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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.

« Celebrating Mozart, in all his glorious complexities | Main | Poets »

January 20, 2006

Sunshine, Baseball, and Sigur Rós

Although I’d never actually met Dawn Upshaw before the day of this recording, I felt sure, with that quasi-presumptuous familiarity great singers often draw from their admirers, that I’d known what she would be like from her CDs and performances. This is an old story, of course, as old as theater and music themselves—and way older than recording technology. Perhaps it’s also the highest praise someone who’s devoted her life to inhabiting roles and worlds through those means can receive.

Even from that lofty vantage point, though, there is in Dawn’s singing and portrayals a special clarity and presence, and I was both relieved and bit awed to discover how consistent those are with the lovely, unaffected person we shared the afternoon with.

Actually there were two lovely people, both of whom had visited Saint Paul Sunday before my time here—Gil Kalish had made two prior visits in the 1980s with cellist Joel Krosnick. (Dawn had come once before, in 1991, with pianist Richard Goode see photo) You’ll hear right how these two intrepid musical beings click, and why they continue to make such beautiful music.

This program took place in a small reverberant hall on the campus of St. Paul’s Hamline University. After it was done, we walked outside and adjusted our eyes to a beautiful June evening. Summer comes late and a little tipsily to Minnesota—so we made plans then and there to meet later at W.A. Frost, a café in F. Scott Fitzgerald’s old neighborhood known for its large tree-shaded patio, where we talked over dinner about music, politics, families, baseball (Gil and Dawn had taken Gil’s nephew to a Twins game the day before), and Icelandic rock bands (Bjork and Sigur Rós, favorites of Dawn's and mine). Heavenly.

Posted by Vaughn Ormseth at January 20, 2006 5:36 PM



An especially enjoyable program this morning: St. Paul Sunday brought two treasures of the American musical scene (Upshaw and Kalish)to us this morning with beautifully diverse programming. Those of us whose lives are enriched by the fine arts are grateful for this superb programming.

Lowell Swarts

By Lowell Swarts at January 22, 2006 9:27 AM


Great program by one of my favorite singers!
Would it be possible to post texts and translations for song recitals on the web site? That would be a great help in understanding the music.
Herbert Winter

By Herbert Winter at January 23, 2006 8:49 PM


That's a great suggestion Herbert. It will take some tracking down, but I'll try to get the texts sometime today or tomorrow. Glad you enjoyed the program!

By Suzanne Schaffer at January 24, 2006 9:21 AM



Your program with Dawn Upshaw and Gil Kalish was wonderful. What sensitive performances. I especially liked the John Harbison and William Bolcom compositions. American composers are so rarely heard on the public broadcasting music stations. I often wonder if they are receiving a grant from the European Union to continue the old war horses. This is America in the 21st century; lets hear our music! When they do play American composers it is usually Gershwin, Copland, or Ferde Grofe.

Right now we have one of the truly great composers still with us, Elliot Carter. I would love to have you present a program of his music and maybe an interview if possible.

Anyway, thanks for the Upshaw/Kalish program.

David Chaffee

By david chaffee at January 24, 2006 1:16 PM


Vaughn, I guess I should have addressed my comments (above)to you as well.
David Chaffee

By davd chaffee at January 25, 2006 3:24 PM