Support Saint Paul Sunday with your purchases
  • News/Talk
  • Music
  • Entertainment
Saint Paul Sunday home page


2012 |  2011 |  2010 |  2009 |  2008 |  2007 |  2006 |  2005 |  2004 |  2003 |  2002 |  2001 |  2000 |  1999 |  1998 |  1997 |  List all shows


December 19: 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 12: 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)

December 05: 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)

November 28: Kronos Quartet "Early Music"

Now just past 30, Kronos Quartet remains as true as ever to its searching spirit. Its bold dedication to new work continues to exhilarate the repertoire, and its intrepid craft enlivens music of both contemporary and ancient sources. This week on Saint Paul Sunday, Kronos balances old and new, offering arrangements of medieval chant, traditional Irish folksong, and ancient Greek scales as well as several works by living composers. (more)

November 21: OPUS ONE perform Kernis, Mozart, Brahms

The four individually acclaimed artists of OPUS ONE first came together out of their admiration for one another's music making. This week on Saint Paul Sunday they join forces for one of the greatest chamber works ever written: Johannes Brahms' transcendent third piano quartet in c minor, a work begun by a heart-stricken 22-year old and revised for publication decades later by a far more seasoned and serene spirit. The foursome opens its program with a charming Mozart allegro and a nimble homage to Mozart by Aaron Jay Kernis. (more)

November 14: 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)

November 07: 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)

October 31: eighth blackbird performs Chen Yi

Sparks: The intrepid artists of eighth blackbird—a sextet of flute, clarinet, violin, cello, piano, and percussion—are as acclaimed for the brilliance of their playing as they are for sparking inspiration in the composers who write for them. This week we get generous tastes of each. Of the four works they perform, three were created especially for them: David Kellogg's Divinum Mysterium, an ecstatic elaboration on sacred chant; Fireflies, Carlos Sanchez-Gutierrez's powerful vision of a Central American massacre; and finally "Glacial Exhalations," a vivid opening movement from the larger concerto Split Horizon, whose composer, David Schober, joins eighth blackbird in the studio. We'll also hear a fourth work that puts percussionist Matthew Duvall through his paces: Chen Yi's multi-textured Qui. (more)

October 24: 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)

October 17: 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)

October 10: Imani Winds performs Förster, Berio

Faith: Imani-literally "faith" in Swahili-embodies the mission of Imani Winds: to bridge European and African musical traditions, to explore repertoire of diverse cultures, and to reflect its five members' own rich experiences as classical musicians of color. This week on Saint Paul Sunday, each of these aspirations shines. We'll hear original works by two members of the quintet, music of Czech composer Josef Bohuslav Förster, and "Tom Cats," a charming narrated movement from Luciano Berio's Opus No. Zoo. (more)

October 03: 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)

September 26: James Ehnes, violin; Eduard Laurel, piano

Virtuosi Various: Works of four composers who wrote with special brilliance for the violin come to life this week under the touch of the young Canadian violinist James Ehnes, who matches their mastery at every turn. Mr. Ehnes and pianist Eduard Laurel open their program with Maurice Ravel's bewitching (and bluesy) Sonata in G Major and conclude the hour with works of Pablo de Sarasate and Fritz Kreisler. J.S. Bach's beloved third partita for solo violin takes center stage, a pinnacle Ehnes prizes as much for its structure as for its "infinite possibilities." (more)

September 19: Renée Fleming, soprano; Richard Bado, piano

Jewel Song: Whenever she lifts her voice, American soprano Renée Fleming commands a beauty of tone, an intelligence, and a presence that are hers alone. She is truly a singer for our time. This week on Saint Paul Sunday, Bill McGlaughlin welcomes Ms. Fleming and her long-time friend and collaborator Richard Bado for a program that draws freely from her rich stylistic palette. We'll hear two songs of Richard Strauss; arias by Puccini, Catalani, Gounod, and André Previn; and several American works, including Harold Arlen's "Over the Rainbow," and a timely new song by Gene Scheer that recalls poignant memories of war. (more)

September 12: Emerson String Quartet

Converging Lines: For over a quarter century, the Emerson String Quartet has led audiences into profound encounters with the composers central to its repertoire. This week on Saint Paul Sunday, the renowned ensemble gives us peak examples of four—Haydn, Beethoven, Bartók, and Shostakovich—and flavors the mix with an American twist: music by Charles Ives and doublebass virtuoso Edgar Meyer, who joins the Emerson in a performance of his own "Quintet for String Quartet and Doublebass." (more)

September 05: 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.


