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2006

December 31: A Dale Warland Singers Retrospective

Perspectives: "In March of 1981 Saint Paul Sunday aired its first broadcast, an all-Bach program featuring the Saint Paul Chamber Orchestra and the Dale Warland Singers. Over the next two and a half decades these celebrated singers brought twelve programs to Saint Paul Sunday, each one demonstrating the beauty of tone and scrupulous craft that are their signature. This week, Dale Warland and Bill McGlaughlin sit down in the studio to survey all of them. The results are often breathtaking---a concentrated experience of the Dale Warland Singers' evolution and enthusiasms, from their devotion to new work and commissioning to their inimitable musicianship and sound. Listen in for a nostalgic journey through this glorious body of work. " (more)

December 24: The Empire Brass

Sleigh Ride: Brass music lends the holidays a special grandeur, and this week the celebrated Empire Brass visits Saint Paul Sunday to help ring in the season. Along with traditional tunes and carols, the quintet will play glorious antiphonal and classical works that evoke the spirit of the time. We'll hear music of Russian composers, including two of Pytor Tchaikovsky's Nutcracker Dances, as well as works by Susato, Purcell, Holborne and Albinoni. (more)

December 17: David Finckel, cello; Wu Han, piano

Portrait: The Wall Street Journal calls them "America's power couple of chamber music," but their fans just call them "wonderful." Cellist David Finckel and pianist Wu Han make a warmly anticipated return visit to Saint Paul Sunday this week for a program that fully engages the duo's enthralling way of revealing the music from the inside out. Along with Brahms's first cello sonata and one of his beloved intermezzi for solo piano, we also hear heartfelt music of Edvard Grieg. The program opens with "Portrait," a deft and lyrical work composed by David's own father, Edwin Finckel. (more)

December 10: Jorja Fleezanis, violin; Karl Paulnack, piano

Missionaries: Now and then, music of our time needs its own champions, too—performers devoted to sharing it with listeners who haven't yet experienced just how it exhilarating can be. This week, violinist Jorja Fleezanis and pianist Karl Paulnack join forces to celebrate the music that originally brought them together. These missionaries of contemporary sound have made it their calling to engage and enlighten audiences with rarely performed 20th and 21st century works. Listen in for sonatas by Peter Mennin and Ernst Bloch as well as one of Alban Berg's hauntingly beautiful Seven Early Songs. (more)

December 03: Imani Winds plays Haas, del Aguila

Titilayo: Imani Winds makes a warmly anticipated return visit to Saint Paul Sunday this week for music that both gives its signature exuberance free reign and lets us in on the depth and range of this remarkable quintet. Two of the program's works—Jeff Scott's Titilayo and Valerie Coleman's reimagination of the spiritual Steal Away—were composed from within the ensemble. Pavel Haas's stylistically prescient 10th wind quintet reveals these performers' capacity to illuminate the rarer gems of their repertoire. And Uruguayan composer Miguel del Aguila's 2nd wind quintet, which closes the hour, seems to embrace all that comes before. (more)

November 26: Claude Frank, piano

Living Link: Celebrated pianist Claude Frank is a living link to the great Romantics whose music he has enlivened for over half a century. This week he brings us works of two of them—Beethoven and Schumann—along with a beloved sonata of Mozart. Mr. Frank not only conveys a sense of these works' depth and beauty, but their bracing humanity as well. He concludes Beethoven's epic Opus 110 sonata, a signature work for pianist and composer alike. (more)

November 19: OPUS ONE, Tsontakis, Martinů, Brahms

Camaraderie: When they're not performing with either TASHI, or the Guarneri and Orion string quartets, the accomplished soloists of OPUS ONE join forces out of a warm mutual admiration for each another's artistry. They freely share in the excitement of performing the great music of their particular combination. In their most recent visit to Saint Paul Sunday, violinist Ida Kavafian, violist Steven Tenenbom, cellist Peter Wiley, and pianist Anne-Marie McDermott offer us some of the most spirited piano quartets in the repertoire—works of Mozart, Brahms, and Martinů—side by side with arresting new music of another collaborator, composer George Tsontakis. (more)

November 12: Helen Callus, viola; Phillip Bush, piano

Affettuoso: Acclaimed British violist Helen Callus not only plumbs the potential of an instrument beloved for its eloquence: she also seeks out new ways to expand its reach. This week she joins pianist Phillip Bush for music that explores the viola to the fullest. Along with music of Brahms and Prokofiev, she brings us music of two little-known composers with whom she shares a great deal. Both female at a time when British composers were almost exclusively men, Rebecca Clarke and Pamela Harrison each carved out wonderful new terrain for the viola. Ms. Callus takes us through it with the passion of a fellow-traveler. (more)

