Austrian town of Mozart 's pit-stop celebrates with festival

Washington may have slept here and Lincoln had lunch there, but Lower Raschala in Austria has the claim to fame of Mozart making a pit-stop to relieve himself.

Though the town plans to have a song festival – with lots of drinking – they have asked visitors not to use their monument (the “Pinkelstein”) as Mozart did in the hopes of showing a little bit more respect for the great man.

Thanks to Jeff Esworthy for sharing this article!

Sounds of the Fair, Online

Going to the State Fair? Or maybe you’re part of the Minnesota diaspora, and are thinking State Fair thoughts even though you won’t be getting up to Falcon Heights in person?

To go with this time of year, Bill Morelock has put together a Minnesota music mix that you can listen to online. Mark Wheat of the Current and Dale Connelly of Radio Heartland have contributed their lists too–scroll down to find Classical.

Minnesota composers, Minnesota groups, Minnesota soloists. . . . (And what, you may ask, is Copland’s “El Salon Mexico” doing on a Minnesota playlist? Listen, and find out.)

R. I. P. Hildegard Behrens

The German soprano Hildegard Behrens died earlier this week, at 72. Many people will remember her, especially, for her leading roles in the Metropolitan’s “Ring” cycle in the 1980s, which were seen widely on TV and video. Words like “commitment” and “intensity” are used again and again to describe her performances–this clip from Strauss’s “Elektra” will give an idea why.

(You can read more about her life and career in this obituary from the Philadelphia Enquirer.)

A Handy Man for Classical Music

I have always been a big fan of James Taylor.

Now I’m an even bigger fan.

The singer/songwriter plans to donate his $500,000 in earning from a five-day music festival at Tanglewood next week to the Boston Symphony Orchestra.

The Boston Globe reported that Taylor decided to donate his earnings because he and his wife are concerned about diminishing support for classical music. The couple also donated over $700,000 between 2005 and 2008 to the orchestra, which makes is summer home at Tanglewood in western Massachusetts.

Bravo, JT.

Mozart's Death: Strep Throat?

There has been plenty of speculation about what caused the premature death of Mozart a month short of his 36th birthday in 1791. Watch the 1984 movie Amadeus and you may come away thinking Mozart was poisoned by Antonio Salieri. Personally, I never bought into that. The latest theory? Perhaps it was a bad case of strep throat that ended Mozart’s life. Thanks to Performance Today’s Suzanne Schaffer for the heads up.