Vänskä, Strauss and Mahler

Thursday-Saturday: Autumnal is a word often used to describe Richard Strauss’ Four Last Songs, so it’s a fitting time of year to put them in the Minnesota Orchestra’s schedule. Rising American soprano Katie Van Kooten is the soloist, and she also features in the concluding movement of Mahler’s Fourth Symphony, one of the composer’s sunniest, most optimistic creations. Kicking off the evening is Bach’s Second Brandenburg Concerto, launching a two-year plan by music director Osmo Vänskä to air all six concertos — an interesting initiative, given that they are nowadays played mainly on historical instruments. (11 a.m. Thu., 8 p.m. Fri., 6 p.m. Sat., Orchestra Hall, $25-$79, 612-371-5656 or minnesotaorchestra.org)

 

Han/Finckel/ Setzer Trio

Thursday-Friday: Two years ago cellist David Finckel left the Emerson Quartet, arguably America’s finest, to pursue other projects. He brings one of them — Beethoven’s Piano Trios — to the Twin Cities this week in a pair of Schubert Club concerts showcasing six different trios, partnered by his wife, Wu Han, on piano and his old Emerson sparring partner Philip Setzer on violin. Together they bring formidable chamber music credentials to the table. Of the two concerts, Friday morning’s is particularly enticing, with the famous “Archduke” Trio, Beethoven’s masterpiece in the genre, as the main work featured. (7:30 p.m. Thu. & 10.30 a.m. Fri., Ordway Concert Hall, St. Paul, $16-$71, 651-292-3268 or schubert.org)

Terry Blain