November 05: Celin and Pepe Romero, guitars

All My Children: The mastery and spirit of the late Spanish guitarist Celedonio Romero lives on in two generations of guitar virtuosos. This week his sons Celin and Pepe return to the studio and reveal how the Romero legacy comes alive with every performance. They'll bring us music of the illustrious Spanish tradition—guitar solos and duos of Albéniz, Granados, Falla, and Torroba—as well as an enchanting prelude by Brazilian composer Hietor Villa-Lobos. Each of these works carries strong early associations for the brothers, who share their vivid memories and stories as well. (more)

October 29: Guarneri String Quartet performs Mozart, Ravel, Dvořák

Revelations: On the heels of their 40th anniversary, the Guarneri String Quartet returns to Saint Paul Sunday with music by Mozart, Dvořák and Ravel — works that reveal the heart and soul of this revered ensemble as movingly today as they did when it first performed them. Each composer's distinct voice shines, but refracted through a sound and mastery wholly the Guarneri's own. After more than four decades, both remain undimmed. (more)

October 15: Phantasm

Viol Victorious: In its heyday, the viol's wide familiarity and affecting voice-like timbres captivated generations of composers and performers. This week on Saint Paul Sunday, Phantasm, the extraordinary viol quartet from England, draws from this broad yet often-overlooked tradition a stirring program of airs, fancies, and fantasies—music as beguiling today as it was four centuries ago. (more)

October 08: Thomas Hampson, baritone; Craig Rutenberg, piano

Wondrous Free: Renowned baritone Thomas Hampson tells America's stories in song, bringing them to life through masterly performances and a passionate sense of their importance to our national soul. As part of his extensive collaboration with the Library of Congress, he unearths several previously neglected gems, singing them alongside more familiar favorites by Foster, Copland, Barber, and Ives. We also hear the fourth song in Stephen Paulus's "Heartland Portrait", a cycle commissioned for Mr. Hampson and set to luminous poems by Ted Kooser, thirteenth Poet Laureate of the United States. Pianist Craig Rutenberg, whose contributions have likewise enlarged our musical life, performs with equal mastery and heart. (more)

October 01: Leif Ove Andsnes performs Schumann, Beethoven, Mompou

Northern Light: Celebrated pianist Leif Ove Andsnes makes a warmly anticipated return visit this week with music that reaffirms his astonishing technical and emotional powers. He begins with four short works of Robert Schumann, conjuring from each all of the rapidly mutating moods and colors they chart, and moves on to a work of even greater temperamental grandeur: Ludwig van Beethoven's Opus 110 piano sonata. In the echo of that monument, Mr. Andsnes's concluding performances of Lizst and Mompou sound all the more wondrous. (more)

September 24: Emerson String Quartet performs Shostakovich

Few composers fathomed the chaos and pathos of 20th-century life as forcefully as Dmitri Shostakovich. The grim pressures he navigated as an artist and Soviet citizen, and his wide-ranging means of surviving and commenting on them, find particularly vivid expression in his fifteen string quartets. This Sunday, the eve of the hundredth anniversary of Shostakovich’s birth, the renowned Emerson String Quartet returns for a program devoted his string quartet cycle. As a form, the string quartet allowed Shostakovich a measure of freedom from official scrutiny and the license to voice extremes of a sensibility that was by turns exuberant, earthy, anguished, and, in its final years, beyond the reach of other means of articulation. (more)

September 17: Anonymous 4: "The Sacred Harp"

Sweet Hour: First published in 1844 and in continuous use since, the Sacred Harp is an American tunebook that assigns to each musical note a shape (whether a diamond, triangle, round, or square) and a corresponding syllable ("me," "faw," "sol," or "law") in a system devised to simplify singing for participants who might otherwise be unable to read music. This week the widely beloved ensemble Anonymous 4 offers us distinctive songs of this country's own early vocal traditions. They'll sing shape-note music from the Sacred Harp along with several other affecting songs of our folk and gospel heritage. (more)

