Experienced voices

Did you sing in a high school or college choir and then watched as your singing life slipped away while you started a career, got married and raised a family?

With your AARP card comes a chance to sing again. Voices of Experience is a choir for singers 55 and above, with or without experience.

If you’re tired of just being asked to support the arts, this is your chance to BE the art.

Auditions are late August and early September. Call 612-321-0100.

The 260th anniversary of Bach's death

July 28th was the 260th anniversary of the death of Johann Sebastian Bach.

To celebrate and honor “The Great One” Michael Lawrence – the producer of BACH & friends – shared a new segment not on the web nor in the film – Zuill Bailey’s performance of the Saraband from Sebastian’s 6th suite for unaccompanied cello (BWV 1012).

Mike writes “Bach’s remains may be buried in Leipzig but his music is alive and resonating from the Basilica of the Assumption in Baltimore, Maryland!”

Another Euro This Weekend

Hope you’ve found some time to stay up a little later on Wednesday nights this summer for our weekly Euro Classic (12:05am Thursdays). Last night (okay, earlier this morning) we featured a terrific recording from July, 2009 with the Szymanowski Quartet playing Haydn’s String Quartet No. 66 (opus 77, #1) at the Wartburg Castle in Eisenach, Germany. Such vigorous and energetic music from a man who was admittedly exhausted (he had just completed The Creation) and wasn’t all that excited about getting the commission. But of course, Haydn was never one to mail it in.

There’s another exclusive Euro Classic concert coming up on Classical MPR Saturday night, and it promises to pack a pretty strong punch. Gustavo Dudamel conducts the Simon Bolivar Youth Orchestra in Santa Cruz de Pacairigua by Evencio Castellanos in an October, 2009 concert recorded live at the Salle Pleyel in Paris. Be listening Saturday night at 8:05.

Minnesota Mahler?

It was a nice surprise to open the Star Tribune, and see not one but two letters to the editor on musical topics.

The topics were both stimulating ones: music education for kids, and suggestions as to what the Minnesota Orchestra should record next. The writer put in a plug for Mahler, as you’ll see here.

All About the Halls

Walking around Boston on a muggy Wednesday morning last week, I made my way to Symphony Hall. Alas, the doors were locked tighter than a clenched fist. All I wanted was a quick glimpse of the place, just a peek inside. But there was no getting in that day.

So I’m curious, oh mighty Classical Notes blog-reader – what’s the coolest concert hall you ever set foot in? Details, please.

Euro-Cello…Late Night

Tonight’s Euro Classic comes from the Teatro Monumental in Madrid. It’s a concert recorded in October, 2008, featuring a concerto by a French composer who hit the big time with a work that called upon his Spanish ancestry.

Edouard Lalo specialized in French Chamber Music during the 19th century. But it was his Symphony Espanol (1873) that was his breakout achievement. Four years later, he followed it up with another work bursting with Spanish elements, the Cello Concerto (d minor). Cellist Xavier Phillips joins the RTVE Symphony Orchestra (also known as the Spanish Radio and Television Symphony Orchestra, which services RTVE, the Spanish National Broadcasting Network).

If you’re up late tonight, be sure to tune in to Classical MPR, just after midnight.

Here Come the Proms!

The BBC Proms Concerts will be starting in London any day now. It’s the largest music festival in the world, with dozens of concerts every summer, and it’s a long-running one, too, having begun in 1895.

Any guesses what the most often played piece at the Proms is?

Thanks to their new online archive and search engine, such fascinating facts are now at your fingertips.

Hint: The way they calculate these things, every performance of an excerpt from a larger work constitutes a “play.” So think of a work from which lots of excerpts might be taken. Find the archive here — and stay tuned to MPR for lots of performances from this year’s Proms, coming soon.