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Playlist: Music Station Picks for April '10

Compiled By: PRX Curators

 Credit: <a href="http://www.flickr.com/photos/42417274@N00/2265133126/">flickr_Sophie.</a>
Image by: flickr_Sophie. 
Curated Playlist

Here are April picks for music stations from PRX Music Format Curator David Srebnik of Virtuoso Voices.

Find out what David listens for in music programming.

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Suggestions from David:

"Are you on Twitter? PRX is on Twitter — I've found it to be an invaluable programming resource, providing information and updates on new program that are available on PRX. It's like getting an instant update from PRX without having to go to the PRX site.

"One PRX Twitter feed contains a link to each new PRX piece.

"The second PRX feed tells you which programs have been bought in real time."

Kronos Quartet: Four Decades of Breaking the String Quartet Rules

From John Diliberto | Part of the Echo Location: Soundings for New Music series | 03:30

The Kronos Quartet – in 40 years they’ve done, maybe, everything, including bringing forward an awe inspiring amount of new music, introducing us to known and unknown composers from all over the world, bridging genres and other musical gaps. But, this episode of Echo Location: Soundings for New Music shows perhaps what they’ve done best in their 40 year history: responding to the words, “a string quartet can’t do that.”

For most music-intensive stations and almost all formats.

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The history of string quartets might have major nodules around Mozart, Beethoven and Bartok. But in the 20th century, string quartets are divided into the eras before and after Kronos. Founded in Seattle in 1973, the Kronos Quartet has literally changed the face of modern music, commissioning hundreds of contemporary works for their ensemble and expanding their sound far beyond the conventional parameters of the string quartet. We talk with founder David Harrington about Kronos past and present.

It's part of Echo Location: Soundings for New Music, the weekly digest from Echoes host and Peabody Award winning producer John Diliberto, exploring the latest in modern music with quick hitting interviews, music and commentary. Each edition of Echo Location features a beautifully edited music blend, that's combined with John's thoughtful insights and artists's comments to make a sound-rich journey for listeners. Each episode can stand on its own or be scheduled as a weekly or occasional series.

The Godfather of Ambient Chamber Music

From John Diliberto | Part of the Echo Location: Soundings for New Music series | 03:30

Here’s an important musical vignette that also provides some timely music history and political music history – specifically the onetime 20th century law against writing “pretty” music. John Diliberto profiles the "Godfather of Ambient Chamber Music," Harold Budd. The music and the profile are beautiful, contemporary and very, very pretty.

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Harold Budd started out as a jazz drummer in the 1950s, then became a student of Schoenberg style serialism. Against that backdrop, he revolted the only way he could: making a political statement by creating what he called "pretty music," going against the perceived wisdom of what avant garde music was at the time. With producer John Diliberto, Harold Budd talks about and demonstrates exactly what he means and why he’s a legend among ambient musicians.

It's part of Echo Location: Soundings for New Music, the weekly digest from Echoes host and Peabody Award winning producer John Diliberto, exploring the latest in modern music with quick hitting interviews, music and commentary. Each edition of Echo Location features a beautifully edited music blend, that's combined with John's thoughtful insights and artists's comments to make a sound-rich journey for listeners. Each episode can stand on its own or be scheduled as a weekly or occasional series.

Mischa Spoliansky 09-02

From All Classical Public Media | Part of the The Score with Edmund Stone series | 58:27

The Score is a long established program on All Classical Public Media (All Classical FM aka KQAC) in Portland, Oregon. It is now available as a weekly program option for PRX stations.

This is a film music show rightfully presented without acknowledging earlier days, when often unfair and inaccurate claims and misconceptions on music for film and music from Hollywood were flung about irresponsibly.

The program from the series I heard showcased composer Mischa Spoliansky, best known for his work with British dramas and comedies – including "King Solomon’s Mines," "The Ghost Goes West" and "North West Frontier."

