99.5 WCRB Most Popular Articles

From Arcade Fire to Classical

Friday, September 19, 2014
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Canadian multi-instrumentalist Richard Reed Parry, known for his work as a member of the Grammy-award winning band Arcade Fire, takes a dive into the rhythms of the human body Music for Heart and Breath.



A quartet of musicians sit before sheets of music with instruments in hand, casually dressed and waiting for instruction. A rehearsal like any other, except the human body is the metronome; each musician is wearing a stethoscope strapped to his or her chest, following their own heartbeat or breath to keep time or, sometimes, that of another performer.

This scene personifies the concept behind Richard Reed Parry’s new album Music for Heart and Breath. Released on Deutsche Grammophon, with contributions from the iconic new music ensemble Kronos Quartet, pop and classical crossover ensemble yMusic, and avant-garde composer Nico Muhly, the compositions and various instrumental configurations explore the notion that the human body can dictate how music is performed and how we interact with it.

Parry is not a name associated with classical music. The Canadian multi-instrumentalist is a member of the Grammy Award-winning rock band Arcade Fire, in which his musical voice might emerge from guitar, double bass, or accordion. Music for Heart and Breath is a reflection of Parry’s desire to make music that reacts with the mind and the body through rhythmic, haunting compositions in an experiment that takes us beyond genre or tradition. 



For more information and to purchase this recording, visit ArkivMusic.

















Valentine Wishes

Thursday, January 30, 2014
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Celebrate Mozart!

Sunday, January 26, 2014
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Portrait of Mozart attributed to Barbara Krafft, via Wikimedia Commons

No composer retains as strong a hold on our imaginations as Wolfgang Amadeus Mozart. Even after dispensing with the myths that form the popular narrative of his life, what remains is music of indisputable beauty and invention.

For Mozart's 258th birthday on Jan. 27, enjoy these performances from WCRB's Fraser Performance Studio, Symphony Hall in Boston, and beyond.

Soprano Kristen Watson sings “Tu virginum corona" from Exultate Jubilate with the Arcadia Players:

Christoph Eschenbach Monday at 8pm on 99.5 WCRB

Christoph Eschenbach performs Mozart's Piano Concerto No. 12 as both soloist and conductor with the Boston Symphony Orchestra, in concert at Symphony Hall:

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Arcadia Players Cellist Mozart Downloads from the WCRB Classical Performance Podcast

The Ma'alot Wind Quintet plays selections from Mozart's Cosí fan tutte:
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The Arcadia Players perform the chamber version of Mozart's Piano Concerto No. 12 and a selection from Exultate Jubilate, with soprano Kristen Watson:
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The Parker Quartet performs Mozart's String Quartet No. 23 in F, K. 590:

Mozart on Café Europa, weekdays at noon on 99.5 WCRB

Hear recent concert performances from the great halls of Europe:

Last week:
     Symphony No. 41, "Jupiter"
          Finnish Radio Symphony
     Violin Concerto No. 3
          Nicola Benedetti, violin
     Piano Concerto No. 22
          Jonathan Biss, piano

Coming up:
     Tue. - Symphony No. 21
          L'Orfeo Baroque Orchestra
     Wed. - Serenade, K. 375
          from the Ittingen Pentecost Festival
     Thu. - Piano Trio No. 3
          Wanderer Trio
     Fri. - Clarinet Concerto
          Martin Fröst, clarinet

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A Far Cry More from our Fraser Performance Studio

A Far Cry plays Mozart's Symphony No. 40:
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Symphony Hall More from the Boston Symphony Orchestra

Paul Lewis is the soloist in Mozart's Piano Concerto No. 25:
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Isabelle Faust is the soloist in Mozart's Violin Concerto No. 5:
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Christoph Eschenbach conducts Mozart's Symphony No. 41, the "Jupiter":
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Violinist Daniel Stepner and violist Anne Black perform the Finale of the Duo in G, K. 423, on instruments Mozart himself once owned and played:

13 Favorites from 2013

Friday, December 20, 2013
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Chris Thile
  Chris Thile (credit Brantley Gutierrez)

That the recording industry has gone through massively disruptive change in recent years is hardly news. But, as these selections of 13 favorite releases from 2013 demonstrate, the quality of available recordings is as high as ever.

After seeing WCRB's list, add your own favorites of the last year in the comments section below.

Nelsons Dvorak 9 CD cover

Purchase from ArkivMusic

Dvorák: Symphony No. 9, "From the New World"

Bavarian Radio Symphony Orchestra, Andris Nelsons, conductor

The next Music Director of the Boston Symphony Orchestra seems to push the limits of his interpretations just to the brink without distorting the composer's vision. Get a glimpse of Boston's musical future in this recording from one of the great orchestra of Europe.

listen buttonHear Andris Nelsons's first concert as Boston Symphony Orchestra Music Director Designate

Jonas Kaufmann Wagner CD cover

Purchase from ArkivMusic

Kaufmann Sings Wagner

Jonas Kaufmann, tenor; Orchestra of Deutsche Oper Berlin, Donald Runnicles, conductor

Kaufmann has been at the forefront of operatic stars of his generation for  a number of years. This celebration of the bicentennial of Richard Wagner's birth seals that status with a voice of extreme intimacy and cosmic power - precisely the combination necessary for music by the German composer.

