Stories » Ellen Reid - 'p r i s m' makes 'npr:10 classical albums to usher in the next decade'

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Ellen Reid - 'p r i s m' makes 'npr:10 classical albums to usher in the next decade'

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Traditions worth saving still need need practitioners and advocates who are willing to propel them forward. Classical music boasts a long, rich history - about 1000 years - of transformation, adaptation, tumult and triumph. From radical, boundary-bashing composers to brave and bold interpreters, the music has remained vibrantly alive even as prognosticators routinely forecast its demise.

The list below offers tip-of-the-iceberg evidence that those who compose and perform this music have, in the past year, been thinking about the future. Here are 10 amazing albums from 2019 that ask - sometimes demand - that we look inward to ourselves and outward to humanity as we listen.

If the recent success of small-scale, intimate operas is pointing us toward the form's future, this year's Pulitzer-winning p r i s m, from the 36-year-old Ellen Reid with a text by Roxie Perkins, is an extraordinary sign of what's to come. The surreal and harrowing tale of a woman's sexual assault and struggle to survive offers one of the most luminous, sumptuous theatrical scores in years. Both Reid and Perkins know the subject matter firsthand: "I wanted to feel like the rug got pulled out from under you," Reid told NPR. After a close listen to the score, filled with glistening colors, bright lights and jagged gear-shifts, you feel exactly that.