On the Air This Week

Highlights from September 30 to October 7

Tuesday, 7:15 am: School Spotlight: Armstrong High School Concert Choir.

Tuesday, 5 pm: Music with Minnesotans: Professor Nanette Goldman.

Tuesday, 6:45 pm: School Spotlight: Armstrong High School Concert Choir.

Thursday, 3 pm hour: Regional Spotlight: Highlights from the Vox Nova Chorale’s past summer season.

Sunday, 6 am: Pipedreams: Oh, Canada.

Sunday, noon: From the Top.

Sunday, 1 pm: SymphonyCast: The Last Night of the 2014 BBC Proms.

Monday, noon: Learning to Listen.

Tuesday, 7:15 am: Teacher Feature : Paul Kile.

Tuesday, 5 pm: Music with Minnesotans: Gary Joyner.

Tuesday, 7:15 pm: Teacher Feature : Paul Kile.

Singing in the Minneapolis Institute of Arts

Blog pic MIA.jpg

On Saturday, Sept. 27, 37 people joined together in song at the Minneapolis Institute of Arts. We moved, we clapped, we smiled and we sang; often loud enough to cause fellow onlookers to stop in their tracks (some even began to participate). 

Our journey started in the baroque gallery singing Caldara in Italy, moving down to the beautifully sculpted Doryphoros statue where we sang Praetorius’, Jubilate Deo. After our canon, we took an expedition to Africa where we sang the beloved South African song, Siyahamba and the Ghanian children’s song, Sansa Kroma.

We completed our journey in China were we sang an excerpt from Jing Ling Tam’s arrangement of the Flower Drum Song

Check out this awesome video of that performance and look for more incredible singing opportunities at classicalmpr.org/choral.

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Click on Classical: Family and the fall

Autumn 2.jpg

Every Monday morning at 9:15, I join John Birge on Classical MPR to talk about stories we’re featuring on the Web this week. Here are the stories we’ll be talking about today.

Erik Thompson is a local music writer who’s generally more likely to be seen at First Ave than at Orchestra Hall — but that doesn’t mean he doesn’t have a relationship with classical music. In a moving essay, Erik writes about how music gave his grandfather solace — and helped to bridge generations — when Erik was young and his grandfather’s health was failing.

This is the time of the year when everyone’s enthusiastic about fall, and ready to celebrate the season with appropriate music. We’ll be celebrating autumn with our Morning Glories this week, and last week I wrote a feature listing several pieces of music either written for, or evocative of, fall.

Have you taken the Gratitude Challenge? People on social media are challenging each other to say what they’re thankful for. French horn player Gwen Hoberg answered her challenge by sharing ten things she was grateful for after a recent orchestral audition‚Äč.

UPDATE: Minnesota Orchestra did not record a track for Prince

Minnesota Orchestra Prince.jpg

The below post, originally published on Sept. 29, mentioned an AP report that has since been found to be incorrect. The Minnesota Orchestra has not recorded with Prince, but members of the orchestra — as well as members of other groups — constitute the group STRINGenius, which has recorded with Prince.

As Minnesota superstar Prince prepares to release a pair of new albums tomorrow, Sept. 30, the flamboyant but often reclusive performer has been coming out of his shell and talking to various reporters. One of them is Nekesa Mumbi Moody of the Associated Press, who recently visited Prince’s Paisley Park studio in Chanhassen to interview the star and listen to a bit of music.

A fascinating tidbit from Moody’s report: Prince “tapped” the Minnesota Orchestra to record music for at least one track, “a melodious instrumental track” with “lush orchestration.” The track won’t appear on the new albums: Prince hasn’t written any lyrics for it yet. Its inspiration, reports Moody, was Dionne Warwick’s 1965 song “In Between the Heartaches,” which Prince also played for Moody.

Update 9/30: Minnesota Orchestra spokeswoman Gwen Pappas writes in an e-mail, “We’d love to collaborate with Prince in a recording session! The entire Orchestra hasn’t actually done so to date — we suspect maybe some Orchestra musicians were involved in a pick up recording session which fueled this comments — but we’d be happy to collaborate in the future.”

Some thoughts on a Sunday playlist

CDs on shelf

We have music on the stereo at home all the time, usually from CDs that I am auditioning (of which there are piles and piles). Yesterday, though, Lise was outside weeding, I was inside beginning to go through stuff brought back from my brother’s house.

