5:35 PM. Hey guys! So excited to see you online. Welcome to my first Cuba #livelarking entry. The MPR broadcast of the Minnesota Orchestra’s historic Cuba concert starts in about ninety minutes, so set your clocks. I invite you all to join me and other fans online. Celebratory listening is just more fun when others join you!! Follow along at #livelarking on Twitter and my Facebook page, and feel free to refresh this page for updates and commentary as the night goes on.
I felt that this milestone deserved a brief video entry, so I took to my backyard to show you a bit how I’m celebrating today, and also to give a major thank you to the people who made this trip possible.
Well, before it gets much later, I’ve got to make something to eat for dinner. Turns out a tiny tiny plate of nachos doesn’t really hold a ravenous blogger. I’ll be back!
6:45 PM. What’s the funnest thing to do when you’re bouncing off the walls waiting for a historic orchestra broadcast? SELFIES, OBVIOUSLY. Tell me and show me where you’re listening!
6:54 PM. Just for old time’s sake…a GIF.
7:04 PM. Brian Newhouse gets philosophical with a wave metaphor, comparing the ocean waves to the waves of cultural change coming to Cuba. MPR then gets the party started with a recording of Gershwin’s Cuban Overture by (who else?) the Minnesota Orchestra.
7:19 PM. The recording of Beethoven 8 reminds me what a treasure our orchestra has been, is, and…thanks to you…always will be. Counting down the minutes until the live performance (ten).
7:29 PM. This Beethoven 1 finale is full of such verve and energy. Every chord is like a blast. I’m guessing we’ll hear some of that trademark energy tonight! (Oh yeah, Captain Obvious is in the house!)
7:38 PM. The instruments and their players arrive onstage with a welcome that sounds very wild, very Minnesotan!
7:42 PM. I will not soon forget the sheer violence of that first chord, later followed by the contrast of the melting winds. Glorious!
7:49 PM. My orchestra is back in business. *drops mic* *walks away* *comes back to listen*
7:52 PM. We’re now treated to a gorgeously sensitive opening to the Beethoven Choral Fantasy by Cuban-born pianist Frank Fernández.
8:04 PM. I’m not familiar with the Choral Fantasy – so feel free to pull my Critic’s Credibility Card (c) – but I’m enjoying these sounds very much. I can just hear the passion dripping from them.
8:11 PM. There is such a beautiful quality of ethereality (is that a word? well, it is now) to the Cuban National Choir and Coro Vocal Leo. Really affecting.
8:15 PM. The crowd sounds hugely excited and appreciative! Deepest gratitude to Havana for welcoming our musicians with such wide open arms.
8:22 PM. MPR’s report on how the Minnesota Orchestra worked with students yesterday is really amazing. If you missed it, it’s worth your while to find and listen to. If I can get a link, I’ll share it. Support MPR!! Edit: here’s a link to a story, although not the full-length one featured on the broadcast.
8:33 PM. I’m really enjoying the auxiliary musical selections, which so far have included the Bernstein Divertimento and movements from the Minnesota Orchestra Vanska Beethoven 1 and 8 recordings.
8:38 PM. We’re back from intermission. For those of you who were taking bets what time I would start crying, it was at 8:40 CST, at the opening couple minutes of the Eroica. This orchestra and this piece have featured profoundly in my life recently, and I’m feeling a weird combination of overwhelming pride, sadness, excitement, and sheer unadulterated joy. It is a miraculous thing when old music intertwines with your modern life, as it has intertwined with the lives of so many generations before us.
8:52 PM. I’m needing the Kleenex now. The performance was great before but something has just entered another sphere of intensity. I don’t know if they can feel it in the hall, but I feel it over the airwaves.
9:00 PM. I’m sorry to keep raving, but this performance has a depth and beauty that is beyond words. So every description I come up with feels completely inadequate. The political significance of this, the emotional significance of this, the historical significance of this, the musical significance of this… It’s almost too much to handle. Like many others, I’ve devoted my life to this orchestra, and performances like these are why. I’m not sure if people who haven’t been in the trenches like we have get how truly significant this moment is, but trust me: it is. This is a rebirth, a resurrection, the likes of which this industry has never seen before. We are so blessed.
9:14 PM. Such subtlety to the funeral march, with so many details to enjoy and absorb. And now such exacting saucy triumph in the scherzo.
9:24 PM. I am having SO MUCH FUN on Facebook and Twitter I’m neglecting the blog. Stop by!!! You still have a few minutes before the show ends!
9:30-ish PM… Victorious ecstasy.
9:45 PM. Um…I think…it’s over. I’m exhausted by the excellence and the emotion. I don’t know what to say. I’m afraid if I gush too much more I’ll lose all credibility.
So let me end with: This orchestra is back, baby.
I’ll see you tomorrow, same place, same time, for the Minnesota Orchestra’s second concert live from Havana!
Love you guys!