In honor of our search for the great American symphony, here's an encore presentation of one of our favorite Artunes. Got an idea for a classical cartoon or a reaction to this one? Leave your thoughts in the comments section.
Anat Cohen leads the Anzic Orchestra (Anat + music = Anzic), and Anzic opens this JazzSet by letting "Samba de Orfeu" morph into "Struttin' With Some Barbecue." Cohen loves both Brazilian and New Orleans music, and connects them with ease. "Struttin'" features the trumpet section one man at a time, concluding with Avishai Cohen. Later in the show, Anat will be back.
Hear JoAnn Falletta's Discussion With Robert Siegel
Our country's culture is a vast conglomeration of more than 200 years of influences from all over the world. We have taken what began as an extraordinary European tradition and expanded that legacy on American soil. We have added our essential egalitarianism, our love of experimentation, our inclusiveness and our boldness to the very form of the symphony. Americans have not been bound by one definition of the symphony, and composers have applied that formal name to pieces of varying length, structure and content.
We taped this Field Recording shortly after Hurricane Sandy devastated communities in and around New York and New Jersey. One of those affected was drummer Nasheet Waits, who had lost his kit in the storm's waters. Luckily, the Steve Maxwell drum store in midtown Manhattan was willing to lend a hand — and one gray morning, we found ourselves in a gem of a space, surrounded by an incredible array of instruments, including Elvin Jones' setup.
Michael Tilson Thomas and the San Francisco Symphony have been consistent champions of American music of all shapes and sizes. Are there — or will there be — American symphonies that stand with those of Mozart and Beethoven, Mahler and Shostakovich?
Critics and fans love a good debate over the great American novel or great American movie. But what about the great American symphony?
Is there one? If not, why? If so, which symphonies are good candidates for the title? (Check out our Spotify list for some contenders.) And in the land of the melting pot, what does it mean for a symphony to be "American" in the first place?
Dayna Stephens is a patient musician. The 34-year-old tenor saxophonist and composer fashions supple, searching improvisations that brim with melodic cogency. His compositions often exude a widescreen sensibility with languid, narrative-like passages, suspenseful interludes and sumptuous harmonies.
If you sample the first few notes of guitarist John Scofield's new album, Uberjam Deux, you might mistake it for something out of West Africa. But a spin through the tracks takes you to another hemisphere with a sound right out of Jamaica, then to American shores with a soulful homage to Al Green.