SNM — “the MO is a good place for players on the way up or on the way down…” s d reply

A. Penner says, “it seems they will lose status…? “

The current MO salary is comparative with the top tier of US orchestras who have earned international recognition. The orchestra model many of these players signed onto was that of a destination orchestra of international renown. MOA seems to have a different vision for the MO — to return it to the status of a good regional orchestra, and lower the salaries to be consistent with that level of status.

Previous conductor SNM said in the 80’s the MO was a good place for players ‘on their way up or on their way down’. The MO was not a destination orchestra at that time. Ironically, a handful of players still with the MO were there during his tenure.


The unfortunate reality? s d reply…

It is ironic that everyone is getting an insight into just how the players think as a result of this prolonged lockout.  “Nice” is not part of the job description.  One of those players even said to me, “you have to have a killer instinct to succeed in this business.”

Two worlds coming together? Mozart and JFK?

For some years, I have worked  both to demonstrate my credentials in the world of music ( and to fulfill a commitment as a citizen of our country to share information regarding the limousine in which JFK was riding when he was killed(  Normally, these two worlds appear to operate independently.  There does not seem to be much of a common denominator between them, with the exception of the fact that both Mozart and JFK were Catholic.

Recent events, however, seem to be taking somewhat curious turns.  As the outcome of musical events here is in the last stages (or death throes, as it were) of being determined, a somewhat eccentric piece of my JFK researcher world who lives half-a-world-away has re-entered my life, and may, in fact, be coming to Minneapolis.  Here is a blog I have maintained on the claims of Judyth Baker (

As I prepare to present on the limo in Dallas, at the end of November a performance with a somewhat esoteric connection of the Mahler 2, one of my favorite works,  is scheduled in Minneapolis (

Hmmm….well, I always do love a good mystery…:-0

Analysis of Rouhani’s UN speech. Plus, why did Iranian leader snub meeting with Obama? And Netanyahu warns U.S. not to fall into Iran’s “honey trap.”

Why did Rouhani choose to snub Pres. Obama yet speak to Christianne Amanpour on CNN? :-0

Joel C. Rosenberg's Blog

>> Netanyahu’s official statement, responding to Rouhani’s speech

(Washington, D.C.) — It was an odd day at the United Nations. In some ways, it went as planned. In other ways, not so much.

Iranian President Hassan Rouhani delivered his first address before the General Assembly today, and it was just what we had expected. Rouhani did everything he could not to look or sound like his predecessor, Mahmoud Ahmadinejad. He sounded like a moderate, he vowed Iran was a peaceful country, he insisted Iran would never build nuclear weapons, he called for economic sanctions to be removed from his country, he seemed to hold out an olive branch to the United States, and he didn’t pray to Allah asking for the Twelfth Imam to come soon and set up an Islamic caliphate.

No big surprise. I had noted that the Iranian “charm offensive” was going to be kicked into high gear, and it was.

View original post 1,473 more words

Happy Hoshana Rabbah!

Lovely ideas…

CBI: From the Rabbi

Dear Congregation Beth Israel members and friends,

Today is a minor Jewish holiday which some of us may have never heard of. Today is Hoshanna Rabbah.hoshanah-rabbah

Hoshanna Rabbah is the 7th day of Sukkot. The name means “The Great ‘Save Us!'” On this day, tradition calls us to circle seven times around our sanctuary with our lulavim (the bundles of branches which we’ve been shaking in the sukkah every day) and our Torah scrolls, while reciting prayers called Hoshanot which ask God to bring healing and salvation. (Here’s a bit of explanation about the Hoshanot.) Traditionally we would recite one Hoshana prayer each day of Sukkot, and today — the 7th day — we would recite all seven of them.’s also a very old custom of taking willow branches (either from our lulavim, or other willow branches we happen to have on hand) and beating them against the…

View original post 180 more words

Why Mahler, indeed?

I have just received my own copy of Norman Lebrecht’s classic book on Gustav Mahler, called “Why Mahler?”  I borrowed the book often from the library, but realized not long ago that my relationship with it had gone beyond the point of being able to hand it back.  I needed my own copy that I could tag and mark up.  It is that good.

Reading Mr. Lebrecht’s introduction made me think once again of my own introduction to Mahler and his music.  Though I had heard of him, known he was labelled the ‘prophet of doom’, and had written a lot of very sad music, I never sought Mahler out during the years when I borrowed every classical record available from our local library.  Too dense, too intense.  I was afraid of it.  And rightly so.

But then life dealt me and my family a nasty jolt.  A family member nearly died by their own hand.  It took years for me to even be grateful they had survived.  Such was the tortuous and snarled world of ‘mental illness’.  It was as though one fell off a tightrope into depression or unmanageable anxiety. There was simply nothing good about it.  In this case, it had become my conviction that another family member may have even bullied and traumatized this person into having a breakdown.  The possibility of the threat of a near-by predator became just as terrifying as that of the events that unfolded.  There was no way out.  There was simply ‘down’.  I felt isolated.  I lived by music.  I immersed myself in whatever called to me, and always found myself strengthened and somehow less helpless.  But I lived alone with all my thoughts and concerns over these family events for some time, dragging them around with me like a heavy tail I could feel but not see.

