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Classical Notes

Classical Notes: August 28, 2006 Archive

Towards less savage breasts

Posted at 8:26 AM on August 28, 2006 by John Zech
Filed under: The blog

On a nursing home visit a few years ago I was pleasantly surprised to see a woman playing familiar old songs and hymns on a celtic harp. She was a music therapist, and her instrument provided a nicely portable way of bringing some joy to some of the residents in their rooms without being too instrusive or loud.

It seems the celtic harp is finding its way into the recovery rooms of some hospitals as well. But the tunes on this playlist are not familiar ones. Apparently easily recognizable songs can trigger negative responses from patients. One harpist likes to use some very old tunes from a book called "The Healer's Way: Soothing Music for Those in Pain." There's more in a story in today's NY Times.

A lot of our listeners say they listen to classical radio because it's "soothing." Does that mean we should be playing more harp music?

Cleveland v Minnesota

Posted at 10:21 PM on August 28, 2006 by John Birge
Filed under: The blog

Cleveland Orchestra musicians agreed to a new three-year contract that keeps their salaries in line with those of the nation's other top orchestras. Base minimum (virtually everyone makes more) is $104,520 this year. The agreement was reached just in time for the orchestra’s European tour.

Meanwhile, the Minnesota Orchestra is in the middle of their European tour, and a newspaper in Scotland says: “The Cleveland Orchestra are America's most polished outfit. The Minnesota Orchestra, to judge from this display, are hot on their heels. I doubt there will be a classier set of Festival performances than those delivered here in a breathtaking display of sophistication by Osmo Vanska's Minnesota Orchestra. The transformation the Finnish conductor has effected in this American orchestra since I first heard them, around three years ago, is staggering."

Fantastic review here, and be sure to listen to Classical Minnesota Public Radio's archive of tour interviews from the road here.