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Why everyone, even Trump, might benefit from Russia probe

I guess it’s no surprise in this time of passionate partisan politics that so many people are jumping to conclusions about the purpose and likely outcome of any investigation of Russian interference in American politics. But both sides may be missing the point. President Trump thinks Democrats are out to…

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Music Post: Prague rocks the classics

Classical music was a more or less unified concept through the Baroque and Classical periods. The idea that your music would be distinctive if you came from a particular country did not really take hold until halfway through the 1800s. Some cities did have reputations long before that as sources…

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Music Post: Endings to end all endings

I once did, and doubtless will do again, a program on the many ways composers end their pieces, contrasting big finishes with other kinds. Such a program will necessarily include bombastic endings to Beethoven’s Fifth and Rossini’s William Tell Overture along with the great icebergs of sound at the end…

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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…