But then I happened upon a coffee concert at the Minnesota Orchestra long ago.  In its pre-Vanska days I was unable to enter the hall with anticipation of anything more than hearing mostly war horses played with just about every bad musical habit known to man.  So I sighed and prepared to grit my teeth once again, as the concert began.  I had not completely given up hope, however, that they might this one time play together with a cohesive sound.

And then the Mahler 1st began, with guest conductor Klaus Tennstedt.  The “Titan”, it was called.  A god, kicked out of heaven.  I felt that way myself sometimes.  I was tempted to wonder what pompous and drawn-out angst might await me.  And then I heard the flute — the first morning, calling out.  I was intrigued. Before long, I was drawn in.  Then mesmerized.  The mocking insolence of the oboe in the funeral march was a cue to me that I was experiencing a different sort of interpretation.  In my own life, I had imagined a dark angel, a magician of the night, as it were, pulling the strings of everyone in my family, pulling us apart.   I knew how that felt; Mahler had put it to music.

The opening crash of chords of the last movement made me jump in my seat.  How could anyone get inside my head?  How could they possibly describe what my experience felt like in sound?  How could one contrast the sweet gentleness of life with the relentless viciousness that mocked it? How could both exist together?  Yet they did, in Mahler’s world.  And in mine.  And this orchestra, more often than not a ragtag bunch that seemed to find more significance in the poker games they were playing in the lounge than the music they were called to perform on stage, became, for that hour, a cohesive group playing beautifully, even brilliantly.

I was not alone.  My experience had a voice, and this was it.  Mahler had gotten inside my head and put my experience into focus.  This is life — this is our world — it is sublime one moment and horrible the next, and those who can retain gentleness will somehow survive.

And so began my quest to find out everything I could about this enigmatic composer.  I soaked up books at the Minneapolis Public Library.  I came to realize that Mahler had lost a family member to suicide; his brother, Otto.  I felt then that Mahler was simply the most unusual composer I had heard.  I still do.  It is for this reason that I was compelled to title the second episode of PIPER TO THE ALTERNATIVE “Titan”.  It was simple.  Nothing else would do.

Now I need to get back to reading and poring over and mussing up my very own copy of “Why Mahler?” 🙂

Indian Relays Impress Canterbury Riders & Regulars

This was fantastic. I don’t think any of us will look at horse racing the same way again. It was an historical event, and shows the perfect blending of Canterbury Park with Mystic Lake.

Canterbury Live

Indian Relay_1 9-12-13This much is clear if you’ve ever ridden a horse.

You probably can’t ride one, dismount one and literally jump on another with the nimbleness of a Blackfoot, a Sioux, a Sho-Ban or a Crow.

Even these daredevils frequently overshoot their intended targets and wind up on the other side of a moving, rearing or prancing horse – on the ground.

Nonetheless, they awed even the regular riders at Canterbury Park Thursday night, the jockeys, who en masse crowed the winner’s circle to watch the first of two heats in the Indian Relay Championships.

The winner of heat one was Josh Osborn, a member of the Sho-Ban Nation from Fort Hall, Idaho.

The awestruck were some of Canterbury’s regular riders. Who better than a jockey to appreciate bareback riders who appear part of their animals as they run.

“It’s cool. It’s entertaining,” said jockey Nik Goodwin, an Ojibwe from Bemidji.

View original post 512 more words

More MO/MOA endgame frustration…s d reply…

Edward said, “It is feeling as if this orchestra board is the Tea Party of the orchestra world – resolute, unyielding, narrow & blind.”

How about the Mad Hatter’s Tea Party? That might work too…:-0

The angst of not being taken seriously….no, seriously!

I remember saying to a classmate of mine at the U of M as a Flute Performance Major that one day there would “be a Minnegeddon at Orchestra Hall.”  His name was Greg.  That was some time ago (during the time I was taking lessons with the then Principal Flute but prior to the time when I was encouraged by another player to practice on the darkened stage at Orchestra Hall every week or so).

Last summer, when I was writing the episode “Minnegeddon” for PIPER TO THE ALTERNATIVE, I repeatedly shared my concept of what I thought this would involve.  This was before the lockout.  But did anyone listen to me?  Of course not.  Laugh.  Titter.  Pat on the head.  Grrrr…

Now here we are, nearly a year later.  Everything is down to the wire.  Neither side has as yet made a viable offer or counteroffer.  Even Mayor Rybak is fed up.  “Why not just try to talk to the one player who understands what is happening here,” I say, in as many different ways as I can.  “Which one?”  “You know…the one who has been leading everyone astray.”  Pause. Yawn.  Giggle.  Titter.  Dismissal.