The Well-Tempered Ear

Classical music: New contemporary percussion group Clocks in Motion will makes its FREE concert debut this Saturday night. The famed Saint Thomas Choir sings at Overture Friday night.

September 26, 2012
Leave a Comment

 

REMINDER:  The 2012-13 season of the Overture Concert Organ opens Friday night at 7:30 p.m. in Overture Hall with the Saint Thomas Choir (below) from New York City. at 7:30 p.m. in Overture Hall. The Saint Thomas Choir of Men and Boys is considered to be the premiere choral ensemble of the Anglican music tradition in the United States and among the finest in the world. The program will include a variety of styles from the 16th century to the present day by composers including Thomas Tallis, J.S. Bach, William Byrd, James MacMillan, Benjamin Britten, Charles Parry, among others. Two organ solos by J.S. Bach and Dan Locklair complete the program.

Tickets are $19.50 at http://www.madisonsymphony.org and the Overture Center box office at (608) 258-4141. For more information, visit www.madisonsymphony.org/thomas or the the choir’s website, http://www.saintthomaschurch.org/music/choir where you can listen to performance videos.

 This season the Overture Concert Organ Series also includes The Westminster Choir on Sat., Jan. 12, at 7:30 p.m.; Felix Hell, organist and Madison native and Baltimore Symphony principal trumpet Andrew Balio on Feb. 23 at 7:30 p.m.; and David Briggs on Sat., Mar. 23, at 7:30 p.m.

By Jacob Stockinger

Madison’s new contemporary percussion ensemble, Clocks in Motion (below, rehearing a work by Steve Reich in a photo by James McKenzie, is kicking off its 2012-13 season this Saturday night, Sept. 29, at 8 p.m. in Mills Music Hall on the UW-Madison campus.

Consisting of current music students and recent graduates of UW-Madison, Clocks in Motion is dedicated to the performance of modern repertoire and the commissioning of new works for percussion ensemble. Members (below, from left, in a photo by Megan Aley) are: Joseph Murfin, Brett Walter, Neil Sisauyhoat, Dave Alcorn, Elena Wittneben, Michael Koszewski and Sean Kleve.  James McKenzie is also a member.

Not only a group of exclusively percussionists, Clocks in Motion also includes pianist Jennifer Hedstrom (below top, in a photo by Dean Santarinala and conductor Matt Schlomer (below bottom, in a photo by Laura Zastrow). Scholmer, now at the Interlochen Academy, has previously worked at the UW-Madison and Edgewood College.

This FREE concert entitled “New Beginnings” features some early pieces of Steve Reich, a look towards the future with the world premiere performance of a new composition by Madison composer John Jeffrey Gibbens  entitled “Allhallows” (Prelude), and the unveiling of a new instrument, the quarimba.

Composer Gibbens (below, in a photo by Milt Leidman) wrote the following program notes:

“Allhallows (Prelude) for three Percussion is scored for Marimba supplemented by a second Marimba tuned a quarter-step flat, or Quarimba, Vibraphone, and seven tuned Gongs.  It was composed in July and August 2012 at the request of Clocks in Motion for performance in the fall of 2012.

“The title is an archaic synonym for the feast of All Saints on November 1, and for me evokes associations with the onset of winter in Wisconsin, including the commercial holiday of Halloween, the beginning of the new year in the Celtic calendar, the liturgical function of All Saints, elections, and Armistice, now Veterans’ Day.  These occasions address our sense of the closeness of uncanny events to everyday life.

“Each section of the Prelude is like a number in the program of an imaginary ceremony.  Each player gets an opportunity to address the crowd in a solo, before joining together and filing out.  I invented a nonsymmetrical pitch shape which in combination with the scoring goes beyond the limitations of both the equal tempered scale and its quarter-tone double.”

This program also features a unique composition written by Herbert Brun called “At Loose Ends.”  Written in 1974, this piece uses a large orchestra of percussion instruments including timpani, tuned cowbells, quarimba, xylophone, 12 snare drums, tam-tams, cymbals, piano, celesta, and chimes.  

With a passion for instrument building, the ensemble has constructed micro-tonal aluminium keyboards called sixxen for Xenakis’ “Pleiades” and continues to look for more opportunities to discover new expressive sounds within the percussion world.

