By Jacob Stockinger
Today is Thanksgiving Day, 2015.
Music is such a part of Thanksgiving Day, from hymns and songs, solo music and chamber music, symphonies and oratorios.
And from 10 until noon, will also feature band, choral and instrumental music from the Honors Concerts of the Wisconsin School Music Association. That involves middle school and high schools students from around the state.
Then from noon to 3 p.m. there is a special National Public Radio (NPR) program for Thanksgiving that includes the British pianist Stephen Hough, who has performed several times in Madison at the Wisconsin Union Theater and with the Madison Symphony Orchestra, and who also held master classes at the University of Wisconsin-Madison School of Music.
But you might also be interested to stream some other music. WQXR, the famed classical music radio station in New York City, has put together the Top 5 musical expressions of giving thanks. The website has audio and visual performances of the works that you can stream.
Here is a link:
And if you have other idea about music that is appropriate for Thanksgiving this year, please leave them in the COMMENT section, preferably with a YouTube link if possible.
The Ear wants to hear.
Happy Thanksgiving to all.
ALERT: The will be NO free Friday Noon Musicale this week at the First Unitarian Society of Madison, 900 University Bay Drive. The musicales will resume on Dec. 4.
By Jacob Stockinger
Here is a special posting, a review written by frequent guest critic and writer for this blog, John W. Barker. Barker (below) is an emeritus professor of Medieval history at the University of Wisconsin-Madison. He also is a well-known classical music critic who writes for Isthmus and the American Record Guide, and who for 12 years hosted an early music show every other Sunday morning on WORT-FM 89.9 FM. He serves on the Board of Advisors for the Madison Early Music Festival and frequently gives pre-concert lectures in Madison.
By John W. Barker
Trevor Stephenson (below left), the versatile founder, director and keyboard player of the Madison Bach Musicians, ventured another early music novelty last Saturday evening at the Madison Christian Community Hall on Old Sauk Road. (All performance photos are by John W. Barker.)
He and a colleague, Stephen Alltop (below right) from Northwestern University, braved our football traffic and our first snowstorm to bring their respective harpsichords for a joint program.
It was called “Music for Two Harpsichords,” but a better title would have been “Music for Two Harpsichordists.”
The fact is, only one item on the program was actually written for two harpsichords playing together. This was the Concerto for Two Harpsichords in C Major (BWV 1061), for which the string-ensemble parts are purely optional — and which were dispensed with in this case. (For the harpsichord-only version, see the YouTube video at the bottom.)
The two artists did play otherwise together, but in transcriptions.
They took several selections from Pièces de clavecin en concert by Jean-Philippe Rameau, which Rameau (below) himself adapted from purely harpsichord pieces into trios for harpsichord and two other instruments. But these were played in adaptations that turned the other instrument parts into a second harpsichord.
And there was a transcription for two harpsichords of the Fandango finale from the Quintet No. 4 in D Major by Luigi Boccherini (below) for guitar and string quartet.
In between these works there were solo keyboard segments. Alltop played three of the Preludes and Fugues from Book I of Johann Sebastian Bach’s “Well-Tempered Clavier” and Stephenson played three of Domenico Scarlatti’s 555 harpsichord sonatas.
For some extra spice, Tania Tandias (below), of local Flamenco dance activities, contributed some tambourine rhythms to a pair of the Rameau pieces, and she worked up a lot of castanet excitement in the Boccherini.
The two keyboard artists are each wonderful musicians, and obviously are compatible partners as well as gifted individual soloists. Alltop (below) matches Stephenson’s witty commentaries with wonderfully articulate and informed discussion.
Their two harpsichords are, inevitably, quite distinct in tone, so that it is possible to discern each player’s role. Fortunately, too, the Christian Community’s hall is moderate in size and intimate, a perfect acoustical setting for such keyboard playing.
The Stephenson-Alltop partnership deserves to continue. There is a lot of actual two-harpsichord literature out there. Francois Couperin wrote a good deal of music for the combination, as did a number of Elizabethan composers. It would be wonderful if such material could be explored in further ventures like this one, and by these two splendid artists.
Do remember the Madison Bach Musicians’ annual Baroque Holiday Concert, which features cantatas by Johann Sebastian Bach and music by Georg Philipp Telemann and Arcangelo Corelli. It will take place at 8 p.n. on Saturday, Dec. 12, at the First Congregational United Church of Christ, near Camp Randall. For more information, visit:
By Jacob Stockinger
The Ear’s friends at the Wisconsin Baroque Ensemble have sent the following word:
The Wisconsin Baroque Ensemble will perform a Thanksgiving concert on this coming Sunday afternoon, Nov. 29, at 3 p.m. in Saint Andrew‘s Episcopal Church, 1833 Regent Street, on Madison’s near west side. (Below are photos of the church’s exterior and interior.)
Performers include Brett Lipshutz, traverse; Eric Miller, viola da gamba; Consuelo Sañudo, mezzo-soprano; Monica Steger, traverso, recorder, harpsichord; Anton TenWolde, baroque cello; and Max Yount, harpsichord.
