composer, a Ukrainian romantic, and a requiem based on Latvian folk songs.

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The Requiem Project

Friday, August 12, 2011

Although it stems from a specific religious tradition, the requiem has become a versatile, generous form through which many composers have addressed the fundamental human concerns surrounding mortality. Requiems mourn the dead, and they’re appropriately reverent and solemn. But they also can be dramatic and uplifting. Ten years after the events of September 11, 2001, the requiem continues to be a valuable form for exploring the lasting shock, anger and sorrow of loss — and for celebrating what remains.

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A Musical Memory Space

Friday, August 12, 2011

John Adams was one of the first major composers to take on the challenge of writing a work to commemorate the events of September 11, 2001. His Pulitzer Prize-winning work On the Transmigration of Souls is something of a sound collage, performed by orchestra and choirs along with pre-recorded ambient sound: we hear a voice reading names of people who were lost in the towers, the choirs singing reminiscences of their family members.

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Share Your Music

Thursday, August 11, 2011

For more than 500 years, Western classical music has used the requiem mass to bury the departed and console the living. Nearly 2,000 requiems have been written, to date — and that isn't even counting all the secular works meant to address the realities of death and mortality. 

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Share Your Memories

Thursday, August 11, 2011

Sometimes the enormity of a moment is captured by something small — the details of the everyday take on new meaning. What do you remember from September 11, 2001 and its immediate aftermath? What memory or observation stands out, and why?

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The Q2 Listener Survey: Your Input Matters!

Thursday, July 14, 2011

At Q2 we’re devoted to championing the music of living composers and presenting it in the best possible way. But now we need your help and honest opinions. We want you to let us know what you like about Q2 and what we could do better.

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Review: Nico Muhly's Compelling, Uneven Tale of Online Tragedy

Sunday, June 26, 2011

Nico Muhly's Two Boys, which got its world premiere at English National Opera on Friday, was envisioned as part crime procedural, part online morality tale. Despite a choppy first act, Muhly's gripping music redeems this lurid tale.

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'Hi, I'm Nico Muhly...'

Friday, June 17, 2011

Joining us from the BBC studios in London in advance of the world premiere of Two Boys, Nico Muhly also takes time to conduct us through a tour of the kaleidoscopic influences behind his already prodigious catalog. 

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Postcards to the Internauts

Tuesday, June 14, 2011

Greetings from sunny (I’m not kidding, the sun never sets) Iceland! I’m spending my days at Valgeir Sigurðsson’s Greenhouse Studios, where, to my surprise, June Hammered! guest host Bruce Brubaker is recording Drones and Piano, Nico Muhly’s work for the same. I had NO idea Bruce was gonna be here. Q2 party up in Iceland! Come Wednesday, I’ll begin to record Daníel Bjarnason’s viola concerto-like-thing Sleep Variations, for solo viola, harp, percussion, and ten additional violas, all of which I will record, Mwah-ha-ha-ha.

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Listen Now: Seeing is Believing

Monday, June 13, 2011

Composer Nico Muhly's new album Seeing is Believing drops June 21, 2011, but until then you can hear it streaming 24/7 on-demand here as part of Q2's partnership with NPR Music's First Listen. Hear the entire album which features world premiere recordings from Thomas Gould and the London-based Aurora Orchestra as well as Muhly's ecstatic arrangements of choral works by William Byrd and Orlando Gibbons.

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Two Boys Provoking Debate

Sunday, June 12, 2011

Though New Yorkers will unfortunately have to wait until the Met Opera's 2013-2014 season to see a local production of Tony Award-winner Bartlett Sher's staging of Nico Muhly's first opera, Two Boys (premiering in late June at the English National Opera), it seems like we're now more than ever bombarded with the dark and lurid issues that this complex, cautionary tale raises. 

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New Music Champions Unite!

Wednesday, May 18, 2011

Q2 is listener-supported. Passionate about this great service and want to take a stand in support of new music? Become a Q2 listener-supporter and make a contribution to New York Public Radio today. And tell us why you listen to Q2. What is it about Q2 that gets your attention? What's valuable to you about Q2? Here are some highlights of our inaugural year.

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Spring Fever: Symphonic Metamorphosis

Saturday, May 14, 2011

The symphony has undergone such transformation since it first emerged as a conventional form hundreds of years ago. Concluding Carnegie Hall's Spring for Music festival, Kent Nagano and the Montréal Symphony Orchestra explore the evolution of the symphony beginning with Giovanni Gabrieli's Sacrae Symphoniae for Brass and finishing with Anton Webern's Symphony, Op. 21. This evening, May 14 from 5 to 8pm, Q2 responds with our own take on this large-scale form as it has transformed into the twenty-first century.

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Spring Fever: Dawn Upshaw, Soprano and Muse

Friday, May 13, 2011

This evening, Friday May 13 from 5 to 8 pm, Q2 continues work in tandem with WQXR's Spring for Music broadcast of the St. Paul Chamber Orchestra's performance with soprano, Dawn Upshaw. In addition to her role as a pedagogue and her career longevity as a singer, we draw inspiration from Upshaw's reputation for forging longstanding relationships with composers who have used her unique voice as their muse.

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Spring Fever: Music in Time of War

Thursday, May 12, 2011

Artists have often used their art as a means of making sense of the horrors of war and taking a political stance: from Salvador Dalí's painting Face of War to Kryzstof Penderecki's string orchestra work Threnody for the Victims of Hiroshima. On May 12 as part of Carnegie Hall's Spring for Music Festival, the Oregon Symphony takes the stage and presents a program titled Music for a Time of War featuring cornerstone works by John Adams, Charles Ives, Benjamin Britten and Ralph Vaughn Williams.

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Spring Fever: Pulitzer Prize Winners

Wednesday, May 11, 2011

Carnegie Hall's Spring for Music festival is designed to allow orchestras to flex their creative programming muscles and provide an outlet to think outside of the overture-concerto-symphony box. On May 11, the Dallas Symphony Orchestra performs Steven Stucky's August, 1964 in their Carnegie Hall debut.

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