A CORRECTiON AND AN APOLOGY: In yesterday’s post about the upcoming debut concert by the Madison Choral Project, I misspelled the name of the founder, conductor and Edgewood music professor Albert Pinssonneault. I regret the error.
By Jacob Stockinger
Ukraine-born pianist and University of Wisconsin graduate student Yana Groves (below) will wrap up the current season of “Grace Presents” tomorrow, Saturday, May 18, at noon with a FREE recital of Debussy, Rachmaninov and Schubert.
The concert starts at noon and will run until about 1 p.m. in the downtown Grace Episcopal Church (below top) on the Capitol Square.
The recital of Debussy, Rachmaninoff and Schubert features wonderful music – some of The Ear’s all-time favorites – and it will provide will be a welcome respite from the crowds and hectic activity of the downtown Dane County Farmers’ Market around the Capitol Square.
The church’s interior (below) is a fine setting with resonant acoustics, to say nothing of the beautiful dark wood and stained glass windows. Some members of the audience bring along cushions to soften the hard pews.
Groves (below) recently gave an email interview to The Ear:
Would you please briefly introduce yourself to the readers with highlights of your personal life and professional life?
I was born and raised in Kharkiv, Ukraine in 1987. I came to the United States in 2007 and attended SUNY Plattsburgh, majoring in Accounting and Music. I started playing piano at the age of 7. My major teacher in Ukraine was Tatiana Glazyrina. In the United States I studied with Dr. Karen Becker (SUNY Plattsburgh), who encouraged me to pursue music as my career. I started studying with Christopher Taylor (below) last fall. I participated in and was one of the two winners of the Irving Shain Competition (woodwind-piano duo competition) in February 2013 in Madison.
What are your plans and projects currently and for the future? As a musician, what are your career plans?
I am currently working on receiving my Master’s degree and I am almost done with my first year. I just gave my solo recital and next year I am required to give my chamber recital, where I will get a chance to work with my new friends who play other instruments. I am also planning to apply for the Doctor of Musical Arts program at UW-Madison.
What would you like to say about the various works on your program at Grace Episcopal? What would you like the audience to listen for?
The pieces are all very different. Debussy’s “Estampes” are great examples of Impressionism, where the listeners can hear different color changes and images. Rachmaninov’s Prelude is a very beautiful and relaxing piece that has a beautiful singing melody and orchestral writing.
The A minor sonata (D. 845) by Schubert (below) consists of very diverse movements. The first one has a beautiful main melody that develops throughout the whole movement. The second movement takes the form of Theme and Variations, where Schubert (below) masterfully shows how to transfer a simple theme into completely different characters, while using the same thematic material. The third movement is a Scherzo and Trio and it is very playful in its nature. The last movement is in a form of rondo that drives the listener to the end of this piece with much intensity and determination.
Despite the fact that I have certain characters in mind when I play this sonata, I believe that listeners should find the characters that they would like to imagine when they listen to this piece.
What do you think would draw more young people into making and listening to classical music, especially live concerts?
I think that certain educational aspect is necessary in order to young people to understand the value of classical concerts. I believe that lecture recitals are very efficient because the performer explains what he or she does, and once the audience gets familiar with it they appreciate it more.
What advice do you have for young pianists?
Young pianists should practice not only developing their technical abilities, but also the musical characteristics such experimenting with different characters and colors, listening to their own playing during practicing. Playing the piano well requires hard work, but it becomes very interesting if the pianist embodies his or her practicing with meaning. (below is a photo of Yana Groves practicing.)
What else would you like to say or add?
I am very excited about this concert and I am looking forward to sharing with the audience the repertoire that I have learned during my first year at the UW-Madison.
By Jacob Stockinger
Today is Mother’s Day in the U.S.
So it is a fitting time to consider what music you would make and what music you would play to give your Mom as a gift.
It comes to mind because a couple of months ago, The Ear lost his Mom (below). She was 91, and had, as a red-headed and ever-resourceful War Bride for World War II, lived a long, good and quietly adventurous life with much spirit, good humor and boundless energy, despite various setbacks.
