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Classical Notes

Classical Notes: January 19, 2012 Archive

Hahn-Bin, or, "Ya Gotta Have a Gimmick," as the song says...

Posted at 8:29 PM on January 19, 2012 by John Birge
Filed under: The blog

Art museums have always appealed to the eye. Many appeal to the ear as well with music concerts. This Sunday, the North Dakota Art Museum offers both, with an unusual recital.

This young violinist appeared up in the New York Times Style section last year; his name is Hahn-Bin, and you can check him out here:


Or is that just Grace Jones?


What's your take on this Xtreme dress-up stuff? Isn't there enough distracting superficiality in the world already? Hahn-Bin, your teacher Itzhak Perlman never needed to act like Lady Gaga to get his point across.

Then again, perhaps Gypsy was right: Ya Gotta Have a Gimmick:

Artist in Residence: Plans for 2012

Posted at 3:09 AM on January 19, 2012 by Chad Hoopes
Filed under: Artists in Residence

Chad Hoopes
Photo: Lisa-Marie Mazzucco

Happy New Year to all the fans of Classical Minnesota Public Radio! This is my first blog post as the Artist in Residence for MPR. It is an honor for me to contribute and be part of such an influential organization.

This residency is important to me primarily because I have the opportunity to participate in and lead educational activities at local schools. I look forward to expressing my views on the importance of music and the arts. Since I was young, I have been blessed to be involved in classical music. Fortunately, I have had a talent that has helped carry my passion for the violin. During this residency, my hope is to help every young person I collaborate with to discover his or her passions.

The beginning of my residency at MPR started this past August, when I performed an opening recital at the MacPhail Center for Music. Furthermore, I spent three days in the studios at MPR recording a CD that MPR will be producing. As I recorded, I felt as if I could express feelings and emotions that I have experienced in my life. I strongly believe that this is how one connects to a listener through a recording. I recorded works by Bach, Brahms, Tchaikovsky, Prokofiev, and Ravel. This was a lot of repertoire, but I feel confident that it brings a variety of sounds and color to the listener. This was a special experience for me mainly because this was my first time making a professional recording. At the start of the New Year, I returned to MPR to do some editing and other work in the studio. This also contributed to the rich learning opportunity I had.

What a journey! I can confidently say that this has turned out to be an extremely positive experience. As you can imagine, all of this wouldn't have been possible without the help of MANY people at MPR. So, here is a BIG thank you to you all!

Well, that's it for now! I am humbled and I look forward to continue on this voyage with all of you! Thank you and may the New Year present us with prosperous opportunities!

Brahms: Newly Performed, From the Past

Posted at 12:29 PM on January 19, 2012 by Samuel Kjellberg

tumblr_lmr2awKVcS1qeu6ilo1_500.jpgThink back to your time in high school, to middle school, or even grade school. Now accompany that thought with a comparing mind.

When you reach these moments in your past take out the stacks of old papers, assignments and arts and crafts projects and look at them. How do you feel about these now that all this time has past? Did you know anything then that you don't know now? Or did you NOT know anything that you DO know now?

Well, a young Johannes Brahms did something quite similar to this. Brahms began composing as early as age 11, writing what we can guess were short piano works. Upon revisiting these pieces later in his life and deciding they weren't worth saving — perhaps even a little embarrassed by his boyish compositional techniques — Brahms threw out most of these works.

However, as Brahms turned 20 he gradually started to save his boyish musical compositions after receiving notable recognition for his performing and compositions while on a concert tour with violinist Eduard Reményi where Franz Liszt read through one of his works. Later that year meeting Robert Schumann, who was impressed by his work, Brahms created a lifelong friendship with the musical duo, Robert and Clara.

Recently, while leafing though old Brahms manuscripts in the United States, British conductor and scholar Christopher Hogwood discovered a short unpublished piano work by the 20-year-old Brahms. The piece is titled Albumblatt, meaning "Album Leaf".

BBC Radio 3 has dibs on the world premiere performance, which will be broadcast on the Tom Service show sometime next month. Pianist Andras Schiff has been asked to take on such an honor while Hogwood was asked to discuss his finding.

This is significant for the obvious reason that we are talking about Johannes Brahms here, a composer with a widely performed catalogue list of grueling length! His name has been engrained in our minds as one of the foremost composers of the Western world.

This new piano piece is short, lasting only a mere two minutes in length, but will soon be a prized work amongst concert pianists.

Perhaps Brahms never intended this work to be seen, performed or published. Regardless, let us welcome this new work into the world, a work written by Brahms almost 160 years ago!

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