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2008

December 28: Anne-Sophie Mutter, Lambert Orkis

Kindred Spirits: For three decades now, Anne-Sophie Mutter has been known simply as one of the greatest violinists alive. As part of her ambitious Mozart Project, a survey of the composer's major works for solo violin, she'll be celebrating his 250th birthday with a program of Mozart violin sonatas. In her playing and in her words, there's no mistaking that Anne-Sophie Mutter feels a true kinship with Mozart. She understands this music and its creator like few people today do. Join Bill McGlaughlin when he welcomes one of the world's greatest violinists, Anne-Sophie Mutter, with pianist Lambert Orkis, in a tribute to Mozart. (more)

December 21: Ellen Hargis, soprano; Paul O'Dette, lute and theorbo

Joyeux Noel: With each passing year, the hubbub around the holidays seems to crowd out more of the mystery and beauty of the season. Take an hour off this week as Bill welcomes soprano Ellen Hargis with lutenist Paul O'Dette. We'll journey back to France and Italy for 16th century noels and then slip across the English Channel to hear Christmas pieces from the time of Shakespeare. Enjoy an extra special Christmas gift this week from Saint Paul Sunday. (more)

December 14: 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)

December 07: Jonathan Biss

Dual Personality: Twenty-six year-old pianist and rising star Jonathan Biss brings his artistry and his insight to the studio this week. On the program are sonatas by Beethoven and Mozart, along with selections from Robert Schumann's Davidsbündlertäunze. In this work the composer brings to life the two opposing personalities that often appear in his music. Schumann even gave them names: the fiery and passionate Florestan, and Eusebius, the dreamy and instrospective character. Jonathan Biss gets in touch with both sides of Schumann's musical personality, and we get to hear firsthand why he's one of the most sought-after pianists performing today. (more)

November 30: Divertimento

Three of a Kind: Three string instruments playing together is a combination you don't hear often. Yet there is something delicate and satisfyingly spare about a violin, viola and cello moving intricately around one another in a continuous and constant whirl of sound. The string trio Divertimento joins Bill this week on Saint Paul Sunday. Violinist Soovin Kim, violist Michael Tree and cellist Margo Tatgenhorst Drakos play little-known trios of Beethoven and Czech composer Bohuslav Martinů, and they'll show us exactly how just three of a kind is sometimes... just enough. (more)

November 23: Anonymous 4 with Darol Anger & Scott Nygaard

American Angels: The 4 singers of Anonymous 4 depart from their a capella tradition and invite a few friends into the studio with them as they bring an all-American program of ballads, shape-note tunes, and folk hymns. Darol Anger accompanies on violin and mandolin, along with guitarist Scott Nygaard. Your spirit will dance along. (more)

November 16: 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 09: 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 02: 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 26: 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)

October 19: Steven Isserlis, cello; Ana Maria Vera, piano

British cellist Steven Isserlis has performed with the world's greatest orchestras and recently he's become a writer of children's books as well. Listen in as the author of Why Beethoven Threw the Stew plays a program of little-known works by Felix Mendelsson, Joseph Suk and Bohuslav Martinu. Pianist Ana-Maria Vera joins Isserlis for some lively music and conversation with Saint Paul Sunday host Bill McGlaughlin. (more)

October 12: Endellion String Quartet

Discovery: "How extraordinary that we can arrive to rehearse a quartet that we have performed more than a hundred times and experience again the passion, wonder, and sense of discovery of the very first rehearsal....How miraculous that we have as our raw materials the infinite subtlety and good humor of Haydn (and) Beethoven's electrifying synthesis of humanity and spirituality..." These thoughts of Andrew Watkins, cellist of the Endellion String Quartet, describe the engagement that makes the ensemble one of the best in the world. In addition to music of Haydn and movements of Beethoven's "Dear Quartet," we'll hear the forceful Allegro from Schubert's "Death and the Maiden" quartet. The program offers a vivid spectrum of the Endellions' repertoire. (more)

October 05: 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)

September 28: Anthony McGill, clarinet; Natalie Zhu, piano

Guest host: Brian Newhouse, Host and Senior Producer of the Minnesota Orchestra broadcasts

 

Another Place: "You know, this music takes you to another place—straight to your soul, straight to your heart," says clarinetist Anthony McGill this week of Johannes Brahms's multi-hued second clarinet sonata. "I started playing music because of that feeling." Mr. McGill's affection for the work dovetails with its initial inspiration, clarinet virtuoso Richard Mühlfeld, whom Brahms met late in life and admired intensely, and whose playing helped the composer break new creative ground. We'll also get to hear two of Anthony McGill's other favorites: Debussy's Première Rhapsodie and Poulenc's sole clarinet sonata.

