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Kendall Todd

I wouldn’t exactly call myself a runner. Even that feels like a pretty egregious overstatement of my nonexistent running ability. I don’t know the first thing about what it takes to run a marathon, let alone train for it; the phenomenon that is the Boston Marathon is equal parts mysterious and fascinating to me. There’s one thing that I’m reasonably certain I know about running, however, and it’s this: a good playlist is essential to the process.

Ballycarbery Castle in County Kerry
Tyler Alderson

Put down your green beer (blech!) and take off the leprechaun hat. Truth is, they’re about as Irish as “When Irish Eyes Are Smiling” (written by three Americans) and “Danny Boy” (lyrics by an Englishman).  In celebration of St. Patrick’s Day, why not listen to some Irish music written by actual Irish composers? 

Maurice Ravel, seated at a piano, with a birthday hat
Photo by Lipnitzki/Roger Viollet/Getty Images

The great French composer Maurice Ravel turns 142 today, and it seems like he's popping up everywhere, both in the news and in the concert hall.

Bach's B minor x 4

Mar 2, 2017
clockwise, from upper right: portrait by E.G. Haussmann (1748); portrait by J.E. Rentsch (c. 1715); statue by C. Seffner (1908); forensic reconstruction by Caroline Wilkinson (2008)
Wikimedia Commons

Last weekend I spent a lot of time with Bach. Over the last four and a half months, I’ve spent a lot of time with Bach. “But you produce a show called The Bach Hour. Of course you’ve spent a lot of time with Bach!”

 

Yes, well, there is that. But this has been exceptional. Being at four different performances of Bach’s Mass in B minor since October has left me with two takeaways, one of them expected, the other unexpected. Neither takeaway is the, dare I say, cliché, “I heard things in the Mass I had never heard before.”

Bach
Portrait by E.G. Hausmann / Wikimedia Commons

I just listened to a podcast interview with a former CIA analyst who said, “It’s not uncommon for an analyst to get a bit obsessed with his quarry.” Boy do I know it.

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