She also set me on the path to classical music – to making it and appreciating it – even though she herself was not especially musical except to sing hymns in church and ballades, show tunes and ditties in piano bars.
Way back when, my sister said she wanted to go take piano lessons and I asked if I could too. Mom said yes. My sister stopped; I kept going.
With a few intervals, some big and some small. those lessons that started at age 8 continued with right up until the present and will do so well into the future.
When I would visit Mom in her later years, we would go to a club house near the retirement community where she lived in Phoenix and I would play some of her favorite pieces. It was always a treat for her. She would just relax and lean back and smile in enjoyment. The pleasure she had given me was returned, and for her, everything had gone round and come home.
Chopin (below) was always her favorite. Probably because he was also mine.
So when I wanted to attend the legendary all-Chopin recital in Carnegie Hall by Arthur Rubinstein (below top) in 1961, she got the tickets –- which ended up being ON-STAGE tickets so I could see The Master play Chopin from maybe 20 feet away. (Below bottom is the view of Carnegie Hall FROM the main stage after its great renovation.)
Anyway, I miss Mom, more than I let on. But I keep her and my memories of her in my heart –- and I often think of her when I am at the keyboard, especially whenever I am playing Chopin. Which is often, sometimes daily.
I know she had a favorite Chopin piece. Probably because it was a favorite of mine, and I could play it for her pretty well. And without fail, she was proud and pleased.
That’s how Moms are.
And so in memory of all the pleasure she gave me through music, and all the caring she lavished on me in so many ways, I am posting a performance that set the standard for both me and her.
It is one of the greatest pieces by a great composer and played by a great pianist and great musician.
Here in a YouTube video is Chopin’s soulful Waltz in C-sharp Minor, Op. 64, No. 2, played by Arthur Rubinstein, first in an older recording and then in one, with music to follow, that is closer to the version we heard together.
Happy Mother’s Day, Mom.
I loved you then. I love you still. I will always love you and never forget you.
ALERT: A friend writes: The composer and organist Carson Cooman (below) will perform a FREE recital tonight, Friday, May 10, at 7:30 p.m. in St. Andrew’s Episcopal Church, 1833 Regent Street. I thought you might want to give readers a heads up about this. It the last concert of the church’s yearly concert series. This recital is notable for a couple of reasons. Carson is one of today’s leading composers — at the age of 31 he has been amazingly prolific and the music is of a wide range and high quality. He has had 17 CDs recorded of his music – he is also highly regarded as an organ recitalist with over 130 works by 100 composers written for him. And the recital has a few baroque composers, but is mostly of contemporary works especially suited for St. Andrew’s beautiful Taylor and Boody tracker organ. I have attached the concert’s program and notes. Here is a picture of the organ and a link to its specs: http://www.taylorandboody.com/opus_pages/opus_33/simpleviewer/organ_photo_gallery.html
Here is a link to Cooman’s website. http://www.carsoncooman.com/
By Jacob Stockinger
It’s late if you are still searching for a Mother’s Day gift. But here is something to consider.
At first it may seem odd to schedule a concert on Mother’s Day. But then I think of the role that music played with the lives of me and my Mom, and it doesn’t seem to far out.
So The Ear got word from Trevor Stephenson, who is hosting one of his delightful and relaxed house concerts (below) on Mother’s Day, this coming Sunday.
This Sunday afternoon, May 12, at 3 p.m. — on Mother’s Day — he will play a house concert of piano music by Frederic Chopin (selected Mazurkas and Nocturnes) and Claude Debussy (“Children’s Corner Suite” – how fitting for Moms), with some cameo appearances by Antonin Dvorak (“Humoresque,” at bottom) and Edvard Grieg (“Cow-keepers Song”).
The featured instrument will his beloved and historic Victorian English Upright piano “Fred” (below).
There will be tasty treats and refreshment as well. The hospitality is tops, take it from me, and music explanations by Trevor Stephenson are both entertaining and enlightening.