Russian-born composer Mischa Spoliansky is new to me – I found his music, and this program, engaging and substantial. There are a few moments we will probably agree are on the lighter side of the classical music spectrum, but that is not the lasting or overall impression.

The program’s writing, presentation and production by host Edmund Stone and producer Andrea Murray is highly credible, dignified, charming and always moving forward. I think these elements will draw your listeners in to the program, music and story.

While primarily classical in sound and tone, it’s a music program that could find a place on other formats and as a candidate for your weekly doc slot. Other programs from the series include one with an Irish theme (for St. Patrick’s Day) and what was likely a fundraising thank-you program, “Accomplishment and Appreciation.”

The Score is well worth a listen and having in your future consideration/audition list.

*Please see an additional word on another program from this series on the "Music Stations Picks for April, 2010 Playlist.

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This week we recognize the distinguished film composer Mischa Spoliansky. He 
made a significant contribution to British dramas and comedies for 40 years.  
We’ll share some of these, including King Solomon’s Mines, The Ghost Goes 
West, Sanders of the River, and North West Frontier.

Blind Willy Johnson

From Thom Butler | Part of the Blues Routes series | 07:28

Pleasing, informative and musically infused introduction to the Blues innovator and much copied Blind Willie Johnson. I like the way host/producer Thom Butler keeps musical soundtrack flowing, complimenting Johnson's bio and his extended musical reach – an influence still heard today in performers like Ry Cooder and Bruce Cockburn. There’s an Easter peg, but this is good all year long.

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Haunting, enchanting, and evocative, Blind Willy Johnson’s Good Friday masterpiece, Dark Was The Night And Cold Was The Ground, survives as one of the strongest musical reflections on The Crucifixion ever created. It came from the imagination and guitar of Blind Willy Johnson whose gospel influenced compositions include such blues classics as John the Revelator, Soul of a Man, and Ain’t Nobody’s Fault But Mine.

 

In this piece we hear many of these tunes, by a wide range of artists, and learn about the street preacher/bluesman who recorded 30 gospel blues classics in under 3 years. 

Artist Profile: Adrian Quesada

From Michael Lee | 02:14

From the (KUT) Artist Profile Series, these are swift and sharply constructed musician profiles of Texas musicians whose music plays well in and outside of the Texas state.

One of the better introductions to Tejano music – where it’s been, where it’s going – and how Adrian Quesada’s ability to merge funk and a little bit of hip-hop will likely influence and enhance the Austin sound of the future.

Other 2.5-minute features from the Artist Profile series include,

Cindy Cashdollar

Charlie Martin Sexton

Each feature offers you a concise and creative opportunity to keep your listeners engaged with the national music scene, while reminding them that your station is engaged as well. Another strong collection of music-performer story-telling radio from David Brown and the Texas Music Matters group at KUT in Austin.

L_4377b90b0f5a79cff314044430387bf8_small Tejano, Hip Hop, Funk, and the future of Latin music - they all come together in Austin, Texas' Adrian Quesada.  In some respects, he might be seen as a successor to the late Sir Doug Sahm.  He is the guitarist and prime mover in the 10-piece, award winning, Latin orchestra Grupo Fantasma.  A group that might be best known as a favorite of Prince, having played backing band to him on many occasions.  He also finds time to play with the latin-funk instrumental ensemble Brownout.  And he has done it all without major label backing.  Host David Brown explores what make Adrian Quesada one of Austin's Aces.  This program is a production of the award-winning Texas Music Matters team at KUT

Ani DiFranco Live from Joe's Pub

From WFUV | 58:59

A live performance for 100 fans at Joe’s Pub in NYC, intimately recreated here with WFUV Host Rita Houston.

Singer, songwriter, music entrepreneur/small (music) business owner and social activist Ani DiFranco has taken some time off to pursue new-motherhood duties – and this performance and program will hold your listeners over until her next big event.

The internal interview/chats went on a bit too long for my taste, taking a bit away from the pure-concert feel, but DiFranco is a rare bird so it’s an opportunity to get to know the many forces behind the music.