But we breakfasted together, in the glowing morning sunlight, to Messiaen’s “Turangalila” Symphony — the new Finnish Radio Symphony recording on Ondine, with Angela Hewitt playing the important piano part — what music is more filled with joy and amazement?! A perfect accompaniment to nature’s cheery brilliance.

Then followed an eclectic mix. Here’s what we listened to:

Barone’s Sunday Playlist

MESSIAEN: Turangalila Symphony … nothing could be finer! (Ondine)

TAFELMUSIK FAVORITES: Jean Lamon’s picks as she retires from 33 years at the helm of one of Canada’s most successful ensembles; I met Jean when she and some other Oberlin Baroque Performance Institute kids came out to play with my little Keith Hill harpsichord in one of the prototype concerts of the Chamber Music Society of Saint Cloud. She’s done well since! (Analekta)

MOZART: Symphonies 38-39-40 in trio arrangements by Hummel … rather disappointing, I must admit, couldn’t listen to more than a few minutes before finding something else (Naxos)

GLIERE: Symphony #3/Buffalo Philharmonic — a sprawling, lush, underappreciated score; Russian Mahler? (Naxos)

PERSICHETTI: Music for Violin and Piano, including a piece he never published that was discovered by the CD soloist, first recording; chewy music but worthwhile (Naxos)

HAYDN: Lord Nelson Mass/Boston Baroque … this one irritated me, sounding as though it was a competition for the most virtuosic and slick performance of the piece, lacking humanity, again I hit “[r]eject” soon (Boston Baroque)

YORK BOWEN: Phantasy Quintet for Bass-clarinet and Strings (and other chamber music) … what a beautiful thing! (Chandos)

STOKOWSKI conducts MOZART, with Philadelphia Orchestra on tour in Milan … they don’t play this way today, but what soul! (and a wild cadenza in the 20th Piano Concerto) (Guild Music)

ROSSINI: Overtures/Prague Chamber Orchestra … perky background (Naxos)

Got through a lot of music on a beautiful Sunday.

Click on Classical this Weekend: videos, stories and musical worlds colliding

Karl is a very curious raccoon, as we find out in the video, “What’s in a Title?“.

As you’re browsing the Internet this weekend, perhaps as you listen to Classical Minnesota Public Radio, I’ve got quite a few must-sees for you:

Watch some new videos

This week, Classical MPR posted five new educational videos to the website as part of our Music for Learning series. Although these are designed for use by teachers and schoolkids, there’s something for all of us in these fun videos about such topics as:

Take some time to watch some or all of the videos. I think you’ll enjoy them!

Read our hosts’ posts in Classical Notes

First of all, thanks for being here to read my post! Earlier this week, Michael Barone shared a fun story of some uncanny coincidences involving musicians with whom he crossed paths in Philadelphia, St. Paul and St. Cloud. Alison Young, meanwhile, shared some videos of what can happen when people forget their telephone manners while at concerts. And Fred Child shared how flutist Yukie Ota — who won our hearts after a butterfly landed on her face during a performance — fared in that flute competition in Copenhagen.

Stretch your musical boundaries

It turns out that the people who like classical music and the people who like video-game music have a lot in common — they just might not know it yet. Pierce Huxtable, a production assistant with Top Score, has posted an article in which he describes what video-game music lovers will like about classical music … and vice versa. I invite you to check that out.

And remember, you can also like Classical MPR on Facebook and follow Classical MPR on Twitter.

Have a great weekend!

Please turn off phones in the concert hall; here's why

Scene from Class Notes video, “What to do at a Concert” (Classical MPR)

Wednesday’s Class Notes video is all about how to behave at a concert. It brought to mind a number of examples of well-documented bad behavior in the concert hall, all of it tied to telephones.

First, this is really good! It’s a story shared by Performance Today on its Facebook page, describing the time NY Philharmonic conductor Alan Gilbert stopped the orchestra, turned around and spoke to a person in the front row whose ringtone kept interrupting Mahler’s Symphony No. 9.

Artistic Partner of the SPCO Christian Zacharias stopped in the middle of his Haydn concerto when a phone started ringing at the Gothenburg Concert Hall in 2013. A live concert is “the rare moment where our minds can focus on one thing,” Zacharias says.

