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Music Post: Music on the “wrong” instruments

A great soul record came out in the summer of 1967. Jackie Wilson’s “(You’re Love Keeps Lifting Me) Higher and Higher” gave the back-up singers so much to do that their short notes added to the rhythmic propulsion of this uptempo love song. Four Motown musicians including bassist Jamie Jamerson…

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Peter Schickele is a composer and teacher – Juilliard-trained and teaches there – who has brightened six decades of classical music appreciation worldwide. He has done by inventing a composer – Johann Sebastian Bach’s extra son PDQ Bach, whose compositions Schickele keeps “discovering,” sometimes in response to commissions. His humor…

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Journalism in trouble – and not because of Donald Trump

America is in danger of losing its independent press, and almost everyone is blaming it on the wrong things. I’m not arguing that there is no threat from “alternative facts,” or the preference for security over freedom, or the balkanization of media in the age of the Internet, or reporters…

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Music Post: The Boston School

The way we classify composers changed forever when a Russian composer named Mily Balakirev exhorted four composer friends to write a more Russian music, and the five came to be known as the Mighty Handful, or, in French translation, the Mighty Five. Then a French writer created “Les Six” of…

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The legislature’s rail fail

State lawmakers, who never appropriated a dime in state funds for rail, preferring to leave it to the city, responded to soaring costs by saying the project needed their oversight. Then they ended their session without any funding solution of any kind. I’ve got to give it to them: that…

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Music Post: Doing the locomotion

Hawaii residents know I have a collection of model airplanes representing the airlines that serve Hawaii, and many infer from this that I am a plane buff. While it is true that my father’s parents are buried at Friendship Cemetery, overlooking the runways of Baltimore-Washington International, and while it is…

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Music Post: The pledge drive shows

Maybe it’s fitting that a show that little resembles any other show should behave differently during pledge drives. The original thinking at HPR was that 6 a.m. was too early to expect anyone to call in a pledge, and perhaps too early to ask volunteers to come in to answer…

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Music Post: HPR’s Top 100 Classical List

In contemporary music, we can measure the popularity of albums by sales. We can measure individual tracks by clicks. Objective measurement can at least suggest “popularity.” In the world of oldies, it’s a little more complicated, because how a record sold when it was new may accord with how you…

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State lawmakers: don’t impede rail

It is saddening to see Hawaii state lawmakers pretending that the soaring cost of Honolulu rail is a uniquely local scandal that can be fixed with some simple budget adjustments. The cost of rail is soaring because the cost of all public works projects is soaring, here and on the…

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Music Post: Threes, more threes, and many more threes

The Eroica Trio. Their music is beautiful, too. Classical music is replete with trios, usually consisting of a piano, violin and cello, sometimes a violin, viola and cello, and, less commonly, other combination of instruments. The Baroque period gave us “trio sonatas” and the middle part of the typical scherzo…