All posts by Classical MPR

On the Air This Week

Highlights from Sep. 24 to Oct. 1

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

Tuesday, 5:30 pm: Music with Minnesotans: Christopher Hopkins, the Makeover Guy.

Tuesday, 7:15 pm: School Spotlight: Princeton High School Concert Choir.

Thursday, 3 pm hour: Regional Spotlight: Minnesota Bach Ensemble.

Saturday, 7 pm: Song of America, Part 13: Places That Sing to Us.

Sunday, 6 am: Pipedreams: A Juilliard Student Showcase.

Sunday, noon: From the Top.

Sunday, 1 pm: SymphonyCast: The Bournemouth Symphony Orchestra performs works of Janacek, Beethoven, and Tchaikovsky at the BBC Proms.

Monday, noon: Learning to Listen: The Brandenburg Concertos.

Monday, 8 pm: Saint Paul Chamber Orchestra: Soprano Dawn Upshaw and works of Piazzolla, Iglesias, and Golijov. Miguel Harth-Bedoya conducts.

Tuesday, 7:15 am: School Spotlight: Robbinsdale Cantori and Bel Canto Choirs and Chamber Strings.

Tuesday, 5:30 pm: Music with Minnesotans: Dr. Jon Hallberg.

Tuesday, 7:15 pm: School Spotlight: Robbinsdale Cantori and Bel Canto Choirs and Chamber Strings.

New Classical Tracks Extra: Lara Downes

So, what does it really mean to be an exile? That’s a question pianist Lara Downes tries to answer with her latest recording. Exiles’ CafĂ© is a collection of 19th and 20th century solo piano works written by composers in exile, composers longing for home, and composers reflecting on their respective journeys. This is what Downes has to say about the recording:


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There’s more to the story, though, as there often is. Lara Downes wants to hear the stories of other exiles — contemporary exiles — and she wants to share those experiences with as many people as possible. The Exiles Project is an interactive micro-site designed to collect and share individual stories of exile.

Visit the site and submit your own experiences or reminiscences of exile, displacement and discovery. Be a part of The Exiles Project — a way to explore the narratives of exile on both universal and personal levels. Submit your story here.

New Classical Tracks – Exploring the Viola Bonus Content

Kraus: Viola Concertos - David Aaron Carpenter, viola/Tapiola Sinfonietta (Ondine 1193-2) (Courtesy of Ondine)

Not all of the content from an episode of New Classical Tracks makes the audio cut. Here is further information and interviews relating to the new disc, Kraus: Viola Concertos by David Aaron Carpenter.

American violist and violinist David Aaron Carpenter was in the midst of his final exams at Princeton University a few years ago when he got the news that he’d be performing with the Lucerne Symphony Orchestra. And Carpenter says it wasn’t your average performance. Not only was he filling in for a violin superstar — Maxim Vengerov — he also WASN’T going to be playing a concerto by Beethoven or Brahms or Mozart. Instead, Carpenter had to learn a NEW concerto, the Viola Tango Rock Concerto, written especially for Vengerov by composer Benjamin Yusupov.

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And even after all the training and practice — Carpenter says there was no avoiding an unfortunately altercation during one of the performances:

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That’s David Aaron Carpenter. Take a look at his performance of the Yusupov Concerto below — though no violists were harmed in this particular performance! (The electric violin/viola starts around 1:34 and the dancing starts around 4:03!)

