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Classical Notes

Classical Notes: May 25, 2011 Archive

The Great Outdoors and its soundtrack

Posted at 1:14 PM on May 25, 2011 by Alison Young (4 Comments)

Tune in tomorrow and Friday for a "Morning Glory" with host Alison Young as we continue to celebrate the great outdoors this week on Classical MPR. At 10 a.m., she'll play longer works composed by Schumann and Poulenc that were inspired by nature.


at the end of my rope_summer 2008 005.jpg


I just returned from a five-day backpack trip on the Superior Hiking Trail.

I'm a section hiker of this 277 mile footpath and try to catch as many miles as I can when I have a few days off. This was a particularly stunning time to be there as the leaves were just beginning to pop and wild-flowers were pushing their way up through mats of dead leaves.

Even with rain, it was stunning and I was inspired to sing a little Mozart here, a snatch of Debussy there - there was one moment when I got a bit carried away and tried singing all of the parts of "The Rite of Spring." Good thing it was just me, my hiking buddy and nature herself listening to that!

Minnesota is filled with an abundance of beauty outdoors. As we get closer to summer, we're wondering what you're up to. Where are your favorite state parks? What do you look forward to most when the weather gets nice and you can be outdoors without five layers? Are you a kayaker cranking through breakers along the North Shore trail? Do you prefer a lazy dip in the Saint Croix River? Or are you more the hang-out-in-my-hammock type in the shade? Maybe biking is your thing - or a round of disc-golf.

And if music plays a role in your outdoor adventure, we'd love to know that too. Maybe we can sing Stravinsky duets!

(Alison climbing "Sugar Plum Fairy" at Tettegouche State Park. MPR photo/Alison Young)

Comment on this post

Do Musicians Have Better Brains?

Posted at 3:58 PM on May 25, 2011 by John Birge

From the Freakonomics blog:

"A new study argues that musicians have more highly developed brains.
This makes musicians alert, interested in learning, disposed to see the whole picture, calm, and playful. The same traits have previously been found among world-class athletes, top-level managers, and individuals who practice transcendental meditation.
Musicians also exhibited higher levels of moral reasoning and had more frequent "peak experiences"- intense moments of happiness and feelings of transcending limitations."

You can read the report at the Freakonomics blog.

And don't forget to join our friends from Freakonomics Radio when they come to the Fitzgerald Theater in St. Paul June 9. MPR members get a discount!