Chris Thile Bach CD cover

Purchase from ArkivMusic

Bach: Sonatas and Partitas, Vol. 1

Chris Thile, mandolin

The recent MacArthur Award recipient tests himself and his instrument in some of the most daunting music for a solo performer. The fact that Bach originally wrote these works for solo violin will be quickly forgotten when you hear Thile's ruminative slow movements and pyrotechnic fugues.

listen buttonHear Chris Thile perform and talk about Bach on The Bach Hour

listen buttonHear the extended Bach Hour interview with Chris Thile

Leonidas Kavakos Brahms CD cover

Purchase from ArkivMusic

Brahms: Violin Concerto

Leonidas Kavakos, violin; Leipzig Gewandhaus Orchestra, Riccardo Chailly, conductor

The Greek violinist emphasizes the fascination Brahms had with Hungarian folk music in this performance of one of the pillars of the violin repertoire, pairing it with a selection of Hungarian Dances by the German composer and two short works by Hungarian composer Béla Bartók.

listen buttonHear Leonidas Kavakos as both soloist and conductor with the Boston Symphony Orchestra

Blue Heron CD cover

Purchase from ArkivMusic

Peterhouse Partbooks, Vol. 3: Ludford and Mason

Blue Heron, Scott Metcalfe, director

One of Boston's many local groups to have attained international stature, Blue Heron have gradually been  recording near-forgotten music from the English Renaissance. Metcalfe's emphasis on using the text of this choral music as his a guide to interpretation lends an immediacy that transcends the simple, glowing beauty music from this period often elicits.

download buttonDownload WCRB's Classical Performance Podcast with Blue Heron

Pacifica Quartet Shostakovich CD cover

Purchase from ArkivMusic

The Soviet Experience, Vol. 4: Shostakovich and Schnittke

Pacifica Quartet

The fall of the Iron Curtain has, in the minds of some, led to the relegation of much of Shostakovich's music to a category defined by its time. But the hyper-capable Pacifica Quartet shows that the composer's string quartets, along with many of those by his peers, speak to our own time and society in continually powerful ways.

listen buttonHear the Pacifica Quartet perform in WCRB's Fraser Performance Studio

Alexandre Tharaud CD cover

Purchase from ArkivMusic


Alexandre Tharaud, piano

With a calendar based primarily in Europe, this French pianist may not be well-known in the US ... yet. In this survey of 23 short works, he exposes a soulfulness in music that might otherwise be consigned to light-weight encore status.

Isabelle Faust CD cover

Purchase from ArkivMusic

Bartók: Violin Concertos

Isabelle Faust, violin; Swedish Radio Symphony Orchestra, Daniel Harding, conductor

Faust has an ability to inhabit the particular cultural and personal context of each work she performs. In Bartók's Second Concerto, we hear the composer's fusion of folk music source material and advanced 20th-century concert language through a sound that's at times dark and rich, and at others a steel wire. But in the First, which Bartok wrote before fully incorporating those folk influences, and in a time of intense personal turmoil, Faust's sound is plush, reminiscent of an older, pre-Great War universe of unchecked passion.

listen buttonHear Isabelle Faust perform Mozart with the Boston Symphony Orchestra at Tanglewood

Tony McManus CD cover

Purchase from Tony McManus

Mysterious Boundaries

Tony McManus, guitar

The title of this recording could have just as easily been "No Boundaries." McManus, born in Scotland and a resident of Canada, pivots from his well-deserved reputation for enlivening Celtic music into works by Bach, Monteverdi, Couperin, and Satie, making us wonder why anything has to be categorized as "classical" at all.

Cantus CD cover

Purchase from ArkivMusic

Song of a Czech: Dvorák and Janácek for Men's Voices


Antonín Dvorák and Leos Janácek are each popularly known for particular kinds of works. Dvorák for his hefty, rustic symphonies and folk-infused chamber works, and Janácek for blazing orchestral works and biting operas that point to a modernist world. A rarely heard and touching intimacy from these Czech composers of two different generations is delivered by the Minnesota-based men's choir in this recording.

Pittsburgh Strauss CD cover

Purchase from ArkivMusic

Strauss Tone Poems

Pittsburgh Symphony Orchestra, Manfred Honeck, conductor

Strauss's tone poems no longer test the capabilities of orchestral players to the same degree they did when new. That in no way, however, diminishes the virtuosity of great orchestras who perform them. When combined with insightful interpretations that take the performances beyond the virtuosic, the results are thrilling. Honeck and Pittsburgh deliver on all counts.