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September 21: Trio Mediæval

Out of Time: Trio Mediæval are three extraordinary female vocalists from Norway and Sweden who take music from very early sources and sing it side-by-side with powerful contemporary works composed especially for them. The contrasts are awe-inspiring—from Oleh Karkavyy's ravishing Kyrie to 14th century music discovered on the back side of accounting documents for the construction of an English castle. Whether ancient or modern, it's music out of time. The program ends with a set of poignant Nordic folksongs. (more)

September 14: Canadian flutist Jeffrey Khaner performs Aaron Copland

Pied Piper: Philadelphia Orchestra principal flute Jeffrey Khaner joins pianist Linda Mark to play three gems—one English, one French, and one American—of the 20th century flute repertoire. The program leads with Aaron Copland's affecting duo from 1971, a work that bears the unmistakable imprint of the composer's later years. Francis Poulenc's 1956 flute sonata, among the most beloved works in chamber music, concludes the hour. And between the two, a 1946 sonata by Edwin York Bowen affirms why the music of this neglected post-Romantic is enjoying a richly deserved renaissance. Mr. Kahner's masterful playing lends each work a lustrous élan all his own. (more)

September 07: Shai Wosner, piano

Tempest & Fantasy: The acclaimed young pianist Shai Wosner—recent recipient of the Avery Fisher Award—performs two breakthrough works this week. First we'll hear Frédéric Chopin's Opus 49 Fantasy in f minor, a work whose unconventional makeup gave the composer license to break a spell of artistic anxiety and stasis. Its dynamic shifts of mood and color resonate well with the program's concluding work, Beethoven's "Tempest" sonata, of whose Allegro Beethoven said "The piano must break!" The sonata charted fresh territory for the composer, weaving together an astonishing range of techniques new to him, each of which Mr. Wosner navigates with his own special artistry. Between these two masterworks we'll hear a brief haunting "Night Piece" of Robert Schumann. (more)

August 31: 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)

August 24: 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)

August 17: 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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August 10: 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)

August 02: Ilya Gringolts, violin; Christopher Guzman, piano

Some of music's greatest works were inspired by great performers. This week we'll hear two virtuosic pieces—Bela Bartók's free-ranging second violin sonata and Maurice Ravel's "Tzigane," a dizzying homage to gypsy music—that were composed for the same violinist, Jelly d'Aranyi. Each work gets a brilliant interpretation from a virtuoso of our own time, the young Russian violinist Ilya Gringolts, whose artistic insight and technical command have earned international raves. What Mr. Gringolts says of the Bartók sonata can be said of his own playing: "It's music that knows no bounds." (more)

July 27: Nobilis

Con moto: Pianist Stephen Prutsman, violinist Ruggero Allifranchini, and cellist Suren Bagratuni each have distinguished careers as a solo performers, but when they get together as a trio, something magical happens - they play as one. This week, Bill welcomes this piano trio, Nobilis, with a rich and varied program of Schumann, Schubert, Rachmaninoff, and Arno Babadjanyan. These musicians form fascinating connections between these diverse works, played "con moto:" with motion, spirit, and spontanaeity. (more)

July 20: Belcea String Quartet

England's acclaimed Belcea Quartet opens its program with Benjamin Britten's first quartet, a work that allows each player to shine by giving the solo line to a different instrument for each of the four movements. The Belcea Quartet takes a correspondingly egalitarian approach to the spectrum of its own repertoire, going on to play a Haydn allegro, Italian opera music by Hugo Wolff, and a haunting movement from "Arcadiana" by young British composer Thomas Adès. To whatever it performs, the Belcea brings a luminous insight. (more)

July 13: 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)

July 06: 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)

June 29: Hespèrion XXI

Jordi Savall and the famed ensemble Hespèrion XXI—which this week on Saint Paul Sunday includes soprano Monsterrat Figueras, their two children Arianna and Ferran Savall, and percussionist Pedro Estevan—make a warmly anticipated return visit. Though playing instruments with ancient-sounding names like viol da gamba, arpa doppio and tiorba, the emotional immediacy of their performances makes them sound composed in the moment. (They often are.) “There can be no museum for ancient music,” notes Mr. Savall. "Music exists only when you play it." (more)

