The Well-Tempered Ear

Classical music: Today is Thanksgiving. What piece of classical music or composer do you most give thanks for?

November 27, 2014
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By Jacob Stockinger

Today is Thanksgiving Day – Thursday, Nov. 27, 2014.

thanksgiving dinner

And today’s post is simple:

Just tell The Ear what piece of music or composer you most give thanks for and why.

It doesn’t have to be big (an opera, symphony or concerto) or a recognized masterwork. It could be a small work (a prelude or song) that you are perhaps learning to play or sing that you heard most recently.

The music or the composer could be very well-known or obscure.

Your choice could be old or it could be new.

But whatever your choice is, it should hold special meaning for you. The piece of music should speak to you deeply and directly and make you feel that your life is enriched by it –- at least right now, if not in the past or the future, even though such choices tend to have staying power even from childhood into old age.

If The Ear gets enough reader comments and responses, maybe even with links to a YouTube video, it might serve as a list of suggested listening for other readers.

To celebrate all your choices, and all the possibilities of the musical arts, here is the original version with orchestra and 16 singers done by the London Symphony under conductor Sir Adrian Boult, of the lovely “Serenade to Music” by the English composer Ralph Vaughan Williams.

 


Classical music: The Oakwood Chamber Players will perform “Remix! Christmas Lights Memories” twice this coming weekend at Oakwood Village West in Madison. Plus, UW-Madison voice students perform a FREE workshop of opera highlights TONIGHT at 7:30.

November 25, 2014
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ALERT: TONIGHT at 7:30 p.m. in Old Music Hall (below) at the foot of Bascom Hill, student singers in the University of Wisconsin-Madison School of Music opera department, under the direction of UW-Madison professors Mimmi Fulmer and David Ronis, will perform a FREE Opera Workshop. Sorry, The Ear has no word on the specific program — and it is not on the UW-Madison School of Music website at http://www.music.wisc.edu/events/uw-opera-workshop/  But it usually features popular arias and familiar scenes from popular operas, all done with piano accompaniment. (JUST IN: The program includes excerpts from: Ludwig van Beethoven‘s “Fidelio,” Wolfgang Amadeus Mozart’s “Le nozze di Figaro” and “Cosi fan tutte”; Claudio Monteverdi’s “L’incoronazione di Poppea”;  Gioachino Rossini’s “Il barbiere di Siviglia“; Gaetano Donizetti’s “Don Pasquale”; Jules Massenet’s “Cendrillon”; Johann Strauss’ “Die Fledermaus”; Vincenzo Bellini’s “I Capuleti ed i Montecchi“; and Stephen Sondheim‘s “A Little Night Music.”)

MusicHall2

By Jacob Stockinger

The holiday season, in music as well as in shopping malls, has arrived.

Our friends at the Oakwood Chamber Players, known for the quality of its performance and its unusual repertoire, send us the following information:

The Oakwood Chamber Players (below) continues to celebrate its 30th anniversary season when the ensemble presents “Remix! Christmas Lights Memories” this coming Friday afternoon  and Sunday afternoon.

Oakwood Chamber Players 2011 photo Bill Arthur

The two concerts this coming weekend continue the group’s tradition of kicking off the holiday season over Thanksgiving weekend with Christmas-themed music. The concerts will revisit favorite holiday music from the past 30 years.

Guest musicians include Heather Thorpe, soprano, Mary Ann Harr, harp (below top), Jennifer Morgan, oboe (below bottom), and Mike Sczyzs, horn.

Mary Ann Harr

real Jennifer Morgan Oakwood USE photo

The concerts are on Friday, November 28, at 1 p.m. and Sunday, November 30, at 1:30 p.m. Both concerts will be held at the Oakwood Center for Arts and Education, 6209 Mineral Point Road, on the far west side of Madison.

