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Classical Notes

Good night, sweet Guthrie

Posted at 10:40 AM on May 5, 2006 by Don Lee

Music lovers will mourn the closing of the old Guthrie Theater Sunday night almost as much as theater-goers. Iím hardly alone in the feeling that it was a wonderful concert venueómost of all for its intimacy (as mentioned in a piece by Chris Roberts airing today on MPR News).

I have vivid, up-close memories of Frank Zappa, the Mahavishnu Orchestra, Randy Newman, John Prine, Jackson Browne, Linda Ronstadt and Weather Report. But the Guthrie music memory that stands out most concerns a concert I did NOT see.

It was in the mid-70s. My then-girlfriend had a single ticket to see Aaron Copland conduct the St. Paul Chamber Orchestra. I decided to go with her to try my luck in the rush line. I was the first person in the line not to get a ticket.

Ultimately, I was not too sorry. A couple of years later I was able to see Copland on stage in Boston. And that night in Minneapolis, to kill time while my girlfriend enjoyed the concert, I decided to see what was going on at the Walker Art Center. They were showing a film by a German director Iíd never heard of, Werner Herzog. It was Aguirre, the Wrath of God. The film was mesmerizing; I became an instant Herzog fan. And the soundtrack (by Popul Vuh) was pretty good too.