Moonlight, Lullabies And Barn Owls: New Classical CDs : Deceptive Cadence From Spanish lullabies and moonlit nights, to the fluttering wings of a persistent little barn owl, NPR Music's Tom Huizenga and host Guy Raz spin a mellow mix of new releases.   
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Moonlight, Lullabies And Barn Owls: New Classical CDs

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Moonlight, Lullabies And Barn Owls: New Classical CDs

Moonlight, Lullabies And Barn Owls: New Classical CDs

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  • Transcript

(SOUNDBITE OF SONG, "CLAIR DE LUNE")

GUY RAZ, Host:

Tom, great to have you back.

TOM HUIZENGA: Thanks, Guy. Nice to be back with you.

RAZ: So tell me about this violinist we're hearing.

HUIZENGA: That's the very lovely violin sound of Anne Akiko Meyers. Her brand new disk is called "Seasons...Dreams." And actually, there are a number of new releases coming out this fall that have kind of this dreamy, nocturnal theme and feel to them, a few of which I brought along today.

RAZ: And I'm looking at her CD right now. I'm looking at the track listings. And it seems like she's one of those classical artists who, you know, I guess, isn't sort of afraid to jump around genres.

HUIZENGA: No. She plays new music, she plays the classics, and there's a few nods to jazz on this disc. And let's listen to this arrangement of Vernon Duke's "Autumn in New York."

(SOUNDBITE OF SONG, "AUTUMN IN NEW YORK")

RAZ: It's very cool to hear that, but I can't get Billie Holiday, her version, out of my head when I hear this.

HUIZENGA: Well, that's probably the best version to have in your head, Guy, really. But Meyers really makes the fiddle sing, I think, in this tune. She's a very thoughtful player. And I'm happy to report that her career is going along very strongly, actually, a little stronger since about 10 days ago.

RAZ: What happened 10 days ago?

HUIZENGA: She got her hands on a 1697 Stradivarius. She's the proud new owner of that violin, and it earned a world record price at an auction - ready? Drum roll...

RAZ: Yes?

HUIZENGA: ...3.6 million.

RAZ: Wow. So I guess your bid didn't come through, Tom.

HUIZENGA: Just a little short.

(SOUNDBITE OF LAUGHTER)

RAZ: All right. What else do we have here in this stack, Tom?

(SOUNDBITE OF SONG "SOGNO DI STABAT MATER")

HUIZENGA: This piece is called "Sogno di Stabat Mater," which translates to "Dream of Stabat Mater," a wonderful tune from a young composer, her name is Lera Auerbach. She's Russian-born, but she's based in New York, and it's played here on this just fascinating new CD by violinist Gidon Kremer and his band.

RAZ: Oh, yes.

HUIZENGA: So you'll be able to hear this old style kind of flowing through a new filter, and there's somewhat of a dreamlike feel to it.

(SOUNDBITE OF SONG "SOGNO DI STABAT MATER")

RAZ: This is really interesting stuff. And you know, I think it's obvious - we know this - I'm not a classical music expert. That's why we ask you to come onto the show. But Gidon Kremer, his music has crossed my desk a few times, and every time I listen to him, I'm amazed because there's always something about it that's interesting.

HUIZENGA: And this disk, I think, is just, in theory and in practice, it's fantastic. It's - there are 12 different composers, very diverse, from Schubert and Schumann to Astor Piazzolla and Alfred Schnittke and Arvo Part.

RAZ: And he has picked all these pieces.

HUIZENGA: He picks them all.

RAZ: Yeah.

HUIZENGA: It's almost like a mix tape. And if that weren't enough, there's this bizarre theme of oil that runs kind of like a river through the whole thing.

HUIZENGA: So there you have it, a very heady but very listenable and terrific mix of music and politics.

RAZ: Indeed, it is. Tom, we have, unfortunately, time for just one more. What do you got for us?

HUIZENGA: Well, for me, this is probably saving the best for last. It's a new CD of piano music by Leos Janacek, an odd Czech composer who died in 1928. The pianist is Slavka Pechocova, and she plays this quirky, passionate music just about as good as anyone has. And this little tune is about a barn owl.

(SOUNDBITE OF SONG "THE BARN OWL HAS NOT FLOWN AWAY")

HUIZENGA: And also why I like it, it's classic Janacek sound where the music is prickly one moment and then pivots to this, you know, this sweeping passion. You can hear the fluttering of wings and all kinds of other quirky things here.

RAZ: And the pianist's name is Slavka Pechocova.

HUIZENGA: That's right.

RAZ: Tom, thank you so much.

HUIZENGA: Thanks again, Guy.

(SOUNDBITE OF SONG "THE BARN OWL HAS NOT FLOWN AWAY")

RAZ: And for Sunday, that's ALL THINGS CONSIDERED from NPR News. I'm Guy Raz. Remember, you can hear the best of this program on our podcast, Weekends on ALL THINGS CONSIDERED. We post a new episode every Monday. Subscribe or listen at npr.org/weekendatc. We'll be back next weekend. Until then, thanks for listening, and have a great week.

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