Birge's Picks

Minnesota Masterpieces

Admiral Ackbar pauses before delivering his immortal line: "It's a trap!" Lucasfilm

April 18, 2022

I love recordings. It’s hard to be a DJ without them! But even the greatest recording can’t fully convey the power and poetry of an amazing classic performed live. It’s no longer just a matter of sonics and spontaneity. In our hyperconnected times, it’s increasingly difficult to find a space that’s free of distraction, where you can open your mind and heart to enter deeply into music. Get out and go to a live classical concert. There are many to enjoy this weekend around Minnesota.

If you’ve never heard Beethoven’s Fifth Symphony live, I envy you because there is nothing like hearing it in person for the first time. The St. Cloud Symphony performs it alongside Debussy’s rapturous Prelude to the Afternoon of a Faun Saturday night.

If you love Dvorak’s Symphony No. 9 (New World Symphony), you’ll love No. 8 as well. In Moose Lake and Virginia Minnesota, the Mesabi Symphony Orchestra pairs it with Sibelius’ Finlandia, an unbeatable combo of patriotism and joy.

When it comes to pure joy, Mozart’s Symphony No. 41 (Jupiter), is perhaps the ultimate. Combine the jubilation of Mozart with the meditation of Beethoven’s Third Piano Concerto, and the St Paul Chamber Orchestra has an unforgettable lineup. Some shows are already sold out, so hurry if you want to reserve tickets.

Meanwhile, the Minnesota Orchestra plays a different kind of classic: Star Wars: Return of the Jedi. It’s John Williams’ soundtrack played live with the full-length movie. Oh, and when you see Admiral Ackbar, warn him: It’s a trap!