August 22: John Holloway, Baroque violin; Aloysia Assenbaum, organ; Lars-Ulrik Mortensen, harpsichord

Harmonic Daring: Discover what amazing sounds turn up when three instruments seldom heard together find their own irresistible voice. Baroque violinist John Holloway, organist Aloysia Assenbaum, and harpsichordist Lars Ulrik Mortensen will play captivating music of the 17th century—works whose harmonic and contrapuntal daring is as exhilarating to modern ears as it was to its first audiences. (more)

August 15: The Ahn Trio: From Haydn to Jim Morrison

Ahn-Plugged: From Haydn to Jim Morrison, whatever music the Ahn Trio performs it does so with equal parts artistry and flair. And as these celebrated sisters point out, why shouldn't classical music be fun? It's all about the music when the Ahn Trio stops by the Saint Paul Sunday studio this week to play the last trio of a master, two pieces by living composers and a special arrangement of a different kind of "classic"—"Riders on the Storm." (more)

August 08: The Dorian Wind Quintet

Musical Gifts: Hailed by TIME magazine as "one of chamber music’s most sparkling and eloquent ensembles," the Dorian Wind Quintet joins Bill McGlaughlin in the studio this week for a program that shows us why. After performing music of Anton Reicha, "the father of the wind quintet," the fivesome offers three imaginative new variations on his beloved E-flat Major Quintet-works written by living composers specifically to celebrate the Dorians' forty years together as an ensemble. Along with anniversary variations by Richard Rodney Bennett, George Perle and Lee Hoiby, we'll also hear charming music of Darius Milhaud and Lalo Shifrin, all played with the quintet's customary virtuosity and verve. (more)

August 01: The Sixteen

Heaven and earth: Out of the cultural upheaval of 16th-century Europe emerged choral music of otherworldly power and calm. This week on Saint Paul Sunday, Bill McGlaughlin welcomes the celebrated British ensemble The Sixteen and its conductor Harry Christophers for polyphonic Renaissance works by Palestrina, Victoria, and Byrd. The program juxtaposes three sensuous "Song of Songs" settings with ethereal liturgical works—music the Sixteen sings with all its famed artistry and warmth. (more)

July 25: Miami String Quartet and Nokuthula Ngwenyama, viola

New Frontiers: How has the New World enlivened those traditional forms it inherited from the Old? This week violist Nokuthula Ngwenyama and the Miami String Quartet offer some delicious clues. The centerpiece of the program is Mozart's first viola quintet, written when the composer was just 17, but prophetic of the richness to come. Movements from two more works—Antonín Dvořák's Opus 97 viola quintet, written during the composer's three-year stay in the United States, and Argentine composer Alberto Ginastera's first quartet—observe a European musical language in distinctly North and South American styles. (more)

July 18: Jon Kimura Parker

Generous Spirit: Great classical music weaves its spell on multiple layers at once, and it's the rare artist who animates both its particulars and its larger expanses with equal aplomb. This week on Saint Paul Sunday, host Bill McGlaughlin welcomes renowned Canadian pianist Jon Kimura Parker for a joyous Beethoven sonata, Maurice Ravel's quietly revolutionary "Jeux d'Eau," and a stunning new fantasy on Harold Arlen's music for the "Wizard of Oz" composed for Mr. Parker himself. (more)

July 11: Pieter Wispelwey, cello; Dejan Lazić, piano

Kaleidoscope: A human voice, a beam of light, a fiery village dance? Whatever impressions the cello stirs in you, cellist Pieter Wispelwey and pianist Dejan Lazic add their own brilliant luster. This week on Saint Paul Sunday, the acclaimed duo brings to life three distinct faces of the instrument: music from the late eighteenth, middle nineteenth, and early twentieth centuries. Along with sonatas of Beethoven and Zoltán Kodály, we’ll hear Chopin’s little known Grande Polonaise Brillante for Cello and Piano in C Major. The mix is irresistable. (more)

July 04: REBEL

Italian Inspiration: The irresistible charm and originality of Italian music, whether openly embraced or officially banned, left an enduring impression on composers throughout 17th and 18th century Europe. This week on Saint Paul Sunday, the acclaimed ensemble REBEL joins Bill McGlaughlin to explore this remarkable influence as it was variously revealed by Vivaldi, Telemann, Purcell, and others. Listen to the performance in for what the Los Angeles Times calls "astonishingly vital music making." (more)

