The Well-Tempered Ear

Motorcycle maestro gets 5 more years at Minnesota Orchestra

September 30, 2009
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By Jacob Stockinger

The Finnish-born conductor (and composer)  Osmo Vanska (below right), 56, will lead the Minnesota Orchestra at least through the end of the 2015 season, according to news reports in the Minneapolis Star-Tribune and the New York Times. He took over the Minnesota ensemble in 2003.Vanska

Vanska, who is known for riding his motorcycle around downtown Minneapolis, has led the Minnesota ensemble through some great times that some observers are describing as a golden age or a rebirth.

His achievements include three European tours and concerts in Carnegie Hall plus a 5-CDs of Beethoven nine symphonies that have garnered critical raves and even a Grammy nomination (for the Ninth Symphony.) A specially priced CD-SACD boxed set is scheduled to be released by BIS records on Oct. 27.

I like not only the playing, but also the coupling of early and late symphonies (No. 7 with No. 2, No. 6 and with No. 1).

For BIS, Vanska is also recording all five of the Beethoven piano concertos with the acclaimed young Russian pianist Evgeny Sudbin Sudbin (below right) and will release  the complete Tchaikovsky piano concertos in live performance with British pianist Stephen Hough (who will perform the Tchaikovsky First this season with the Madison Symphony Orchestra in late February) on the Hyperion label this spring.

Vanska is working through a cycle of Bruckner’s symphonies with the Minnesota Orchestra and it looks like that will be his next major recorded cycle. (The fourth symphony by Bruckner — “Romantic” — is due to be released this year.) I’d also like to hear him do all the Brahms symphonies, overtures and concertos. It’s along his lines and affinities. (He also recorded a well regarded set of all the Sibelius symphonies with the Finnish Lahti Symphony, which he used to direct.)

I’d also really like to hear him guest conduct the Madison Symphony Orchestra.

Here is a link to his official website:

http://www.minnesotaorchestra.org/music/artist_detail.cfm?id_artist=55040519

I like the fact that Vanska is letting the U.S. and the world know that there are more great orchestras in the Midwest than the Chicago Symphony Orchestra. There is the Minnesota Orchestra and the St. Louis Symphony Orchestra. The Detroit Symphony used to be world-class, too, but I haven’t heard much about or from them lately. And I suspect we may be hearing more from the Milwaukee Symphony Orchestra, which plays here Oct. 9 at the Wisconsin Union Theater, under its new conductor Edo de Waart.

What do you think of  Vanska’s performances and recordings?

Are there other Midwest orchestras the music world should know about?

The Ear wants to hear.


Posted in Classical music

Best Bets: Sept. 30-Oct. 6: The Madison Symphony Orchestra opens this weekend: Now the classical music scene gets really busy

September 30, 2009
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By Jacob Stockinger

This week, the classical music season in Madison is getting under way for real with a full schedule that offers a lot of symphonic music as well as chamber music and vocal music.

The Big Guy on the Block – the Madison Symphony Orchestra – opens its season this weekend with conductor John DeMain leading the MSO and pianist Peter Serkin (pictured below) in Brahms’ Piano Concerto No. 1 in D Minor, Op. 15. Also included ares Beethoven’s “Consecration of the House” Overture and Richard Strauss’ “Death and Transfiguration.” PeterSerkin

It should be a memorable event and gets The Ear’s MUST-HEAR rating.

Serkin, the son of pianist and Beethoven-Schubert-Brahms meister Rudolf Serkin, is his own interpreter who always manages to find something new to say and to make even the most familiar music interesting.

Serkin was scheduled to be interviewed  Thursday, Oct. 1,  around noon on The Midday on Wisconsin Public Radio (WERN 88.7 FM in the Madison area.) But he has refused to do a live interview and The Ear is still waiting to hear if Serkin will do a taped one to air at that time.

But Serkin is hardly the main attraction. DeMain turned in a terrifically vibrant, high-energy account of Brahms’ Symphony No. 2 at the end of last season, much as he did with Brahms’ Fourth Symphony the season before. DeMain, in short, shows all the signs of becoming a very accomplished Brahmsian.

DeMain (below right) came to Madison as as opera conductor, and after 15 seasons all the signs point tot he fact that he is becoming more and more at home in the symphonic repertoire and is willing to leave a personal stamp on it. DeMainOpera

Performances this weekend are in Overture Hall with a free lecture (to take place at all concerts except for the Christmas concerts) starting one hour before curtain time: Performances are Friday at 7:30 p.m.; Saturday at 8 p.m. and Sunday at 2:30 p.m.

