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Classical Notes

Classical Notes: March 15, 2006 Archive

The Cruelest Month

Posted at 12:29 AM on March 15, 2006 by Valerie Kahler (2 Comments)
Filed under: Musical philosophy

While TS Eliot said April is the cruelest month, City Pages’ restaurant reviewer Dara Moskovitz had this to say:

February [is] the cruelest month. Yeah, I know it's supposed to be April, but this is Minnesota, and our winter is so, so long that I've contacted the legislature about some updates. Let's call February the Cruelest Month, if only so we can call April "I'll Kill You, I Swear to God, If You Don't Give Me the Remote, I Am Not Even Kidding, You Are Just Like Your Mother, Just Give Me It, Quit, I Said, Quit It."

Given this week’s meteorological unpleasantness, I’m casting my Cruelest Month vote for March. I mean, it was FIFTY-SIX degrees last week. And then a foot of snow? That’s just mean.

Every winter, I make it through the first few months thinking, “Well, this isn’t so bad! Here it is February already – we’re almost out of the woods.” How can I forget about March EVERY YEAR? But forget I do, so the spiteful late-winter snows catch me unawares.

Ah, but there’s always a silver lining. Two, in this case. 1. Because snow shovels are SO last season, I was able to procure one at a steep discount. 2. A springboard, if you will, for a discussion of seasonal music. My husband and I were talking about this very thing a few days ago. Now, I don’t mean seasonal music like a Christmas carol or an Easter mass. I don’t even mean seasonally-titled music (Four Seasons, Summer Music, etc). No, what we’re getting at here is something much more ephemeral and subjective: music that feels seasonally appropriate to you, for whatever reason. For example, my husband said that every year as winter creaks into spring, he gets an itch to listen to the Rolling Stones. A teenage boy who was around for the conversation agreed, saying his fondness for techno was entirely winter-specific. An old orchestra colleague of mine always associated Vaughan Williams’ Symphony No. 5 with summer gardening. For me, Bach is a year-round favorite but I usually reach for the Cello Suites in early spring. I also have a perverse need to listen to Duran Duran when I spring clean. I don’t quite understand it – I think it has something to do with my college years and operant conditioning.

What about you?

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Orchestra on Demand

Posted at 9:33 AM on March 15, 2006 by Brian Newhouse
Filed under: The blog

We're always wondering how to bring this music we all love to the widest possible audience. Radio? Sure. Been doing that now for nearly 40 years. But just as newspapers and record companies and loads of other media companies are having to seriously re-think their way of doing business (or go the way of the dodo), we're wondering how does this wonderful ancient art form, classical music, interact with new technology?

So, I'm extremely curious to watch what happens to our latest venture: Several days ago we posted nine fabulous concerts by the Minnesota Orchestra to our Web site. This is new for the Orchestra and the result of lots of conversation between MPR and the Orchestra about how it would be to our mutual benefit—and be really cool for classical fans worldwide.

There are star soloists, and most of the programs are led by the star conductor of the moment, Osmo Vänskä. This is by any account, great music passionately performed by world-class artists.

So, we've built it (and are now promoting it on-air and online). Will they come?

Where's Jarvi? Revisited

Posted at 10:22 AM on March 15, 2006 by John Birge
Filed under: The blog

Re my March 14 entry, word from Joshua Kosman is that there was a mixup. First word from the agent to the SF Symphony staff (who presented the concert) was illness; later that was clarified to reflect the wedding conflict, but Kosman didn't get the word before his review went to press.

So much for Jarvigate. Darn it; now I'll have to recall that message I left for Oliver Stone. ;-)