Birge's Picks

Birge's Picks: Unique Yannick

A documentary following the life of Yannick Nézet-Séguin comes to theaters this Wednesday.Nass, Daniel

Check out John Birge's picks for this week

July 06, 2021

What’s the Metropolitan Opera’s music director doing dancing around in a diaper? Well, that’s what musical toddlers do, and an amazing new documentary about Yannick Nézet-Séguin traces his early – VERY early! – passion for classical music, through his Wunderkind childhood, to the present day. Yannick: An Artist’s Journey screens in theaters Wednesday. Tickets and info – and a terrific trailer with the talented toddler – here.

Bill Murray fans recall one Minnesota visit that did not have to do with his Saint Paul Saints baseball team. In 2018, Murray teamed up with cellist Jan Vogler for an evening called  New Worlds: The Cradle of Civilization. The program explored the core of the American values in literature and music, with excerpts from Mark Twain, Hemingway, Whitman, Cooper, Bernstein, Gershwin and Stephen Foster. Now that show has been made into a documentary. No release date yet, but the new trailer is tantalizing.

Mendelssohn was only sixteen when he composed his masterpiece Octet for Strings. Little did he know that it would provide the musical narrative for a landmark in modern dance. And little did choreographer Bill T. Jones know that his tour de force ballet D-Man in the Waters would become one of the most important works of art to come out of the AIDS crisis. The creation of the ballet is the subject of a powerful new documentary, Can You Bring It: Bill T. Jones and D-Man in the Waters. If you missed it at the Minneapolis-St. Paul Film Festival earlier this year, it’s getting wider theatrical and virtual release July 16. The trailer doesn’t include Mendelssohn, but this sample gives you a taste.

Finally, from D-Man in the Waters to another source of aquatic inspiration: the Australian Chamber Orchestra, Jonny Greenwood, and Radiohead contributed the soundtrack to River, cinematic and musical odyssey that explores the relationship between humans and rivers. Amazing.