Oakwood Village Auditorium and Stage

This is the second concert in their celebratory 30th anniversary season series titled “Reprise! Looking Back Over 30 Years

Upcoming concerts include:

  • Recapitulate! – January 17 and January 18
  • Replay! – March 14 and March 15
  • Reissue! – May 23 and May 24

The Oakwood Chamber Players is a group of Madison-area professional musicians who have been affiliated with the Madison Symphony Orchestra, the Wisconsin Chamber Orchestra and the University of Wisconsin-Madison School of Music. They have rehearsed and performed at Oakwood Village for 30 years.

Tickets are available at the door. Admission is $20 for the general public, $15 for seniors and $5 for students.

Visit www.oakwoodchamberplayers.com for more information.

The Oakwood Chamber Players are a professional music ensemble proudly supported by Oakwood Lutheran Senior Ministries and the Oakwood Foundation.

 


Classical music: Here is an update on events and news at the University of Wisconsin School of Music. That includes the performances of music by Verdi, Dvorak and Vaughan Williams on this Saturday and Sunday nights by the UW Choral Union and UW Symphony Orchestra.

November 21, 2014
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By Jacob Stockinger

If you don’t already know about A Tempo, you should.

It is the official blog of the University of Wisconsin-Madison School of Music.

A Tempo logo

Started by Katherine Esposito (below), the new concert manager and director of public relations, the blog contains updates about upcoming concerts as well as behind-the-scenes news concerning students and faculty and the entire UW-Madison School of Music.

Katherine Esposito

It is rich with links and sound samples.

Perhaps you want to know about the two performances this weekend (in Mills Hall on Saturday night at 8 p.m. and Sunday night at 7:30 p.m.) by the UW Choral Union and the UW Symphony Orchestra. They include the first-ever UW-Madison performance of the “Te Deum” by Antonin Dvorak (at bottom in a YouTube video) as well as the “Te Deum” of Italian opera composer Giuseppe Verdi and the “Flos Campi” by British composer Ralph Vaughan Williams.

Perhaps you want to know about the school’s beefed up jazz program and early December events under the leadership of pianist Johannes Wallmann (below) and how it cooperates with area high schools.

johannes wallmann mug

Perhaps you want to know about the scholarship donation program or catch up on a klezmer workshop that took place this past week.

Or maybe you need to know how to sign up for the annual summer national cello workshop and cello choir (below top), run by UW-Madison cellist Uri Vardi (below bottom) and his wife.

national summer cello Institute 1

Uri Vardi with cello COLOR

Or maybe you don’t know about the latest award won by the UW-Madison composer Laura Schwendinger (below).

Schwendinger,_Composer

They are all in the latest online issue of A Tempo.

Here is a link.

If The Ear were you, he would bookmark it or subscribe to it.

http://uwmadisonschoolofmusic.wordpress.com

 

 


Classical music: To mark the 186th anniversary of the death of composer Franz Schubert, The Ear says YOU MUST HEAR THIS: The Adagio from his late Cello Quintet in C major.

November 19, 2014
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By Jacob Stockinger

Today is the 186th anniversary of the death of the Viennese composer Franz Schubert (below) –- a composer whom I have written about increasingly because I find myself more and more attracted to his compassion and empathy, his sociability and humaneness.

Schubert idolized Beethoven, and yet these days I find much of Schubert’s music more to my taste and sensibility than Beethoven’s.

Franz Schubert big

What plentiful and great music Schubert composed in his short life -– he lived only 31 years, from 1797 to 1828. And what great music he composed in the last six months or so, even as he knew he was dying  — including orchestral music, chamber music, vocal music and piano music.

There is so much to choose from.

But today I offer just one of those many YOU MUST HEAR THIS pieces by Schubert: the slow Adagio movement from his late Cello Quintet, D. 956, written shortly before his death from syphilis.

I remember first hearing this piece in “The Love of Life” (below top) a bio-pic about piano virtuoso Arthur Rubinstein, who is seen saying (below bottom) that was the celestial music he would like to die to.

For similar reasons, I dedicate this posting to another extraordinary person who enriched my life immeasurably and who died on the same day, though in a different year, as Franz Schubert -– a person who shared so many of the same wonderful qualities and personality traits that Schubert brought to his music.

You should really one day listen to the whole work, if you don’t already know it. Chamber music simply doesn’t get any better. In fact, music doesn’t get any better.

