Monday, March 17, 2008

Prairie Home Companion Talent Show

On Saturday night, Sandy and I went to the Fitzgerald Theater to see the PHC Talent Show, as guests of friend Tony Axtell, who runs their sound board. Six contestants in their 20s from around the country competed for a rather strange trophy (a model of a water tower). The winners were the Honey Dewdrops, a two guitar duo from Virginia, who sang some great folk songs, albeit in a somewhat dark vein. They also performed at the after-show party and singalong in the Saint Paul Hotel, along with PHC favorites Rich Dworsky and Pat Donahue, as well as Garrison Keillor himself, of course. It was a good evening, and no doubt a memorable event for those who got to play on national public radio, probably for the first time.

SPCO plays Kurt Weill

On Friday night, SPCO concertmaster Steven Copes did a mssterly job of the Violin Concerto by Kurt Weill, with Doug Boyd conducting. I don't think I've ever seen and heard him play better, combining both fire and ice in this rather intellectual work, laced with the influences of Stravinsky and Schoenberg. Also on the program was Schumann's Symphony No.4 in the original version, which was interesting to hear even though I'm not a fan, and a Piano Trio by Ravel that failed to capture my imagination and seemed to involve intonation problems.