< Back to front page Text size +

Deceptively hip classical-music blog

Posted by Christopher Shea  September 20, 2010 11:03 AM

E-mail this article

Invalid E-mail address
Invalid E-mail address

Sending your article

The new classical-music blog at NPR has the best name in the genre since Alex Ross's "The Rest Is Noise." Meet "Deceptive Cadence," which is edited--or "hosted," as NPR puts it--by Thomas Huizenga.

Musically, a deceptive cadence is a sequence of chords that leads you to expect one conclusion then suddenly presents you with a different one. The idea behind the name, writes Huizenga (disclosure: a friend), is to escape some of the "baggage" of the descriptor "classical music," with its connotations of static, centuries-old music by male composers with formidable mustaches. "Instead," Huizenga writes,

we came up with a moniker that suggests a more open-ended view of music that is not only still breathing, thank you, but vigorously evolving. There's a vast world of sounds both past and present out there--a thousand years of "new music," so-to-speak. That could mean anything from the soaring, intertwining lines of a Palestrina Mass, to the crushing hammer blows of a Mahler Symphony, or the clever weave of electronics and chamber music practiced by an outfit like Victoire.

Speaking of "The Rest is Noise," Alex Ross commented last week on the marked similarity between the opening bars of "Cassazione," by Jean Sibelius, and the James Bond theme, composed by Monty Norman. (He includes MP3 examples.) Ross concludes that Norman's version is more musically inspired. And, in fact, it turns out that the instantly recognizable motif in question has been used by many composers, from classical to jazz to pop.


At noon, NPR's Deceptive Cadence is holding an online chat with violinist Hilary Hahn and composer Jennifer Higdon

This blog is not written or edited by Boston.com or the Boston Globe.
The author is solely responsible for the content.

E-mail this article

Invalid E-mail address
Invalid E-mail address

Sending your article

About brainiac Brainiac is the daily blog of the Globe's Sunday Ideas section, covering news and delights from the worlds of art, science, literature, history, design, and more. You can follow us on Twitter @GlobeIdeas.
Brainiac blogger Kevin Hartnett is a writer in Columbia, South Carolina. He can be reached here.

Leon Neyfakh is the staff writer for Ideas. Amanda Katz is the deputy Ideas editor. Stephen Heuser is the Ideas editor.

Guest blogger Simon Waxman is Managing Editor of Boston Review and has written for WBUR, Alternet, McSweeney's, Jacobin, and others.

Guest blogger Elizabeth Manus is a writer living in New York City. She has been a book review editor at the Boston Phoenix, and a columnist for The New York Observer and Metro.

Guest blogger Sarah Laskow is a freelance writer and editor in New York City. She edits Smithsonian's SmartNews blog and has contributed to Salon, Good, The American Prospect, Bloomberg News, and other publications.

Guest blogger Joshua Glenn is a Boston-based writer, publisher, and freelance semiotician. He was the original Brainiac blogger, and is currently editor of the blog HiLobrow, publisher of a series of Radium Age science fiction novels, and co-author/co-editor of several books, including the story collection "Significant Objects" and the kids' field guide to life "Unbored."

Guest blogger Ruth Graham is a freelance journalist in New Hampshire, and a frequent Ideas contributor. She is a former features editor for the New York Sun, and has written for publications including Slate and the Wall Street Journal.

Joshua Rothman is a graduate student and Teaching Fellow in the Harvard English department, and an Instructor in Public Policy at the Harvard Kennedy School of Government. He teaches novels and political writing.


Browse this blog

by category