Listen to it and hear for yourself:


Classical music: Ukrainian pianist Valentina Lisitsa’s solo recital of music by Beethoven, Schumann, Brahms and Rachmaninoff is a MUST-HEAR for piano fans. It is this Thursday night at 8 in the Wisconsin Union Theater.

November 18, 2014
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By Jacob Stockinger

Compared to the start of many seasons, surprisingly this fall hasn’t seen a lot of piano music— either solo recitals or concertos.

The Ear says “surprisingly” because box office statistics seem to suggest that piano concerts general draw good audiences. Pianists are favorites as soloists with orchestra fans -– as you could see in October when Russian pianist Olga Kern performed a concerto by Sergei Rachmaninoff with the Madison Symphony Orchestra under conductor John DeMain to a big, enthusiastic house.

Maybe it has to do with the fact that so many people take piano lessons when they are young. Or maybe it is because the repertoire is so big, so varied and so appealing.

And, true to form, next semester promises a whole lot more piano concerts of all kinds at the University of Wisconsin-Madison School of Music, the Madison Symphony Orchestra, the Wisconsin Chamber Orchestra and the Salon Series at Farley’s House of Pianos.

Anyway, one piano standout of the fall is about to happen this week.

The Ukrainian-born and Ukraine-trained pianist Valentina Lisitsa (below) will perform on this Thursday night at 8 p.m. in the Wisconsin Union Theater.

Valentina Lisitsa

The program is an outstanding one. It features the dramatic “Tempest” Sonata in D minor, Op 31, No. 2, by Ludwig van Beethoven; the “Symphonic Etudes” by Robert Schumann; a medley of the late piano intermezzi and other miniatures, Op. 116 through Op. 119, by Johannes Brahms, works we hear too infrequently, possibly because they are more for the home than the concert hall; and the rarely played Piano Sonata No. 1 in D minor by Sergei Rachmaninoff.

Tickets are $40, $42 and $45; $10 for UW-Madison students.

For more information, plus a video and some reviews, visit this link:

http://www.uniontheater.wisc.edu/season14-15/valentina-lisitsa.html

And here is a link to a story about her unusual career that appeared in The New York Times:

http://www.nytimes.com/2013/10/13/arts/music/valentina-lisitsa-jump-starts-her-career-online.html?_r=1&

This is Valentina Lisitsa’s third appearance at the Wisconsin Union Theater. She has performed there twice when she accompanied American violinist Hillary Hahn in what The Ear found to be memorable programs that offered a wonderful balance of dynamics in a chamber music partnership.

Lisitsa_Valentina_2

Lisitsa has established a special reputation for building her live concert and recording career not through the traditional ways or by winning competitions, but through using new media. In particular, she has amassed a huge following with something like 62 million individual views of and 98,000 subscribers to  her many YouTube videos.

Valentina LIsitsa playing

So impressive was her record with YouTube, in fact, that the venerable record label Decca offered her a contract. Her first release was a live recording of a recital of music by Beethoven, Chopin, Liszt, Rachmaninoff and Scriabin that she gave in the Royal Albert Hall in London — a recital for which she let her fans determine the program through voting on-line.

Then she recorded the complete knuckle-busting Rachmaninoff concertos, an all-Liszt album and a bestselling CD of “Chasing Pianos” by the contemporary British composer Michael Nyman, who wrote the well-known score for the popular gothic romance film “The Piano.”

valentina lisitsa and michael nyman

Here is a link to an interview Valentina Lisitsa did with NPR (National Public Radio):

http://welltempered.wordpress.com/2014/05/02/classical-music-youtube-sensation-pianist-valentina-lisitsa-talks-with-npr-about-her-unusual-career-and-her-new-recording-of-music-by-michael-nyman-she-performs-next-season-again-at-the-wisconsin-un/

Now she has a new and nuanced recording out of the complete Etudes, Opp. 10 and 24, by Frederic Chopin plus the “Symphonic Etudes” By Robert Schumann that she will perform here. (You can hear Chopin excerpts from the new CD in a YouTube video at the bottom.) The Ear is betting that, if an encore is in the offing this Thursday night, it will be a Chopin etude or two from the new recording — perhaps a slow and poetic one, perhaps a virtuosic one, or perhaps one of both kinds.

