Composer Missy Mazzoli will participate in Composer Conversations on May 8, 2015 (photo by Stephen S. Taylor)
"All music was once new," goes the sign off each day for The Composers Datebook.
Maybe that's self-evident, yet to fans of classical music, it can still sound a little startling. We cherish classical music in large part for its timelessness the capacity to speak across generations and centuries. At best, its power is at once enduring and time-specific, universal and personal.
But if great music tunes us in to the eternal, it's still grounded in the time and place of its original creation, the moment of its being "once new." It's easy to forget, as we return again and again to our favorite masterworks, that classical music (broadly defined) is a living art form, not only because centuries-old works continue to invite exhilarating new interpretations, but as importantly because it continues to incorporate the present-day works of living composers.
Intended for music lovers of all stripes, Composer Conversations is an informal sit-down with some of our time's best emerging and established living composers, and some of the artists who perform their music. Now in its third year and hosted by Top Score's Emily Reese, the series explores its guests' inspirations, artistic history, and current projects, offering a glimpse into the processes and people behind the compositions.
The 2015 Composer Conversations will welcome Kevin Puts (Feb. 18); Bryce Dessner with special guests Carolyn Shaw and Richard Reed Perry (April 2); Fred Lerdahl (April 22); and Missy Mazzoli (May 8). All conversations take place at the Amsterdam Bar & Hall in downtown St. Paul. Tickets are free, but reservations are required.
Past Composer Conversations guests include Laurie Anderson, Maria Schneider, John Luther Adams, Shawn Jaeger, Nicola Campogrande, John Harbison, Sufjan Stevens, Vivian Fung, Timo Andres, Gabriel Kahane, and Dawn Upshaw.(0 Comments)
Cartoonist Charles Schulz's beloved Peanuts characters Lucy and Schroeder have a famous exchange in which Lucy dismisses Beethoven's greatness given his absence from bubblegum cards.
We included this well-known exchange in a promo we aired before last week's Saint Paul Chamber Orchestra broadcast. In the comic strip, which we won't republish here but you could probably find on the official Peanuts site, Lucy and Schroeder's conversation goes like this:
LUCY: Everyone talks about how great Beethoven was … Beethoven wasn't so great!
SCHROEDER: What do you mean, Beethoven wasn't so great?
LUCY: He never got his picture on bubblegum cards, did he? … How can you say someone is great who's never had his picture on bubblegum cards?
Turns out Lucy had it wrong.
I found out when listener Doug Palmer of St. Paul, Minn., sent me this email:
I've been intrigued this week by your clever announcement of this weekend's SPCO Beethoven concert, featuring Lucy Van Pelt's declaration that Beethoven never appeared on a trading card. I immediately thought that Beethoven must surely have been included among the 1952 Topps "Look 'N See" series of famous historical and cultural figures that I avidly collected when I was Lucy's age.
But when I googled the old Look 'N See trading card series, I was amazed to find Beethoven absent! The Topps Company only got around to releasing a Beethoven trading card in 2009:
I made some fascinating discoveries of Beethoven's appearance in other series, which I'm sharing with you:
Beethoven did indeed appear on a 1927 series of trading cards that accompanied an elixir distributed by the Liebig Meat Extract Company of Belgium:
I found that the Rochester NY-based Amenda Quartet distributes Beethoven trading cards at its concerts (too bad it doesn't picture them on its site).
For $10 you may obtain three trading card-sized fine art photo rag prints of this portrait of "Ludpig" from When Guinea Pigs Fly.
[Editor's Note: this item appears to be sold out.]
'Ludpig' by Lesley DeSantis of WhenGuineaPigsFly on Etsy.
Hmm … I'm intrigued by the Amenda Quartet's practice of handing out Beethoven cards at its concerts. Maybe Classical MPR can do that at next year's State Fair? I guess we'll see!
Tim Sharp has made his mark as a conductor, composer and executive. His High Lonesome Mass has been performed extensively throughout the United States and as the executive director of the American Choral Directors Association, his leadership has contributed to substantial growth and stability within the organization.
Please join us for the Live Webcast Interview with Tim Sharp, Monday July 7, 1:30pm CDT.
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Charles Bruffy has an extraordinary ability to transform the printed score into the most vivid images and emotional states. His interpretations are leaving an indelible impression on the history of American choral performance. Please join us for the Live Webcast Interview with Grammy award-winning conductor Charles Bruffy tonight at 7pm.
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Please join us for the Live Webcast Interview with Grammy nominated conductor Craig Hella Johnson.
We won't be able to get to all of them, but during the last portion of the interview the floor will be open for users to ask CHJ questions.