In this case, a Nokia ring tone at a concert in Slovakia inspires a little improvisation:

Even buskers get annoyed with the phones:

The funniest of all was captured in an article in The Mirror (London) in December 2001:

Conductor Jac van Steen tried to drown out the unmistakable sound and carry on with Johannes Brahms’ Symphony No.4.

But the mobile not only kept ringing — it seemed to get louder.

Finally, frustrated van Steen threw down his baton, turned to the audience and shouted: “If that is my wife, tell her I’m not here.” The phone’s embarrassed owner switched off the device without revealing his/herself to the crowd at Manchester’s Bridgewater Hall.

Van Steen turned back to the Halle Orchestra and resumed his performance.

This is what every one of us in an audience wishes would happen when someone snaps a picture despite being told, “Please, no photography.” It’s over the top but absolutely hysterical … and must have been humiliating for the poor audience member. But Patti Lupone doesn’t put up with any monkey business.

On the Air This Week

Highlights from September 23 to 30

Tuesday, 7:15 am: Teacher Feature: Jonathan LaFlamme.

Tuesday, 5 pm: Music with Minnesotans: Katie McCurry, Account Representative with Fireman’s Fund.

Tuesday, 7:15 pm: Teacher Feature: Jonathan LaFlamme.

Wednesday, Noon: Musical Memories for the High Holidays with Itzhak Perlman.

Thursday, 3 pm hour: Regional Spotlight: The Bakken Trio and clarinetist David Krakauer perform Prokofiev’s Overture on Hebrew Themes, from the MacPhail Center.

Friday, 8 pm: Minnesota Orchestra: Barber’s Cello Concerto with Alisa Weilerstein, and Mahler’s 2nd Symphony.

Sunday, 6 am: Pipedreams: Nordic Journey.

Sunday, noon: From the Top.

Sunday, 1 pm: SymphonyCast: From the 2014 BBC Proms, the Proms debut of the Qatar Philharmonic Orchestra .

Monday, noon: Learning to Listen.

Tuesday, 7:15 am: School Spotlight.

Tuesday, 5 pm: Music with Minnesotans: Professor Nanette Goldman.

Tuesday, 6:45 pm: School Spotlight.

A couple uncanny concert coincidences

The Wanamaker Organ is located in the grand court of Macy’s in Philadelphia (photo by Kent Miller Studios for Macy’s)

Just before heading up to Saint Cloud, Minn., to record the Dover Quartet on Friday, Sept. 12, Tesfa Wondemagegnehu was bringing two choral colleagues (singers for a new professional choir in town) through the Classical MPR area and routed past my office.

In conversation, it turned out that the fellow, Steven Soph, had been in Philadelphia the previous Saturday (Sept. 6) and attended the concert at Macy’s by the Symphony in C orchestra and featuring the Wanamaker Organ, at which I was emcee. It was a curious — but fun — coincidence that he should have heard my comments in Philadelphia and then met “the voice” the next week.

So I drove up to St. Cloud on Friday, recorded an interview with and concert by the Dover Quartet kids (everyone is so young!) and, in conversation with the players afterwards, I discovered that their first violinist had a girlfriend in the Symphony in C, and he, too, attended the concert at Macy’s … and sat where I was sitting — in the women’s shoes department.

It’s rather fun that two young musicians, neither of them organists, happened to attend an organ concert (in Philadelphia, no less) at which I was present.

What are some strange, interesting or fun coincidences you’ve experienced? Share your stories in the comments below.

The Dover Quartet on Performance Today:

Yukie Ota, 'Madame Butterfly', takes 2nd place at Nielsen Competition

First-prize winner Sébastian Jacot: “I didn’t even think about winning … I have never won a competition or audition.” (photo courtesy DR.dk)

Yukie Ota (she of the butterfly landing on her forehead during the first round, currently Principal Flute in the Kalamazoo Symphony) took second place this weekend at the Carl Nielsen Flute Competition in Copenhagen.

First place went to Sébastian Jacot, a 27-year-old Swiss flutist, who had his own adventures in the first round: Two hours before he played, part of his wooden flute broke. Jacot used his back-up … and prevailed.

Read more about first-place finisher Sébastian Jacot in this story by Anne Termanson.