Art

The Nutcracker

Dec 4, 2015
Luke Isley

The dance scholar Jennifer Fisher says that The Nutcracker, at least in North America, has become as "regular as clockwork." Some may find it cliche and for some it may be obligatory. But Fisher argues that Tchaikovsky's piece is one of the most powerful traditions in the world of ballet and that it tells us a lot about the values we share. Friday, Doug talks to Fisher and Ballet West Artistic Director Adam Sklute about The Nutcracker and the place it holds in our culture. (Rebroadcast)

Many people have suggested that books are a sort of passport to another world, and as the writer Neil Gaiman reminds us, "it's much cheaper to buy somebody a book than it is to buy them the whole world!” So with that in mind, we’re gathering our panel of local booksellers to make their suggestions for titles to match everyone on your holiday list. Doug is joined by Betsy Burton (The King’s English), Catherine Weller (Weller Book Works), and Ken Sanders (Ken Sanders Rare Books).

Don Quixote

Nov 23, 2015
nicointokio via CC/flickr, http://bit.ly/1Ylc8J2

Today, Don Quixote is regarded as one of the most important novels ever written. But when it debuted 400 years ago, Miguel Cervantes’ book was deemed unworthy of serious artistic consideration. Ilan Stavans, a professor of Latin American and Latino Culture, has a profound affection for the tale of don Quixote de la Mancha, and he says the wandering knight’s adventure through life mirrors our own. Stavans joins us Monday to explore how Don Quixote rose to global success and gave rise to modernity.

The Road Not Taken

Nov 16, 2015

 

“Two roads diverged in a yellow wood . . .” Those are the first words to Robert Frost's poem "The Road Not Taken." One hundred years after their publication, Frost’s immortal lines remain unbelievably popular. The poem seems straightforward enough: it's about boldly living outside conformity, right? Wrong, says poetry columnist David Orr. He says nearly everyone hopelessly misreads Frost's poem. Orr joins us Monday as we explore the meaning of "The Road Not Taken" and the history behind it.

This weekend, the Utah Symphony continues its Mahler Cycle with the composer’s Fifth Symphony. Gustav Mahler’s works have a long tradition in Utah. His friend Bruno Walter was a mentor to the Symphony’s own Maurice Abravanel, who introduced the emotional and technically challenging works to the Beehive state. So Thursday, we’re joined by former Associate Conductor Ardean Watts and by scholar Paul Banks to talk about Mahler’s life, his connection to Utah, and to hear some of the Fifth Symphony.

The Kreutzer Sonata

Oct 22, 2015

Thursday, we’re talking about a new production by Plan-B Theatre Company that adapts a passionate sonata by Beethoven and a banned novella by Tolstoy. In 1889, Tolstoy used the sonata as the driving force behind a husband’s jealousy and murderous rage. Playwright Eric Samuelsen says his goal was for the audience to hear Beethoven the way Tolstoy’s character heard him. Samuelsen joins us, along with pianist Jason Hardink and others, to discuss the art and emotion of The Kreutzer Sonata.

Kareem Abdul-Jabbar says it’s hard to stealthily spy when you’re 7’2”. But to excel in the NBA he needed to understand his opponents, so he took a page from Sherlock Holmes. He watched players’ habits and listened to ball boys to catch gossip that revealed weaknesses. Abdul-Jabbar started reading Holmes stories in 1969, and they influenced his life and career. Now he’s written his own novel from the perspective of Mycroft Holmes. Abdul-Jabbar joins us Monday to talk about his life as a Holmesian.

Gwendal Uguen via CC/Flickr, http://bit.ly/1f2IiYL

Witch weighing, African swallows, a bloodthirsty bunny, God himself… We’re talking of course about Monty Python and the Holy Grail. Sure, the movie is epically silly, but behind the humor lay countless cultural and historical references. According to BYU film studies professor Darl Larsen, in crafting their 1975 cult-classic film the Pythons drew from Arthurian legend, the Medieval period, and the hard times of 1970s Great Britain. Larsen joins us Friday for something completely different. (Rebroadcast)

Justin Hackworth, http://justinhackworth.com/

We continue our series on local music Wednesday with the National Parks. No, we’re not talking about Zion, Arches, and Bryce Canyon. The National Parks are a Provo-based band whose debut album tilted to the folksy side of indie rock. Their newest release features a beefed-up indie-pop sound inspired by the energy of performing live. The band members say it took a leap of faith to explore new musical ground, leading them to discover what can happen when you pursue your passion without any limits.

Beethoven's Fifth

Sep 11, 2015

Even if you're not an aficionado of classical music, it's very likely you would recognize the first four notes of Beethoven's Symphony No. 5. You know - it's the one that goes "DUH DUH DUH DUUUH." The Utah Symphony opens its 75th season tonight with the iconic work under the direction of Maestro Thierry Fischer. We're using it as an opportunity to talk to music scholar Thomas Forrest Kelly about the night in 1808 when Beethoven's Fifth was first performed and about why it has endured for more than 200 years. (Rebroadcast)

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