Maybe you’re not a fan of modern classical music. But you’ve heard of The Beatles, haven’t you? They were among the earliest fans of the English composer Sir John Tavener, who died today at 69. And there’s an excellent chance you have heard, and perhaps been moved by, his music. Read John Schaefer's Soundcheck blog post.
It's the latest installment of the chronicles of withholding-from-John-Schaefer from the New Sounds Staff. With so much time since the last taunting, that means more things have been able to pile up on the NSAPA desk (pictured, left) and, of course, more importantly, so much tasty music to be squirreled away until the September harvest!
Let's begin with the unique and tasty combination of Nordic fiddle, West African harp, and danceable percussion. The staff seems to have made it her mission to find and strongly suggest as much music incorporating the African lute-harp as possible, because, who doesn’t love kora?
So overwhelmed was the staff this week by some seriously captivating music, that we completely failed on keeping the standouts to ourselves -like the two releases from the Garifuna Collective, and a preview of Montreal chamber rock via Turkey. Looks like Soundcheck is having the Garifuna Collective into the studio in July with their Canadian collaborator Danny Michel and John Schaefer has included Montreal musicians Esmerine in an upcoming show about music from or influenced by Turkey.
It’s been a tumultuous time at the New Sounds office. In recent weeks, we sent off an intern to school in New Orleans, and welcomed a new summer intern. Thanks to their help, the New Sounds Assistant, or the "staff" has had time to hoard things and perhaps consider sharing them with John Schaefer for New Sounds (or Soundcheck.) Here are some things to get excited about that might not all be New Sounds material.
There’s been too much quiet for too long from the impatient staff. During the brief hiatus, the softball season began, and was then disrupted. (Go NYPR Independents!) The recently-hobbled and still impatient-to-recover staff has had a lot of fun on the internets while trying her level best to bounce back. Here’s a sampling of musical things that brought joy and delight while icing and elevating. Maybe someday John Schaefer will get a chance to hear them.
There's more cool stuff to share from the impatient staff of New Sounds, with a free Download! Listen to exciting and unexpected combinations of Afrobeat and Jewish Cantorial music by Jon Madof and Zion80, along with field recordings of Ugandan coffee workers, some abrasive electronica by composer Dan Friel, and a "Dad-joke" song by Verity Susman. Turns out that the staff hasn't been able to hoard all the good stuff for long. Our host, John Schaefer, has included the Jon Madof and Zion80 in Thursday night's show and is going to make the "Delicious Peace" record part of Friday night's program.
Every now and again, we get overwhelmed with all of the good music that comes our way and impatient that our host, John Schaefer, has not yet heard the tracks.
Butch Morris, who died this past Tuesday at 65, was a cornetist and conductor, best known for developing a musical vocabulary that he called “Conduction.” The term meant conducted improvisation, where Butch would shape the music through a series of gestures, and both audience and ensemble could watch the performance unfold as they listened. It is not the type of musical experience that radio is good at capturing, unfortunately; it really is one of those “you had to be there” things. But we did give it a try, once, a long time ago in a galaxy far, far away…
2012 marks the 28th Annual New Sounds Listener Poll from WNYC, New York Public Radio. Well, we are just about 89% sure that this is the 28th annual such poll, with a margin of error of 3 points.
The rules are simple: choose ten entries, released in 2012 - and to play our little game- preferably aired on New Sounds. To have your vote count, choose at least one release, but no more than ten. One submission per person, please.
John Schaefer's own highly-opinionated best-of 2012 New Sounds show airs at 11PM on Jan. 9, 2013. The Listener Poll closes at 12 noon E.S.T. on 1/10/13. Listen to the results of the poll at 11PM on Jan. 10, 2013.
To mark what would have been John Cage’s 100th birthday, New Sounds and Q2 Music have been presenting a 1994 series of rare in-studio recordings and interviews with the composer - "John Cage: City Circus," what we thought to be thirteen programs worth. Except that when we went digging through the archives, we could only come up with twelve. So here, after many years, and in this John Cage centennial year, is the missing 13th installment - a new show to complete the series.