September 10: The Czech Nonet

Aerie: Now celebrating its 80th year, the Czech Nonet makes a visit to Saint Paul Sunday for a program that includes three works composed especially for its uncommon recipe of winds and strings. The legendary ensemble's longstanding alliance with composers has inspired some of chamber music's greatest works. We'll get tastes this week of Förster and Krejčí side-by-side with fuller courses of Dvořák and Martinů. The latter holds special significance for the ensemble and echoes an expansiveness typical of Martinů's music. Each day as a sickly young child, the composer's father, a watchman, carried him up 193 steps to the top of their village tower. Years later Martinů wrote that this sense of space was to become central to his music—"space which I always have in front of me." (more)

September 03: James Galway, flute; Phillip Moll, piano

Pan: Beloved the world over for his singular artistry and sound, this week Sir James Galway also gives us a taste of his infectious wit and warmth. The legendary flutist joins friend and longtime collaborator Phillip Moll for a program that reveals the wide-ranging mastery of the "Man with the Golden Flute." Sir James brings music of several French composers to life and honors his Irish origins, too, with a poignant pennywhistle tune called "Dawning of the Day." Tune in for a truly special hour. (more)

August 27: Milan Turkovic, bassoon; David Shifrin, clarinet; Shai Wosner, piano

Trio Bel Canto: Acclaimed bassoonist Milan Turkovic doesn't think about the keys on his instrument when he performs—he listens instead for its natural voice. That way “it's like singing,” he says, “because the human voice is the most natural instrument we have.” This week Mr. Turkovic is joined by two celebrated friends who share the same vision: clarinetist David Shifrin and pianist Shai Wosner. In addition to a heart-on-sleeve trio by Beethoven, the performers will play another work that fits their lyrical approach just as beautifully—Mikhail Glinka's Trio Pathètique in d minor. The Russian composer’s enduring passion for Italian opera graces each phrase. Listen in for some exquisite instrumental bel canto. (more)

August 20: Hélène Grimaud, piano

Intuitionist: In all she plays, pianist Hélène Grimaud reveals a searching and singular voice. This week from the stage of New York City's Academy of Arts and Letters—a suitable setting for an artist whose earliest creative discoveries were often literary—she brings alive three companionable forms. Opening with "Fantasia on an Ostinato," John Corigliano's hypnotic homage to Beethoven's Seventh Symphony, she continues with a pair of rhapsodies by Johannes Brahms and a trio of Sergey Rakhmaninov's Étude Tableaux. Ms. Grimaud fathoms each composer's distinct vision with uncompromising faith in her own. (more)

August 13: Takács String Quartet

Nature and Nurture: One mark of a masterful ensemble is its power to convey the idiomatic vision behind each work it performs—all while leaving no doubt as to its own. This week, the Takács Quartet offers absorbing takes on three works whose composers bear remarkably different approaches to the form: Beethoven's bracing "Serioso" quartet, a "sad burlesque" from Béla Bartók's sixth quartet, and the radiant opening movement of Maurice Ravel's Quartet in F Major. At each turn, the Takács' faithfulness to these works' individuality is underpinned by a voice, and virtuosity, all its own. (more)

August 06: David Finckel, cello; Wu Han, piano

Appassionato: Ludwig van Beethoven's life story finds no more vivid expression than in the very music that engendered, and reflected, its ferocity and drama. This week, two superb guides—Emerson String Quartet cellist David Finckel and celebrated pianist Wu Han—trace both the tragedy and grandeur of Beethoven's life as they are reflected in his five sonatas for cello. The duo surveys all of them, offering between performances how and where each corresponds to Beethoven's life and development. Don't miss a transporting hour. (more)

July 30: Chanticleer

Gloria: In the Canterbury Tales, Geoffrey Chaucer dubs a rooster "Chanticleer" for his clear and beautiful singing:

"There was not his equal in all the land. His voice was merrier than the merry organ that plays in church, and his crowing from his resting place was more trustworthy than a clock."