Single tickets are $15 to $75, but it is also not too late to get a subscription ticket to a season that has a lot of highlights and a lot of pianists in great concertos.

Here is link to the season and to ticket information: http://www.madisonsymphony.org/2009-2010season

AS FOR OTHER MUSICAL HAPPENINGS IN THE WEEK AHEAD:

THURSDAY, OCT. 1, in Mills Hall at 7:30 p.m.: UW cellist Uri Vardi (below right) with UW violinist Felicia Moye and UW pianist Christopher Taylor perform a program of masterpieces that includes Beethoven’s Trio in C minor, Op. 1, No. 3 and Cello Sonata in C major, Op. 102, No. 1; Ernest Bloch’s “Prayer” (From Jewish Life, No. 1); and Serge Prokofiev’s Sonata in C major, Op. 119. It’s during the work week, but if you can manage it, this is another MUST-HEAR because it features first-rate players in first-rate repertoire. Vardi

Admission is free and open to the public.

FRIDAY, Oct. 2, at 7:30 p.m. at First Unitarian Society, 900 University Bay Drive,  Madison Song Masters project will give its debut concert, “A Singer’s Passsion.”

The Ear thinks such an organized effort and project  is long overdue, and that Madison has too little art song concerts for a city with a major School of Music and several big classical music presenters. (The Wisconsin Art Song Project is also active now.) I’ll be anxious to see what you think about its debut.

The first MSM concert includes about an hour’s worth of music with works by Brahms, Puccini, Copland and Gounod, among others.

Tickets cost $20 for the general public, $15 for seniors and $10 for students. For more information, call 233-9774 or visit the Unitarian Society website, http://www.fusmadison.org

The singers, Emily Birsan, Codrut Birsan, Celeste Fraser, Katherine Peck, Adam Shelton and Jennifer Sams, are all voice performance majors. Five are completing or have already received the master’s degree while one is an undergraduate student. Pianist Stephen Lewis will accompany.

Here is are the specifics of the program with singers:

Katherine Peck:  “Laurie’s Song” from “Tenderland” by Copland;  “Wie melodien zieht es mir” by Brahms; “Art Is Calling for Me” by Victor Herbert; J Adam Shelton in “Dies Bildnis…: form Ozart’s “The Magic Flute,” “Bonjour ma belle” by Alfred H Behrend, “Ride on King Jesus”  arranged by Hall Johnson

Codrut Birsan: “Tanzlied des Pierrot” from  “Die Tote Stadt” by Korngold and “O Xaima” by Gounod.

Jennifer Grace Sams: “Sein wir wieder gut” from “Ariadne auf Naxos” by Richard Strauss, “Amor” by William Bolcum and “Anzoleta co passa la regata” by Rossini.

Emily Birsan (below right): ” O mio babbino caro” from “Gianni Schicchi” by Puccini; “Ah! je veux vivre” from “Romeo et Juliette” by Gounod; “zdes’ khorosho” by Rachmaninoff. EmilyBirsan

Celeste Fraser: “Song to the Moon” from “Rusalka” by Dvorak; “Allerseelen” by Strauss; “Si. Mi Chiamano Mimi” from “La Boheme” by Puccini.

Group songs: “An die Musik” by Schubert; “Deep in My Heart, Dear” from “The Student Prince” by Romberg.

To audition for the Madison Song Masters, contact Joseph Brachmann (below right) at jbrachsing@netscape.com or call 920-452-2462.  Joseph Brachmann

For more background about the art songs projects taking place locally, see the story in The Capital Times/77 Square of Sept. 22 by Lindsay Christians:

http://host.madison.com/entertainment/arts_and_theatre/article_fac61be2-a772-11de-872a-001cc4c03286.html

SUNDAY, OCT. 4, at 7:30 p.n. in Mills Hall: UW Symphony Orchestra under conductor James Smith. The program features Witold Lutoslawski’s Concerto for Orchestra and Antonin Dvorak’s Symphony No. 7. (Can’t get too much Dvorak!) The concert is free and unticketed.

