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Classical Notes: April 2, 2006 Archive

The young person's side at the orchestra

Posted at 5:34 PM on April 2, 2006 by Don Lee

“That was hot.” Someone behind me said that last night when the Minnesota Orchestra trumpets brought the middle movement of Mahler’s First Symphony to a blistering end. I didn't turn around to look, but he sounded like someone younger than 40. On Saturday night there were more 30-somethings in the hall than I remember seeing at any Minnesota Orchestra concert I’ve attended.

My friends and I guessed that Mahler had to be the reason. One said the heart-on-sleeve expressiveness of Mahler’s music, with its bold, dramatic statements, is a draw for the younger-than-usual concert-goer. (In fact, as the program notes pointed out, Mahler’s original title for the first part of this symphony was “Days of Youth.”) I agreed, adding that Mahler sometimes shows a compellingly loopy side—clarinets careening beyond control and violins madly waltzing out of orbit. The cachet of the name is yet another draw. Not only can Mahler be “hot,” he is also cool, and has been since Leonard Bernstein made him so 40 years ago.

What do you think? Does the idea that Mahler is young person’s music make sense to anyone else?

Word.

Posted at 10:41 PM on April 2, 2006 by Valerie Kahler
Filed under: The blog

Hello. My name is Valerie and I'm a crossword puzzle addict.

I started with the soft stuff, the gateway puzzles. TV Guide, People magazine. Soon that wasn't enough, and I was buying puzzle variety books from the drugstore. Then I graduated to the newspapers' daily crosswords, where I quickly learned the difference between "TMS" and "NYT" puzzles. Tribune Media Service, you see, published crosswords I could do Monday through Saturday...but the New York Times got more difficult as the week progressed, and I'd be hopelessly over my head by, oh...Tuesday. But I kept plugging away, learning the familiar characters, little by little. Hersey's bell town, 5 letters. Swiss canton, 3 letters. Saarinen father and son, 5 and 4 letters respectively.

It was time for the New York Times Sunday Crossword. Oh, the rush of that first completed grid! I wanted to experience it again. Conveniently, it took me about a week to finish a puzzle so I'd just start again with the new Sunday crossword.

With time and practice, I got better. Faster. And I couldn't wait til next Sunday for a new puzzle. Enter the NYT Crossword Puzzle Omnibus - a series of compilations, each with a hundred or more puzzles.

Some people watch TV. Some knit. For me, the last few minutes of consciousness before sleep are spent wrestling with letters.

Here are a few from a crossword I finished this week. The puzzle is by Alfio Micci, and was titled Musical Excerpts.

29 ACROSS Air from Borodin's Polovstian Dance No. 2 (18 letters)

43 ACROSS Song from Tchaikovsky's Andante Cantabile (12 letters)

63 ACROSS Tune from Tchaikovsky's Symphony No. 6 (13 letters)

82 ACROSS Pop song from Chopin's Fantasie Impromptu (23 letters)

99 ACROSS Air from Tchaikovsky's Piano Concerto No. 1 (13 letters)

119 ACROSS Melody from Ravel's Pavane for a Dead Princess (12 letters)

137 ACROSS Borrowing from a Borodin Nocturne (18 letters)

First person to post a reply with all the correct responses wins a freshly sharpened No. 2 pencil.