WAMU 88.5 : The Kojo Nnamdi Show

What Makes It Great: Classical Music And Beyond With Rob Kapilow (Rebroadcast)

What if a pop singer suddenly stopped mid-beat and explained precisely which notes she had just sung, and why they sound good? Perhaps you don't need to know why a hit song works, but one man's exuberant commentary could prove you've never listened--really listened--to even the most familiar tunes. Rob Kapilow has been classical music's ambassador for nearly two decades, and he's game to take on all genres---jazz, rap, country--even the Kojo theme song.

Videos: Inside The Studio

Composer, conductor and commentator Robert Kapilow breaks down the musical elements and ideas behind the Kojo Show theme song, spotlighting what makes it a great piece. Kapilow credits composer Igor Stravinsky with saying that all composition comes down to a balance between unity and variety. "Too much repetition leads to boredom, but too much variety leads to chaos. And this theme is a perfect balance of unity and variety," Kapilow added. All great art at some point undermines the very world it has created, and Kapilow says the theme accomplishes this task.

Kapilow identifies what makes several well-known song introductions so great. Kapilow reviewed "Symphony No. 5" by Beethoven, Eminem's "Sing For The Moment," Handel's "Messiah" and "Sgt. Pepper's Lonely Hearts Club Band" by The Beatles. He says anything that's considered great art changes our sense of what's possible in the universe.

The Kojo Nnamdi Show Theme Song: What Makes It Great?

Rob Kapilow deconstructs the Kojo Show theme song, describing it as a fantastic journey. He highlights the burst of attention-grabbing saxophone notes at the beginning, its incredibly fast notes throughout and an almost free rhythm as the song sizzles to its end.

Music That Makes You Go 'Hmmmm'

Kapilow explores the idea of "things that make you go hmmmm," which he describes as musical experiences that resonate with you and make you listen actively.

Green Eggs And Ham, An Opera

Kapilow composed a musical score based on the classic children's book by Dr. Seuss, "Green Eggs and Ham."

NPR

Opulent And Apolitical: The Art Of The Met's Islamic Galleries

Navina Haidar, an Islamic art curator at the Met, says she isn't interested in ideology: "The only place where we allow ourselves any passion is in the artistic joy ... of something that's beautiful."
NPR

Tired Of The Seoul-Sucking Rat Race, Koreans Flock To Farming

More than 80 percent of people in South Korea live in cities. But in the past few years, there has been a shift. Tens of thousands of South Koreans are relocating to the countryside each year.
WAMU 88.5

Fannie Lou Hamer and the Fight for Voting Rights

Kojo explores the life and legacy of Fannie Lou Hamer, a poor Mississippi sharecropper who became an outspoken voice in the civil rights movement and the fight for voting rights.

WAMU 88.5

Computer Guys and Gal

Chrysler recalls cars to boost their cybersecurity. Microsoft debuts its new Windows 10 operating system. And navigation tech could bring us robotic lawn mowers. The Computer Guys and Gal explain.

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