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Critical Karaoke

"Critical Karaoke" is a monthly show about music and the ideas it inspires. We also produce daily music history segments called "A Day in the Life." Both currently air on KRCC
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"A Day in the Life" is a 2-minute podcast about music, history, culture, and ideas.  We release at least one new episode every weekday on an incredible range of genres and artists.  We hope you enjoy these quick listens!

Jan 10, 2017

Today in 1987, Joan Tower premiered her composition Fanfare for the Uncommon Woman.  The work, by one of the foremost American composers at the end of the twentieth century--male or female--is a direct response to Aaron Copland’s Fanfare for the Common Man. On today's "A Classical Day in the Life", we explore Tower's work and the uncommon woman to whom it's dedicated.

 

Jan 10, 2017

It was on this day in 1839 that the first bulk shipment of tea from India arrived in England. On today's "A Day in the Life", we explore the role of tea for two music luminaries, Doris Day and Dmitri Shostakovich.

Jan 9, 2017

On this day in 1879, the British premiere of Hector Berlioz’s Symphonie Fantastique took place - almost 50 years after its premiere in Paris in 1830. On today's "A Classical Day in the Life", we consider the reasons for the delayed premiere in England and explore Berlioz's affinity for Shakespeare.

Jan 9, 2017

It was on this day in 1493, while sailing near the Dominican Republic, that Christopher Columbus claimed to have seen three mermaids. On today's "A Day in the Life" we uncover what Columbus actually saw while considering songs inspired by the sea.

Jan 5, 2017

On this day in 1909, Bela Bartok conducted a performance of the scherzo from his second orchestral suite, marking the only time he ever conducted any orchestra in concert. On today's "A Classical Day in the Life", we explore the composer's orchestral maneuvers.

Jan 5, 2017

It’s the day after New Year’s Day, a national holiday in Kazakhstan, Macedonia, Montenegro, New Zealand, Romania, Russia, Slovenia, Switzerland, Ukraine and Scotland, where it’s known as the New Year Holiday. As widely observed as it is, the Day after New Years day is unusual for a holiday in that it’s not connected to any national or religious event. It’s just an extra day off at the beginning of year to kick the year off right. On today's "A Day in the Life", we consider the music of the number 2.

Dec 28, 2016

Today in 1065, Westminster Abbey was consecrated. On today's "A Classical Day in the Life," we visit upon those luminaries who are buried or otherwise memorialized in the Abbey from Henry Purcell to Noel Coward.

Dec 28, 2016

It was on this day in 1974 that Barry Manilow scored his first number one hit with "Mandy." Is the song really about Manilow's dog? Is Mandy any relation to Brandy? On this installment of "A Day in the Life," we get to the bottom of the origin of the song.

Dec 28, 2016

Today in 1906 American pianist, composer, and actor, Oscar Levant was born in Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania. On today's "A Classical Day in the Life", we explore the career of Levant and his notable interpretations of Gershwin.

Dec 28, 2016

It was on this day in 1904  that Peter Pan--a play by the Scottish writer JM Barrie--premiered at the Duke of York Theater in London. On today's "A Day in the Life", we examine the music inspired by the boy who wouldn't grow up.

Dec 26, 2016

On this day in 1620, the Mayflower arrived in Plymouth, Massachusetts, after a long transatlantic journey and an initial landing on Cape Cod more than a month before. On today's "A Classical Day in the Life", we explore the music of pilgrims.

Dec 26, 2016

It’s St. Stephen’s Day, the feast of Stephen, the same day when good King Wenceslas looked out and saw the snow laying deep and crisp and even. On today's "A Day in the Life", we explore the music of St Stephen.

Dec 26, 2016

It was on this day in 1814 that Andrew Jackson led a group of soldiers in the Night Attack of December 23rd, a prelude to the Battle of New Orleans in the War of 1812. Nearly 150 years later, a high school history teacher commemorated the events of the battle in a song that would eventually become a worldwide hit.

Dec 26, 2016

On this day in 1938, music impresario John Hammond hosted the first of two concerts at Carnegie Hall titled "From Spirituals to Swing." On today's "A Classical Day in the Life" we hop from the holy roller hymns of Mitchell's Christian Singers to Sister Rosetta Tharpe and the Count Basie Orchestra.

Dec 22, 2016

Today in 1789 the Viennese Society of Musicians premiered Mozart's Clarinet Quintet in A major. Tour the four movements of the piece and learn more about Anton Stadler, the clarinetist who played the premiere and for whom Mozart originally composed the work on today's "A Classical Day in the Life."

Dec 22, 2016

It was on this day in the year 2000 that Joel and Ethan Coen's "O Brother Where Art Thou" opened in theaters across North America. In today's "A Day in the Life," we explore the role that the distinctive soundtrack played in the film.

Dec 21, 2016

Today in 1937, Walt Disney's first feature length film, "Snow White and the Seven Dwarfs" premiered at the Carthay Circle Theater in Los Angeles. Explore the music and the people behind the music in today's "Day in the Life."

Dec 19, 2016

Today, in 1915, vocalist and actress Édith Giovanna Gassion was born in Belleville, Paris - she would eventually become known to the world as Edith Piaf - or the little sparrow. On today's "A Day in the Life" we explore the life and career of Edith Piaf through rose colored glasses.

Dec 16, 2016

On this day in  1893, the New York Philharmonic debuted the 9th Symphony by composer Antonín Dvořák at Carnegie Hall. Why is it known as the "New World Symphony" and what inspired the Czech composer living in the United States to create it? Find out the answers to these questions and more on today's "A Classical Day in the Life."

Dec 16, 2016

Today in 1977, the film, Saturday Night Fever opened in theaters. The movie that made everyone want to dance like John Travolta, except perhaps John Lydon. The soundtrack featured several tunes by the Bee Gees in addition to other staples of the 70's including KC and the Sunshine Band, The Trammps, and Kool and the Gang. Jump back to those tribal rites of old Saturday nights on today's "A Day in the Life."

Dec 15, 2016

It was on this day in 1970 that the Venera 7 spacecraft landed on Venus, becoming the first spacecraft to reach the surface of another planet. On today's "A Day in the Life" we explore the musical side of Venus; from Frankie Avalon to Richard Wagner, and Gustav Holst to Bjork.

Dec 14, 2016

It was on this day in 1828 that the 6th Symphony of Austrian composer Franz Schubert had its first performance. Not to be confused with Schubert's other C Major symphony, the 9th, in today's "A Classical Day in the Life" find out what makes one "great" and the other "little".

Dec 14, 2016

On this day in 1979, English punk band, The Clash released their third album. The album and its lead single were titled "London Calling." On today's "A Day in the Life" find out the inspiration for the title and learn more about the social and cultural currents in the music.

Dec 13, 2016

On this day in 1895, Gustav Mahler’s Second Symphony had its world premiere in Berlin, with the composer at the podium.  On today's "A Classical Day in the Life" we explore the movements of the work and listen to a rehearsal recording of the piece conducted by Leonard Bernstein where we hear the Maestro, himself, singing snippets of the contralto solo in the fourth movement.

Dec 13, 2016

It was on this day, in 1989, in Reading Pennsylvania, that Taylor Alison Swift was born. On today's "A Day in the Life" learn which Canadian singer inspired the young Taylor Swift.

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