In the Media

Beethoven meets poet Rita Dove: The week’s best classical concerts

Beethoven with a side of poetry

“Sonata for a crazy mulatto.” The dedication Beethoven wrote on the score of his towering “Kreutzer” Sonata was presumably meant affectionately, but would not play well today. The dedicatee in question was George Bridgetower, an Afro-European violinist who gave the first performance of the “Kreutzer” in 1803, with Beethoven on piano. The sonata is the centerpiece of LOFTrecital’s Oktoberfest concert, where Alastair Witherspoon’s performance with pianist Sofia Mycyk will be intercut with readings from Rita Dove’s “Sonata Mulattica,” a set of poems about Bridgetower read by Paige Reynolds. (7 p.m. Sat., Good Arts Collective, 810 S. 7th St., Mpls.; pay-what-you-can from $5, facebook.com/LOFTrecital)

Barnaton is back

Brahms’ First Piano Concerto is a young man’s work, full of fulminating passion and romantic tenderness. It’s the centerpiece of this week’s Minnesota Orchestra program, where outstanding Israeli pianist Inon Barnatan returns as soloist. The other work is Shostakovich’s Ninth Symphony, one of the composer’s most concise and playful compositions. Shostakovich himself called the symphony “a merry little piece,” but said that “critics will delight in blasting it.” He was right — one dubbed it “abnormal, repulsive and pathological.” Italian Jader Bignamini conducts, making his Minnesota Orchestra debut. (11 a.m. Thu., 8 p.m. Fri.; Orchestra Hall, Mpls.; $12-$130, 612-371-5656 or minnesotaorchestra.org)

An exceptional organist

American organist Adam Brakel is still in the early stages of his career, yet has already been hailed as an exceptional performer, praised for his “incendiary virtuosity.” Brakel’s recital at the Cathedral of St. Paul ranges widely, and includes music by Demessieux, Widor, Sousa, Bizet and Mendelssohn. (7.30 p.m. Thu., Cathedral of St. Paul, St. Paul; suggested donation of $15, cathedralsaintpaul.org)

VocalEssence does Ligeti

Hungarian composer György Ligeti wrote some of the most strangely beguiling music of the 20th century, and his choral piece “Lux Aeterna” (used in “2001: A Space Odyssey”) features in “Divine Light,” a program presented by the VocalEssence Ensemble Singers. Pieces by Ina Boyle and Jake Runestad also will be performed. (4 p.m. & 7 p.m. Sun., Summit Center, St. Paul, $30, 612-371-5656 or vocalessence.org)

Chopin opener

The Frederic Chopin Society opens its 2019-20 season with a recital by brilliant young Russian pianist Pavel Kolesnikov, who already has acclaimed CD recordings of Chopin and Beethoven to his credit. He plays both composers on his St. Paul visit, with works by Schumann, Bartók and Debussy also slated. (3 p.m. Sun., Mairs Concert Hall, Macalester College, St. Paul; $15-$35, chopinsocietymn.org)

TERRY BLAIN