The address is 5729 Forsythia Place on Madison’s far west side. Admission is $35. Only about 40 people can be accommodated, so reservations are required. Contact firstname.lastname@example.org or (608) 238-6092.
Also, coming up on Sunday, June 30, is a house concert featuring the wonderful late piano music of Brahms “Six Piano Pieces,” Op. 118 (complete), which is one of The Ear’s all-time favorite sets of piano pieces). It also includes Claude Debussy’s visionary Violin Sonata from 1917 –- and one of The Ear’s all-time favorite pieces of chamber music. Guest violinist will be Brandi Berry from Chicago — playing on gut strings, as it was done in 1917!
By Jacob Stockinger
If you love the music of Franz Schubert – and who doesn’t? – this promises to be a memorable week for you.
When it comes to Schubert (below) these days I find him more to my taste even than his mentor, Beethoven. Others can decide who was greater or more influential. What I do know is that I find Schubert somehow more human, more empathetic, more compassionate than Beethoven.
What an incredible composer Schubert (1797-1829) was – having done so much writing, and so much great compositing, before he died at 31 – almost five years younger than Mozart.
So why is the week Schubert Week?
For one, Bill McGlaughlin (below) is spending all this week exploring the music of Schubert. His program “Exploring Music” airs at 8-9 p.m. (NOT 7-8 p.m., as it used to) every weekday night on Wisconsin Public Radio (88.7 FM in the Madison area)
According to the playlist I saw, McGlaughlin, himself a composer and former conductor who is a Great Explainer of classical music, will look at many different kinds of masterpieces: symphonies, chamber music, songs and solo piano works.
Here is a general link to his show form WFMT in Chicago:
Here is a link to his listings of his show:
Add to that a concert with TWO FREE performances that includes three beautiful but under-performed chamber music works by Schubert: the D major sonata and the great C major “Fantasy” for violin and piano (in a YouTube video at the bottom) as well as String Trio in Bb major.
The performers are Madison violinist Kangwon Lee Kim (below left) who will be joined by pianist Li-Shan Hung (below right), violist Matthew Michelic and cellist Mark Bridges.
Here are the details:
The first performance is this Saturday, May 11, at 3 p.m. in the Grand Hall (below) of the Capital Lakes Retirement Community, 333 West Main Street, in downtown Madison, off the Capitol Square.
Then the program is repeated on Sunday, May 12 at 12:30 p.m. in Brittingham Gallery No. 3 of the Chazen Museum at 800 University Avenue on the UW-Madison campus. The concert is the season finale of the program “Sunday Afternoon Live from Chazen.” It is FREE concert and will be broadcast LIVE by Wisconsin Public Radio from 12:30 to 2 p.m.
By Jacob Stockinger
I can’t help it. The image of Jack Nicholson playing Chopin’s Fantasy in F Minor on the back of a truck during a massive freeway traffic jam in the film classic “Five Easy Pieces” keeps coming to mind. (The image is below.)
That is because the first Make Music Madison citywide festival be wide held on Friday, June 21, the summer solstice. It will mainly take place between 4 p.m. and 8 p.m., although events are scheduled all day long. The city has chipped in $25,000 to make it happen. Public and private donations are also being sought.
Here is a link to the event’s main website with a list of venues and participants
So far, according to organizers, the public response has been very good. And as one might expect, the offerings are heavy on rock, pop, hip-hop, folk, blues, roots and other kinds of music. All told so far some 125 musicians have signed up to create a continuous outdoor Wall of Sound as you wander around the city.
Here is a link to the festival’s main website with a list of the venues and music-makers signed up so far:
One of the problems is that technically, everyone is suppose do play outdoors -– with the apparent exceptions of hospitals and airports. And that is a problem for heavy pianos, which also need tuning and regulating from a technicians. Can any piano technician volunteer to help out? (Below is a photo of live music at the Saturday morning west side Farmers Market.)