Valentina Lisitsa Chopin Schumann etudes CD cover

Her Madison appearance features a big and difficult program. But Lisitsa has the technique and power, the chops, to bring it off. She also demonstrated how she combines that substantial power with sensitive musicality in memorable solo recitals at Farley’s House of Pianos. And she claims to have developed a keyboard method that allows her to play difficult music for long periods of time without strain or injury. To one admiring reader comment about the new YouTube etude video, she says simply: “Playing piano is easy!”

Valentina Lisitsa's hands

Well, good for her! But I say go and judge for yourself — and don’t forget to enjoy the music as much as the musician.


Classical music: The Wisconsin Youth Symphony Orchestras (WYSO) starts its current concert season this Saturday. Plus, Madison violinist Kangwon Kim performs a FREE recital of music by J.S. Bach, Dvorak, Chopin, Debussy, Kreisler and Rachmaninoff this Friday at noon.

November 13, 2014
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ALERT: This week’s FREE Friday Noon Musicale, held from 12:15 to 1 p.m. at the First Unitarian Society of Madison, 900 University Bay Drive, features violinist Kangwon Kim (below) and pianist Junghwa Moon Auer in music by Antonin Dvorak, Johann Sebastian Bach, Fritz Kreisler, Frederic Chopin, Claude Debussy and Sergei Rachmaninoff.

Kangwon Kim

By Jacob Stockinger

The Wisconsin Youth Symphony Orchestras (WYSO) will present its first concerts of the new season, the Evelyn Steenbock Fall Concerts, on this Saturday afternoon, Nov. 15, and then on Saturday afternoon, Dec. 13.

More than 350 young musicians will display their great talents to the community during the three concerts, which are dedicated to private and school music teachers.

These young musicians, who get into WYSO through competitive auditions, are really good.

They also play to some of the liveliest and most responsive and enthusiastic audiences in the city.

wyso violas

THIS SATURDAY

WYSO’s string orchestra, Sinfonietta (below), will kick off the concert series at 1:30 p.m. on Saturday afternoon with “Highland Cathedral” by Korb and Roever; the “Danse Infernal” by Del Borgo; Eureka! by Sharp; “Fantasia on Theme from Thailand” by Meyer; the “Haunted Carousel” by Newbold; and “Tuxedo Junction” by Hawkins, Feyne, Johnson and Dash.

Sinfonietta strings

The Concert Orchestra (below) will then take over with Washburn’s “St. Lawrence” Overture, Del Borgo’s “Meditation,” “A Pirate’s Legend” by Newbold and Slavonic Dances by Antonin Dvorak.

wyso concert orchestra brass

At 4 p.m. on Saturday, the popular Percussion Ensemble will perform “Spanish Point” by Ben Wahlund and the “Danse Bacchanale” from the opera “Samson and Delilah” by Camille Saint-Saens.

WYSO Percussion Ensemble

The Philharmonia Orchestra will then end the concert with Ernest Bloch’s Concerto Grosso No. 1, the Danse Macabre, Op. 40, by Camille Saint-Saens; the “Pavane pour une infante defunte” by Maurice Ravel, featuring Logan Willis on piano; the fourth movement, “March to the Scaffold,” from the “Symphonie Fantastique” by Hector Berlioz; and the Hoedown from Aaron Copland’s “Rodeo,” featuring Moqiu Cheng on piano.

WYSO rehesrsal Philharmonia Violins

DECEMBER 13

At 1 p.m. on Saturday afternoon, Dec. 13, the Harp Ensemble (below top) will perform before the Youth Orchestra (below bottom) closes out the concert series with “The Roman Carnival” Overture by Hector Berlioz; Excerpts from “Die Meistersinger” by Richard Wagner; and movements 1, 3 and 4 from the Symphony No. 1 in D Minor, Op. 13, by Sergei Rachmaninoff.

