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Simone Dinnerstein, 'Doctors and Interns'

As we near the year's end, #NowPlaying recommends songs that slipped through the cracks, but remain in our headphones.

In April, 2020, as the pandemic was ramping up, composer Richard Danielpour was worried about his health. To calm his nerves, he listened to pianist Simone Dinnerstein's Bach recordings. Then an idea sprouted. For Dinnerstein, he'd write a 15-movement cycle of piano pieces (American Mosaic) inspired by the virus and the heroes risking their lives. There are sections titled "Teachers & Students," "Rabbis & Ministers" and this one, dedicated to "Doctors & Interns," which unfolds a calm, long-lined melody, tinged with shadows. Dinnerstein made the album in her living room during lockdown. In Danielpour's liner notes, which are dated January, 2021, he says he hopes the album will bring comfort to those who have suffered and "I pray that we will see the light at the end of this extraordinarily dark tunnel." And one year later, where are we?

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Tom Huizenga is a producer for NPR Music. He contributes a wide range of stories about classical music to NPR's news programs and is the classical music reviewer for All Things Considered. He appears regularly on NPR Music podcasts and founded NPR's classical music blog Deceptive Cadence in 2010.