Friday, March 31, 2023

Minnesota Orchestra and Chorale with soloists offer excellent Creation


On Thursday and Friday and Saturday, the last three days of March, The Minnesota Orchestra,  and the Minnesota Chorale supported three fine soloists, Joelle Harvey, Robert Murray and Kevin Deas presented ­­ a fine and spectacular concert created by Franz Joseph Haydn. “The Creation” is just that and in the hands and under the careful direction of Conductor Paul McCreesh.

From the opening bars of carefully constructed chaos, the creation vision of composer Haydn offers a marvelous journey of symphonic music, soaring and soulful vocal conversations, all beautifully and emotionally staged for maximum effect.

We are fortunate in the Twin Cities to have available a well-supported highly talented and varied collection of individual and experienced groups of fine musicians. We are further blessed by musicians with broad and encompassing musical tastes and recognition.

Thursday, March 16, 2023


Minnesota Symphony concert attendees, Friday and Saturday, March 17-18 are in for a real treat. Guest conductor, Michael Francis runs the string-orchestra sections of our orchestra in a dynamite, varied and enthralling program, from Beethoven’s “Grosse Fuge” and Shostakovich’s “Cello Concerto” to Jessica Montgomery’s modern “Strum,” and concluding with Mozart’s “Symphony number 41,” the Jupiter.

Francis is a fully engaged, lively and intensely focused conductor. He brought out the best in the strings, with the very wide diversity of selections and masterful conducting. Beethoven might have been accused of being on the edge of derangement with this fuge. Its tone ranges from the benign to the rambunctious, interspersed with odd moments of complete silence.

The Cello Concerto is, by turns, lumpy, dark and smooth. Cellist Johannes Moser has a taste for the dramatic which he deftly displayed both in his bowing technique and his dress. This stage presence in no way detracts from Moser’s creative and high-flying musicianship.

Jessica Montgomery created “Strum,” she says in a moment of rehearsal boredom. The short contemporary composition ranges from peaceful contemplation to almost ecstatic dance and ably demonstrates the composer’s, and the orchestra’s  range of talent and taste.

Finally, the orchestra, still under the baton of the enthusiastic guest conductor, romped through “the Jupiter,” playing with elan and panache. Altogether a fine way to spend the noon hour or an evening in enjoyment of all the talent displayed on the orchestra hall stage this weekend.

Tuesday, March 14, 2023



For more than thirty years, Julie Himmelstrup, an accomplished pianist in her own right has managed, auditioned and booked varied musical talent from all over the world. With assistance from her husband and residents of a Saint Paul neighborhood called St, Anthony Park, Julie has expanded our musical understanding and appreciation over the years. She recently turned her series over to the venerable Schubert Club of Saint Paul. The Schubert Club, with Julie paying close attention, has continued the tradition and continues to raise the quality of the five annual Sunday afternoon concerts each year.


On Sunday, March 12, at 4 pm, in spite of huge snow banks and restricted parking, a nearly full house of patrons assembled at the neighborhood United Church of Christ to hear and appreciate a young violin and piano duo. Randall Goosby, on a 1735 Giuseppe Guarneri violin and Anna Han on piano, with an impressive background of pipe organ pipes, made their first of what is hoped to be many more successful concerts here in Saint Paul.


The well-balanced and very talented couple offered a program of pieces by Boulanger, Ravel, William Grant Still and the luscious Sonata No. 9 in A Major by Ludwig van Beethoven.


The hall is acoustically excellent, the performers equally talented and persuasive. The program was brilliant, subtle and illuminating. One often expects an imbalance between performers in these classical duos. The pianist is usually expected to offer important presence but secondary to the brilliance of the violinist. Not here. Anna Han raised her hands and made that grand piano provide every bit of musical content. Clearly the two performers recognized the variations in the score between them when the violin took the lead and they shared the stage as equal talents.


Randall Goosby played brilliantly throughout the concert, offering appropriate musicianship, great variation from sweet and smooth lyrical tone to highly polished blues; from pizzicato to carefully bowed andantes.


This concert, on a snowy afternoon, was uplifting, a fine display of the talents of the two performers and a great conclusion to a snowy afternoon.

Wednesday, March 01, 2023


 Saturday, March 18, 2023 at the Steeples Center in Rosemount, 9 am to 4:30. Workshops and books for sale. Who'llbe there?

TRACES will be there. SINS OF EDOM will be there. SILENCE OF THE LOONS will be there. I'LL be there. REUNION will b there THE CASE OF THE MISSING CASE will be there. I hope you will too.

Steeples Center, Rosemount Minn.

14375 south Robert Street

Rosemount, Minnesota

March 18.  Be thre!