TUESDAY, OCT. 6, 7:30 p.m. in Mills Hall: UW Chamber Orchestra (below center, in a photo by Jack Burns) under conductor James Smith. The program includes Faure’s “Masques et Bergamasques”; Benjamin Britten’s “Four French Songs” with UW faculty soprano Mimmi Fulmer; and Beethoven’s Symphony No. 1. The concert is free and unticketed.UW Chamber Orchestra low res

There’s a lot of great live music to catch this week. So let us know what you heard and what you thought of it.

The Ear wants to hear.


Posted in Classical music

Pianist Peter Serkin will NOT be on WPR radio’s ‘Midday’ show this Thursday!!

September 29, 2009
1 Comment

By Jacob Stockinger

A BIG CORRECTION: THE INFORMATION IN THIS POST TURNS OUT TO BE WRONG.

AS OF ABOUT 12:30 P.M. ON TUESDAY (SEPT. 29),  I HEARD THAT PETER SERKIN DID NOT AGREE TO A LIVE INTERVIEW.

HE MAY YET AGREE TO A TAPED ONE, BUT NO WORD ON THAT YET. IF IT HAPPENS, I’LL POST A CORRECTION TO THE CORRECTION.

SO THE REST OF THE GUEST LIST IS TENTATIVE.

I APOLOGIZE FOR THE PROBLEM–AND DISAPPOINTMENT.

Pianist Peter Serkin (right), PeterSerkin2 who will help the Madison Symphony Orchestra to open its new season this weekend when he performs the Brahms’ Piano Concerto No. 1 in D Minor, Op.15, under maestro John DeMain, will be The Midday guest with Wisconsin Public Radio hosts Norman Gilliland and Stephanie Elkins on this Thursday, Oct. 1,  at noon.

(For information about the upcoming MSO performances and tickets, here is a link: http://www.madisonsymphony.org/2009-2010season)

Typically, during the midday interviews, the guest answers questions and excerpts are played from some recordings.

Elkins (below left) and Gilliland (below right) are two of the most musically literate hosts on public radio, and their interviews are always informative as well as humorous, informal and entertaining. Gilliland_Norman_100Elkins,Stephanie_100

If you miss the live broadcasts, you can go to the website after the interview and stream it or download it for Ipods and MP3 players.

Here’s a link: http://www.wpr.org/midday/

Here is a list of other interviews scheduled for the current season:

Interviews tied to concerts by the Madison Symphony Orchestra

Oct. 1- Pianist Peter Serkin

Oct. 22 – Violinist Nadja Salerno-Sonnenberg

Nov. 19 – Cellist Ralph Kirshbaum

Dec. 3 – Soprano Sylvia McNair

Feb. 4 – Violinist-conductor Pinchas Zukerman

Feb. 25 — Pianist Stephen Hough

March 18 – Pianist Jonathan Biss

April – Pianist Philippe Bianconi and bass-baritone Dean Peterson

Interviews tied to concerts by the Wisconsin Chamber Orchestra

Link is: http://www.wcoconcerts.org/new/masterworks/masterworks2010.php

Oct 9 – Violinist Augustin Hadelich

Nov. 13 – Flutist Sir James Galway

Jan. 22 – Minneapolis Guitar Quartet

March 26 – Trumpeter Ryan Anthony

April 23 – Pianist Stewart Goodyear

As for Peter Serkin: I would like to know what it was like growing up with such a famous pianist father Rudolf (see father and young son at below right)  and how his way of approaching the same music and composer differs? What special things about playing and performing did he learn from his father? R&PSerkin

What question would you like Peter Serkin to answer?

The Ear wants to hear.


Posted in Classical music

Crime novelist James Ellroy digs classical music — loves Beethoven, hates Brahms

September 28, 2009
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By Jacob Stockinger

His opinions about music are as strong as the content and language in his bestselling crime novels.

He is James Ellroy (a photo by the Associated Press is at below right) , the bestselling high-ego Los Angeles-based writer whose work  echoes his “noir” aesthetic and point of view.JamesEllroy

Two of his novels have been made into movies (“LA Confidential”) and he has written books about the “Black Dahlia” murder and the unsolved murder of his mother “My Dark Places”).

He is known as a man of big, even outsized appetites, especially for drink (now well in the past) and women (ever-present).

And he is a fascinating character, worthy of being in his own fiction.

I am not a big Ellroy reader, though I like what I’ve read. But quite by accident he crossed my path twice this week.

