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Last October, working off of a list created by NPR staff, critics, and scholars, NPR listeners and a panel of musicians voted for the 100 most important American musical works of the 20th century. Throughout this year, NPR has been broadcasting stories featuring these works on All Things Considered NPR's Performance Today, and other NPR shows. The Website currently features 53 of these broadcasts, which typically run about ten minutes and feature performances of the musical piece along with a background report on its genesis and significance to American music. The list is both fascinating and profoundly eclectic, ranging from Stravinsky's Symphony of Psalms to Nirvana's "Smells like Teen Spirit" with representatives from folk, rock, jazz, R 'n' B, gospel, punk, American musicals, the hit parade, and country. The broadcasts are listed in order of appearance (most recent first) with annotations, or alphabetically without annotations. A description of the voting process is also posted. Visitors will need RealPlayer to listen to the broadcasts. Note: we do wish that the creators of the site had chosen the QuickTime audio application so as to avoid that wobbly streaming effect that so undermines a piece like Barber's Adagio for Strings.
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