What about churches as piano venues? The Ear asks, like the Pres House (below) right off Library Mall where Wisconsin Public Radio used to hold the annual Bach Around the clock to celebrate J.S. Bach’s birthday?
Or maybe they could use a UW concert hall, like Morphy Recital Hall (below) or the Mosse Humanities Building? Or the auditoriums at Capitol Lakes Retirement Center downtown or Oakwood Village West on the city’s far west side? Or even Old Music Hall at the foot of Bascom Hill?
Maybe one of the local piano stores could team up with a trucking store and provide the Jack Nicholson solution for Madison.
This much seems certain: It is odd for a music festival to leave out perhaps the most popular and populist instrument –- after voice — that so many young people and adults study, one that has such a huge repertoire and so many amateur and professional players devoted to it. (See the YouTube video at the bottom of two men playing the piano outdoors in New York City.)
And if you have an idea about solving what I am calling The Piano Dilemma, including the possibility of you yourself singing up to play the piano, please contact the festival at the link above by the deadline of Wednesday, May 15.
Adds Michael Rothschild, a retired business school professor who is heading up the venture: “At this moment we don’t have any acoustic pianos, although we have been in discussions with someone re: the possibility of getting some. It’s pretty iffy right now, but on our list. Classical music certainly is welcome. We seek all genres of music and all skill levels.”
Of course, you can also leave word or suggestions in the COMMENTS section of this blog for the organizers and other participants or venue owners of Make Music Madison to see.
By Jacob Stockinger
Ax, a longtime favorite to Madison audiences ever since he first played here in 1975, is indeed one of the most reliable, consistent and reputable pianists on the circuit these days.
He has technique to spare but he is not known for, or given to, pyrotechnics. No one raves about his octave technique, his huge sound, his fast scales.
But he is known for a certain distinctive and appealing tone and a light touch. More importantly, he is known for always doing justice to the music, not himself, and for favoring naturalness over edginess.
You can hear all this and more – Ax at his best — in his new release for Sony Classical. It is based on the program of theme-and-variations he is now touring with. The CD features Haydn’s “Variations in F Minor,” Beethoven’s “Eroica” Variations and Robert Schumann’s “Symphonic Etudes,” in that order. If you get the digital download from iTunes, you can also get Aaron Copland’s Variations that just didn’t fit on the CD but are part of the original program.
All the performance are noteworthy and convincing. But I am especially fond of the Haydn work, which was written, legend has it, at the death of a student who was also the composer’s lover. Ax brings both Classical-era poise and clarity touched with a proto-Romantic sensibility of anguish to this work that is not heard or performed often enough.
The Beethoven variations go back to his early career and he does full justice to it with added subtlety the decades have brought. And the Schumann, which includes some of the posthumous etude variations, are also thoroughly enjoyable.
I have listened to this recording several times and always find new things to appreciate. Here’s hoping he returns soon to Madison, a city The Ear knows that Ax really likes (he has performed several times with the Madison Symphony Orchestra and given several recitals at the Wisconsin Union Theater) and a city that helped give him his start.
Jonathan Biss (below) is more than a generation younger than Ax, but he is developing a reputation much like Ax’s. Biss, who performed Mozart concerto sublimely with the Madison Symphony Orchestra several season ago, likes to offer distinctive programs (lately he is combining Schuman and Janacek by interspersing them) and is known more for musicianship than showmanship. But he often shows more edginess, especially with faster tempi. Not for nothing does Biss so identify with the music of Schumann, one of his specialties.
His second volume of the complete Beethoven Sonatas for Onyx – to be completed over 10 years – often some surprises as well as some predictable qualities.
Yes, it contains the overplayed “Moonlight” Sonata, which, as the recently deceased pianist-musicologist Charles Rosen once remarked, is probably the best-known piece of art music ever written. But Biss turns in a fine, outstanding performance, and then some — although I personally miss the mesmerizing slowness of Vladimir Horowitz’ opening movement, even if Beethoven indicated he wanted it played faster.
