Music with Minnesotans: Paul Thissen

by Alison Young, Minnesota Public Radio
April 20, 2011

St. Paul, Minn. — Paul Thissen is the minority leader in the Minnesota House. He is an attorney and has served in the legislature since 2002.

A couple of years ago, he announced his candidacy for governor, but dropped out when it looked like the democratic race would be a choice between Margaret Anderson Kelliher and R.T Rybak.

His run for governor was our gain musically because it was during this time that Representative Thissen was alone in a car for hours and hours driving all over the state, meeting folks, getting to know the furthest corners of our beautiful region and listening to classical music.

On his playlist is the wonderfully lyrical ballet "Appalachian Spring." Though we're far from the eastern mountains, Copland became his soundtrack for the Glacier Ridge Scenic Byway and much of Western Minnesota.

Another choice on Paul's playlist is the first movement of Dvorak's New World Symphony, a piece he says he stumbled upon while exploring the winding alleys of Prague and stumbling upon an orchestra playing it outdoors. The music, the location and the people listening made their imprint and this piece is a favorite.

I am most intrigued by the jagged and rough edges of Shostakovich that Paul tells me he heard played by the Emerson Quartet in concert. While music often provides relaxation, focus and a soothing escape, Paul says he loves the complex emotions evoked by this string quartet, as well as its very specific social commentary on the lives of people of that era, something he hopes our vibrant classical scene in Minnesota can also provide its people.


Paul Thissen's playlist:

J.S. Bach, Ich ruf zu dir, Herr Jesu Christ - Alfred Brendel

Antonin Dvorak, Symphony No. 9 "From The New World" - Chicago Symphony Orchestra/Fritz Reiner

Dmitri Shostakovich, String Quartet No. 3 - Emerson String Quartet

Aaron Copland, Appalachian Spring - Minnesota Orchestra/Eiji Oue


Check out more from Music with Minnesotans:

Linda Z. Andrews, Ann Bancroft, Charles Baxter, Philip Brunelle, Mayor Chris Coleman, Michael Pearce Donley, Joe Dowling, Dr. Victoria Elmer, Gwen Freed, Nancy Gibson, William Gurstelle, Karen Hansen, Steve Heitzeg, Stuart Loughridge, Allan Naplan, Stephen Paulus, Chris Polydoroff, Consie Powell, Lois Quam, Mayor RT Rybak, Nick Schneider, Ann Swenson, Steve Schon, The Reverend Spenser Simrell, Ann Swenson, Dale Warland, and Matt Wehling.


Next week 'The Kayak Lady' Mary Shideler shares a playlist that reflects the serenity, beauty and sometimes rough conditions of the 1007 lakes she paddled.

On Now

From the Top
Christopher O'Riley
Listen to the Stream
Other MPR Radio Streams
Choral Stream
MPR News
Radio Heartland

You can now listen to Classical and Choral Music on your iOS (iPhone, iPod Touch, and iPad) or Android device.

Classical Notes Blog

Read more