Do it left-handed
Pianist Leon Fleisher returns with his newest recording, All the Things You Are, featuring a collection of classical piano arrangements for the left hand. The title track, by Jerome Kern and arranged by Stephen Prutsman, sounds lovely and full – evidence that Fleisher continues to succeed in putting music first and the piano second.
It’s called chamber pop – a beautiful mashup of classical and modern. One of Europe’s hottest rising stars, Agnes Obel, is a leading practitioner of the genre, and there is hope that her new album, Aventine, will enlarge her circle of fans. The melancholy Dane sings her impressionistic lyrics like a classically trained Joni Mitchell, often accompanied by a lone cello or the tinkling of piano keys, then suddenly joined by the hair-raising swell of strings. Sadness never sounded so good.
Shop for a cause
GoodShop.com has donated more than $11 million to charity and saved shoppers money. The coupon site collects deals for Nordstrom, Macy’s, Best Buy, and dozens of other retailers. Each time you take advantage of these deals, a portion of the money goes to the organization of your choice. The GoodShop app, now available on iPhone and iPad, makes it easy to browse sales and manage your donations.
Master of escape
History miniseries Houdini, based on the book “Houdini: A Mind in Chains,” by Bernard C. Meyer, stars Adrien Brody as the illusionist. In “Houdini,” the escape artist perfects and explains his daring feats. Other well-known figures of his time, such as Sir Arthur Conan Doyle, make appearances, too. The miniseries contains adult content. It airs Sept. 1 and 2 at 9 p.m.
Portraits go epic
Artist Kehinde Wiley is renowned for his large-scale classical portraits of African-American men. Instead of using models, Wiley paints re-imaginings of 17th- and 18th-century paintings using ordinary young men he finds going about their day-to-day business. Kehinde Wiley: An Economy of Grace follows the artist as he undertakes a new challenge: creating epic paintings featuring African-American women from New York City. It airs on PBS Sept. 5 at 9 p.m.