But the real interest on this new CD is elsewhere. Start with the early but very big Op. 7 Sonata – another piece that is not played often enough, but which boasts many wonderful moments throughout but especially in the slow movement. Biss is superb in it and makes we want to play it as well as listen to it more. That is high praise, perhaps the highest praise.
Then add in such rarities as the later and relatively short Op. 78 sonata, one Beethoven was said to favor over the “Moonlight” plus the rarely heard G Minor Fantasy, which Biss recorded before for EMI and which is a quirky piece that some think belongs with the Op. 78 sonata.
I like that Biss follows his habit of mixing up the sonatas by drawing from different periods, and it continues to work well. And if you are going to listen to the “Moonlight,” you can’t do better than his version within this context. All that, plus Onyx’s sound is a clear and close-up without being harsh – just superb as ever as a model for other labels.
I just hope Biss returns soon to Madison for a solo recital or a chamber music program, or even, yes, another concerto.
The young and camera-friendly Alessio Bax (below) won the prestigious Leeds Competition and several others. He has played both a solo recital and a duo program with his pianist wife Lucille Chung in Madison at Farley’s House of Pianos. He has developed quite the reputation with high praise heaped particularly on his technique as well as some unusual repertoire, including his recording of Bach transcriptions.
When you hear his new CD of Brahms for Signum Classics, you will understand why. For beautiful music, there are the Op. 10 Ballades and the eight Op. 76 pieces and intermezzi. But for sheer breath-taking virtuosity it is hard to beat the “Paganini” Variations, which he performs to perfection, bringing the music rather than his technical prowess to the fore. An added piece of razzle-dazzle is Gyorgy Cziffra’s arrangement of Brahms’ Hungarian Dance No. 5 (see and hear it performed live by Bax in a YouTube video at the bottom).
But Bax also possess great tone, and a wonderful sense of line and lyrical pacing that allow the thickly scored Brahms miniatures to breathe and make sense. He should definitely return soon to Mad City.
I myself like more mixed recital programs like Ax’s, ones built around a central theme or a connection that puts pieces and composers into dialogue with and among each other. And I think that labels are turning more and more to such programs as many buyers and listeners already own compete cycles of certain works by certain composers.
All in all, these new releases bodes well for a new generation of pianists who impress us with their musicianship as well as their technique, but who are still not well enough known to the public. And The Ear says it again: May Emanuel Ax, Jonathan Biss and Alessio Bax all return soon to Madison for recitals, concertos or even chamber music.
By Jacob Stockinger
Talk about art therapy!
I have never been able to prove the story. But it makes a lot of sense to this amateur pianist. I know the physicality of playing, and it takes stamina as well as finesse. And it involves both body and mind. (Below in a photo of University of Wisconsin pianist Christopher Taylor, whose playing is particularly physical and energetic, as you know well if you saw his recent astonishing recital of Franz Liszt‘s extremely virtuoso transcriptions of Beethoven’s Fourth Symphony and Fifth Symphony.)
Contemporary researchers have taken an interest in studying how music affects one’s physical and mental health as well as social well-being, especially now that researchers can track changes through MRI and CAT scans.
Here is more good news: The suggestion, or even proof, by Dutch researchers that playing music lowers stress and lowers blood pressure. (Other studies show that listening to music also has benefits. But the one I am discussing dealt specific with actual music-making.)
Here is a link to the study:
And that story has a link to another study, done in Britain, that talks about the heightened sense of well-being one gets from making music – playing the piano or some other instrument or singing. And we know that conducting is particularly aerobic and healthy. Little wonder that conductors generally live along and healthy life.
The Bottom Line? Music is good and good for you.
Trust me, it’s never too late.
