A Way to Help

I stopped to admire the marvelous fall colors while crossing the Lake Street bridge yesterday. Not so marvelous was the rapidly rising Mississippi River, at an unusually high level for late September, thanks to last week’s torrential rains.

If you’d like to contribute financially, donate supplies or offer help to people affected by flooding in southern Minnesota, call the United Way’s 24-hour hotline at 1-800-543-7709. Minnesota Homeland Security and Emergency Managment officials say that makes it easier to get donations to those who need them.

Mozart in Duluth

“Never should I have thought that a clarinet could be so capable of imitating a human voice so closely as it was imitated by thee. Verily, thy instrument has so soft and lovely a tone that nobody who has a heart can resist it.”

This Saturday, I’ll be hosting the pre-concert “Behind the Music” talk for the Duluth Superior Symphony Orchestra’s opening night concert. Richard Stolzman is the guest playing Mozart’s Clarinet Concerto.

I was getting my notes together, deciding which facts to include and what to emphasize all while Stolzman’s recording played in the background.

Suddenly I found myself moved to tears. How is it possible – I asked myself – could such sublime music spring from one man’s mind?

Of course there is no answer. We are simply given the gift without a thing asked in return, but that we enjoy!

Magic Number 2. Music to the Ears of Twins Fans

The Minnesota Twins (specifically slugger Jim Thome) are on the cover of Sports Illustrated this week. Pretty cool if you’re a Twins fan, like me – even if there is that dreaded S.I. cover jinx (let’s not think about that).

As the Twins sit poised to clinch the American League Central Division title on this final full day of summer, here are just a couple joys of baseball and how they relate to music.

What other sport lets the crowd sing in unison during the game? Gotta’ love the 7th inning stretch. Just about everyone seems to enjoy doing this, whether they can carry a tune or not.

By the way, did you know you can mingle with the Twins organist at Target Field? You can, and she’s a gem.

And just one more – earlier today, Julie Amacher shared the story about how violinist Gil Shaham (just here over the weekend with the SPCO) once broke his violin bow as a kid using it as a baseball bat. He told his parents he sat on it. Hmmm…knowing how well Shaham uses that bow with the violin, I bet the kid went 4-4 at the plate that day.

Go Twins!

A Korngold Euro Classic

Erich Korngold hit it big in this country as one of the pioneers of film music composition, winning two Academy Awards along the way.

Korngold was never too comfortable with all that Hollywood success though, fearing his more serious music would be brushed aside.

Classical MPR’s exclusive Euro Classic (12:05am, Thursday) offers up something from Korngold that was never in a film – a Piano Trio he composed 100 years ago, at age 13. You’ll hear a concert recorded live in 2009 at the Parish Church of Santa Maria, Vilabertran, with Trio Parnassus.

Hope you can stay up a little later Wednesay night!

Classical Music is alive at the State Fair!

Six fabulous young opera singers from the Minnesota Opera Resident Artist Program were my guests yesterday at the State Fair. The eager crowd “bravo-ed” and “brava-ed” a selection of Rossini, Donizetti as well as a kind of barbershop styled “O Mio Babbino Caro.” The three low-voiced men even sang a dueling “Toreador” from Carmen. It was a gas!

No one broke character even when a PA system took over or when a few drops of rain threatened to end the fun.

If you’re planning to take in the fair, drop by the MPR booth. I should be preparing just now to introduce Cantus this afternoon – MPR’s new artists-in-residence. But as I sit at my desk, I am glued to our web-cam with the three gubernatorial candidates holding forth – there is one guy talking non-stop….I won’t say who, you’ll have to watch for yourself!

Still more great stuff at the MPR booth at the State Fair – visit us in person or online.