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Classical Notes

Classical Notes: May 5, 2009 Archive


Posted at 12:53 AM on May 5, 2009 by Gillian Martin

Someone has finally upped the street cred of the flute by mixing it with the fine art of beatboxing.

Thanks to MPR's Michael Wells for the tip.

Conductor Erich Kunzel Has Cancer

Posted at 1:17 AM on May 5, 2009 by Gillian Martin

Erich Kunzel, long-time conductor of the Cincinnati Pops, was diagnosed with cancer last week. He plans to work chemotherapy in around his very busy summer schedule:

Kunzel said he knows it is important to remain positive, and that his doctors had told him a good mental outlook and a strong body will help his immune system fight the cancer.

"So, given that, I'll stay as active and strong as possible, and that's what I'm going to do. I've taken nothing off my calendar. It's just been two days, God knows, but I'm full blast ahead," he said.

Read more about his career and his condition here.

Tape Cassettes, for Love and Money

Posted at 9:46 AM on May 5, 2009 by Rex Levang

I had heard about the resurgence of the vinyl LP--but I was caught by surprise to hear the same about the tape cassette.

But according to this article in London's Telegraph, they're coming back. They have a special romantic appeal, it's claimed--those personalized mix tapes---but not only that: if you have some blank ones from the 80s sitting around, you might be able to sell them for a tidy sum.

Classical music at the movies: more!

Posted at 8:46 PM on May 5, 2009 by John Birge

I can't remember the last time that classical music was so well represented by so many movies at the same time. As I reported a few weeks ago, we had the Berlin Philharmonic documentary Trip to Asia, and the opening of The Soloist with Jamie Foxx and Robert Downey, Jr. The Soloist continues in movie theaters across the country. Trip to Asia is back in the Twin Cities for two encore screenings from the Minneapolis-St. Paul Film Festival (MPR members get a discount, btw). I recommend them both, especially Trip to Asia, which has an authenticity which the Hollywood-ized Soloist can't really reach. You can view trailers for both films here.

In addition to those, the final Met at the Movies presentation this Saturday is a live transmission of Rossini's La Cenerentola, featuring the Latvian mezzo Elina Garanca, who can light up any screen, anywhere:

And, finally, a metaphorical trip through Handel's masterpiece. William Klein's film Messiah is a complete performance of the work, against which Klein juxtaposes modern, international images of ritual, atrocity, and exultation. Exploring the music in relation to the lives of the people singing it, Klein shot the film in such far-flung locations as Dublin, Soweto, Jakarta, and Las Vegas, interspersing groups as disparate as the Lavender Light, the Dallas Police Choir, and Texas prison inmates with the dominant chorus, Les Musiciens du Louvre. It's at the Walker Art Center on May 17; this trailer gives a little taste:

NYC (heart) Minnesota Orchestra

Posted at 9:25 PM on May 5, 2009 by Gillian Martin

The Minnesota Orchestra's international reputation continues to build.

After a very successful European tour this winter, Osmo Vänskä and the orchestra wowed the crowd at Carnegie Hall last night with the same Sibelius-Sibelius-Beethoven program they knocked my socks off with at Orchestra Hall last week.

Read the New York Times review here (registration required).

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