Tickets at the door are $20, $10 for students.
The program features: “Ricercata X sopra il violoncello” (1687) by Giovanni Battista Degli Antonii; “Nel dolce dell’ oblio,” HWV 134, by George Fridrich Handel; Sonata 5 for traverse and basso continuo by Johann Kirnberger; the Second Concert, from Concerts Royaux (1722) by François Couperin; Pièces de Violle, Suite 4 (1685) by Monsieur de Machy; “Mi palpita il cor,” HWV 132c, by George Friderich Handel: Suite No. 6 in E-flat Major by Georg Boehm (1661-1733): and Quartet in E Minor by Georg Philipp Telemann (heard in the YouTube video at the bottom as played on Baroque period instruments and historically informed performance practices by members of the Freiburger Barockorchester.)
PLEASE NOTE: There will be a reception at our studio at nearby 2422 Kendall Ave, second floor, immediately following the concert.
By Jacob Stockinger
The Ear’s friends at The Oakwood Chamber Players write:
Join the Oakwood Chamber Players as they present two performances of Holiday Fun, their annual Christmas Lights concert on this coming Sunday, Nov. 29.
Holiday Fun, which will mix in the sweet appeal of pieces such as Home for the Holidays, the upbeat It’s the Most Wonderful Time of the Year, and Vaughan-Williams’ gentle and lulling Withers Rocking Song.
An array of holiday songs and carols, interspersed with stories, will fill out the concert programming. The group will offer a range of combinations from solo piano to keyboard plus a variety of winds and strings.
The ensemble is pleased to feature the talents of soprano Heather Thorpe (below) who will collaborate with the Oakwood Chamber Players on “The Oxen,” which brings to life the poetry of Thomas Hardy in a setting by Paul Brantley, as well as Pietro Yon’s “Gesu Bambino.” (You can it sung by Kathleen Battle and Frederica von Stade in a popular YouTube video at the bottom.)
Both performances are on Sunday afternoon and will be held at the Oakwood Center for Arts and Education, 6209 Mineral Point Road, on Madison far west wide. The first performance will be 1 p.m. with a second performance at 3:30 p.m.
Tickets are available at the door. Prices are $20 for general admission, $15 for seniors and $5 for students. Visit www.oakwoodchamberplayers.com for more information.
This is the second of five concerts in the Oakwood Chamber Players’ 2015-2016 season series titled “Play.” Remaining concerts include Fairy Tales and Other Stories on Jan. 16 and 17, Children’s Games on March 5 and 6; and Summer Splash on May 14 and 15.
The Oakwood Chamber Players is a group of Madison-area professional musicians who have rehearsed and performed at Oakwood Village for over 30 years.
ALERT: This afternoon at 2:30 p.m in Overture Hall of the Overture Center is your last chance to hear the acclaimed all-French program by the Madison Symphony Orchestra with guest cellist Sara Sant’Ambrogio. Here are links to two very positive reviews.
Here is the review written by critic John W. Barker for Isthmus:
And here is a link to an interview with more about the concert, the program and the soloist:
By Jacob Stockinger
This news is old and dated, and it comes late, too late for you to attend the memorial service. The Ear apologizes for his tardiness.
But the past several weeks have been very busy with concerts, and therefore with previews and reviews. Plus, he didn’t hear about the news until later.
Putting excuses aside, The Ear wants to take a moment to recognize the passing of an extraordinary talent many of us heard in performance and deeply appreciated.
Flutist Robin Fellows (below) has died of cancer at 66. For many years, he was principal flute with the Wisconsin Chamber Orchestra. He was also a longtime music professor at the University of Wisconsin-Whitewater.
And he performed his share of other dates, such as playing with the Ancora String Quartet (below, in a photo by John W. Barker)
Here is a link to his obituary:
In his memory, here — in a YouTube video at the bottom featuring flutist Emmanuel Pahud and Sir Simon Rattle conducting the Berlin Philharmonic — is a favorite work of The Ear with a major flute part: the Sarabande by French composer Gabriel Faure.
Please feel free to leave your personal memories and recollections in the COMMENT section for others and the family to see.
ALERT: This Sunday night at 8 p.m in Mills Hall, a FREE concert by the local percussion group Clocks in Motion will give the world premieres of two new works by composers Ben Davis and Anthony Donotrio.
By Jacob Stockinger
This Sunday night, Nov. 22, at 7 p.m. the public will have the chance to explore musically and visually the modern Saint John’s Bible, a large mutli-volume work. which is beautifully illuminated with original contemporary art that is reminiscent of Medieval illuminated manuscripts.
No tickets are required and the event is FREE. Doors will open at 6:30 p.m.
This musical and visual collaboration explores the themes of creation, incarnation and transformation. Inspired by illuminations from the Saint John’s Bible Heritage edition, choral selections will be accompanied by projected animations of the chosen illuminated images. It was on display this past year at the University of Wisconsin-Madison‘s Chazen Museum of Art.