June 27: Avalon String Quartet

Inspired Exchange: Owing to its intimacy and self-direction, chamber music at its best is always a give-and-take process. The Avalon String Quartet, Bill McGlaughlin’s guests this week on Saint Paul Sunday, lend dazzling musicianship to this chemistry, one that glows both within their close circle and through ongoing collaboration with several master ensembles of our day, including the Juilliard, Emerson, and Vermeer string quartets. Having recently completed a two-year quartet residency at the Juilliard School, the quartet was immediately engaged to be artists-in-residence at Indiana University at South Bend where they serve as full-time string faculty. Its emerging presence on the American music scene signals the arrival of an exhilarating new voice. (more)

June 20: 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)

June 13: Concertante

Shapeshifters: The nine exceptionally gifted young artists of Concertante perform as various ensembles, from familiar combinations of five and six to the rarer mélange of the nonet. This week on Saint Paul Sunday, Concertante visits the studio as a sextet to play two seldom-heard jewels of the chamber repertoire: Johannes Brahms's Opus 18 String Sextet, a serene and sunny work that nonetheless reflects hard-won transcendence of loss, and Pyotr Tchaikovsky's suggestively beautiful Souvenir de Florence. In whatever form it happens to take, Concertante performs with great insight and dash. (more)

June 06: 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)

May 30: Andrew Manze, Baroque violin; Richard Egarr, harpsichord

The liberating influence exerted by Italian music on European composers from the Renaissance through the 17th and 18th centuries changed Western music ever after. This week on Saint Paul Sunday, the great Baroque violinist Andrew Manze and his longtime harpsichord colleague Richard Egarr trace this special impact: first as it came to inspire Handel and Bach, then in the often-ecstatic fluency it assumed in the music of Pandolfi and Corelli. (more)

May 23: 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)

May 16: Sequenza

"Sequenza," which literally means "following," suits this piano trio perfectly, conveying at once admiration for the past and a vibrant commitment to the future. Violinist Mark Kaplan, cellist Colin Carr, and pianist Yael Weiss, each of whom enjoys a distinguished solo career, came together in 2001 out of their mutual love for ensemble playing. This week on Saint Paul Sunday, Sequenza brings us fresh interpretations of Romantic works-music of Brahms and Schubert-along with a performance of a trio by contemporary composer Bright Sheng. Listen to the performance in for music making of perpetual reinvention. (more)

May 09: 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)

May 02: 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)

April 25: Antares

Fun Frolic: Dodecaphunphrolic—a work composed by Stephan Freund for the unusual combination of clarinet, violin, cello, and piano—aptly describes Antares, the ensemble that performs it this week on Saint Paul Sunday. The "dodeca" of the title refers to the twelve-note scale around which the piece is written. Antares makes the "phunphrolic" part obvious. These brilliant young performers also bring us romantic music by Walter Rabl, a movement from Messiaen's ecstatic "Quartet for the End of Time," and a recent commission from John Mackey called "Breakdown Tango." (more)

April 18: Midori, violin; Robert McDonald, piano

Allegro Vivo: At just 11, Midori performed music of Paganini with the New York Philharmonic under Zubin Mehta, winning the hearts of music lovers around the country. In the decades since, she's performed as a beloved soloist with major orchestras worldwide and continues to reach out to new audiences—from inner-city youngsters in New York's public schools to those outside the main performing arts centers. This week on Saint Paul Sunday Midori joins esteemed pianist Robert McDonald for a wide-ranging program that reveals her multi-faceted artistry. We'll hear sonatas of Brahms, Debussy, and Schulhoff along with Amy Beach's Romance for Violin and Piano, and Pablo de Sarasate's fiery Introduction and Tarantella. Don't miss this hour of extraordinary music making. (more)

April 11: VocalEssence Ensemble Singers

Long treasured for its outstanding choral artistry and programmatic daring, VocalEssence seeks "to engage and enrich audiences who expect the unexpected." This Easter day on Saint Paul Sunday, the VocalEssence Ensemble Singers under founding artistic director Philip Brunelle do just that, introducing us to ten diverse contemporary works-several composed for the performers themselves. We'll hear Easter and springtime music of Dominick Argento, Stephen Paulus, Sir Richard Rodney Bennett, and a host of others. Since first performing over three decades ago, the Ensemble Singers have explored the texts of their wide-ranging repertoire as perceptively as they have its music. On Sunday's program a number of striking poem settings give this eloquence free reign. (more)