June 22: Ensō String Quartet

The Ensō String Quartet—an acclaimed young foursome whose members hail from England, New Zealand, Canada, and the United States—takes its name from the Japanese Zen circle, a symbol representing many contrasting ideas at once. This week on Saint Paul Sunday we'll discover why their chosen title suits them so well as they perform masterpieces of Haydn and Schumann with what one critic calls "just the right quotient of sass." (more)

June 15: Colin Carr, cello; Lee Luvisi, piano

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

 

Cellist Colin Carr and pianist Lee Luvisi first met in Mr. Carr's 20s and have in one way or another been making music together ever since. This week, the acclaimed duo brings cello music of three German composers whose lives and art often intertwined. Robert Schumann's moving "Adagio and Allegro" opens the program, followed by a supreme work of the solo cello repertoire, the Sarabande from J.S. Bach's sixth cello suite. As if to tie the whole together, the performers finish with the first cello sonata of Johannes Brahms, a composer whom Schumann mentored and who drew heavily on Bach's "Art of the Fugue" in the sonata's concluding movement.

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June 08: 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)

June 01: Hilary Hahn channels Mozart

Ice Breaker: Music has the power to capture a boundless range of time and experience—from the most urgent and impassioned to the most fleeting and delicate. This week renowned American violinist Hilary Hahn joins forces her distinguished colleague and longtime friend, pianist Natalie Zhu, for works that seek out this truth in multiple ways. Anchoring their program is Ernst Bloch's fearlessly probing sonata for violin, a work Ms. Hahn likens at one point to a "frozen landscape when the ice is about to break." The duo also brings remarkable intensity and maturity to music by Mozart and Stravinsky. (more)

May 25: St. Lawrence String Quartet; Todd Palmer, clarinet; Osvaldo Golijov, composer

Dreams & Prayers: This week Bill McGlaughlin welcomes celebrated Argentinean composer Osvaldo to Saint Paul Sunday for an hour-long immersion into his unique artistry. Five acclaimed performers—clarinetist Todd Palmer and the St. Lawrence String Quartet—bring a trio of Golijov compositions to life. First we'll hear Yiddishbuk, a visceral work inspired by drawings of children who were imprisoned at Theresienstadt, the nightmarish "model ghetto" built by the Nazis in 1941. Next, Todd Palmer assumes the role of klezmer with flair, joining the St. Lawrence for two movements of Dreams and Prayers of Isaac the Blind, a work that summons the fading, often insular world of East-European Jewish émigrés in Argentina. The combined quintet closes the program with music from Tenebrae, a composition occasioned by Golijov's encounter with François Couperin's mystical Holy Week settings. Golijov translates the works' shared name as "darkness illuminated by candelight." (more)

May 18: The Amelia Piano Trio

Dispatches Intently Followed: Though formed just six years ago, the Amelia Piano Trio has already won significant acclaim, not least for its adventurous collaboration with living composers. This week it brings one of the most beloved works in chamber music—Felix Mendelssohn's wondrous D minor piano trio, a work Robert Schumann hailed as "the master trio of the age"—and pairs it with a movement from a new work written especially with the Amelias in mind: "Short Stories" by Pulitzer Prize-winning composer John Harbison. The threesome leads off with a vivid Schubert scherzo. (more)

May 11: The Harp Consort ("Missa Mexicana")

Old & New: The Hispanic Baroque knit together often-dizzying contrasts of its culture and beliefs into works of great beauty and vitality. This week on Saint Paul Sunday, Andrew Lawrence-King and the Harp Consort give us a vivid musical taste of that world in "Missa Mexicana," a program juxtaposing an exuberant 17th-century Mass setting by Spanish-born composer Juan Gutierrez de Padilla, chapel master of Mexico's Puebla Cathedral, with the Latin-American and African folk dances that in part inspired it. It's a lively Baroque fusion of the Old World and the New. (more)

May 04: Mark O'Connor and the Appalachia Waltz Trio

Vistas: Fiddle virtuoso Mark O'Connor is one of those musicians whose talents and ideas are as limitless as the American landscapes that inspire him. This week on Saint Paul Sunday, along with his new Appalachia Waltz Trio, O'Connor brings a program of original compositions, including a new piece called "Vistas," a work which draws from the views of the land around him as well as the many different personal views of musicians. O'Connor is at home in many styles, from Texas swing to jazz to traditional folk tunes to classical. As he explains, his music is all about the journey. And as in most worthwhile trips, he crosses boundaries of all kinds. (more)

April 27: Shifrin/Sherry/McDermott (CMSLC)

