Category Archives: Click on Classical

Click on Classical: The Pope’s anthem, 2015 Gramophone Awards, Rufus Wainwright’s opera

Vatican flag

Every Monday morning at 9:15, I join John Birge on Classical MPR to talk about stories we’re featuring on our websites. Here’s what we’ll be discussing today.

If you’ve been following the news coverage of Pope Francis’s visit to America, you’ve probably heard the Pontifical Anthem: the official song of the Holy See. Can you name the famous French composer who wrote it?

This year’s Gramophone Awards have just been announced; Paavo Järvi won Artist of the Year, and German pianist Joseph Moog took Young Artist of the Year honors. Poignantly, the award for Recording of the Year went to a CD that was recorded just a few months before its conductor’s death.

Prima Donna, the debut opera by indie-pop music star Rufus Wainwright, is coming to CD—on Deutsche Grammophon, no less. We’ll see if the critics are kinder to the recorded version than they were to the live performances.

Click on Classical: A sexy composer, a new book, and a choral reflection

Liszt

Every Monday morning at 9:15, I join John Birge on Classical MPR to talk about stories we’re featuring on our websites. Here’s what we’ll be discussing today.

Who was the sexiest composer of all time? In a new essay, a Pitchfork writer advances a case for one of the great Romantics.

On YourClassical, I reviewed a new book for young adults that tells the gripping, poignant story of Shostakovich and a symphony written under siege.

In the wake of last week’s tragic shooting at Delta State University, Tesfa Wondemagegnehu shared a reflection from a choral conductor who worked there for four years.

Click on Classical: Music for fall, Wagner for sale, and a welcome to baby Zelda

Classical music for fall

Every Monday morning at 9:15, I join John Birge on Classical MPR to talk about stories we’re featuring on our websites. Here’s what we’ll be discussing today.

Love it or hate it, Labor Day is over and the feelings of fall are starting to stir. Fortunately, we have a multi-hour playlist of classical music that’s perfectly suited to the season.

If your fall plans include a walk down the aisle, you can give your accompanist the original handwritten score to Wagner’s Wedding March: it’s now on sale for $3.6 million.

First comes love, then comes marriage, then comes a baby in the baby carriage—at least that’s the way it worked for Hilary Hahn and her husband, who’ve just announced the birth of their new baby daughter Zelda.

Click on Classical: Mythbusting, novel writing, and Brahms in the barn

Classical music myths

Monday mornings at 9:15, I join John Birge on Classical MPR to talk about stories we’re featuring on our website. Due to the Labor Day weekend, this week we’re having our talk on Tuesday. Here are the stories we’ll be discussing.

What are the top ten myths about classical music? As artistic director of the Discovery Orchestra, George Marriner Maull has heard his share—and he lists the  pernicious.

As the big fall books roll in, you may find yourself pulling your own manuscript out of that desk drawer. Daniel Johnson suggests some music for writing your novel.

The State Fair is over, but farm work continues throughout the year. Daniel Johnson also cues you in as to when to turn that barn radio from country to classical.

Click on Classical: Badlands, band, and Brahms

Badlands small

Normally on Monday mornings at 9:15, I join John Birge on Classical MPR to talk about stories we’re featuring on our website. This Monday I won’t be on the air—I’ll be at the Minnesota State Fair participating in our live blogcast—but here are three recent stories you might have missed.

Taylor Brorby recommends a little-known delight: Children’s March by Percy Grainger. Though Grainger was an Australian composer, Taylor finds the music perfectly-suited to a walk around the Badlands.

Dan Nass writes about a new study demonstrating that music education can have positive effects on the teenage brain.

In a compelling essay, Cinda Yager writes about a scary episode with a man who was terrorizing her; and reveals how she turned to Brahms’s First Piano Concerto to help her manage the agonizing uncertainty.

Click on Classical: Listening to women, hot new tracks, recording da Vinci’s piano

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Every Monday morning at 9:15, I join John Birge on Classical MPR to talk about stories we’re featuring on our website. Here are the features we’ll be discussing today.