Just look at the YouTube video below that has had more than 9 MILLION hits:
REMINDER: Today is the 328th birthday of J.S. Bach (below) and between 5 a.m. and 8 a.m. this morning WORT 89.9 FM will mark the occasion by airing local performers playing Bach works. I posted about this yesterday. Here is a link: http://welltempered.wordpress.com/2013/03/19/classical-music-celebrate-the-328th-birthday-of-johann-sebastian-bach-this-thursday-morning-from-5-a-m-to-8-a-m-with-radio-host-rich-samuels-and-many-local-performers-on-wort-89-9-fm-radio/
ALERT: Guitarist Joseph Spoelstra and mezzo-soprano Alyssa Anderson (below) will perform the acclaimed “Dream Songs Project” this Friday night at 7:30 p.m. at the First Unitarian Society, 900 University Bay Drive. The ”We the People” program includes Benjamin Britten’s inventive arrangements of British Folksongs for voice and guitar; three of Brahms’ German Folksongs; Four French Folksongs by Hungarian Matyas Seiber; the very popular arrangements of Brazilian Folksongs by Laurindo Almeida; and as new arrangements of Swedish, and American folksongs. Tickets: $10-$15 at the door or at www.brownpapertickets.com. For more information about the project, visit: http://www.thedreamsongsproject.org
Madison has been waiting a long time to hear the late Romanticism of Austrian composer Anton Bruckner (below in a photo from 1894).
The Madison Symphony Orchestra and its maestro John DeMain have repeatedly promised that it would soon do one of the big symphonies, especially now that the playing of the ensemble has reached a high enough level to surmount the technical challenges of Bruckner’s scores and do justice to the music.
But just this past week, the MSO announced its next season – and Bruckner was once again nowhere to be found.
Well, if you need consolation perhaps you should consider attending the concert by the Wisconsin Chamber Orchestra (below top) this Friday night at 8 p.m. in the Overture Center’s Capitol Theater. The WCO and music director-conductor Andrew Sewell, it seems, believe they are up to the challenge.
Tickets are $15-$65. Call the Overture Center box office at (608) 258-4141. Here is a link to WCO website where you can more out more information about the program, the performers and tickets:
Only two works make up the program “Viennese Virtuosi.” But both works promise to be memorable.
The concert’s first half is made up of Mozart’s dramatic and stirring Piano Concerto No. 24 in C Minor, K. 491. It is one of the two great piano concertos (the other, more popular one is in D minor, K. 466) that Mozart composed in darker minor keys.
It is also the piano concerto that the young piano virtuoso and composer Ludwig van Beethoven heard and sop impressed him that he remarked something to effect, “We shall not hear its like again.”
And indeed, we probably didn’t until Beethoven’s own Piano Concerto in C minor, OP. 37, the third of his five published piano concertos, appeared.
The soloist in the Mozart WAS to be Anne-Marie McDermott (below), an extremely talented, distinguished and much honored pianist as well as an Artist Member of the famed Chamber Music Society of Lincoln Center. (McDermott, who made her debut at 12, has received, among many honors, an Avery Fisher Career grant and the prestigious Andrew Wolf Chamber Music Award.)
But McDermott had to cancel at the last minute because of a family emergency. She will be replaced by the Israeli-born, New York-based pianist Shai Wosner (below), who performed the Beethoven Piano Concerto No. 4 beautifully with the WCO two years ago — that time also as a substitute for McDermott who then had a scheduling conflict.
This time Wosner will play the same great Mozart concerto that was originally programmed. It will be interesting to hear his Mozart. Wosner has made terrific recordings of Brahms and Schoenberg along with an all-Schubert CD.
Here is a link to his website:
And here is a link to a previous post about his last appearance with the WCO:
The second half will be devoted to Anton Bruckner’s Symphony No. 0 (called “Die Nullte”) in D minor. (Apparently there are major problems with the numbering and publishing and composing chronologies of Bruckner’s symphonies, which is how we end up a ZERO.)
But his ZERO is definitely NOT the same as nothing. It is really more of Symphony 1-1/2, coming between No.1 and No. 2, but retracted for revisions and never performed in the composer’s lifetime.
For more information about Bruckner (below), his life and his problematical work, here is a link to the Wikipedia entry:
However the symphony is labeled, one thing is clear. The Wisconsin Chamber Orchestra and its music director Andrew Swell have beaten the older, larger and bigger Madison Symphony Orchestra to offering orchestral music by Bruckner (below). True, the UW Choral Union and UW Symphony Orchestra did the deeply religious Bruckner’s “Te Deum” for chorus and orchestra many years ago.
