This Sound Connects Stravinsky to Bruno Mars

May 17, 2018

What is an orchestra hit? How does tin foil change the sound of a vibraphone? How does Wagner sound when played by a mariachi band? Find answers to these questions and more in this link roundup!

1. Let's kick this off with a cool video! Here's percussionist Doug Perkins playing "Filigree," a piece by Robert Honstein, which NPR Music calls "a percussionist's answer to Flight of the Bumblebee -- with a twist."

2. The history of classical music is rife with stories of vice; we're told that all the most famous composers were alcoholics, addicts, or suffered from venereal disease. But new research suggests that many of these stories are simply untrue - fabrications concocted by disgruntled biographers and peers.

Unfortunately, though, some of the stories are true. One composer who actually did have syphilis?

Schubert. Poor guy.

3. Here's a truly, uh... unusual arrangement of Brahms's violin concerto:

4. Amelia LeClair directs Cappella Clausura, a Boston-based ensemble of voices and instruments that features music by the overlooked women of classical music history. Our friend Brian O'Donovan spoke with her about some of the music she's discovered:

“Take them, perform them, use them, teach your high school kids to sing this stuff, let them know that this exists,” she said. “I’m remembering myself as a young student thinking that there’s nothing here for me, and I’m thinking of the young girls now who are saying, 'Yeah, there’s something there. Look at that. So I can do it, too.'”

5. This all-female mariachi band is tackling music by an unlikely composer: Wagner

6. Bruno Mars. Michael Jackson. Janet Jackson. Backstreet Boys. Pet Shop Boys. Kate Bush. The Smiths. Britney Spears. What do all of these artists have in common?

They all use something called an "orchestra hit," which was originally taken from a recording of a piece by Igor Stravinsky: