Recording With a Great Symphony Orchestra

The Minnesota Orchestra just finished (…or perhaps “Finnished”) recording its CD of Sibelius’s Third, Sixth, and Seventh Symphonies for the Swedish label, BIS.  Principal Trumpet Manny Laureano posted his thoughts on the recording process over on his Facebook page; it was such a good piece, I asked if he’d allow me to cross-post it here on my blog.  He agreed!  Please enjoy—I think it gives a fantastic insider look into the creative process.  I’ll keep you posted on when the CD is released! 

–Scott

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Lots of you know this past couple of weeks has had the Minnesota Orchestra recording in addition to playing our season finale and “Inside the Classics” concert. But precious few really know the inside baseball of putting out a memorable recording with a great orchestra. Here’s your chance. I hope I do the process justice. Continue reading

Season Finale, Season Review

It’s been a week since the finale of the Minnesota Orchestra’s 2014-2015 season… a season filled with remarkable achievements that I don’t know I could have imagined at this time last year. And of course, things didn’t end with that final concert… the Orchestra jumped right into a week-long, monster recording session to finish up their album of Sibelius’s Third, Sixth, and Seventh Symphonies.

But before it gets any later, I wanted to share my feelings on the final concert, as well as the season as a whole. Continue reading

Looking Back on a Joyous Recording Session

This week (today, if I’m not mistaken) the Minnesota Orchestra is finishing up its recording session of Sibelius’s Third, Sixth, and Seventh Symphonies for the Swedish recording compnay, BIS.  This has me thinking back a previous recording I was privileged to make with them in 2006—Beethoven’s 9th Symphony. The Ode to Joy.  I took part as a singer of the Minnesota Chorale.

I was also the Public Relations Writer for the Orchestra at the time, and my boss asked me to write about my experiences for the Orchestra’s newsletter, Orchestra Times. I happily obliged with the following piece. Shortly after it appeared, Osmo himself told me how much he enjoyed it, and suggested with a wink that BIS producer Rob Suff would appreciate how I portrayed him (I hope so!).  Enjoy! Continue reading

Sibelius’s Sixth and Seventh Symphonies: A Preview

Sibelius’s Sixth and Seventh Symphonies. On the surface, the two works are vastly different in all aspects. It is curious, therefore, to realize that Sibelius wrote them more or less simultaneously, and they share many musical bits between them.

More important, both are unqualified masterpieces of the Finnish composer’s final creative period. I love them both, but the Sixth remains one of my absolute favorite works of classical music (long-time readers will remember that in my very first blog post, I recounted my story of driving 500 miles to hear Osmo conduct the Sixth in his very first concert with the Minnesota Orchestra, long before he was appointed music director).

As Osmo and the Orchestra gear up to perform and record both works as part of the 2014-2015 season finale, I wanted to provide a preview to these stunning works. Continue reading

Final Thoughts on Cuba

For some time now, I’ve been planning on doing a final wrap-up about my time in Cuba with the Minnesota Orchestra. My last tour-related article for MinnPost was a more analytical overview of what the tour meant on a broader scale, and I’m quite proud of it.

But at the same time, the tour touched me deeply on a personal level, and I wanted to capture my personal feelings with a post here on my blog—one that would serve as my final thoughts about the tour, provide profound wisdom that would set the Internet ablaze, and no doubt win me not just a Pulitzer, but a Nobel Peace Prize for my ability to bring two hostile countries together. Continue reading

Reflections on Cuba: Running Down Hemingway’s Cocktails

[Now that things have calmed down, I wanted to share some personal reminiscences about my time in Havana with the Minnesota Orchestra.]

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“My mojito in La Bodeguita, my daiquiri in El Floridita.” – Ernest Hemingway

This iconic line, written out by Ernest Hemingway in regards to two of his favorite drinks in two of his favorite haunts in Havana, was an inspiration. I have a long fondness for rum (the essential ingredient for both drinks), and one of my hobbies is putting together craft cocktails. And since no one knew either Havana or rum like Ernest Hemingway… well, I knew that as soon as I had some downtime, I was going to hit the cobblestone streets of Old Havana, find Papa Hemingway’s favorite rum joints, and experience them for myself. Continue reading

Reflections on Cuba: Talking Pirates in a Pirate Fortress

[Now that things have calmed down, I wanted to share some personal reminiscences about my time in Havana with the Minnesota Orchestra.]

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Like many people, I’ve had a long fascination with pirates. (Well, perhaps I should say like many people in the English-speaking world; people in the Spanish Caribbean tend to have a somewhat different view of the “golden age of piracy.” In these parts of the world, Sir Francis Drake is still remembered as “El Draque,” a monstrous bogeyman used to frighten children.) Continue reading