Some six centuries later, twelve singers from San Francisco aspired to the name themselves and soon set a gold standard for transporting vocal music. This week Chanticleer brings us music from Chaucer's time up to our own—from early sacred works of Dufay and Purcell to Australian composer Sarah Hopkins's hypnotic Past Life Melodies. The hour comes to a rousing close with the African-American gospel song "My Soul is a Witness" as arranged by music director Joseph Jennings, who joins in the fun. (more)

July 23: Chamber Music Society of Lincoln Center

Soul Garden: A constellation of six stars from the Chamber Music Society of Lincoln Center visits Saint Paul Sunday this week to illumine seldom-heard music by Mozart and Dvořák—sextets that mine a richness and force of expression unavailable to smaller ensembles. We'll also hear Derek Bermel's "Soul Garden", a work based on the composer's own experience in the African-American gospel tradition and written for violist Paul Neubauer, who takes its lead role this Sunday. Joining him are violinists Ida Kavafian and Joseph Silverstein, violist Toby Appel, and cellists Fred Sherry and Ronald Thomas. (more)

July 16: Gil Shaham, violin; Akira Eguchi, piano

Fauré: Though in life he encountered one "ism" of the times after another, Gabriel Fauré (1845-1924) sustained throughout a compositional voice distinctly his own, leaving us some of the most beguiling chamber works of the past two centuries. This week on Saint Paul Sunday, Mssr. Fauré finds his perfect interpreter in Gil Shaham. With the sensitive collaboration of pianist Akira Eguchi, he brings us the composer's first violin sonata and several beautiful shorter works. Mr. Shaham calls his affinity for the composer "Fauré Fever." Under the spell of his masterful playing, you'll catch it too. (more)

July 09: The FOG Trio

FOG and Friendship: Among San Francisco’s endless charms, fog casts a spell all its own. This week on Saint Paul Sunday Bill welcomes three close friends who met in San Francisco and whose initials aptly reflect its gauzy bayside air. The FOG Trio—violinist Jorja Fleezanis, pianist Garrick Ohlsson, and cellist Michael Grebanier—will bring us great piano trios of Haydn and Dvořák alongside the opening Allegro of Schubert’s second piano trio, the composer’s own favorite of his ventures in the form. (more)

July 02: Jacques Ogg, harpsichord; Wilbert Hazelzet, flute

Tasty fare: Tafelmusik originally meant "music composed for a banquet," and this week we'll sample a feast of music—including some of Georg Phillipp Telemann's own Tafelmusik—with flutist Wilbert Hazelzet and harpsichordist Jacques Ogg. This remarkable Dutch duo brings a lively sensibility to its chosen repertoire, adding gusto or delicacy as required. They'll also bring us lovely works by J.S. Bach and his son C.P.E. Bach. (more)

June 25: The Dale Warland Singers

For Cherishing: On March 22, 1981, Saint Paul Sunday aired its first broadcast, an all-Bach program featuring the Saint Paul Chamber Orchestra and this week's celebrated guests, the Dale Warland Singers. Since that day, Dale and his colleagues have brought several programs to Saint Paul Sunday, each one demonstrating the depth, beauty, and scrupulous craft that are their signature. This Sunday's program, their twelfth, gives the Warland artistry free reign. We'll hear diverse American works, two British memorials that share a special history, and a trio of "Cathedral Classics"—works whose spacious soundworlds offer perhaps the fullest sense of the choir's amplitude. (more)

June 18: Paul Coletti, viola; Lydia Artymiw, piano

Viola Voilá!: Violas and violists are now such a familiar presences in classical music that we may surprised to learn how long it took for the greatest composers to channel the instrument's unique spirit into extended solo works. This week, Bill welcomes return visits by violist Paul Coletti and pianist Lydia Artymiw—two remarkable soloists joining forces to explore a trio of the earliest and best works composed for the viola. (more)

June 11: Ani Kavafian, violin and viola
David Shifrin, clarinet
André-Michel Schub, piano

KSS for short, music for life: Musicians are inveterate travelers, and this week on Saint Paul Sunday guest host Brian Newhouse welcomes three wonderful performers who first came together as a trio in an airport coffee shop on their way from one music festival to another. Join him with violinist Ani Kavafian, clarinetist David Shifrin, and pianist André-Michel Schub—the KSS Trio—for works that make their unusual combination shine. Along with a trio of Mozart and Schumann's "Fairy Tales," we'll hear Béla Bartók's aptly named "Contrasts." It's an hour companionship and music making you won't want to miss. (more)

June 04: St. Lawrence String Quartet performs Haydn, Berger

Eli Eli: As listeners who've heard the Saint Lawrence String Quartet's earlier Saint Paul Sunday programs can attest, its four members enter into each work they play with utter passion and humanity—as though it were the only music on earth. Appropriately enough, this week they perform two movements of Maurice Ravel's sole foray into the form alongside music by the composer most often credited with inventing it: the "Joke" quartet of Franz Joseph Haydn. We'll also hear powerful music by a composer who has collaborated directly with the ensemble: Jonathan Berger's "Doubles" and his "Eli Eli," a deeply affecting tribute to slain Wall Street Journal reporter Daniel Pearl. (more)

