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In this issue of Classical Music Extra from Public Radio Market, we highlight new classical music, video game composers, a banjo virtuoso and a limited-time opportunity to stream the new album from the Kronos Quartet.

New(ish) Classical Tracks
 

Every week on New Classical Tracks, host Julie Amacher provides an in-depth exploration of a new classical music release. Before we dive headfirst into the upcoming holiday season and its many new classical releases, we're taking a look back at some of our favorite picks from this year. Call them New(ish) Classical Tracks!

Listen to New Classical Tracks

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Listen to New Classical Tracks:
Prepare for Goose Bumps

Joshua Bell Conducts Beethoven Symphonies No. 4 & 7
By Joshua Bell

For years, violinist Joshua Bell has reigned as a classical music rock star. In 2011, he expanded his resume when he took the helm of the Academy of St. Martin in the Fields. Bell is the orchestra’s first music director since Sir Neville Marriner who founded this chamber orchestra in 1958. And Bell — one of the concert world’s most recognizable solo artists — leads the ensemble not from the spotlight of conductor’s podium, but sitting right alongside the Academy’s violins.

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Listen to New Classical Tracks:
Voices of Earth and Air

Voices of Earth and Air: Works for Chorus
By Cunningham / Kuhn Mixed Choir / Vorlicek

This compilation features 11 English choral works by five contemporary composers, performed by six unique ensembles showcasing the diversity and depth of the choral subgenre.

"Voices of Earth and Air — it's a new collection of works for chorus, featuring various ensembles performing pieces by five contemporary composers, all of whom are breathing life into new music." — Julie Amacher

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Listen to New Classical Tracks:
From Jed Clampett to Bartokt

The Impostor
By Béla Fleck

Béla Fleck has always been one to stretch boundaries and explore new musical territory. On this all-new album, Béla gives world-premiere recordings of two original compositions: "The Impostor" and "Night Flight Over Water."

"The Impostor" is a concerto for banjo and orchestra and is performed with the Nashville Symphony Orchestra and conductor, Giancarlo Guerrero. The recording is taken from live performances in Schermerhorn Symphony Center in Nashville.

"Night Flight Over Water" is a new quintet for banjo and string quartet and here Béla is joined by the American quartet, Brooklyn Rider.

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Listen to New Classical Tracks:
Chris Thile plays Bach

Bach: Sonatas and Partitas, Vol. 1
By Chris Thile

Nonesuch Records releases an album of three Bach works recorded by mandolin virtuoso and MacArthur Fellow Chris Thile. Bach: Sonatas and Partitas, Vol. 1 comprises three works written for solo violin: "Sonata No. 1 in G minor, BWV 1001," "Partita No. 1 in B minor, BWV 1002" and "Sonata No. 2 in A minor, BWV 1003." The album was produced by Thile's friend, mentor and frequent collaborator, the double bassist and composer Edgar Meyer. Thile will perform works by Bach in solo recitals this fall.

Thile explains his connection to the composer: "Bach was my first meaningful experience with, for lack of a better word, classical music. It was the second recording of Glenn Gould playing the Goldberg Variations. Gould plays with the kind of rhythmic integrity that I had previously only associated with non-classical music: music with a groove, with a pocket, that made you move. Gould was playing that music like my heroes play fiddle tunes. It humanized the whole thing for me and the heavens opened up and Bach came down. I started devouring all the Bach I could get my hands on."

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Top Score
 

Top Score

Emily Reese loves blasting away at the bad guys on her Playstation 3. She's also a host at Classical Minnesota Public Radio and a music nut.

That's why Reese, who joined MPR in 2008, wanted to do something that combines her love of music with her love of gaming. Over recent years, Reese has observed that composing music for video games has become big business. "They're investing as much money — if not more — for the music in gaming as they do for a film score in Hollywood," Reese says, "so I went to Daniel Gilliam and Brian Newhouse and said, 'I'd love to do more with this.'"

Gilliam and Newhouse, the program director and managing director, respectively, at Classical MPR, suggested a podcast. The podcast, called Top Score, is described at the top of each episode as the "podcast where we talk to composers about their experience writing for video games."

Listen to Top Score

 

Listen to Top Score:
Halloween Game
Music Bundle

Plants vs. Zombies

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Listen to Top Score:
The Washington Metropolitan Gamer Symphony Orchestra

Super Mario Galaxy

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Listen to Top Score:
Castlevania:
Lords of Shadow

Castlevania
Lords of Shadow

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Pretty Good Goods
 
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Bruce Adolphe's Piano Puzzlers

Impress your friends at your next party or gathering! Piano Puzzlers gathers together the sheet music to 32 of the best piano puzzlers so that you can be the toast of your next party or gathering. The puzzlers serves as a great icebreaker for any occasion to get the conversation rolling.

Here is a classic Piano Puzzler from 2010 that is featured in the book. Can you guess the song and which composer's style Bruce Adolphe is trying to imitate? Post your guesses on our Facebook fanpage.

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Treble in the Kitchen Apron

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Gratitude, Gravy
& Garrison

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Downton Abbey Soundtrack

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Of Interest to Public Radio Fans
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Kronos Quartet

 

 

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NPR First Listen: Kronos Quartet

Bryce Dessner is a man who slips in and out of musical guises with disarming ease. In the rock world, he's known as a member of The National (along with his twin brother, Aaron) and a founding member of Clogs. But in contemporary classical circles, Dessner, who studied composition and classical guitar at Yale, hangs with the likes of eighth blackbird, So Percussion, the Bang on a Can All-Stars, Philip Glass and Steve Reich.

And now he's gained another group of revered collaborators: his first works written for string quartet are being played by the San Francisco-based Kronos Quartet, one of the landmark groups in contemporary music and a catalyzing force for literally hundreds of composers over their nearly 40-year-long career. Four of Dessner's works involving Kronos are being released as the album Aheym. NPR First Listen is streaming the album until it is released on November 5.

NPR First Listen: Kronos Quartet, Aheym

As always, "Like" our Facebook fanpage to keep up with all the news!

David Edin
dedin@mpr.org
Merchandise Manager


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Tim Russell
  Downton Abbey

Mando