WYSO Harp Ensemble 2011

WYSO Youth  Orchestra

TICKETS AND OTHER INFORMATION

The Evelyn Steenbock Fall Concerts will be held in Mills Concert Hall in the UW-Madison George Mosse Humanities Building, 455 North Park Street in Madison on the University of Wisconsin-Madison campus.

WYSO concerts are generally about an hour and a half in length, providing a great orchestral concert opportunity for families.

Tickets for each concert are available at the door, $10 for adults and $5 for youth 18 and under.

This project is supported by Dane Arts with additional funding from the Pleasant T. Rowland Foundation and the Endres Mfg. Company Foundation. This project is also supported by the Alliant Energy Foundation and by a grant from the Wisconsin Arts Board with funds from the State of Wisconsin and the National Endowment for the Arts.

 


Classical music: Is Rameau the French Bach? UW-Madison faculty players and Baroque scholar Charles Dill will explore Rameau throughout this season. The first two FREE events are this Thursday and Friday nights.

November 10, 2014
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By Jacob Stockinger

For some musicologists and audiences, the French Baroque composer  Jean-Philippe Rameau (below) is wholly misunderstood, under-performed and underappreciated.  Some even see him as the French counterpart to Johann Sebastian Bach.

But a year-long project by the University of Wisconsin School of Music aims to correct that lack of knowledge and appreciation.

That effort starts with two FREE concerts this week.

Here is a link to a Q&A about Rameau done with UW-Madison musicologist Charles Dill for the UW-Madison School of Music blog:

http://www.music.wisc.edu/2014/10/16/rameau-dill/

Jean-Philippe Rameau

THURSDAY

On Thursday night, Nov. 13, at 7:30 p.m. in Room 180 of Science Hall, at the intersection of Langdon Streets and  North Park Street, the FREE program “Rameau and Musical Expression” will take place. The subject is the French composer Jean-Philippe Rameau. The 250th anniversary of his death is being marked this year around the world.

Music of the mid-18th century can strike modern audiences as stilted or dispassionate, but composers of the time, like society at large, thought about the passions a great deal — how to describe them, what their physical properties were, and how to depict them on stage for the benefit of audiences.

David Ronis (below top, in a photo by Luke Delalio), a stage director who has specialized in Baroque staging practices, and Anne Vila (below bottom), a scholar specializing in 18th-century theories of the emotions, will discuss passion in the thought of Rameau’s contemporaries, suggesting cues for listening to Rameau’s music. The evening will include a performance of  cantata Les Amants trahis by Paul Rowe, Chelsie Propst, John Chappell Stowe and Eric Miller.

David Ronis color CR  Luke DeLalio

vila_CV

FRIDAY

Then on this Friday might, Nov. 14, at 8 p.m. in Mills Hall, UW-Madison bassoonist and native Frenchman Marc Vallon  (below, in a photo by James Gill) will present a FREE all-French program that highlights his own works and arrangements as well as the music of Jean-Phillippe Rameau in one of his most well-known works, “Les Indes Galantes.”

Marc Vallon 2011 James Gill (baroque & modern)[2]

Vallon will be joined by other performers and period instruments will be used in historically informed performances.

Here is the program:

Maurice Ravel (1875-1937)   Pièce en forme de Habanera for bassoon and piano

Marc Vallon (b.1955)    Serbian Songs for viola and bassoon – Tuzbalica-Harvest Song-Trezkavica

Marc Vallon      Ami for Baroque flute

Jules Massenet (1842-1912)  (arr. M. Vallon)  La Lettre

Georges Bizet (1838-1875) (arr. M. Vallon)

Emmanuel Chabrier (1841-1894)           L’Invitation au Voyage

INTERMISSION

Jean-Philippe Rameau (1683-1764), Les Indes Galantes, a 45-minute version. Ouverture; Menuets 1 & 2; Musette en Rondeau; Air; L’Amour “Ranimez vos Flambeaux”; Ritournelle, “Le Turc Généreux,”;  Air, “Osman Il faut que l’amour s’envole”; Récit et Orage; Choeur des Matelots; Emilie; Rigaudons; Air pour les esclaves Africains; Tambourins; “Les Incas du Pérou,”  Scène 1; Air “Le calumet de la Paix”; Air et Choeur “Traversez les plus vastes mers.”