The first is the interview about writing (in the “Art of Fiction” series) in the latest Paris Review, Issue 190, Fall 2009, now available on the market. It’s a fascinating piece of interviewing that gets into detail about his life and his work. Here’s a link: http://www.parisreview.com/viewissue.php/prmIID/190

But an even more usual and tightly focused interview, and more fascinating to me, is one by Timothy Mangan , who wrote his story in a pastiche of Ellroy’s hard-bitten, prose staccato style, that appeared in the Orange County Register newspaper (Orange County is near LA). It shows that Ellroy’s has  a well developed, even refined (an odd sounding description when applied to Ellroy)  taste in music — especially classical music, especially Beethoven — and shows how it relates to his writing, including his new novel “Blood’s a Rover.”

If you’ve read “American Tabloid” or “White Jazz” or “The Big Nowhere,” you know that Ellroy is a man given to strong flavors and strong opinions.

Find out what he think of Haydn, Mozart, Beethoven, Schubert, Chopin, Bruckner, Brahms, Bartok and Prokofiev among others. Here is a link to that story: http://www.ocregister.com/articles/james-ellroy-la-2551238-confidential-bloods

Let us know if you are a James Ellroy fan and what you think of his opinions about classical music.

The Ear wants to hear.


Posted in Classical music

Pianist Alicia de Larrocha dies at 86

September 27, 2009
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By Jacob Stockinger

She was a small woman with small hands – but nonetheless she became a giant of late 20th-century pianism and played some of the most difficult repertoire with total mastery.

Alicia de Larrocha has died at 86.

de Larrocha

Here are links to two obituaries:

http://blog.taragana.com/n/renowned-spanish-pianist-alicia-de-larrocha-dies-at-86-179461/

http://www.washingtonpost.com/wp-dyn/content/article/2009/09/26/AR2009092602461.html

More appreciations are sure to appear.

Myself, I will listen to her recordings of Albeniz and Granados, which remain unsurpassed, and maybe some Mozart.

And I will think of her especially during “The Maiden and the Nightingale.” de Larrocha2

She was both.

Any thoughts about her passing?

The Ear wants to hear.


Posted in Classical music

Hearing the Milwaukee Symphony Orchestra with Edo de Waart on public radio sharpens The Ear’s appetite to hear them live in Madison on Oct. 9

September 26, 2009
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By Jacob Stockinger

Now I’m looking forward to Friday, Oct. 9, even more.

That’s when the Milwaukee Symphony Orchestra performs at the Wisconsin Union Theater (at 8 p.m.) in a concert of Mozart’s Overture to “Don Giovanni,” Brahms’ rarely played but beautiful Double Concerto for Violin and Cello and Beethoven’s magnificent Seventh Symphony. (Tickets are $18, $40 and $45 with $10 for UW students. Call 262-2201. Here a link to WUT:   http://www.uniontheater.wisc.edu/ )

The orchestra and soloist will be playing under the baton of the orchestra’s new music director Edo de Waart (below right), a famous and world-class Dutch-born conductor who also happens now to live in Middleton even while he fulfills his duties in Milwaukee, in Hong King (where is music director of the Hong Kong Symphony Orchestra) and various guest stints around the globe.

dewaart

What makes me so excited was broadcast last Sunday after (Sept. 20) when Wisconsin Public Radio broadcast a performance of the Milwaukee Symphony Orchestra. It has done so all summer long, but the conductor has been outgoing maestro Andreas Delfs.

This time is was de Waart who led the orchestra through John Adams’ “The Chairman Dances” from “Nixon in China,” a clarinet work by Von Weber and Dvorak’s Symphony No. 9 “From the New World.”

That last work especially is a favorite of mine.

But this performance unstopped my ears and made me hear it anew.

Boy, they sounded good!

The performance had an edgy drive and energy.

It possessed sharp rhythms and solid beats as well as songful lyricism.

The brass and percussion were upfront, and the strings were smooth — not mushy but direct and even forceful.

And the counterplay of different parts was clear.

In short, at least judging form that performance – and from de Waart’s guest stint with the Madison Symphony Orchestra a couple of season ago  — de Waart is going to offer  an exciting experience, a terrific reimagining of repertoire staples as well as new works.

You can check him out again this Sunday (Sept. 27) at 2 p.m. (following the UW Pro Arte Quartet on “Sunday Live form the Chazen”) when the Wisconsin Public Radio (WERN 88.7 FM in the Madison area) will wrap up its summer broadcasts of the Milwaukee Symphony Orchestra with de Waart conducting pianist Sa Chen in Beethoven’s Piano Concerto No. 3 in C Minor, Op. 37, and soprano Heidi Stober in Mahler’s Symphony No. 4.

