On the Air This Week

Highlights from Dec. 31 to Jan. 7

Tuesday, 10 am: Handel’s Messiah, with the Saint Paul Chamber Orchestra.

Tuesday, 5:30 pm: Music with Minnesotans: High school counselor Anna Sattler.

Wednesday, 10 am: New Year’s Day Concert of the Vienna Philharmonic.

Thursday, 3 pm hour: Regional Spotlight: Mozart, from the Lakes Area Music Festival in Brainerd,

Saturday, noon: Metropolitan Opera: Mozart’s Magic Flute, in a special holiday version.

Sunday, 6 am: Pipedreams: An Organist’s Yearbook.

Sunday, noon: From the Top.

Sunday, 1 pm: SymphonyCast: The Los Angeles Philharmonic led by Gustavo Dudamel in music of Wagner, Brahms, and Schumann.

Monday, noon: Learning to Listen: Mussorgsky and his circle.

Monday, 8 pm: Saint Paul Chamber Orchestra: Music of Schubert and Gerald Barry.

Tuesday, 8 pm: The Mozart Festival (part 1 of 4).

Tuesday, 7:15 am: School Spotlight: Robbinsdale Area Schools All-District Choir.

Tuesday, 5:30 pm: Music with Minnesotans: Musicologist David Docter.

Tuesday, 7:15 pm: School Spotlight: Robbinsdale Area Schools All-District Choir.

Martina Arroyo receives Kennedy Center Honors, December 29 on CBS

Martina Arroyo’s soprano was among the great opera voices of the 20th century. Her three-decade career, stretching from the 1960s to the 1990s, most notably included many years as a favorite at the Metropolitan Opera, excelling in classic roles such as Donna Anna and Aida.

Adding to the importance of Arroyo’s achievement is the fact that she was one of the first African-American artists to perform at the level of an international opera star. (“No, honey, I’m the other one,” she once told a Met doorman who mistook her for Leontyne Price.)

Arroyo has now been recognized among the recipients of 2013 Kennedy Center Honors, putting her in the strange but welcome company of Billy Joel, Shirley MacLaine, Herbie Hancock, and Carlos Santana. The ceremony honoring this year’s recipients took place on December 8; it will be broadcast December 29 on CBS at 8:00 p.m. CST.

Below, watch a 2010 interview with Arroyo in which she discusses her career — starting with her parents’ initial suspicion of opera as an art form. “When I told them that I wanted to sing in the opera,” Arroyo remembers, “my father thought it was something like being a can-can girl.”

On the Air This Week

Highlights from Dec. 24 to 31

Tuesday, 9 am: A Festival of Nine Lessons and Carols, live from Cambridge, England.

Tuesday, 11 am: Tchaikovsky’s Nutcracker.

Tuesday, 5 pm: A Festival of Nine Lessons and Carols (repeat).

Thursday, 3 pm hour: Regional Spotlight: The Bella Voce Young Women’s Chorus led by Shelly Winemiller; the Chorale Arts Ensemble, led by Rick Kvam; and Kantorei with Axel Theimer.

Saturday, 11:30 am: Metropolitan Opera: Puccini’s Tosca.

Sunday, 6 am: Pipedreams: International Holiday Surprises.

Sunday, noon: From the Top.

Sunday, 1 pm: SymphonyCast: The Los Angeles Philharmonic in an all-Rachmaninoff program.

Monday, noon: Learning to Listen: The Waltz.

Monday, 8 pm: Saint Paul Chamber Orchestra: Edo de Waart, leading music of Dvorak, Schoenberg, and Beethoven.

Tuesday, Tuesday, 10 am: Handel’s Messiah, with the Saint Paul Chamber Orchestra.

Read Nico Muhly's epic analysis of the new Beyonce album

“I had a series of disjointed thoughts about that Beyoncé album,” tweeted Nico Muhly, sharing a link to an epic 4,000-word analysis of the pop star’s new self-titled album — a detailed and hilarious document referred to by the writer Emily Gould as Muhly’s “Beyoncéxegesis.”

Though Muhly is one of the world’s most acclaimed young composers, his essay on Beyoncé is more emotional and impressionistic than technical. Still, he calls out multiple “missed opportunities” where he would like to have heard real instruments rather than synths and samples. “If somebody had dug up, like, four extra thousand dollars, they could have had a really 3-D string arrangement and gone for it,” Muhly writes about the song “Superpower.”

“The credits, tellingly,” Muhly writes about the album’s concluding track, “reveal a ‘violin’ arranger; but surely this is a woman whose voice requires not just violins, but violas, cellos, basses, violas da gamba, trombones, zithers, hurdies-gurdy, the works!”

Read Muhly’s entire analysis — which, heads-up, includes some NSFW language — at the Talkhouse.

Meet Gwendolyn Hoberg

Gwendolyn Hoberg.jpg

We’re pleased to be featuring the work of many new freelance writers on our website, and in coming weeks we’d like to help you get to know some of them better. Today, meet Gwendolyn Hoberg of Moorhead, Minnesota.