(At the bottom is a concluding movement from “Les Indes Gallantes” in a popular YouTube video that more than one million hits. It is performed by Marc Minkowski directing Les Musicians du Louvre.)

Marc Vallon has split his impressive performing career between the modern and baroque bassoons. In addition to appearances with many of Paris’ orchestras and celebrated contemporary ensembles, Vallon has played baroque bassoon with leading early music ensembles such as La Chapelle Royale, Les Arts Florissants, the Orchestra of the Age of Enlightenment, and Tafelmusik.  In this recital, Marc Vallon will bring his skill on both instruments and thorough knowledge of and feeling for baroque music to works by Jean-Philippe Rameau and J.S. Bach, two great masters of the late baroque period.

Other participants include: Thomas Kasdorf, piano; Sally Chisholm, viola; Nathan Giglierano, Ilana Schroeder, Gene Purdue, baroque violins; Micah Behr, baroque viola; Martha Vallon, Andrew Briggs, baroque cellos; Jeanne Swack and Mili Chang, baroque flute; Konstantinos Tiliakos, baroque oboe; Brian Ellingboe, baroque bassoon; John Chappell Stowe, harpsichord.

Mesdames singers: Elizabeth Hagedorn, Chelsie Propst, Christina Kay.

Messieurs singers: Paul Rowe, Dennis Gotkowski, Antonio De Souza.

There will also be an Introduction to the second half by UW-Madison School of Music musicologist Charles Dill (below, in a photo by Katrin Talbot), who has been speaking about Rameau in the U.S. and France.

Charles Dill  cr Katrin Talbot

This concert is part of the school’s year-long retrospective of the work of Rameau. Click here for more information.

 


Classical music: Will Madison help celebrate the 330th birthday of Johann Sebastian Bach on Saturday, March 21, 2015 when “Bach in the Subways” Day takes place nationwide and around the world?

November 8, 2014
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By Jacob Stockinger

The Ear recently came across this news item — reprinted below.

He remembers when Wisconsin Public Radio, under the direction of its former music program director Cheryl Dring, marked the annual birthday of Baroque master composer Johann Sebastian Bach (below). At bottom you can hear almost two hours of Bach’s best and most popular music — from solo piano to orchestra —  in YouTube video that has almost 10 million hits.

Bach1

The noon-to-midnight event was called “Bach Around the Clock” (below) and was based on an event that Dring used to go to in New Orleans, Louisiana. It featured singers and choral music, instrumental music of all kinds and at all levels, and audiences who wandered in and out as well as a special birthday cake for The Birthday Boy.

BATC2ColorCollage

The FREE and PUBLIC event took place in the Pres House, 731 State St., near the UW-Madison School of Music. It featured lots of classical amateur musicians – including The Ear who played solo piano works and also collaborated with a flutist – but also professional musicians, including members of the UW-Madison School of Music,UW-Whitewater, Edgewood College, the Madison Symphony Orchestra, the Wisconsin Chamber orchestra  the Madison Bach Musicians and its keyboardist founder and director Trevor Stephenson, church organists and various choral groups. It was also webcast live by WPR.

BATC1Dring

I wrote about it every year, and was also surprised and pleased by the quality of the music-making I heard from young students through adult amateurs and of course professional musicians. I loved it, both as a participant and as an audience member.

Here are some links with lots of photos:

http://welltempered.wordpress.com/2011/03/21/classical-music-review-the-marathon-“bach-around-the-clock”-concert-is-now-officially-a-tradition-in-madison-wisconsin/

http://welltempered.wordpress.com/2012/03/23/classical-music-here-are-8-lessons-i-learned-from-my-day-of-berlitz-bach-at-wisconsin-public-radios-bach-around-the-clock-3-last-saturday/

http://welltempered.wordpress.com/?s=bach+around+the+clock

But Wisconsin Public Radio backed out of the celebration after four years, citing weekend staff time and expense. No one stepped in to pick it up, though I suppose you could make the case that the “Make Music Madison” citywide event of the past two summers took up the baton. But that event includes all kinds of music — not just classical and not mainly classical and not just Bach.

