Day #167: Public Radio

In our office and in our home, we listen to public radio much of the day and night. Music provides the calm in our day and the joy in our evenings. I am grateful to MPR (classical in MN), KBEM (jazz in MN), WKHR (vintage jazz in OH), and KNKX (jazz in WA). We believe in public radio and public television. Our thanks to all of the news reporters, classical hosts, and jazz hosts for sharing your passions and knowledge with your listeners!

Day #137: Love for Three Oranges

It’s Monday morning! Energetic music is needed. When I was in high school, I chose to study Russia in my World History class. For the next six years, I would read Russian novels and nonfiction, sit in the front row to hear Yevgeny Yevtushenko recite his poetry, and listen to Russian music. I was fascinated. One of my great loves from that time is Sergei Prokofiev’s March from “Love for Three Oranges.” Here it is played by the San Francisco Symphony at the 2000 Proms, with Michael Tilson Thomas conducting. Happy Monday!

Michael Tilson Thomas conducting the San Francisco Symphony playing the March from "Love for Three Oranges"

Day #130: Liner Notes

Did you read album liner notes? (I know, what’s an album?) Many of my album covers are worn out because I read through those notes over and over, especially those that had lyrics for all of the songs. I appreciated knowing who the musicians were for each song. I used to imagine their studio sessions and how they interacted. If you look up “liner notes” online, you’ll find articles mourning how liner notes placed the album in a specific time and place. They were recording history for the future. I even dreamed of writing liner notes when I grew up. I’m grateful for the people who did write them … and the artists who made them beautiful. CDs often included liner notes (in miniature) but now, with streaming music, we need a website that has readable images of all of those liner notes of decades past … and going forward.

Liner notes for Connie Evingson's "Gypsy in My Soul"
liner notes from Connie Evingson’s Gypsy in My Soul

Day #116: Capriccio Italien

It’s Monday morning and, as is often the case, I need a kickstart into the week. What better than one of the soundtracks of my life, Pyotr Tchaikovsky’s Capriccio Italien Opus 45? Composed while he was in Rome in 1880, he wrote, “I have already completed the sketches for an Italian fantasia on folk tunes for which I believe a good fortune may be predicted. It will be effective, thanks to the delightful tunes which I have succeeded in assembling partly from anthologies, partly from my own ears in the streets.” I love knowing that he was listening to folk music to inspire his creativity.

Here’s a version conducted by Herbert von Karajan, with the Berlin Philharmonic:

Day #113: Joni Mitchell

In this persistent winter, I have finally applied my best antidote: Joni Mitchell. Constant companion, genius, master musician, songwriter, innovator … I am grateful for her presence in this world, in our house. We are listening to The Hissing of Summer Lawns. Here, Graham Nash sings “Our House” at Joni Mitchell’s 75th Birthday Celebration. Catch the special on PBS, if you can.

The Hissing of Summer Lawns, Joni Mitchell

Day #100: Music Teachers

Aren’t school music teachers wonderful? They help us explore talents that might otherwise go undiscovered. They introduce us to music that will remain with us for the rest of our lives. They give us a vocabulary and a way to appreciate music that would remain mysterious otherwise. “Pictures at an Exhibition,” “Peter and the Wolf,” and “Carmina Burana” (are memories stirring?) stay with us because we remember them musically and visually. They tell us stories. My Flutophone led to a clarinet and the knowledge of what a musician in an orchestra or band experiences. I am confident many of us share the gratitude I feel for music teachers. For me, I am grateful for my elementary school teacher, Mr. Sundt in junior high, and Mr. Griebenow in high school. How else would I know about musical notation, John Cage, timpani, or Emerson, Lake & Palmer’s version of Mussorgsky’s piano suite? How else would I have learned enough to feel so blessed by music?

Mr. Gordon Griebenow and Mr. Eugene Sundt
Mr. Griebenow and Mr. Sundt, two of my heroes.
Pictures at an Exhibiition and Grand Canyon Suite
I played these two albums until they wore out.
Emerson Lake & Palmer's Pictures at an Exhibition
Did you listen to this rock version of “Pictures at an Exhibition”?
Carmina Burana, Robert Shaw
Our combined choirs of St. Louis Park, Stillwater, and Edina sang “Carmina Burana” at Northrop Auditorium. With an orchestra conducted by Robert Shaw and professional soloists,it was the memory of a lifetime. Who knew Robert Shaw well enough to bring him to Minnesota for this performance?

Day #99: Heidi Grosch

I am grateful for my friend Heidi Grosch who is one of the most ebullient, determined, warm-hearted, and talented people that I know. After moving from the US to Norway for love, she learned Norwegian, earned a master’s degree in education, raises Christmas trees, and, oh yes, teaches education at Nord University. Her current excellent idea is CyberBridge, short, daily videos inspiring ESL teachers in grades 1 through 7. Today’s video, singing “Do Re Mi” from The Sound of Music, is suggested for your classroom (done in sing-along style). Other videos talk about grammar, books to share, and learning activities. And remember, these are done by Norwegians for whom English is a second language. Heidi, you are simply amazing.

Here are links: “Do Re Mi” sung by Sparbu songlag, their YouTube channel to which you can subscribe, and their Facebook page, which you can follow.

Day #98: WKHR

Do you have access to internet radio? Do you enjoy music of the 30s, 40s, and 50s as much as we do? I am grateful for WKHR out of Cleveland. It’s in regular rotation among our streamed radio channels. The DJs are volunteers, many of them people who participated in that music firsthand so we hear fascinating stories. We have to remind ourselves we’re listening to an Ohio station when they report the weather!

WKHR internet streaming radio

Day #95: Joan Baez

This woman has been a lighthouse for me, casting her beacon on the craggy rocks of our challenging world by speaking to truth, social action, and persistence. Her music, particularly the albums “The Joan Baez Ballad Book” and “Blessed Are,” are well loved and known by heart in this house. Heart. She has given hers to all of us for many decades. “Music can move people to do things.” I am grateful to Joan Baez for her many gifts. Read “Joan Baez: Music Can Move People to Do Things,” in The Guardian.


Joan Baez. Photograph: Ryan Shorosky/New York Times