Snowbound

Wednesday, December 29, 2010

Naomi Lewin considers which music she'd listen to on a snow day -- Mahler’s Fourth Symphony, maybe, or Brahms’s First. What about you? What’s your idea of perfect music for snow?

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The Modern Radio Drama

Saturday, December 25, 2010

This holiday season WQXR and WNYC are broadcasting a radio drama version of Charles Dickens’ A Christmas Carol with David Hyde Pierce as Scrooge and many of your favorite public radio hosts as narrators and characters. Composer John Forster played piano and A Prairie Home Companion's Fred Newman performed stunning live sound effects.

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Stand Up for Silent Night

Thursday, December 23, 2010

Jeff Spurgeon observes: "In how many churches this Christmas Eve will 'Silent Night' be the emotional climax of the service? This little carol is something very special."

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My Unsilent Night

Friday, December 17, 2010

Nadia Sirota reflects on Phil Kline's downtown boombox caroling parade, Unsilent Night. "Of all the holiday activities in which I have participated this is among my favorite," she writes.

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Fly the Friendly Airwaves

Friday, December 17, 2010

Naomi Lewin observes: How cool is this? Instead of being bombarded by Muzak, passengers at Cincinnati/Northern Kentucky Airport (CVG) now tote that baggage and lift that laptop to the strains of Beethoven and Tchaikovsky.

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What is it About Beethoven?

Wednesday, December 15, 2010

Of Beethoven's popularity, Midge Woolsey asks: "Is it name recognition or familiar melodies? Shouldn’t we think about giving one of the other guys a shot at the top?"

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So Percussion on Q2

Tuesday, December 14, 2010

You've hopefully heard Q2's "stings" countless times by now. Stings are the pre-recorded, station-identifying short bits of music used as segues between songs. In radio jargon, they're also referred to as sweepers, stingers, radio/station imaging, bumpers, shotguns... admittedly, the radio industry has some eccentric terminology.

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Just Say No

Saturday, December 11, 2010

As the New Year approaches, people always talk about their resolutions, primarily what they plan to do. But what about what you plan not to do? I saw a piece on the news about a woman who was encouraging mothers not to volunteer so much! Horrors! Seems like a very non-PC thing to say, but what with PTA, non-profits, religious and other volunteer organizations, people are finding less time for their themselves, family and friends.

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Is it Time to Retire the Term 'Classical Music?'

Friday, December 10, 2010

"I hate 'classical' music" is how New Yorker music critic Alex Ross begins his most recent book Listen to This. Alex will be my guest on my new program All Ears this Saturday at 10 pm.

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A Memory of December 8, 1980

Wednesday, December 08, 2010

I have a very vivid memory from thirty years ago tonight.

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The Hallelujah Chorus in a Mall?

Tuesday, December 07, 2010

Midge Woolsey observes: I've received several notices about this YouTube clip of people in a Canadian mall breaking out into a performance of the Hallelujah chorus. I'm not exactly sure why, but I'm wiping the tears from my eyes.

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Tongue-Tied in the Chorus

Monday, December 06, 2010

Jeff Spurgeon writes: "I’ve sung in good choirs and not-as-good choirs, in ensembles large and small, singing early music and brand-new music. I’ve been a useful chorister, and, at least one time, a completely useless one."

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Bizarre Holiday Traditions

Thursday, December 02, 2010

What I enjoy most about this time of year is the tradition of season. But until now I never seriously thought about how my indulging in these sacred traditions could be an affront to someone else.

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Christmas, Christmas Time is Near

Monday, November 29, 2010

Naomi Lewin asks: What does a nice Jewish girl know about Christmas music? After decades as a choral singer, church soloist, and radio host, the answer is, "Plenty!"

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Reflections on Strauss's Intermezzo

Tuesday, November 23, 2010

As I write this, I’m still thinking about how great it was to meet so many listeners last Thursday evening at New York City Opera as we gathered to enjoy Strauss's Intermezzo together. Thank you so much for opting to join us for the adventure!

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I Was a Teenage Trombonist

Monday, November 22, 2010

Sounds like a horror movie, doesn’t it? As Jeff Spurgeon tell us, for family and friends, perhaps it was. But his trombone tale is very much a happy one.

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Comments [19]

Are iPad Orchestras In Play?

Wednesday, November 17, 2010

What do you think about iPads as instruments? A few months ago the pianist Lang Lang came to our studio and played Flight of the Bumblebee on one. That's possible because of a three-dollar application that simulates a keyboard. Now there is an app that simulates the violin.

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Name That Tune

Tuesday, November 16, 2010

Everyone has had the experience of singing or humming a tune that’s been driving you crazy, trying to identify it. A music discovery Web site offers some help.

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How the Oboist's Art is Like a Bad Marriage

Sunday, November 14, 2010

There are many conversations that go on between an instrumentalist and their instrument. For the oboist and the oboe, a good face in public masks constant bickering and drama behind the scenes.

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Remembering Shirley Verrett

Wednesday, November 10, 2010

With the news of her death over the weekend, I found myself watching clips of Shirley Verrett on YouTube yesterday. Sadly, I never saw her perform on the opera stage. But, thanks to YouTube, I was able to get a sense of just how fabulous she was. I was absolutely blown away by what I saw. Her Delilah was to die for. And this from a woman who was known to be quite shy! Amazing. I’m still moved as I think about it this morning.

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