BATC1Michael Xie

Now there is a similar populist movement nationwide and even worldwide, but based in New York City, to mark Bach’s birthday. It is called “Bach in the Subways” and started several years ago. Since then it has been growing.

My question now is: Who, if anybody, will host the Madison event in this movement in 2015 and in coming years?

The UW-Madison has the School of Music, including Morphy Hall (below) and Music Hall as well as Mills Hall.

Morphy Hall 2

The centrally located Pres House, which also features an organ, a piano, a low-profile stage, many chairs and good acoustics as well as a dining room for snacks and socializing, is an excellent candidate.

Farley’s House of Pianos seems the kind of customer-friendly and community-helping business that might be open to the event.

Maybe there are other churches or community centers or organizations that would be willing to set this up.

Anyway, your reactions and suggestions are welcome.

And here is the original announcement I found:

CALLING ALL  MUSICIANS

Bach in the Subways Day

Saturday, March 21, 2015

On J.S. Bach’s 330th birthday, musicians around the world will unite to perform Bach for free in subways and public spaces, throughout the day and night, to celebrate our art and to sow the seeds for future generations of classical music lovers.

Musicians, organizers and everyone else who wish to spread the joy of Bach are invited to join us! Solos, ensembles, flash mobs and Bach marathons are all encouraged.

Join us as we fill the world with Bach!

For more information visit http://bachinthesubways.com, facebook.com/bachinthesubways, or twitter.com/bachinthesubway. (The list of participants on the main website says that Madison, Wisconsin, is taking part, along with many cities around the country and world. But I don’t see any specifics. Does anyone know the details of the local celebration?)

For more information, write to info@bachinthesubways.com.

Need inspiration? Free Bach scores (in the public domain), as well as transcriptions for many solo instruments and a wide variety of ensembles, are available at www.imslp.org

Meanwhile, here are almost two hours of popular music by J.S. Bach to listen to:


Classical music: Percussion group Clocks in Motion will explore the music of American composer Steve Reich in two concerts, both this Saturday at the Overture Center.

November 6, 2014
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ALERT: This week’s FREE Friday Noon Musicale, to be held from 12:15 to 1 p.m. at the First Unitarian Society of Madison, 900 University Bay Drive, features violinists Shannon Farley, Wes Luke and Hannah Muehlbauer with pianist Gregg Punswick in two favorite Baroque works for multiple violins: the Concerto for Three Violins by Antonio Vivaldi and the Double Concerto for Two Violins in D minor by Johann Sebastian Bach.

FUS1jake

By Jacob Stockinger

This coming Saturday, the Madison-based group Clocks in Motion (below) will present “PATTERN RECOGNITION” -– a festival of contemporary American composer Steve Reich -– in two programs to be held in the Promenade Hall of the Overture Center for the Arts.

Clocks collage 2014

The concerts are on Saturday at 1 p.m. and 7 p.m.

Tickets are $22 for single concerts, or $39 for a two-concert festival pass. Student rush tickets for each concert are also available for $12.

Here are details from a press release:

Clocks in Motion, Madison’s premier contemporary percussion ensemble, will present two concerts of music by innovative composer Steve Reich. Known as a pioneer of minimalist composition, Reich and his lush works have captivated audiences since the 1960s.

Clocks in Motion welcomes stellar guest artists to collaborate on the festival and celebrate an American composer who changed the landscape of modern music.

The 1 p.m. program features Reich’s 80-minute masterpiece, Drumming (at the bottom in a YouTube video of the work’s first part . Guest vocalists Cheryl Rowe (below top) and Chelsie Propst (below middle), as well as flutist Stephanie Jutt (below bottom), who teaches at the UW-Madison and is principal  flute of the Madison Symphony Orchestra,  will join nine percussionists in a driving and mesmerizing performance. Written in 1970 after a trip to Ghana, the piece combines West-African interlocking rhythm with contemporary harmonies and rhythmic treatment.

