Posted at 8:30 AM on August 22, 2012
by Daniel Gilliam
Happy Birthday, Claude! You don't look at a day over 149.
It is understood that Minnesota holds a very strong grip on the world of choral music, both nationally and internationally. With our world-renown professional and collegiate choirs, fabulous public school programs, and choirs with a message we have carved our name in choral history. We live in a special place, and it is our depth that is so remarkable.
Here at Classical MPR we have made an official commitment to the choral community in Minnesota. We started by creating an on-line choral stream with hours and hours of non-stop choral music from around the world. We will bring to the Twin Cities the Mormon Tabernacle Choir, the King's College Choir (Cambridge), and the Estonian Philharmonic Chamber Choir with a commission by Edie Hill. In the future we will continue to nurture that relationship by creating collaborative programming and content.
This summer at the State Fair Classical MPR thought, given our choral initiative, that it would be appropriate to incorporate several vocal acts, including VocalEssence, the Minnesota Boychoir, and members of the Minnesota Opera. But something was missing...so when I was approached by Brian Newhouse and Daniel Gilliam at MPR to discuss other ensembles to incorporate, I responded immediately with the idea of a young-adult chamber choir. They asked, "Does anything like that exist?" Knowing of nothing I said, "No, but I will create it."
And so here we are, The State Fair Singers with me, Sam Kjellberg, the aspiring conductor. We will sing a short program of music by Jaakko Mäntyjärvi, Samuel Barber, Leonard Bernstein, and a short hymn by the great Thomas Tallis. It's a simple concept – young-adults between the ages of 22 and 27 singing together, all coming from fabulous collegiate choral programs – Concordia (Moorhead), Luther, Saint Olaf, the University of Minnesota, and Yale. This project has been the seed to something we hope to continue through the next several years, or until we're too old to be considered "young-adults." (...but "youth" is a mindset, right?...)
The name seems a little narrow and constraining, and in some ways it is, but even with the name attached, this group has hopes of being a symbolic gesture for the future of choral music and classical music in general. It is my opinion that Classical Music must focus on keeping its youthful vigor and innovation alive and well. I hope that ensembles with this sort of youthful energy, determination, and initiative will continue to be heralded for years to come!
Come at check us out at the State Fair!!!
August 27-29th, 2-3pm
September 3, 2-3pm
All at the Minnesota Public Radio booth on the corner of Judson and Nelson!
Posted at 9:06 PM on August 22, 2012
by John Birge
Inspired by Debussy's 150th birthday anniversary this week, every morning at 8:30 we'll play a composition by Debussy inspired by some specific place. Today we find him in at the museum. After hearing Souvenir du Louvre, there's also L'Isle Joyeuse ("The Joyous Isle"), Debussy's musical interpretation of a famous painting there: L'Embarquement pour Cythere ("Voyage to Cythera"):
This painting is one of Antoine Watteau's favorite subjects, known as fêtes galantes ("scenes of gallantry"), in which elegant court ladies and gentlemen pass their time in pleasant dalliance among trees and shrubbery. Cythera was the island where Aphrodite (goddess of erotic love) first stepped after being born from the seafoam.