Edgewood College officials say that this concert is an invitation to the community to tap into the deep spirituality of the music and the illuminations in the presence of the Gospels and the Acts volume of the Saint John’s Bible Heritage Edition.
Here is a link to the official website for the Bible, which was commissioned and cost $145,000 in 1998 and was finished in 2011:
And here is a link to an online exhibition of the Bible at The Library of Congress, so you can explore it more before or after the concert:
The event will feature the Campus-Community Choir, the Chamber Singers, the Women’s Choir (below) and the Guitar Ensemble. Sorry, no word about the specific pieces or composers that will be sung and played.
Here is a link to a brief audiovisual sample of the Edgewood presentation:
In the YouTube video below, art director Donald Jackson talks about creating the new Bible:
ALERT: This week’s FREE Friday Noon Musicale, to be held from 12:15 to 1 p.m. in the Landmark Auditorium of the Frank Lloyd Wright-designed First Unitarian Society of Madison, 900 University Bay Drive, features pianist Mark Valenti. He will play Three Pieces from “Le Printemps” (Spring) by Darius Milhaud; the Sonata in A major by Franz Schubert; and the Sonata No. 7 in B-flat major by Sergei Prokofiev.
By Jacob Stockinger
This week brings two FREE concerts by several choral groups at the University of Wisconsin-Madison School of Music.
On Friday night at 8 p.m. in Mills Hall, the University Chorus, Women’s Choir and Master Singers will perform a FREE concert. Sorry, no word yet about the program.
Then on Saturday night at 8 p.m. in Mills Hall, the UW Chorale will perform a FREE concert called “It’s a Jolly Holiday!” Director Bruce Gladstone (below, in a photo by Katrin Talbot) will conduct.
NOTE: This concert is NOT to be confused with the usually packed Winter Choral Concert — with its theme of holidays, multiple choirs and several conductors — that will take place on Sunday, Dec. 6, at 2 and 4 p.m. at Luther Memorial Church.
Here are some program notes:
“This fall, the UW Chorale gets into the holiday spirit.
“But which one?
“An entire year of them!
“The ensemble starts with New Year’s Day and moves through the calendar year singing choral works to commemorate each festive day.
“They’ll celebrate President’s Day, Valentine’s Day, St. Patrick’s Day, Easter, Earth Day (below) and so on, with a variety of great music that will leave you wondering why you only think about hearing a choir sing at Christmas.
“Works include “My Funny Valentine,” “Free at Last,” Wolfgang Amadeus Mozart’s “Regina Coeli,” Howard Hanson’s “Song of Democracy,” Aaron Copland’s “The Promise of Living” and many more.” (You can hear Howard Hanson’s “Song of Democracy,” with words by poet Walt Whitman and with the famous Interlochen theme from his “Romantic” Symphony No. 2, in a YouTube video at the bottom.)
“There will be something for everyone as they explore the days we call “holy.””
ALERTS: The concert by the UW-Madison Contemporary Chamber Ensemble that was scheduled for this Wednesday night has been POSTPONED. No word yet about the new date.
The fall edition of University Opera’s Opera Scenes will offer its latest production on this Thursday night at 7:30 p.m. in Music Hall. The FREE event features work by students in the Fall Opera Workshop class at the UW-Madison. Students direct, stage and sing the scenes. Piano accompaniment is again the norm, but this time a small Baroque orchestra of strings and winds will also be there.
The program will include scenes from “Der Freischütz” by Carl Maria von Weber; “Arabella” by Richard Strauss; “La Clemenza di Tito” by Wolfgang Amadeus Mozart; and “Orlando” by George Frideric Handel. Also, violist, conductor, singer and critic-blogger Mikko Rankin Utevsky will make his opera conducting debut in the half-hour excerpt of Handel, which includes a mad scene. For more information, including a list of the singers, here is a link: http://www.music.wisc.edu/event/opera-workshop-fall/
By Jacob Stockinger
At the UW-Madison, there are several major choral concerts, several of them with holiday music and holiday themes, just as many other music organizations — including the Madison Symphony Orchestra, the Wisconsin Chamber Orchestra, the Wisconsin Union Theater, the Madison Bach Musicians among them — do as the holidays approach.
So The Ear wants to direct your attention to the many student degree recitals – both undergraduate and graduate – that begin to pile up as the semester comes to a close.
All are free and usually take place at 6:30 or 8:30 p.m. in Morphy Hall.
The variety is stupendous. There are piano and chamber music recitals of all sorts. There are voice recitals. You can hear music for the flute, horn, violin, viola, saxophone, clarinet and percussion. (Below is student Sara Giusti in a recent piano recital.)
Here is a link to the University of Wisconsin-Madison School of Music online calendar of events and concerts for November and December (click forward to advance the schedule of events):
Click on the event you are interested in for details. Some of the listings have specific programs; others don’t. But almost all are good bets, given the caliber of the teaching and performing at the UW-Madison music school.
And please use the COMMENT section to let The Ear and his readers know about outstanding results when you hear them.
Let us now praise students too!