Future concerts this season – all FREE –  by Clocks in Motion include (posters are by Dave Alcorn):

Saturday, Oct. 5, at 7 p.m.: Live at the Lobby of the Madison Museum of Contemporary Art in the Overture Center.

Sunday, Oct. 21, 2 p.m. in Mills Music Hall: George Crumb‘s “American Songbook VI: Voices from the Morning of the Earth.”  FEATURING vocal soloists Jamie Van Eyck (below top) and Paul Rowe (below bottom, in a photo by Katrin Talbot).

Saturday, Dec. 8, at 7 p.m. in Music Hall: “A Dream of Darkness” featuring the music of Karlheinz Stockhausen, Franco Donatoni, and a world premiere of a new piece by Filippo Santoro.

For a complete list of upcoming concerts, events, media, and detailed performer biographies, please visit clocksinmotionpercussion.com.

Here is a video previewing the upcoming season of Clocks in Motion:

 


Classical music news: Do pets respond to music? Yes, but what kind of music depends on the animal, says a University of Wisconsin animal psychologist.

March 25, 2012
8 Comments

ALERT: Word has reached The Ear of a FREE student concert, with faculty participants, worth attending today. At 2 p.m. in Mills Hall, mezzo-soprano Jamie Van Eyck (below) and friends will present a full performance of George Crumb‘s “American Songbook 5: Voices From a Forgotten World.”  This is the 5th installment of Crumb’s American Songbook Series, which is a seven-volume collection of American folk songs, set to Crumb’s unique and colorful orchestration.  The ensemble features two vocalists, a pianist and four percussionists, together playing over 100 instruments.

By Jacob Stockinger

Remember the so-called Mozart Effect on babies’ intelligence? Well, that pseudo-science or pop psychology seems recently to have been pretty well debunked and discredited.

But what about animals and music?

For many years, I have sworn that my cat Rosie (below) loves music, just as I do, especially piano music.

Rosie is a sweet and pretty tabby cat, and she seems to come over by the piano and sit down or lie down and roll over, or even jump onto my lap while I am playing or whenever I start practicing.

It seems to happen especially whenever I am playing Bach, Schubert or Chopin.

So I wondered: Is it me and the fact she identifies the piano sound with my presence, the same way Pavlov’s dogs responded to bells? Or is it the music?

Well, it is probably some of each, says Charles T. Snowden, a University of Wisconsin-Madison researcher and animal psychologist.

Among his findings are that animals show some breed specificity in the music they prefer. That is, they follow their own species’ taste or preference rather than their owner’s taste or preference. That has led one entrepreneurial person even to market songs for cats, downloadable for $1.99 each (Meow-w-w-!).

But he also found that dogs respond with relaxation to classical music while heavy metal makes them more agitated.

Well is that the music or the oppressive sound? After all, I too — like most humans, I bet — become more agitated when listening to heavy metal, which seems intended deliberately to agitate the listener.

Here are some links to stories about research on pets and music:

http://news.discovery.com/animals/animals-music-120320.html

http://www.livescience.com/19156-animal-psychologists-discover-music-pets-prefer.html

http://www.petside.com/article/animal-psychologists-discover-pets-prefer-their-own-music

http://www.msnbc.msn.com/id/46789825/ns/technology_and_science-science/#.T2y6uXjH1UQ

Some of the findings also seem to support my theory that Rosie is bothered by string instruments—especially high-pitched Baroque violins with GUT strings. I always thinks she objects to other animals, maybe even her ancestors, being used that way for human amusement and entertainment.

But maybe that is anthropomorphizing too much.

Based on his research, I suspect Snowden would probably say it is the high pitch and the fast tempo of early string music that really get to her.

Oh well, more enlightenment and obfuscation are sure to follow.

How do you pets react to music and what kid of music?

Do you have pet and music story to share?

The Ear wants to hear.


    Enter your email address to subscribe to this blog and receive notifications of new posts by email.

    Join 863 other followers

    Blog Stats

    • 1,073,544 hits
Follow

Get every new post delivered to your Inbox.

Join 863 other followers

%d bloggers like this: