Minnesota Organist/Composer Dies

Word from Michael Barone about the death Wednesday night of Minnesota organist and composer Paul Manz, whose most famous choral work is the Advent motet “E’en So, Lord Jesus, Quickly Come.”

In 2001, Manz was featured in a PIPEDREAMS program of his compositions, performances and commentary. More about that when you click here.

Paul Manz was 90.

Blogger Adams

Add composer John Adams to the list of prominent musical bloggers. Go here to see his jottings on air travel, taking his pointer Eloise to the dog show, preparing a work for its world premiere, and more.

We have a member drive going on right now — thanks to all our contributors!

Up Late With The Euro Classic

I hope you’re making it a habit to stay up late on Wednesdays for our weekly Euro Classic on Classical Minnesota Public Radio.

You can catch the Euro Classic each week, just after midnight (so it’s actually Thursday morning!) – a recent European concert performance, recorded live and made available exclusively to Classical Minnesota Public Radio listeners.

Tonight I’ll feature a performance by Finnish baroque violinist Sirkka-Liisa Kaakinen and the Helsinki Baroque Orchestra playing the D Major Violin Concerto by Johann Agrell. The performance took place last June at the Rococo Theatre in Schwetzingen, Germany.

And there’s another Euro Classic Saturday night (October 31st, in the 8:00 hour), as Bob Christiansen presents a performance of Prokofiev’s Piano Concerto No. 3 by Cedric Tiberghian and the Hong Kong Sinfonietta.

Interactive Ives

If you remember our series The MTT Files (MTT being conductor Michael Tilson Thomas), you’ll be interested to know that new episodes of the related TV series, Keeping Score, have now been released.

They’re accompanied with abundant amounts of online information–text, images, video, and interactive pages. Here’s one that lets you be your own Charles Ives. It combines Taps, played by a single trumpeter, with a marching band. The trumpeter stands in a skiff on a New England pond; with your mouse, you can place him off in the distance, or bring him in to shore, as the band plays on (or not). Charles Ives had a fondness for this kind of aural scene-setting–give it a try for yourself.

Messiaen as performance art

When Olivier Messiaen was a prisoner of war, he composed one of the most astonishing pieces of music of the 20th century: “The Quartet for the End of Time.”

It’s said that Messiaen suffered from Synesthesia – the neurological condition that blurs the senses. Messiaen called it “colored hearing.” So it seems only natural that the Chamber Music Society of Lincoln Center would create a music video of painters in the act of creating vivid and colorful art to the music of Messiaen.

Thanks to Michael Barone for finding this video!

What does classical music mean to you?

We’re in the thick of our fall fund drive – audible groan – but even amidst the interrupted programs, the extra shifts and my stumbling over the myriad different ways of saying the same thing (that we need your support to keep the music you love on the air) an odd and glorious thing happens: listeners tell us WHY they listen. Just yesterday I read thank-yous from as far away as Anchorage and Dubai saying classical MPR is their “refuge,” it keeps them sane, it’s a place to feel free, energized and inspired. And the odd thing is that after reading these words, I begin to remember the reasons why I also need to be surrounded by classical music. Thanks for supporting the music – but most importantly, thanks for sharing with me what the music means to you!

Levine: The Arrangement is Perfect

Conductor James Levine found himself taking an unexpected medical leave a few weeks ago, as we reported previously on Classical Notes.

He was supposed to be back in action tonight with the Boston Symphony, but now he’ll wait until October 30th.

With this being his third medical leave in the last five years, some wonder if his jobs as music director of both the Metropolitan Opera (in NYC) and the Boston Symphony are too much for him to handle, but he says no:

“The way it works is much more stimulating and much more in balance in terms of artistic growth and artistic content than it would be if I did one or the other.”

Compared to holding jobs in New York and Munich, as he used to do, it’s a piece of cake. And everybody else is doing it. Read more about it here.

Clubbin' with the Cello

Matt Haimovitz is one of the best cellists in the world today, and you’re liable to see him play just about anywhere.

Haimovitz is midway through his “Figment” Tour, saluting contemporary music icon Elliott Carter and also bringing together a wide range of important new music for cello and electronics. Look for Haimovitz next week, just up the block from Orchestra Hall in Minneapolis…..at the Dakota Jazz Club.

The Haimovitz Dakota gig is October 28th at 7pm.

There’s a lot more about this innovative young artist when you click here.

When in Stockholm, Take the Stairs

There’s a subway station in Stockholm that’s making it much more interesting to take the steps instead of the escalator.

Volkswagen came up with the idea in an attempt to get more people to exercise. The subway stairs have been transformed into a giant, functioning piano keyboard, like the one made famous by Tom Hanks in the movied BIG.

Check it out for yourself here.

A full subway recital by some nimble musician can’t be far behind. Stay tuned.

(thanks to Blythe Riske for sharing)