Roll Credits: 07/23/2012

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John Barry – Out of Africa

John Barry, conductor

Royal Philharmonic Orchestra

Richard Rodgers – Carousel: June is Bustin’ Out All Over Ballet

Alfred Newman, conductor

20th Century Fox Orchestra

Richard Adler/Jerry Ross – The Pajama Game: Steam Heat

Hal Hastings, conductor

Original Broadway Cast

Dave Grusin – On Golden Pond: Main Theme

Erich Kunzel, conductor

Cincinnati Pops

Irving Berlin – Alexander’s Ragtime Band: Heat Wave

Henry Mancini – Hatari: Baby Elephant Walk

Henry Mancini and His Orchestra

Arthur Freed/Nacio Herb Brown – Singin’ in the Rain: Singin’ in the Rain

Lennie Hayton, conductor

MGM Studio Orchestra

Harold Arlen – The Wizard of Oz: Over the Rainbow

Herbert Stothart, conductor

MGM Symphony Orchestra

John Williams – Jaws: Theme

John Williams, conductor

Boston Pops Orchestra

Leonard Bernstein – West Side Story: Cool

Johnny Green, conductor

Studio Orchestra

Frank Loesser – Neptune’s Daughter: Baby, it’s Cold Outside

Georgie Stoll, conductor

MGM Studio Orchestra

Bastille Day Quiz

Saturday is Bastille Day, the national holiday of France. Take our Bastille Day quiz, and test your knowledge of Debussy, Saint-Saëns and Bizet!

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And if you’re still in a test-taking mood, try our venerable choral quiz.

How do you introduce someone to Classical Music?

Courtesy of Ed Yourdon

Brian Newhouse, Managing Director of Classical Music at MPR | APM put forth a question to the classical staff last Friday, and the emails started flying.

It seems they’re expecting a foreign exchange student, and that student asked to be introduced to Classical music. What happened next was a flurry of “desert island” pieces from an array of our staff. We wanted to share with you — and have you weigh-in — our growing list of classic classical pieces.

Tim Roesler (Senior Vice President, Minnesota Public Radio)

“For me it’s the finest 8 minutes in classical music; the Allegretto [second movement] from Beethoven’s 7th.”

Jodi Gustafson (Sr. Administrative Assistant, Classical)

“I’ll contrast with the complete serenity of Arvo Pärt’s Te Deum.”

Julie Amacher (National Host, Classical 24)

Ralph Vaughn Williams: Fantasia on a theme by Thomas Tallis; Beethoven: Choral Fantasy

Alison Young (Host/Producer, Classical Music Service)

“I think I could listen over and over to Claude Debussy’s Suite Bergamasque. Just sublime and transporting too.”

Rex Levang (Music Director, Classical Music Service)

“At 15, I think my desert island piece might have been [Gershwin’s] Rhapsody in Blue. Today, I’d be harder pressed!”

Judy McAlpine (Sr. VP & General Manager, APM, Content and Media)

[Golijov’s] Azul, because its beauty is beyond words.”

William Johnston (Regional Digital Media Intern, Classical MPR)

Mahler’s Second Symphony, particularly the final movement, although it loses much of its power when not preceded by the remainder of the work, especially Urlicht (the fourth of five movements). The sublime beauty and transporting power of that final movement is a gem set in the rest of the work.

A runner up would the Richard Strauss Vier letzte Lieder (Last Four Songs), particularly the fourth, and especially when paired with Tod und Verklärung (Death and Transfiguration) from which Im Abendrot (Evening, the fourth song) draws a key musical motive and creates a beautiful moment.”

Jen Keavy (Marketing Manager)

Schoenberg’s Verklarte Nacht (Transfigured Night). Intense, emotional, expressive. (Yep, I said it! I love Schoenberg.)

Bach’s Cello Suites — all of them. They are meditative and transcendent, and are known to bring me to tears, especially when performed by Pablo Casals.

Also on the list is Carissimi’s oratorio, Jepthe. Beautiful and dramatic.”

Randi Yoder (Sr VP & Chief Development Officer)

“At 15, I was starting to perform (in choir) Handel’s Messiah and could barely get through the parts we sang without my throat tightening up because it was so moving. In fact, my first gift to MPR in the late 70’s was motivated by a recording of it MPR was giving away as a premium. I went completely off our early years of marriage budget to get the ‘free’ copy which of course would have been cheaper to acquire at the music store! I still play it and sing along.”

Emily Reese (Host, Cultural Programming)

Ravel, Mother Goose Suite, the Enchanted Garden part. What I do when I’m teaching classical music to someone who’s clearly interested is I make them a CD with as many different pieces I can fit in that 70 minutes, then I talk them through each piece, or write a few words about each, explaining why I love it. It’s pretty easy when you have a disc of Bach, Ravel, Beethoven, Shostakovich, et cetera, to put very simply why you like them. I think, anyway.”

