America the Dissonant

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July 4th: Independence Day. America has done some remarkable things since 1776, including forging a musical identity. And though it was under Europe's shadow for many years, it has always had a voice of its own. Americans have invented many music styles, from jazz to hip-hop to minimalism, and today American music is as varied as its human landscape.

Let's celebrate the Fourth with some home-grown American tunes. Fire up that B-B-Q.

Some composers simply scream America. We're thinking of Elliott Carter, and we feature his Anniversary Overture today. Milton Babbitt is another American mainstay, hear his wonderful Reflections for piano and electronics this week—a work that comes early in the history of the synthesizer (another American invention!).

Bringing to mind America's amber waves of grain, go on a colorful ride with Joseph Schwantner's Music of Amber. And we couldn't do an American show without a brand-new BB commissioned fanfare—this one comes from Jessica Meyer, written for viola with looping station. What an American idea.

And be sure to listen through to the end—this week the Brothers have an argument from which they may never recover...