May 28: Imogen Cooper

Traced Overhead: Fresh from a triumphant recital at Carnegie Hall, pianist Imogen Cooper returns to Saint Paul Sunday this week for music of Haydn, Schumann, and the final movement of Thomas Adès's Traced Overhead, a work of otherworldly beauty which she commissioned herself. In quite different ways, each of the works demands awesome technical virtuosity and great emotional agility—powers Ms. Cooper possesses in abundance. Perhaps above all she reveals the music from the inside out, taking us with her as she goes, and leaving no treasure concealed. (more)

May 21: REBEL performs Mozart, Telemann

Pearls: "Baroque" comes from the Portugese word originally used to describe pearls prized for their misshapen and often fantastic forms. These rarities helped inspire a style of architecture that took extravagant license with inherited traditions and eventually also came to refer to musical forces that did the same. This week, the masterful performers of REBEL plunge into Baroque repertoire with all the freedom and zest their name implies. They trace its development from early origins in Mozart and Bach through and beyond Georg Philipp Telemann's thrilling stylistic juxtapositions. We'll also hear lesser known pearls of Francesco Mancini and Johann Joachim Quantz. All the works are brought to life with what REBEL's Matthias Maute calls "the fireworks of passion." (more)

May 14: eighth blackbird performs Rzewski

Infinities Contained: Great music always inspires new directions and interpretations—a freedom the six adventurers of eighth blackbird delight in every chance they get. This week eighth blackbird brings us two works that take us a few steps further. Frederic Rzewski's Les Moutons des Panurge uses hopscotch-like addition and repetition to spark ever changing patterns of sound and line: each performance of it generates an entirely new composition. And in his Fantasy Etudes, Fred Lerdahl elaborates simple themes into variations of increasing color and richness, showing us in the process how eighth blackbird's assorted textures can interact in countless different ways. The blackbirds animate both with characteristic brilliance and verve, as they do the two works that complete their program Derek Bermel's Tied Shifts and Ashley Fure's Inescapable. (more)

May 07: Rachel Barton Pine, violin; Matthew Hagle, piano

Gem of Chicago: This week on Saint Paul Sunday, Bill McGlaughlin welcomes a daughter of Chicago—violinist Rachel Barton Pine—whose richly varied offerings, including Ravel's "Blues" sonata, reveal the virtuosity and exuberance that are her trademark. She'll also perform a trio of Baroque solo works, a delightful Scottish Suite, and the world premiere of a breathtaking new work called "Rush" by another Chicagoan, composer Augusta Read Thomas. Don't miss it. (more)

April 30: Saint Paul Chamber Orchestra

Friends Old and New: The first guests whom Saint Paul Sunday (then known as Saint Paul Sunday Morning) welcomed into its studio are the same performers you'll hear this week: the Saint Paul Chamber Orchestra. On that inaugural broadcast, which aired in March of 1981, the SPCO joined forces with the Dale Warland Singers for an all-Bach program. The auspicious beginning turned into a long and happy affair, delighting listeners with some twenty seven more programs. This week, discover again why this "orchestra of soloists" is an American musical treasure. They'll bring us music from a vibrant trio of composers-a Haydn symphony, a Schubert rondo, and two of Astor Piazzolla's vivid Porteno. (more)

April 23: Borromeo String Quartet

What is it about the string quartet as a form that so captivates the world's greatest composers? We'll find out this week when the celebrated young Borromeo String Quartet surveys its repertoire with all the warmth, virtuosity, and passion it inspires. Beginning with music of Franz Joseph Haydn—the father of the string quartet—the Borromeo gives us the haunting Andante Moderato from Brahms's 2nd quartet, and concludes with Janácek's "Intimate Letters," music that chronicles the 70-year old composer's intense devotion to a much younger woman. (more)

April 16: Paul Jacobs, organ

Music for Easter day: This Easter day, Saint Paul Sunday ventures to a noted sacred landmark in New York City—Park Avenue's resplendent St. Ignatius Loyola Church—whose organ is one of the outstanding instruments of its kind in the world. From its loft, Bill McGlaughlin welcomes Paul Jacobs, who at just 30 is among the organ's youngest and most accomplished champions, for triumphant Easter selections by Vierne, Bach, Reger, and Messiaen. Mr. Jacobs's performances have stirred a renaissance of appreciation for organ music among critics and audiences not typically engaged by the instrument. His program explores Easter joy in a variety of moods and styles—from the solemn ecstasy of Olivier Messiaen's "Serene Alleluias of a Soul Longing for Heaven" to Max Reger's exultant fantasia on the chorale Wachet Auf! J.S. Bach’s famed "9/8" prelude and fugue also helps us celebrate the day. (more)