Gwen has played french horn in ensembles throughout Minnesota, including Duluth, Aurora, Thief River Falls, Mankato, Minneapolis, St. Cloud, Bloomington, and Moorhead. She enjoys arranging classical and pop music for horn and brass ensembles (“Stairway to Heaven” for horn quartet is a favorite). A Bismarck native, Gwen is now developing an editing and writing business in Moorhead. Her upcoming projects include publication of The Walk Across North Dakota and planning the Great Minnesota Arts Hike.

Read Gwen’s writing on Classical MPR:

How is practicing an instrument like working out?

The flutist from Florida, and other true tales of commuting to play in the Duluth Superior Symphony Orchestra

Does classical music help you “think for the future”?

On the Air This Week

Highlights from Dec. 17 to 24

Tuesday, 7:15 am: Teacher Feature: Bradley Lambrecht of Jefferson High School in Alexandria.

Tuesday, 7:15 pm: Teacher Feature: Bradley Lambrecht of Jefferson High School in Alexandria.

Tuesday, 8 pm: Christmas at Luther College.

Wednesday, noon: Welcome Christmas!

Wednesday, 8 pm: St. Olaf Christmas Festival.

Thursday, 3 pm hour: Regional Spotlight.

Thursday, 5:30 pm: Music with Minnesotans: Listeners Alan Law and Patricia Breien share unconventional holiday memories.

Thursday, 8 pm: A Chanticleer Christmas.

Friday, 6 pm: Taste of the Holidays.

Friday, 7 pm: 1964: A Child’s Christmas on the Willamette.

Friday, 8 pm: Handel’s Messiah.

Saturday, noon: Metropolitan Opera: Britten’s Midsummer Night’s Dream.

Sunday, 6 am: Pipedreams: The American Organists’ Christmas.

Sunday, noon: From the Top.

Sunday, 1 pm: SymphonyCast: The Los Angeles Philharmonic with conductor Robin Ticciati.

Monday, 8 pm: Wonder Tidings: Holiday Music of Stephen Paulus with the Dale Warland Singers.

Tuesday, 9 am: A Festival of Nine Lessons and Carols, live from Cambridge, England.

Tuesday, 11 am: Tchaikovsky’s Nutcracker.

Tuesday, 5 pm: A Festival of Nine Lessons and Carols (repeat)

My unconventional holiday memory

Mom insisted every year that we make one of those holiday photo-cards, and she lined up all five of us one Christmas during our most awkward adolescence. We were on the porch in direct sun on one of the most bitter Chicago Decembers I’d felt (up to that point). We looked squinty, uncomfortable — and, sadly — not fresh-faced. Her moment of genius was to add Molly our stunningly perfect Golden Retriever. Maybe our friends’ and family’s eyes would alight on her! Didn’t happen. She kept looking away trying to escape.

Alison Young and her siblings pose for their family’s holiday card photo.

Even as we complained about how awful we looked, Mom went ahead and made her photo selection for the card, telling us her choice was the only one of “the roll” that didn’t look as though we were charity cases.

Thirty some years later, my brothers and I laugh and cry and hug when we see each other, recalling that day and also that it was to be the last Christmas we’d all be together.

We’re all still here, but life has taken us all over the place — and even if we had one “ugly” Christmas, we managed to survive and grow up to be pretty nice people.

Last night, Bill Morelock shared an unconventional holiday story from his childhood. You can learn more about that here.

Festival of Nine Lessons and Carols–The Original (?)

If you’re like a lot of us, you associate the traditional Festival of Nine Lessons and Carols with King’s College in Cambridge, England (a service which we’ll be broadcasting next week).

But the festival has its origins not in Cambridge, but the English city of Truro, where it first saw the light of day in 1880.

There have been important changes over the years, but some of the documents describing that first festival have survived. Tomorrow, Dec. 17, the Truro Cathedral will recreate that 1880 event (to the extent possible), Victorian hymns and all. Here’s an article in the Guardian that has the details.

One non-Victorian touch: this time, the Festival will be recorded, and made available later as a webcast.

Can you solve these composer anagrams?

Photo: Tom Weber/MPR

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How well do you know your composers — and your anagrams? This list of scrambled composer names has been making the rounds among our staff here at Classical MPR. (It was originally circulated in 2009, and was credited simply to “a listener.” Are you that listener, or do you know the original source of this list? If so, please leave a comment and let us know!) If you get stumped, click here to see the answers.

SLANT FRIZZ

KABOB ALERT

KAISER TIE

A FILCHED DERRIERE GONG

HERBAL DINGDONG VINE

GAGA FEZ WARMS LOAM DONUT

EXPERTS VIEWED LLAMA

HENS HARM BANJOS

NEON CRABS THRUM

OUR NICE BIG CHILI

A GLUM HARVEST