Cheryl Rowe color 1

Chelsie Propst USE

Stephanie Jutt with flute

The 7 p.m. evening program features four shorter works from various stages in the entire career of Steve Reich (below).

Sextet showcases a gorgeous harmonic cycle, diverse tempos and energy, and interesting instrumentation such as bowed vibraphone, two pianos, and synthesizer.

Mallet Quartet is the most recent piece by Reich on the program, with swirling meters and a thrilling final movement.

Four Organs made “infamous” history when it was first performed in Carnegie Hall. Clocks will employ digital patches on four laptop computers to present this piece.

Steve Reich

Guest Pianist Rob Kovacs (below) also joins the evening program, performing Piano Phase for Solo Pianist. This work was originally scored for two musicians, and Kovacs is the first to perform it as a soloist, playing two grand pianos and two parts with one set of hands.

rob kovacsn2

New music, new instruments and new sounds define Clocks in Motion’s fresh and innovative approach to contemporary classical performance.

Hailed as “nothing short of remarkable” (ClevelandClassical.com), Clocks in Motion is a group that performs new music, builds its own instruments, and breaks down the boundaries of the traditional concert program.

With a fearless and uncompromising ear to programming challenging and adventurous contemporary percussion ensemble repertoire, Clocks in Motion consistently performs groundbreaking concerts involving performance art, theater, and computer technology. Featuring world premieres alongside rarely performed classic works, this ensemble strives to create a new canon of percussion repertoire.

Clocks in Motion overture

Clocks in Motion works passionately to educate young audiences through master classes, residencies, presentations, and school assemblies. The ensemble’s unique skill sets and specialties contain an impressive mix of rock, jazz, contemporary classical, orchestral, marching band and world styles.

Clocks in Motion has served as resident performers and educators at the Interlochen Arts Academy, Casper College, the University of Michigan, Baldwin-Wallace University, VIBES Fine and Performing Arts, Traverse City West High School, Traverse City East Middle School, Rhapsody Arts Center, and the Madison Museum of Contemporary Art.

Formed in 2011, Clocks in Motion began as an extension of the University of Wisconsin-Madison’ School of Music’s Graduate Percussion Group, and now serves as the affiliate ensemble of the UW-Madison percussion studio.


Classical music: An orchestra conductor suggests 10 ways to improve concerts. The Ear adds two more.

November 2, 2014
11 Comments

By Jacob Stockinger

The Ear recently came across an opinion column about how to improve concerts and maybe generate bigger and younger audiences.

concert

That is not such an unusual topic, especially these days when critics and professional musicians worry about the aging and diminishing audiences for classical music.

But what made this column particularly interesting and relevant is that it comes from an orchestra conductor: Baldur Bronniman (below).

Baldur Bronniman

But before you get to his 10 ways to improve concerts — including allowing certain uses of an iPhone or other smart phone — The Ear wants to add two of his own:

MAKE CONCERTS CHEAPER. (Ticket prices too often reflect the income gap or wealth gap, and seem less and less middle class.)

MAKE CONCERTS SHORTER. (About 90 minutes with no intermission is what The Ear hears a lot of people say, and he often agrees. Of course this is difficult to do with some things like longer symphonies by Gustav Mahler or Anton Bruckner or operas.)

The first is a function of the current economic circumstances that go back almost a decade.

The second is a function of technology, which encourages a shorter attention span and multi-tasking, and hectic personal schedules, for both work and personal activities, with too many things to do and too little time to do them in.

Now, here are the other 10 ways to improve concerts and some reactions. Read them and see what you think.

http://www.baldur.info/blog/10-things-that-we-should-change-in-classical-concerts/

And here are reactions to the original list:

http://www.baldur.info/blog/10-things-the-response-and-some-thoughts/

Then let us know what you think of those suggestions and whether you have suggestions or recommendations of your town.

The Ear wants to hear.

 


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