April 09: The Sixteen perform Tavener, Tallis

Music for Passiontide: This Sunday Harry Christophers will lead the Sixteen in a program of polyphonic Renaissance music for which the British ensemble is beloved the world over: haunting choral works of Thomas Tallis, William Byrd, Antonio Lotti, and Tomas Luis de Victoria. All are rooted in Passiontide and anchored by one of the most beloved of all Renaissance choral works—Gregorio Allegri's soaring Miserere. A young Mozart first transcribed the Miserere by ear after hearing it sung inside the Vatican, which at the time closely guarded the music as its sole property and, with Mozart, knew it to be a timeless musical treasure. (more)

April 02: Stephen Prutsman, piano

Pianist Stephen Prutsman drops by the studio this week for music as eclectic and daring as he is. Along with music of Liszt and Ravel—works Bill McGlaughlin rightly dubs "knucklebusters" —he plays J.S. Bach's sixth English Suite, a piece he says inspired him to become a pianist in the first place. We'll also get a wonderful taste of Mr. Prutsman's prodigious musical imagination through two of his own compositions. Along the way we'll find out what else he's up to, including conducting, chamber music, and teaching. Don't miss the chance to meet an American original. (more)

March 26: Charles Wadsworth and Friends

Chee-Yun, violin; Todd Palmer, clarinet; Andrés Díaz, cello; Wendy Chen, piano

Historic Charleston, South Carolina is a beguiling maze of alleys and churchyards, and if you're lucky enough to find yourself meandering through it on an early summer evening, you might also hear some of the best chamber music playing in the world through open windows... This week, Saint Paul Sunday welcomes Charles Wadsworth, founder of Charleston's renowned Spoleto Chamber Music Festival, who brings along with him four of the younger artists who make the event so special year after year. Violinist Chee-Yun, clarinetist Todd Palmer, cellist Andrés Díaz, and pianist Wendy Chen join Charles for in various combinations for music of Dvořák, Mendelssohn, Schumann, and another Spoleto regular (and Saint Paul Sunday guest), Stephen Prutsman. It's more than enough to whet your appetite until you can make the pilgrimage to Charleston yourself.

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March 19: Matt Haimovitz, cello; Jean Marchand, piano

Great classical artists have always been pioneers. This week on Saint Paul Sunday we welcome Matt Haimovitz, a brilliant young performer who combines an acclaimed concert career with intrepid forays into the unlikeliest places for a classical cellist -- jazz clubs and punk bars, just to name a few. This week he steps out solo for music of Bach and Osvaldo Golijov, then joins forces with pianist Jean Marchand for Dmitri Shostakovich's remarkable Cello Sonata in d minor. And no matter where you happen to hear Matt's program this week, you'll be captivated. (more)

March 12: The King's Noyse

Time Travel: Perhaps the surest sign of artistry among those musicians who specialize in early music is how convincingly they bid us into the world that first gave life to their chosen repertoire. This week, the celebrated King's Noyse—including soprano Ellen Hargis and lutenist Paul O'Dette—makes a warmly anticipated return visit for works of dashing wit and often haunting beauty. The King’s Noyse draws us into the time of Purcell, Praetorius, and others not only by remaining true to those composers’ origins but reviving them with its own particular magic. David Douglass directs a program that includes several of his own arrangements. (more)

March 05: Orion String Quartet

Constellations: In his memoirs, Sergei Prokofiev wrote that he used to study Beethoven string quartets in the railway carriages he rode in while on tour, soon coming to admire the master's technique greatly. This week on Saint Paul Sunday the acclaimed Orion String Quartet let us meet the composers side by side. The ensemble opens with Beethoven's daring quartet No. 4 in c minor and concludes with a spirited scherzo by Prokofiev in which the earlier master's inspiration is unmistakable. Between the two, we'll hear the beloved "Death and the Maiden" quartet of Franz Schubert, another admirer of Beethoven. Join the Orion String Quartet as it traces the connections among these masters with a masterful artistry of its own, this week on Saint Paul Sunday. (more)

March 05: Orion String Quartet

Celestial Spheres: The Orion String Quartet, much like the constellation with the same name, is one of the best known and most brilliantly shining chamber groups of our time. For the past twenty years they've been known for their heavenly playing as well as their diverse programming, and this week on Saint Paul Sunday we'll get to sample both. They'll start us off with a groove, in Chick Corea's "Adventures of Hippocrates." Leon Kirchner's colorful and beautiful String Quartet in F Major follows, and then we'll hear what made Orion famous - Beethoven. Another signature work, the finale from Dvorak's "American" quartet will leave you smiling. Don't miss these shining stars while they are in full view. (more)

February 19: The Seattle Chamber Players and Friends

Emerald City, Baltic Lands: Seattle has long drawn treasure and world travelers into its port and heart. This week, Saint Paul Sunday travels to the Emerald City for a program of Baltic repertoire performed by several of its own musical treasures. The acclaimed Seattle Chamber Players, true to their collaborative spirit, invite guest artists to join them for works from Estonia, Latvia, and Lithuania—music that invites us into new soundworlds as it expands the bounds of our listening. Seattle Pro Musica, another celebrated group that calls its namesake home, joins SCP in the final work of the broadcast, Pēteris Vasks's cosmic "Plainscapes." (more)

February 05: Beaux Arts Trio

Gold Standard: Today, as it has for over half a century, the Beaux Arts Trio draws audiences into profound and delightful musical encounters. This week on Saint Paul Sunday, founding pianist Menahem Pressler joins his two celebrated younger colleagues, violinist Daniel Hope and cellist Antonio Meneses, for a program that surveys music of four works that have had special meaning for the trio and its many fans. We'll hear music from Mendelssohn's first and Shostakovich's second trios, as well as two other beloved pinnacles of the form: Beethoven's "Archduke" and Dvořák's "Dumky" trios. Along the way we'll also get personal glimpses of the Beaux Arts Trio past, present, and future. (more)

January 29: Garrick Ohlsson, piano

Nerve Endings: This week celebrated pianist Garrick Ohlsson plays music which, in his words, "electrifies all the nerve endings." He begins on the mountaintop — the first movement of the last sonata Beethoven ever composed, the famed Opus 111— only to leave earth entirely with several études and poèmes of Alexander Scriabin. Even today, Scriabin's strangely beautiful music, so far ahead of its own time, can elude some listeners. Garrick Ohlsson's profound connection with the composer reveals the genius behind his works while preserving their delicious mystery. (more)

January 22: Dawn Upshaw, soprano; Gil Kalish, piano

Seekers: Dawn Upshaw joins longtime friend and collaborator pianist Gil Kalish this week for songs that illuminate the expansive range of this cherished American soprano. Few singers of any time combine Ms. Upshaw's rare vocal limpidity and command with such a searching contemporary awareness. The duo brings us music of Schubert, Mahler, Debussy, and Bartok, as well as two American composers—William Bolcom and John Harbison—whose works Ms. Upshaw has long championed. Listen in for a truly special hour. (more)

January 15: Brentano String Quartet

Guest host: Ara Guzelimian, Senior Director and Artistic Advisor at Carnegie Hall


Cris de Couer: The madrigals of Don Carlo Gesualdo comprise some of the most intensely expressive music ever composed. This week on Saint Paul Sunday the celebrated Brentano String Quartet brings five of them to us as they've been re-imagined for it by composer Bruce Adolphe. The Brentano captures all of the sweet torment of the pieces, whose vividly compounded moods set the stage well for what comes next: Mozart's A Major Quartet (K. 464), a work of peerless eloquence and technical brilliance that likewise explores zones hovering between pleasure and pain. The Brentano fathoms both composer's works with exhilarating insights all its own.

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January 08: Joshua Bell, violin; Frederic Chiu, piano

Spring in Winter: Two longtime friends—violinist Joshua Bell and pianist Frederic Chiu—come back to the studio this week for music that gives each artist's celebrated virtuosity free reign. They begin with the joyous "Spring" sonata, one of Beethoven's most beloved and infectiously hopeful works. Next, two shorter works of Tchaikovsky reveal the performers' exquisite sense of line and timing. And the program concludes with Pablo de Sarasate's Introduction et Tarantelle, a dazzling work which in Mr. Bell's hands affirms again why he's a violinist cherished the world over. (more)