Editor's note: Brian Newhouse is retiring as the classical director of Minnesota Public Radio and American Public Media, which includes the Choral Stream. We asked him to share a memory of his many years at MPR. He turned to a Minnesota Orchestra concert (the broadcasts of which he used to host) on May 1, 2009. Plus, listen above as he joined Steve Staruch on Friday Favorites on his last day at MPR, May 29.
I'd like to leave you with this. It truly is the best I've got. You are at Orchestra Hall in Minneapolis, the place packed with 2,400 people. Leonidas Kavakos has just soloed in Jean Sibelius' Violin Concerto, and he found something in the music you've never heard before. You and everyone else erupt in cheers and begin clapping that pounding, rhythmic way that Europeans do when they want an encore. Even the orchestra musicians join the audience in clapping, and you've never seen that happen.
Kavakos comes back and lifts his violin, and the place quiets. Then he plays this unaccompanied Bach, hardly rising above pianissimo.
LISTEN Kavakos: Andante - Bach's Violin Sonata No. 2, BWV 1003
Within bars, the hall becomes as hushed as if it were empty. You are beginning to hold your breath as you bear witness to what? The closest phrase I have to describe it is "the holy."
Kavakos finishes, and the silence stretches on and on: Who wants to break wonder?
Of all the moments I can think of to express my gratitude for this music, for you the audience, for the career of joy I've gotten to experience at Classical MPR, I'd like you to have this. It's the best I've got.
With all my heart, thank you.