Lease on Life: Whether we're 6 or 60, we all need a fresh start from time to time. This week on Saint Paul Sunday, we hear a work that gave the 58-year old Johannes Brahms a new lease on life. After having vowed to retire, Brahms heard a performance by clarinet virtuoso Richard Mühlfeld. So moved was he that he took up the pen again and composed a clarinet trio---his sole venture in the form. This week Bill McGlaughlin welcomes a brilliant threesome drawn from the ranks of the Chamber Music Society of Lincoln Center to play it. In addition to Mühlfeld's trio, clarinetist David Shifrin, cellist Fred Sherry, and pianist Anne-Marie McDermott also perform Aaron Jay Kernis's "Trio in Red," a work that charts distinctly different emotional territory. (more)

April 20: Gottlieb Wallisch, piano

Full Pallete: The acclaimed Viennese pianist Gottlieb Wallisch visits Saint Paul Sunday this week for a program that searches his instrument's subjective and coloristic possibilities to their fullest. First we'll hear a Mozart fantasy that ventures beyond its familiar classical confines into stormy Romantic territory; next an evocative sound-picture of moorish Spain by Debussy; and finally Robert Schumann's dazzling "Carnaval," a coded panoply of the composer's loves, theatrical passions, and alter egos. Mr. Wallisch inhabits each work with the virtuosity for which he is warmly noted. (more)

April 13: 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)

April 06: Kronos Quartet (Nuevo)

Nuevo: The music of contemporary Mexico is as vibrant and diverse as the country itself. This Sunday, four days ahead of Cinco de Mayo, Kronos Quartet performs "Nuevo," a multi-textured program embracing Mexico's kaleidoscopic musical soul. We'll hear works by Severiano Briseño, Agustín Lara, Chalino Sánchez, and others, most in arrangements by Osvaldo Golijov. Alberto Domínguez's Perfidia—which first enchanted Kronos violinist David Harrington when he heard it played on an ivy leaf by a Mexico City street performer—and the 1968 piece Mini Skirt by Juan García Esquivel, "king of space-age bachelor pad music," typify the breadth of Kronos' bold explorations. (more)

March 30: 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)

March 23: 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)

March 16: 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)

March 09: 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)

March 02: 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)

February 24: Zuill Bailey, cello; Awadagin Pratt, piano

A to Z: Friendship has long been a wellspring for exalted music making, as this week's program with cellist Zuill Bailey and pianist Awadagin Pratt brilliantly attests. The two first met off hours in a ping pong duel when they were teenaged participants in a music festival. In the years since, they’ve kept the association alive through frequent collaboration on the great works of their shared repertoire—music than opens new vistas for both of these remarkable soloists. They'll bring us sonatas by Debussy, Beethoven, and Brahms. (more)

February 17: 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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February 10: 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)

February 03: Zehetmair String Trio

Less is More: The spare sound of the string trio drew from Mozart a lovely contradiction: a work of great elegance and richness. This week, we'll hear his Eb Divertimento performed by the masterful Zehetmair String Trio, who'll also play an often-overlooked fragment of Schubert and an exuberant work composed in 1944 by 23-year old Czech composer Gideon Klein when he was held prisoner at the nightmarish Nazi "show camp" Thieresenstadt. As if to tie these three great works together, Mr. Zehetmair then steps out by himself, concluding the hour with Eugène Ysaÿe's Ballade, a pinnacle of the solo violin repertoire. (more)

January 27: 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)

January 20: Fretwork and Emma Kirkby, soprano

Musick for a While: The songs of Elizabethan composer William Byrd marry text and music with both superb delicacy and emotional intensity. This week, one of the greatest living interpreters of Byrd's songs, soprano Emma Kirkby, joins forces with the acclaimed viol consort Fretwork for several of them, along with others by Purcell, Gibbons, and Dowland. Listen in for a truly transporting hour. "Sometimes when I hear music from this period," says Bill McGlaughlin, "I think music never really got any better. There's nothing like it." (more)

January 13: Trio Solisti

Mountaintop: The piano trio is a particularly versatile and challenging form, one that has inspired composers to some of their greatest work. This week on Saint Paul Sunday the brilliant young American threesome Trio Solisti does both its chosen ensemble and repertoire proud. They'll bring us two c-minor treasures of Johannes Brahms and Felix Mendelssohn, a dazzling new work composed for them by Paul Moravec, and an unexpectedly passionate pair of Gershwin arrangements by Trio Solisti's own violinist Maria Bachmann. (more)

January 06: 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)