Bruckner’s combining of modernism and polyphony, his radically long and repetitious and, yes, sometimes ponderous and pompous aesthetic that used unorthodox pre-modern harmonies, is not to everyone’s liking. But when it works, I have found, it works wonderfully -– which may be why his now popular contemporary Gustav Mahler (below), who shared a propensity for length and complex inventiveness, called Bruckner “half-simpleton and half-God.”
I love the Symphony No. 4 “Romantic” with its great brass work:
The rousing and almost scary Scherzo from the incomplete Symphony No. 9 (also in D minor) was used to terrific effect in the soundtrack to “Saraband,” the last movie by the great Swedish filmmaker Ingmar Bergman.
In any case, this strikes The Ear as close to perfect programming, much the way that recently John DeMain and the MSO mixed a Mozart violin concerto with a Shostakovich symphony. The two minor key works should, across the centuries, resonate and echo with each other.
Plus, increasingly, Bruckner’s earlier symphonies — more Schubert-like in texture and orchestration than the bigger and bolder later works — than are being played by chamber orchestras and not only full-blown symphony orchestras. (Hear the first movement of the Bruckner Symphony No. 0 in D minor, with Sir George Solti conducting the Chicago Symphony Orchestra, in the YouTube video at bottom. Nice and not so intimidating, nicht wahr?)
ALERT: It may not feel like it, but today — Wednesday, March 20, 2013 -– is the vernal equinox (from the Latin for “equal night”). It arrives in Wisconsin at 6:02 a.m. CDT. And boy, is it ever welcome this year after this on-and-off winter of warm and cold, snowfall and floods, sunshine and gray skies. But the first of spring is so cold!! So is spring a reality? Or just a dream or maybe illusion? Franz Schubert wondered the same thing in the YouTube video of his song “Spring Dream” (below) from “Winterreise” (Winter Journey), sung by the incomparable German baritone Dietrich Fischer-Dieskau, who died last year. (The mix of Schubert titles for the cycle and this specific song certainly applies to this winter and spring, no?). What piece would you like to hear to celebrate the long-awaited arrival of spring?
By Jacob Stockinger
Farley’s House of Pianos, 6522 Seybold Road, will present a concert by the internationally recognized Czech pianist Martin Kasik on this Saturday, March 23, 2013 at 7:30 p.m.
The first half of the performance will feature all three movements of Claude Debussy’s “Estampes” (Prints) that include “Pagodas,” “Evening in Granada” and “Gardens in the Rain”; and Franz Liszt’s “Liebestraum” (Dream of Love) No. 3 and “Spanish Rhapsody.” After an intermission, Kasik will perform Modeste Mussorgsky’s “Pictures at an Exhibition” (at bottom in a YouTube video) in its entirety. See the program details at www.farleyspianos.com
Tickets can be purchased in person at Farley’s House of Pianos and Orange Tree Imports on Monroe Street, or by calling (608) 271-2626 to reserve tickets by credit or debit card.
Tickets are $35 the day of the concert or $30 in advance. Located on Madison’s far west side near West Towne, Farley’s House of Pianos will have plenty of free parking available, and is easy to reach by bicycle or Madison Metro. A reception will follow the concert.
Kasik has been playing piano since the age of four and won many national and international awards before the age of 25, including the 1999 Young Concert Artists Competition and the 2000 Davidoff Prix. Other prizes include: the 1997 Chopin International Piano Competition, 1st prize; the 1998 Prague Spring International Competition, 1st prize; the 1998 Young Concert Artists Competition, European Round, Leipzig, 1st prize; and the 1999 Young Concert Artists Competition, World Round, New York, 1st prize.
Kasik has played throughout the world, including concerts in Helsinki, Barcelona, Tokyo, and at the Kennedy Center in Washington, DC. Kasik teaches piano at the Prague Conservatory and the Academy of Performing Arts in Prague and is considered one of the best Czech pianists active today.