Airs 11/21 at 10PM on the Special Stream
For this, the twelfth edition of the John Cage: City Circus programs, listen to the final concert performance by John Cage, recorded by WNYC at Central Park Summerstage, just two weeks before his death in July of 1992. It was a world premiere of his work, Four6, featuring Cage, vocalist Joan La Barbara, pianist/percussionist Leonard Stein, and percussionist William Winant.
Airs 11/21, at 8PM on Q2 Music
In the eleventh of these special City Circus programs, hear a 1982 concert performance of duo piano music by Erik Satie along with Cage’s “Credo in Us” for piano & percussion. Both are from the massive day-long festival, Wall-to-Wall John Cage, recorded at Symphony Space. Also, there’s keyboard music by David Borden for the Mother Mallard Portable Masterpiece Company based on the four letters of Cage’s name, and more.
For this, the tenth edition of the John Cage: City Circus programs, hear a live performance in our studio of a work by Wendy Mae Chambers for twelve percussionists, written in memory of John Cage. It's a voodoo tone poem called "Twelve Squared," where the number of movements was chosen by the chance operations of a tarot card reading. There's also a choral work by Robert Moran, "Seven Sounds Unseen," introspective settings of passages from letters John Cage wrote to Moran, along with music made by the city of Tokyo in Japan.
From the excellent site, Brain Pickings: Where the Heart Beats: John Cage, Zen Buddhism, and the Inner Life of Artists is the remarkable new intellectual, creative, and spiritual biography of Cage — one of the most influential composers in modern history, whose impact reaches beyond the realm of music and into art, literature, cinema, and just about every other aesthetic and conceptual expression of curiosity about the world, yet also one of history’s most misunderstood artists — fifteen years in the making. by Maria Popova
From the New Sounds archives, this is the ninth program in a series celebrating the life and legacy of John Cage, who would have been 100 this year. Every Wednesday until the end of November, we’re bringing you these archival “John Cage: CityCircus” programs. For this show, hear a live studio performance by Margaret Leng Tan of Cage's prepared piano music for a 1950 film about the sculptor Alexander Calder. Plus, music by Erik Satie and more.
From the New Sounds archives, this is the eighth program in a series celebrating the life and legacy of John Cage, who would have been 100 this year. Every Wednesday at 10pm until the end of November, we’re bringing you these archival “John Cage: CityCircus” programs. For this show, listen to an archival WNYC recording of John Cage himself, live from the Kitchen in 1989, performing his reading, “As It Were.” Plus, hear Cage’s masterwork, Sonatas and Interludes for Prepared Piano, as performed by Joshua Pierce.
For this, the seventh edition of the John Cage: City Circus programs, hear the final radio appearance with John Cage, from July of 1992, just a few weeks before his death. (This aired originally on the daily music performance show, Around New York.) In this interview, Cage talks about the connection that his music shares with Erik Satie’s, and pianist Michael Torre performs live in the studio.
In the sixth of these special City Circus programs, listen to a show based around Cage’s connection to Japan and fascination with things Japanese, like Haiku poetry, Zen Buddhism, and traditional Japanese instruments. Listen to a WNYC recording of a live performance on traditional Japanese instruments of Cage’s work “Ryoanji” inspired by the famous rock garden in Japan.
Airs 8PM, Wednesday, 10/10 on the Q2 Music stream.
For this show, the fifth in the John Cage: City Circus series, hear words and music by John Cage. From an entire program of "Singing Through John Cage," recorded live at Central Park Summerstage in July of 1992, just a month before Cage died that August, vocalist Joan La Barbara performs Cage's setting of a text by e.e. cummings. Also, the Dutch ensemble The Barton Workshop performs Cage's "Music for Six," where each player is an individual, reacting personally to pitches in a time frame and not to one another.