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Mixed Company is written by Saint Paul Sunday staff, giving you a behind-the-scenes look at the show and the classical music they love. We welcome your online comments.

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January 29, 2006

Poets

Though it’s happened just a handful of times over my 300-odd program tenure here, sometimes life or work keeps me from a recording session. It’s always a loss, especially when the artist or ensemble missed is one for whom I have as much affection and admiration as I do this week’s guest. Happily, I’ve had lots of other chances here to see and hear Garrick Ohlsson, both by himself and with the FOG Trio, a wonderful threesome he co-founded several years ago with violinist Jorja Fleezanis and cellist Michael Grebanier.

Garrick brings to mind something I read in a philosophy class about the psychoanalyst Otto Rank: “the insights seem like a gift, beyond what is necessary.” Garrick’s insights and gifts, and his sharing of them, are indeed superabundant. He spans astonishing musical (and, in the process, geographical) territory, illuminating and integrating all he adopts with outright mastery. After having recorded the complete solo works of Frédéric Chopin, he’s now undertaking a complete edition of the Beethoven sonatas (perhaps the greatest of which—the Opus 111—we hear on today’s program).

It often happens that when I do miss a session and then listen to the recording after the fact, I come away with a keener sense of how Saint Paul Sunday works on the radio—which of course is what it’s all about. Honing that sense is always at the forefront of what we do but is sometimes lost amid the weekly urgencies of producing a national series. And I think the mystical piano works of Alexander Scriabin, reconjured here by Garrick in all their peculiar and interior beauty, fit the intimacy of radio and of Saint Paul Sunday especially well.

So you might wonder with me, as Scriabin's études and poèmes wash over you this week, if it’s not possibly a case of “even better than being there.”

Posted by Vaughn Ormseth at January 29, 2006 11:35 AM

 

Comments

A marvelous program with Garrick Ohlson on Jan. 29. His playing of Scriabin and Beethoven were among the finest performances I've ever heard on radio or in the concert hall. I'd never heard the 5th sonata of Scriabin before and was stunned at its passionate complexity, and by Ohlson's playing. No wonder I've never heard it before--it sounds close to unplayable. A wonderful program. Thank you!
John Vaughan

By John Vaughan at January 29, 2006 2:19 PM

 

A marvelous program with Garrick Ohlsson on Jan. 29. His playing of Scriabin and Beethoven were among the finest performances I've ever heard on radio or in the concert hall. I'd never heard the 5th sonata of Scriabin before and was stunned at its passionate complexity, and by Ohlsson's playing. No wonder I've never heard it before--it sounds close to unplayable. A wonderful program. Thank you!
John Vaughan

By John Vaughan at January 29, 2006 2:21 PM

 

Garrick Ohlsson has that special combination of fire and grace that makes it possible to handle the 5th sonata. The performance was very exciting to listen to. One could only imagine what he must have looked like playing those massive handfulls of piano keys, all the while jumping from one end of the keyboard to the other. The music of Scriabin deserves hearing, and it got its just desert from Garrick Ohlsson. Fortunatley, I have plans to see him live with the SPCO when he does the Schumann Concerto at the end of February. Great program.

Stephen Stouder

By Stephen Stouder at January 29, 2006 2:44 PM

 

When I read about this program last week I thought, but I don't like Scriabin. At the end of today's program I was mad at my radio when it ended. You make this displaced LA girl living in central CA very happy each week. The Dawn Upshaw and Gill Kalisch program was treat beyond words, every bit as wonderful as Bill Macglaughlin's description of your day with them. Thank you for your programs.

By Katherine S at January 30, 2006 8:23 AM