Other 2013 concerts include UW-Madison cellist Parry Karp and UW-Oshkosh pianist Eli Kalman in the complete works for cello and piano by Ludwig van Beethoven on April 19 at 7:30 p.m. and April 21 at 4:30 p.m.
ALERT: The performance tonight from 7 to 9 p.m. by Classical Revolution Madison at Brocach Irish Pub (below) at 7 West Man Street, on the Capitol Square in Madison HAS BEEN CANCELLED.
By Jacob Stockinger
It’s time again for one of Madison’s annual and much anticipated Rites of Spring: “The Final Forte.”
That is the final round where four young classical musicians compete as soloists live and on stage with the Madison Symphony Orchestra (below top) under music director and conductor John DeMain (below bottom, in a photo by James Gill) in the Capitol Theater, although in previous years it was held in Overture Hall, of the Overture Center in downtown Madison near the Capitol Square.
I have heard and watched The Final Forte quite a few times and the music-making is always wonderful, and the display of talent is always impressive. I don’t envy the judges and their task. It is a terrific event to promote classical music, both the making of it and the hearing of it in live performance. Young performing artists always need more public platforms and exposure. And music education always needs more help.
Wisconsin Public Television (WPT) and Wisconsin Public Radio (WPR) will once again offer statewide live broadcasts of Wisconsin Young Artists Compete: The Final Forte at 7 p.m. Thursday, March 14. The broadcast — part of WPT’s new Young Performers Initiative — also will be live simulcast at wpt.org on the Web.
The Final Forte features (below, from left, in a photo by James Gill) pianist Christopher Eom; harpist Chloe Tula; violinist C. Andrew Dunlap; and oboist Lauren McNeel. The four will vie for honors in the 2013 Bolz Young Artist Competition.
For more information, including biographies of the four performers and dates for repeat broadcasts, visit: http://www.madisonsymphony.org/competition
Each finalist will perform a movement from a concerto while judges determine who will win scholarships and the opportunity to perform as soloists with the MSO at the Spring Young People’s Concert.
Here is the complete program: W.A. Mozart – “The Impresario” Overture, K. 486; Franz Josef Haydn’s Oboe Concerto in C Major, first movement with Lauren McNeel, Oboe; Reinhold Gliere’s Harp Concerto in E flat Major, Op. 74, first movement, with Chloe Tula, harp; Sergei Prokofiev’s Violin Concerto No. 1 in D Major, Op. 19, first movement, with C. Andrew Dunlap, violin; Camille Saint-Saëns, Piano Concerto No. 2 in G minor, Op. 22, first movement, with Christopher Eom, piano; Igor Stravinsky’s “Firebird” Suite (1945) sections 9) Infernal Dance, 10) Berceuse and 11) Finale.
Members of the public are welcome to attend the free live performance in the Capitol Theater (below) at the Overture Center in Madison; phone (608) 257-3734 to reserve a seat. Audience members must be seated by 6:45 p.m.
“Wisconsin Young Artists Compete: The Final Forte” is a partnership of Wisconsin Public Television, Wisconsin Public Radio and the Madison Symphony Orchestra.
Major funding for “Wisconsin Young Artists Compete: The Final Forte” is provided by Diane Endres Ballweg; Stanley and Shirley Inhorn; Julie and Larry Midtbo; Fred and Mary Mohs; and Pleasant T. Rowland Foundation, with additional gifts from A. Paul Jones Charitable Trust, Baird Foundation, The Boldt Company, Mildred and Marv Conney, Sentry Insurance Foundation, W. Jerome Frautschi, and Friends of Wisconsin Public Television.
WPT is a service of the Educational Communications Board and the University of Wisconsin–Extension. Statewide outlets include WHA-TV, Madison; WPNE-TV, Green Bay; WHRM-TV, Wausau; WLEF-TV, Park Falls; WHLA-TV, La Crosse; and WHWC-TV, Menomonie-Eau Claire.