April 11: VocalEssence Ensemble Singers

Sing, My Soul: This week on Saint Paul Sunday we'll explore American verse and song with conductor Philip Brunelle and the Ensemble Singers of Vocalessence, from William Billings' early New England anthems through the musical and poetic voices of our own time. Performing works by Libby Larsen, Eric Whitacre, Ned Rorem and Moses Hogan, Vocalessence has the unique ability to create our American landscape though the human voice. Don't miss one of our most treasured choral institutions, as they give life to American artistry. (more)

April 04: 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)

April 04: 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 28: 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)

March 21: Leif Ove Andsnes performs Schumann, Debussy

Dubbing him "the most interesting pianist of his generation," The New York Times recently hailed Leif Ove Andsnes for his "gorgeous tone, fleet-fingered technique, rhythmic integrity, and textural clarity." Mr. Andsnes brings each of these prodigious powers to bear on his wide-ranging program for Saint Paul Sunday this week, first touring us through Vienna at Carnival-time with Robert Schumann's mercurial Faschingsschwank aus Wien, and next offering three transporting works by Debussy, including the beloved Isle Joyeuse. (more)

March 14: Edgar Meyer, doublebass; Mike Marshall, guitar & mandolin

Back Porch Harmony: Sometimes all we really need is to sit on the back porch and listen to friends play music. This week on Saint Paul Sunday, we get that chance when two of America's musical treasures, doublebass virtuoso Edgar Meyer and mandolinist and guitiarist Mike Marshall, bring us several of their own compositions and arrangement. It's a vivid quiltwork of classical and other styles. Tune in and pull up a chair. (more)

March 07: Alexandre da Costa, violin; Margo Garrett, piano

The "ghosts of great violinists hover over your whole program," observes guest host Ara Guzelimian this week as he welcomes two remarkable (and quite corporeal) guests into the studio. The young Canadian violinist Alexandre da Costa joins forces with acclaimed American pianist Margo Garrett for several works by composers who were either great violinists themselves, or who wrote with specific virtuosi in mind, or both. Mr. da Costa plays music of Brahms, Falla, Ysaÿe, and Sarasate with artistry as compelling as it is historically aware. The duo encores with a bravura arrangement of music for a different time and instrument: Jimi Hendrix's "Manic Depression." (more)

February 29: 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)

February 22: Osiris Trio

Ghost &: "It was by his gentleness alone that Osiris subjected country after country, winning and disarming their inhabitants by songs and the playing of musical instruments..." This week, three brilliant musicians from Amsterdam who have taken on the name of this Egyptian god of the underworld captivate us with spellbinding artistry of their own. Listen in as the Osiris Trio plays Beethoven's "Ghost" Trio, the first movement of the last chamber work Mendelssohn composed, and two evocative settings of Irish folk tunes by Frank Martin. (more)

February 08: 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)

February 01: Los Romero


January 25: Guarneri String Quartet

Four by Forty: Having recently celebrated its 40th anniversary, the Guarneri String Quartet is among the most revered and enduring ensembles of its kind in the world. It makes a warmly awaited return visit this week to perform Zoltán Kodály's songful and incisive second string quartet, two haunting movements of Robert Schumann's third quartet, and some variations by the "Spanish Mozart"—Juan Crisostomo Arriaga—who earned the moniker for the brilliance of his too-brief career. As it has for over four decades, the Guarneri lends a peerless radiance to every note and phrase. In June 2007, the ensemble announced plans to retire in 2009. (more)

January 11: Jean-Yves Thibaudet, piano

The piano music of Erik Satie radiates an unmistakable charm, and this week on Saint Paul Sunday we'll hear it performed by an artist whose affinity with the composer only deepens the spell. Celebrated French pianist Jean-Yves Thibaudet will perform several Satie works, including the radio première of his recently published seventh Gnossienne, a piece the pianist calls a "masterpiece...a world of its own." Thibaudet juxtaposes Satie with another composer he treasures-American jazz great Bill Evans-whose timely "Peace Piece" concludes the program. (more)

January 04: Contrasts Quartet

Chiaroscuro: Drawing upon the rich textural opportunities their unusual makeup affords, the members of Contrasts—clarinetist Ayako Oshima, violinist Monica Bauchwitz, cellist Ariane Lallemand, and pianist Evelyne Luest—traverse new musical landscapes. This week, true to form, Contrasts brings us a varied program: trios of Beethoven and Khatchaturian, and two "Episodes" of an extended quartet composed especially for them by Ned Rorem. (more)