Tracey Tanenbaum’s five-minute snapshot, A Musician’s Life: Ani DiFranco, would make a worthy companion piece.

Anipic_small It's been over a decade since singer, songwriter, and activist Ani DiFranco toured the coffeehouse circuit, but at Joe's Pub in New York City, she took to the small stage once again. Hear songs from "Reprieve" and more as host Rita Houston joins one hundred lucky fans for Ani DiFranco, recorded live at Joe's Pub.

Texas Nuggets: Three Chords and a Station Wagon

From KUT | Part of the Texas Music Matters series | 56:34

Using the JFK assassination as a starting point, David Brown introduces the new faces and sounds of American rock 'n’ roll. Shortly thereafter, the Beatles launched the three chords that inspired a “generation of middle class teens to buy guitars, grow their hair out and hit the road.”

That’s the premise for “Texas Nuggets: Three Chords and a Station Wagon,” new from the Texas Music Matters syndicate at KUT in Austin. The focus here is on Texas’ contribution to the movement, but as the program points out, the Texas innovation and experimentation was being mirrored in garages nationwide.

Like all of the music programming from the Texas Music Matters musical brain trust, the listening is interesting, fun and highly musical. Just by hanging out, you always learn or find out something new. This and other programs from TMM always evoke our most important musical memories with the same spirit and dignity with which those memories were first created.

Elevators_small Few musical movements can be said to have started with a specific event...and ended just as rapidly.  But during a brief period between The Beatles on Ed Sullivan and the 'Summer of Love', hundreds of kids picked up guitars and drumsticks across Texas and began making music that would reverberate for decades...though the songs themselves would be almost lost.
Veteran music journalist (and former Wild Seeds frontman) Michael Hall writes about his Garage Rock rediscoveries in the March 2010 issue of Texas Monthly.  In this public radio collaboration with KUT's award-winning Texas Music Matters unit, Hall joins host David Brown for an exploration of the phenomenon.  (Hall's story inspired a reunion of several Texas Garage Rock bands for a much-anticipated South-By Southwest 2010 showcase.)  The story you're about to hear is true...only you won't believe your ears!  Enjoy!

Easter 2010: Biblical Blockbusters 10-13

From All Classical Public Media | Part of the The Score with Edmund Stone series | 58:59

It's ironic...for all the grief unloaded on Hollywood for its lack of moral values on and off the big screen, the film capital of the world has done well portraying religious events, BC and AD (with the exception of Edward G. Robinson’s casting in "The Ten Commandments").

Music is often at the heart of Hollywood’s biblical epics. On a program you could tie to Easter, but could also air well anytime, is "Biblical Blockbusters." The program is from the "The Score" Series – the new (to PRX) film music program from All Classical Public Media (aka All Classical FM and KQAC) in Portland, Oregon.

Host Edmund Stone briefly illuminates the origin and legacy of Hollywood's cinematic-religious relationships. Especially interesting are the stories of how composers Miklos Rozsa, Alfred Newman, Maurice Jarre, Elmer Bernstein and Victor Young approached religious topics and events – and how they came to write some of their best music.

Not enough can be said about the music heard on this particular edition of "The Score." For example, Alfred Newman's score for "The Robe" floored me, as did several Miklos Rozsa excerpts.

While it's true some film music does not speak well away from the picture, some film music stands up just fine – and you’ll hear definitive proof of that here, along with superb, relevant musical and historical commentary.

*Please see an additional word on another program from this series in this playlist.

Edmund_for_the_score_ad_8-2012_small This week on The Score with Edmund Stone Biblical Blockbusters.  Hollywood movies have often drawn inspiration from the bible and many of these productions have been epic in nature.  We’ll sample music and moments from such blockbusters as Ben-Hur, Quo Vadis, The Ten Commandments, and The Greatest Story Ever Told on The Score with Edmund Stone.