Have women’s contributions to classical music been underappreciated? Yes, argues Emily Feld in an essay highlighting the many accomplishments of female musicians and composers.

You’re used to hearing New Classical Tracks on Classical MPR, but there are many more new releases each month than we’re able to highlight in that feature. For that reason, we’re pleased to have experienced music writer Terry Blain spotlighting five notable new releases each month; his first monthly roundup has just been published.

One of our most-read features this year has been a story about the “viola organista,” an instrument Leonardo da Vinci designed but never got to hear. Now, we have an update: a Kickstarter to record a complete album of music on the instrument has just met its funding goal.

Click on Classical: Shape note singing, minimalism debated, vocalists learning from instrumentalists

Shape Note Singing Fort Snelling

Every Monday morning at 9:15, I join John Birge on Classical MPR to talk about stories we’re featuring on our websites. Here are the features we’ll be discussing today.

Shape note singing is one of America’s oldest and most unique choral traditions—and it’s going strong in Minnesota. Emily Feld visited a local gathering of shape note singers and shared what she learned.

Is minimalist music relaxing—or maddening? There are partisans on either side of the debate, but Rebecca Wishnia argues that no matter who you are, there’s some minimalist music you’ll enjoy.

Earlier, Gwen Hoberg explored the question of what instrumentalists can learn from vocalists. This week, she turns the question around and asks vocalists what they’ve learned from instrumentalists.

Click on Classical: Saving the earth, saving the bassoon

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Every Monday morning at 9:15, I join John Birge on Classical MPR to talk about stories we’re featuring on our websites. Here’s what we’ll be discussing today.

In an effort to raise awareness of climate change and its effects, young composer Daniel Crawford—a University of Minnesota graduate—has written a string quartet that uses each of the four instruments to track temperature changes across a different band of Earth’s ecosystem.

Meanwhile, bassoonist Bram van Sambeek warns that his own instrument could one day become “as endangered as the panda.” Why? Kids these days, it seems, just don’t gravitate to the bassoon. Van Sambeek is working to change that.

If you’re like many Americans, you’re spending some time this month beating the heat by escaping to a movie theater with a bag of popcorn and a pair of 3D glasses. Music is a big part of the summer’s big films, and Garrett Tiedemann takes you inside the music of Mission: Impossible as well as The Fantastic Four—the new superhero movie that has a score co-written by none other than Philip Glass.

Click on Classical: Beds in the concert hall, Horner’s last score, and why we sing

Max Richter Sleep

Every Monday morning at 9:15, I visit the Classical MPR studio to talk about stories we’re featuring on our website. Here’s what Emily Reese and I will be discussing today.

Composer Max Richter has composed a piece that’s so long, its premiere will have concertgoers lying on beds instead of sitting in seats. Richter doesn’t mind if they fall asleep…in fact, that’s exactly what he hopes will happen.
The new boxing movie Southpaw is earning mixed reviews, but one part of the film is winning raves: the score, which was the last to be completed by the late great James Horner.
Last night, the Summer Singers performed at the St. Paul Seminary. As he prepared for the concert, choir member Patrick Coleman shared a moving reflection on the power of song.

Click on Classical: Da Vinci’s dream, a mysterious symphony, and Mickey’s comeback

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Every Monday morning at 9:15, I join John Birge on Classical MPR to talk about stories we’re featuring on our websites. Here’s what we’ll be discussing today.

Leonardo da Vinci invented a strange and wonderful instrument called the “viola organista.” He wasn’t able to hear it in his lifetime, but now you can.

The Toy Symphony has traditionally been attributed to Mozart’s father Leopold, but did he actually write it? Hailey Colwell explains the mystery.

Mickey Mouse was the original Disney cartoon hero, but by the late 1930s he was losing popularity to the hilarious new character Donald Duck. Read about how Mickey’s comeback got an assist from a French composer.