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Classical Crib Sheet: Top 5 Stories This Week

St. Paul Chamber Orchestra violists Evelina Chao and Maiya Papach wage battle in happier times.
courtesy of the Musicians of the St. Paul Chamber Orchestra
St. Paul Chamber Orchestra violists Evelina Chao and Maiya Papach wage battle in happier times.
  • Uff da: Along with the Minnesota Orchestra, the St. Paul Chamber Orchestra has also locked out its musicians, leaving the Twin Cities bereft for now. "Players at the St. Paul Chamber Orchestra did not vote on an offer from management, and the board of directors shut the doors and canceled concerts through Nov. 4 ... So for the first time since the SPCO launched in 1959, neither orchestra will be playing for at least the next two weeks."
  • Meanwhile, Minneapolis-based attorney Eric Nilsson — who has two family members playing in St. Paul — wrote a must-read editorial for Minnesota Public Radio about the realities of these financial messes: "However much it takes to become a top-flight classical musician, the performer can expect to earn only what the market is able and willing to pay ... The problem is that unless and until society at large assigns higher value to the extraordinary work of classical music performers, musicians cannot expect to be paid what they deserve."
  • Not only has the New York Philharmonic extended music director Alan Gilbert's contract through the 2016-17 season, the administration is airing plans to "decamp Avery Fisher Hall for a major renovation" for at least one full season — with "pop-up" concerts happening around the city in the interim.
  • A collector has unearthed a small treasure in New York: "acetate discs of a Kurt Weill work that even Weill scholars did not know had ever been recorded." It's the score to Railroads on Parade, a pageant at the 1939 World's Fair. The collector, Guy Walker, is releasing his find later this month on his new record label.
  • Remember "The Machine"? (How could you not?) Well, director Robert Lepage is now back at the Met with his production of Thomas Adès' opera The Tempest, in which Shakespeare's island resembles Milan's La Scala opera house. And this round is going somewhat better, says Anthony Tommasini of the New York Times: "The concept is heavy-handed and skirts cliché. Still, the idea has resonance."
  • Classical geek? Keep going ...

  • Speaking of the Met: Blogger La Cieca has her own version of the late, lamented Met Futures site with rumors of what's on deck for 2013-14, including Muhly's Two Boys and the house's first performance of Borodin's Prince Igor since 1915.
  • Brahms biographer Jan Swafford has a nice piece with musical examples on Slate this week, making a case for Brahms as a self-referential composer: "For all his intense privacy, now and then he let something slip, usually in his oblique fashion." And, says Swafford, a lot of that concerns Clara Schumann, "the love of his life." (Aside from the thing he had for the Schumanns' daughter Julia.)
  • Sourdough vs. Coney Island dogs? The San Francisco Symphony and the Detroit Symphony Orchestra have a friendly bet on the World Series. The losing city's orchestra will send a goodie box packed with local culinary delights to the winning city.
  • More from our friends in the Motor City: you can watch them live this morning (!) at 10:45 AM EDT playing Sibelius' Second Symphony.
  • Young German composer Johannes Kreidler took to the stage at a recent concert to protest the German radio broadcaster SWR's decision to merge two radio orchestras. The climax of his "protest action" was smashing two (cheap) instruments into shreds a few feet away from SWR honcho Peter Boudgoust.
  • And here's a lovely short, "The Distance of the Moon," by Israeli author and illustrator Shulamit Serafy, based on a story by Italo Calvino. The music is Satie's Gnossienne No. 1.
  • Copyright 2021 NPR. To see more, visit https://www.npr.org.

    Anastasia Tsioulcas is a reporter on NPR's Arts desk. She is intensely interested in the arts at the intersection of culture, politics, economics and identity, and primarily reports on music. Recently, she has extensively covered gender issues and #MeToo in the music industry, including backstage tumult and alleged secret deals in the wake of sexual misconduct allegations against megastar singer Plácido Domingo; gender inequity issues at the Grammy Awards and the myriad accusations of sexual misconduct against singer R. Kelly.