Lynne Warfel (National Host/Producer)

“When I was 15 I had this oddball, eclectic love of The Beatles, rock and roll, Broadway shows and Stan Kenton’s kind of music — a love inspired by my jazz trumpeter Dad. I hadn’t been exposed much at all to classical, but when I was, it was head-on with the finale to Mahler’s Resurrection Symphony with Leonard Bernstein and the NY Phil. No half-measures! As a (then) new singer who liked big Broadway ‘production-number’ endings and big brassy trumpet sections, it was perfect. Rattled the rafters. Same year: [Carl Orff’s] Carmina Burana and Brahms’ Symphonies for the first time: Philadelphia Orchestra. Loved stuff that made noise with lots of brass and percussion.

Now it’s your turn. Give us your list of “must listen” works in the comments below.

Choral Quiz

Test your knowledge of choral music, composers, and terminology. While it is multiple choice — no short answers or essays here, although you may feel free to leave them in the comments — we doubt that this is an easy ‘A’.

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The Well-Tempered Google Synthesizer

Google is helping the world to celebrate what would have been Robert Moog’s 78th birthday with a mini-moog, (er, mini-goog) synthesizer.

While we’re still getting used to it, we want to get your creative juices flowing, and have you share a composition or two with us!

How to do it:

Google has its own instructions, but here’s the short version:

  • You can click the keys, or use your keyboard (your home row is a good place to start).
  • If you’re familiar with waveforms, attack/decay/sustain, etc., you should check out this explainer PDF from moogmusic for what the particular knobs/switches do what. Otherwise, just mess around and have fun.
  • When you’re ready to record, you can do up to 4 tracks. Record each track by clicking on the VU meter — it’ll light up a little bit, then hitting the Record button. Then click the next VU meter to do the 2nd track… and the 3rd and 4th.
  • You can go back and re-record a track by clicking on the meter again. When you’re all done, click the chain link icon and drop it in the comments.

Crescendo Project and Classical MPR Present Roll Credits Live!

Are you a young professional who loves classical music? Join us for Roll Credits Live on Wednesday, May 16. It’s a free event, open to Classical MPR listeners in their 20s and 30s and members of the Crescendo Project, the Minnesota Orchestra’s Young Professionals Group.

To be honest, watching the recording of a disc-based radio show normally offers all the excitement of a cow looking over a fence. A couple of people playing CDs and chatting. Flash mob fodder! Of course, Guernseys have their charms, and so does Roll Credits, live at the UBS Forum. Classical MPR hosts Lynne Warfel and Bill Morelock will play film music — the classics and the new — and chat!

Enlivening the evening may be Lynne’s threatened dramatic reading of President Merkin Muffley’s monologue from Doctor Strangelove, in the voice of Katherine Hepburn. They will, certainly, trot out the old favorites from the Golden Age of Hollywood, when the music was better than the acting, and from today’s films, when the acting is better than … well, we can argue about that when the time comes. So if you’re a movie music fan, come on Wednesday, May 16, at 6 p.m., and hang out with a couple of movie music fans, and join ’em in the pasture. Cue the Copland and the open chords!

Ticket Information

For more music and movies, visit our Roll Credits and Flicks in Five page.

Roll Credits: 03/26/2012

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Mikos Rozsa: Sinbad Battles and Finale from The Golden Voyage of Sinbad

City or Prague Phil/Kenneth Alwyn

Silva 1056

Nino Rota: The Godfather Finale

Studio Orchestra

MCA 10231 3:50

Bernstein: Finale and End Credits West Side Story

Sony 89226

Original Soundtrack re-release

Maurice Jarre: Is Paris Burning?

BBC Concert Orchestra/Jarre

RCA 35793

Rodgers and Hammerstein: Finale to Oklahoma


Angel 27350

Rodgers and Hammerstein: So Long, Farewell and Climb Every Mountain

Sound of Music Soundtrack

RCA PCD1-2005

Henry Mancini: Pink Panther Theme

Boston Pops/Williams

Philips 47362

Irving Berlin: There’s No Business Like Show Business

Boston Pops/Williams

Philips 438070

Richard Rodgers: Slaughter on Tenth Avenue

Irving Berlin: Easter Parade Finale

Judy Garland and Fred Astaire

CBS 45392

Meredith Willson:

Goodnight my Someone and 76 Trombones from The Music Man

Shirley Jones and Robert Preston

Warner Brothers 27158

Barry: Goldfinger End Credits