What’s On at Flavorpill: The Links That Made the Rounds in Our Office

Today at Flavorpill, we voted for Time’s Person of the Year. We crushed on Ryan Gosling in his new glasses. We remembered Tony Stark’s super sassy nicknames for his Avengers pals. We learned nine ways to make sure the restaurants we eat in are clean. We watched a… Read More

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The Cultural Omnivore’s Introduction to Classical Music

Gone are the days when a taste for classical music had to be backed by a six-figure salary, an old-money social circle, and season tickets to the Metropolitan Opera House. Today’s culture vultures consume widely, albeit not indiscriminately, and while you might not put Beethoven at the top of your pump-up mix, we know you’ve all grooved out to Hungarian Dance No. 5 and wish you played the cello every now and then. With indie idols like Radiohead and Sufjan Stevens playing shows accompanied by orchestras, genres have never been more permeable; but the classical-light instrumentals that cameo in the pop tracks we love are only palate teasers. If you like what you’ve heard so far and want to explore where it all came from, enjoy our four-course primer on classical music, after the jump. … Read More

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Read Ludwig van Beethoven's 1827 Love Letter to a Mystery Woman

O, my immortal beloved! Our friends at Letters of Note have come up with another fascinating find — a 10 page, 1827 love letter from Ludwig van Beethoven to an unknown lover. Forgive us, but despite his ability to make beautiful, moving music, we’ve never thought of Beethoven as much of a lover. He’s famous for being irascible and unpleasant, even possibly bipolar, a combination of qualities that is not necessarily a deterrent to love in any case, but we would think could make it harder. But no matter the case, he was certainly head over heels — “I can only live, either altogether with you or not at all” — with this lady, and alternates between the written equivalent of pulling his hair out in anguish at their distance and wondering what time the mail goes out. Click through to see the full text, and let us know if you think his prose is as affecting as his composition. … Read More

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What’s On at Flavorpill: The Links That Made the Rounds in Our Office

Today at Flavorpill, we wished that we had letterhead as cool as Batman creator Bob Kane’s was. We saw proof of how tech tools transformed New York’s sex trade over the past 20 years. We stopped by Andy Warhol’s old Upper East Side digs. We surprised that … Read More

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The 10 Best Classical Composers Ever (According to the New York Times, That Is)

Two weeks ago, Anthony Tommasini, chief music critic for the New York Times, set out to determine the 10 best classical composers in the history of the world. In a very interesting two weeks, he documented his research online, allowing devoted readers to follow along with videos, articles, and conversations with commenters. The whole thing is definitely worth a read, if not for the insights into classical music themselves (though there are, of course, many) then for the innovative packaging. In an age when transparency is all but clamored for at every turn, a world-class critic has laid open his journey from thought to thought — at least to the extent that it’s interesting, which is all the public wants anyway. Today, Tommasini posted his final article, revealing his list of the ten best classical composers ever — click through to see the list and weigh in with your own favorites. … Read More

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10 Songs That Will Get You High, According to Science

You know those people who claim that music is their drug? Well, apparently, that might not just be a catchy T-shirt slogan. Nature Neuroscience just published a study that found listening to music you like increases the level of dopamine in your brain — like actual drugs (or chocolate, for that matter). Project leader Valorie Salimpoor found that samples of a variety of instrumental music — everything from techno to classical to jazz — produced “feelings of euphoria and cravings,” as measured through reports of chills and fMRIs of subjects’ cerebral activity. But we wondered: what music, exactly, produced these drug-like effects? Some of the songs were surprising (really, Infected Mushroom?) others, not so much (natch, Explosions in the Sky). Below, ten songs the study used that are as good as your chemical of choice. … Read More

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