Music + Culture

Music + Culture
10:34 am
Fri February 13, 2015

Obsessive Berlioz Scares Off His Crush

Harriet Smithson caught the eye of the obsessive Berlioz. We imagine this is her telling him to chill out.
Credit WikiCommons

The obvious real-life romance in the classical world is Robert Schumann and Clara Wieck, so for a change of pace I will talk about Harriet Smithson and Hector Berlioz.

Harriet was an Anglo-Irish actress. In one performance of Hamlet and Romeo and Juliet in 1827​, in which Harriet played the leading ladies, Berlioz happened to be in attendance. He immediately fell in love with the beautiful and talented actress. 

Read more
Valentine's Day
8:37 pm
Thu February 12, 2015

Old Northwest Love Stories You Need To Know About

Credit Patty Colmer from Citrus Heights, United States / WikiCommons

Nothing says love like silk ties, long-distance correspondence, divorce and murder-suicide. OK, maybe a hug and kiss would do, but for your Valentine’s Day entertainment here are some historical Northwest stories that have something to do with love.      

Read more
Valeintine's Day Music
6:32 am
Thu February 12, 2015

Here Are A Few Great Songs For Valentine's Day

Credit Leandroid / Flickr

We already know that NWPR staff have great taste in music. You only have to listen to our Classical Service to know that. And so with Valentine's Day on Saturday, we once again asked our staff for recommendations. Here's what we got:

Read more
Music + Culture
8:21 am
Wed February 11, 2015

What It Means To Play Pablo Casals' Cello

Amit Peled is preparing to re-create a century-old cello recital by Pablo Casals, using the master's own instrument. Here, he shows if off in NPR's Washington, D.C., studios.
Colin Marshall NPR

Originally published on Thu February 12, 2015 11:47 am

When Amit Peled was 10, his parents gave him a gift: a cassette of music by cello master Pablo Casals. Peled had no classical background; his parents were not musicians. He says his own budding interest in the cello was a scam, a way of getting close to a girl in his town who happened to play the instrument. And yet, every night, he would fall asleep with the tape playing from a boombox beside his bed. The music made an impression.

Read more
Love Songs
10:05 am
Tue February 10, 2015

The Good Listener: How Can I Avoid Love Songs?

When it seems like every song on earth is about love or its absence, the heartsick need a strategy.

Originally published on Sat February 7, 2015 5:03 am

We get a lot of mail at NPR Music, and alongside the pheromone-laced collars we ordered in the hopes that our cats will stop acting like jerks is a slew of smart questions about how music fits into our lives — and, this week, thoughts on how the heartsick can avoid songs about love, sex and desire.

Read more
Music + Culture
3:36 pm
Mon February 9, 2015

Music for Valentine's Day

Classical music and a classic Valentine's Day gift.
Credit Wikimedia Commons

Samuel Barber

Adagio for Strings

Hector Berlioz

"Romeo and Juliet" Love Scene

Georges Bizet

The Pearl Fishers - Au fond du temple saint

Carmen - La fleur que tu m'avais jetée

Johannes Brahms

Liebeslieder Waltzes

Alexander Borodin

String Quartet No. 2

Claude Debussy

Suite bergamasque: Clair de lune

Gaetano Donizetti

Read more
The Seattle Symphony
11:35 am
Mon February 9, 2015

Seattle Symphony Wins A Grammy

Credit The Seattle Symphony /

The Seattle Symphony's recording of Become Ocean by John Luther Adams won "Best Contemporary Classical Composition" at the 2015 Grammy Awards on Sunday. This marks a historic moment in the Symphony’s 111-year history as their first recording to win a Grammy after a total of 18 nominations.

Read more
Town Pronunciations
2:14 pm
Wed February 4, 2015

How Do You Say That? Idaho Edition.


Welcome to the second installment of the “How Do You Say That?” series. We started with Washington and a list of the state’s most confusing town names—the ones even Washingtonians sometimes say wrong. Next up is Idaho.

Pend Oreille

Probably one of the hardest Idaho names to say if you’re not already familiar with it is Pend Oreille. If it makes you feel any better, it’s a French name. PAWN-doh-RAY.


Read more
Music + Culture
9:45 am
Mon February 2, 2015

Aldo Ciccolini, An Italian Pianist With A French Soul, Dies At Age 89

Italian-born pianist Aldo Ciccolini was closely associated with French music. He died this weekend at age 89.
Sabine Weiss Courtesy of the artist

Read more
Mispronounced Names
3:14 pm
Thu January 29, 2015

How Do You Say That? Washington Edition.


A while back, we asked our Twitter followers how they pronounce Boise, the capital of Idaho. Turns out Idahoans say Boise different than most people. 

Read more