Matthias Goerne Eisler CD cover

Purchase from ArkivMusic

Eisler: Lieder with Piano

Matthias Goerne, baritone; Ensemble Resonanz; Thomas Larcher, piano

Born of a time of unprecedented turmoil, Hanns Eisler's songs speak to the pain and despair of Europe's condition in the 1930's, all while maintaining a glimmer of hope. Goerne's rich baritone voice humanizes these rarely heard works.

listen buttonHear Matthias Goerne perform Benjamin Britten's War Requiem in concert with the Boston Symphony Orchestra

Ensemble Caprice CD cover

Purchase from ArkivMusic

Adagio: A Consideration of a Serious Matter

Ensemble Caprice, Matthias Maute, director

In a compilation of works spanning the Renaissance to modern times, the early music ensemble opens with a "Miserere" by Bohemian baroque composer Jan Dismas Zelenka and turns to Satie, Chopin, Pärt, and others before concluding with Charles Ives's "Unanswered Question." It all happens with such ease and fluency that you forget about the separation of time and space among the composers, transforming perception into an experience of pure music.

download buttonDownload WCRB's Classical Performance Podcast with Ensemble Caprice

Classical Holiday Music, 24/7

Thursday, December 12, 2013
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Holiday Specials, On-Demand

Tuesday, November 26, 2013
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Keith Lockhart leads the Boston Pops and Tanglewood Festival Chorus. (Stu Rosner/BSO)

  Hear the Classical New England Holiday Music Channel

Classical New England brings you the sounds of the season, from celebratory concerts to traditional favorites. Tune in on the radio and online and check back to hear many performances on-demand.


Musikverein lobby ceiling The Bach Hour - Christmas Oratorio

Bach tells teh story of the birth of Jesus through six cantatas for the days between Christmas and Epiphany.

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Tanglewood Boston Symphony Orchestra: Sound the Posthorn!

We ring out the old year by revisiting one of the highlights of the 2013 Tanglewood season: Mahler’s Symphony No. 3, conducted by Rafael Frühbeck de Burgos, with mezzo-soprano Ann-Sophie von Otter, the PALS Children's Chorus and the women of the Tanglewood Festival Chorus.

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Harry Christophers Handel's Messiah with the Handel and Haydn Society

Harry Christophers conducts Handel's iconic oratorio in concert at Symphony Hall. Join Brian McCreath and Harvard scholar Thomas Forrest Kelly, author of First Nights: Five Musical Premieres.

listen buttonHear the program on-demand

Benjamin Britten
(credit: Roland Haupt, via Britten 100)
A Centennial Ceremony of Carols: A Benjamin Britten Holiday Celebration

We mark the 100th anniversary of the birth of the renowned British composer Benjamin Britten through his Ceremony of Carols and other holiday works, as well as traditional carols arranged by Sir David Willcocks, all performed by the NEC Chamber Chorus, led by Erica Washburn.

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Boston Ballet Nutcracker A Journey Through The Nutcracker

Boston Ballet conductor Jonathan McPhee joins James David Jacobs for a guided tour through Tchaikovsky’s magical ballet score, with an extra helping of sugar-plum fairies.

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Tallis Scholars The Tallis Scholars: Love is Better Than Wine

For their 25th anniversary tour of the US, the globally-revered vocal ensemble, directed by Peter Phillips, presents a sublime holiday concert at St. Paul’s Church in Harvard Square, presented by the Boston Early Music Festival and hosted by Cathy Fuller.

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Martin Pearlman

Handel's Messiah with Boston Baroque

Martin Pearlman conducts Handel's oratorio in concert at New England Conservatory's Jordan Hall, with soprano Mary Wilson, mezzo-soprano Ann McMahon, tenor John McVeigh, and baritone Andrew Garland.

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Santa Claus at Holiday Pops Holiday Pops 2013

Keith Lockhart, the Boston Pops and the Tanglewood Festival Chorus take the stage for one of Boston's most cherished traditions. Tune in for your favorite carols, a few surprises and a visit from a certain red-suited fellow, direct from Symphony Hall!

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Richmond Round Church Christmas Around New England

Join Alan McLellan for music and performances that make the season a unique experience around New England.

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Handel and Haydn Chorus Joy to the World: An American Christmas

Artistic Director Harry Christophers and singers from the Handel & Haydn Society explore a fascinating and eclectic selection of festive music, including carols by the “father of American choral music,” William Billings.

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Adoration of the Magi, by Lorenzo Monaco A Medieval Christmas with Boston Camerata

Enchanting music and the eternally powerful story of the Nativity come together in magnificent medieval song and poetry from France, England and Germany, directed by Anne Azéma.

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Boston Children's Chorus Boston Children's Chorus: All Choir Holiday Concert

Artistic director Anthony Trecek-King selects and leads a program of holiday favorites and unique arrangements.

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Stile Antico A Choral Christmas with Stile Antico

The award-winning choir from London pays a visit to St. Paul's Church in Harvard Square for a concert of radiant sacred music for the Christmas season.

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Keith Lockhart Keith's Classical Corner

Boston Pops maestro Keith Lockhart joins morning host Laura Carlo to share some of his personal favorites of the season, many of which are contained on the brand-new CD, "A Boston Pops Christmas Live from Symphony Hall."

listen buttonHear the program on-demand

Itzhak Perlman and Cantor Yitzchak Meir Helfgot

Eternal Echoes for Hanukkah

The New England Conservatory's Hankus Netsky joins James David Jacobs for Jewish sacred music from diverse cultures.

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