Best cello concerto ever?

Which is the greatest cello concerto? Dvorak's often gets the vote. Written toward the end of the composer's sojourn in America, a year after the New York premiere of his "New World" Symphony, it shares the symphony's epic reach, burnished orchestration and moments of melting lyricism. The Minnesota Orchestra performs the concerto with award-winning soloist Alisa Weilerstein. The program also features Sibelius' surging Fifth Symphony and "Gejia," a recent orchestral work by Osmo Vänskä's Finnish contemporary Kalevi Aho. (8 p.m. Fri. & Sat.; Orchestra Hall, Mpls.; $29-$96, 612-371-5656 or

Another cello


Where Dvorak's Cello Concerto bristles with self-assurance, Schumann's is markedly more tentative and introspective. The concerto was never performed in the composer's lifetime, but its achingly poetic qualities — "wholly ravishing, and what euphony and deep feeling" was his wife Clara's verdict — have gradually made it a staple of the cello literature. The St. Paul Chamber Orchestra pairs Schumann's masterpiece with Beethoven's ebullient Eighth Symphony, a work crackling with wit and explosive energy. (7:30 p.m. Thu., Trinity Lutheran Church, Stillwater; 8 p.m. Fri. & Sat., Ordway Concert Hall, St. Paul; $15-$53, 651-291-1144 or

Copland riffs on American songs

In his Old American Songs, Aaron Copland set traditional tunes — including "Long Time Ago," "At the River" and "Simple Gifts" — to wonderfully expressive piano accompaniments. Baritone Eric Broker sings a generous selection. The recital also includes Poulenc's delectable Trio for Oboe, Bassoon, and Piano in a version for two saxophones. (noon Thu., Landmark Center, St. Paul; free,

Wonders for solo violin

Twin Cities-based Elizabeth York explores the extraordinary range and emotion of the solo violin. The baroque era is her point of departure, featuring Bach and Biber. Her recital also includes solo violin pieces by Belgian master Eugène Ysaÿe as well as contemporary composers Albert Schnelzer and Kenji Bunch. (7:30 p.m. Sat., the Baroque Room, St. Paul; $10-$15,

Rose Ensemble explores America

Hymns, ballads, bluegrass, gospel, country dances, classical — the many strands that came together in the making of our national music are examined in "American Roots," a program charting 300 years of "harmonies that shaped a nation." The excellent singers and players of the Rose Ensemble are the performers. (noon Wed., St. Paul Central Library, St. Paul; free,