Officially, “The de Waart Era” in Milwaukee beings tonight (Saturday, Sept. 26, at 7 p.m.) and tomorrow (Sunday, Sept. 27, at 2:30 p.m.) when de Waart leads the group in Bernstein’s Symphony No. 1 and Mahler’s Symphony No. 5. If you’re interested, here are links to stories about him and to those concerts and the full season:

http://www.jsonline.com/entertainment/arts/60942882.html

http://www.mso.org/main.taf?erube_fh=tessitura&tessitura.submit.CalendarPerfLink=1&PerfNo=9061

By the way, both the Madison Symphony Orchestra and the Milwaukee Symphony Orchestra goes by the acronym MSO.

I wonder: Should they be called in shorthand MaSO and Miso, for Madison and Milwaukee respectively?

Anybody else out there have an opinion about deWaart?

The Ear wants to hear.


Posted in Classical music

Today is Glenn Gould’s birthday. What’s your favorite recording?

September 25, 2009
2 Comments

Glenn_Gould_1By Jacob Stockinger

Today (Sept. 25) is the birthday of pianist Glenn Gould, who was born in Canada in 1932 and died in Toronto on Oct. 4, 1982. Had he lived (he died of a stroke at 50), Gould would be 77.

Along with Rubinstein, Horowitz and Richter, Gould remains one of the most famous classical pianists of the 20th century.

He was known for his personal and musical eccentricities (people today speculate that he had the Asperger’s Syndrome form of autism) and for his pioneering recordings of Bach, which left out repeats and used no pedal, emphasizing a detached harpsichord-like touch.

Not very many people can do two completely different performances of Bach’s mammoth “Goldberg” Variations and make both of them thoroughly original and equally convincing. Gould did, at the beginning and end of his career.

But aside from Bach (which he was in the process of re-recording when he died), he did some other interesting work (though many say his Mozart and Beethoven are best avoided.)

I particularly like the album he did of pre-Baroque masters William Byrd and Orlando Gibbons. And I like his interpretations of late Brahms intermezzi, which are rich in polyphony.

If you get a chance, see “32 Short Films About Glenn Gould.” It’s as fascinating as he is.

I still love Gould’s Bach. But I have also moved on to somewhat richer, more pianistic interpretations. These days, I am partial to Till Fellner (the Well-Tempered Clavier, Book 1 and the Two- and Three-part Inventions), Andras Schiff (French and English Suites) and Richard Goode (the Partitas).

Still, Gould brought the piano back to Bach, or Bach back to the piano.

What do you think of Glenn Gould?

What is your favorite recording of his?

The Ear wants to hear.


Posted in Classical music

Farley’s Pianos offers concerts tonight and Saturday; ‘Ear’ passes 1,500 hits

September 25, 2009
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By Jacob Stockinger

You just  know that Madison is serious about classical music when even a piano dealer offers a memorable concert series.

Such is the case this weekend at Farley’s House of Pianos, located at 6522 Seybold Road, on Madison’s far west side, off South Gammon Road and not too far from West Towne.

Tonight (Friday, Sept. 25) at 7 p.m., soprano Crystal Buck (below right) and pianist Greg Punswick will perform a salon concert called “Ain’t It a Pretty Night.” The program features vocal music by Handel, Donizetti, Massenet, Bizet, Schubert, Strauss, Barab and Floyd. crystalbuck_web_100x150

Moreover, the concert is FREE AND OPEN TO THE PUBLIC.

Now that is a full-service place of business.

What a way to open the fall music season, no?

Then on Saturday night, Sept. 26, at 8 p.m., cellist Amit Peled and pianist Eli Kalman (who did graduate work at the UW-Madison and is quite well known to – and respected by — Madison audiences and fellow musicians) will perform an all-Russian program of Prokofiev’s Sonata in C Major, Op. 119; Shostakovich’s Sonata in D Minor, Op. 40; and Rachmaninoff’s Sonata in G Minor, op. 19. (The duo is pictured at right.) That’s one big helping of Slavic soul.peled-and-kalman_web

Tickets are $25, $20 for student and seniors.

For information and tickets, call 608 271-2626.

Here’s a link to Farley’s where you can read reviews, see upcoming events and sign up for e-mail updates about concerts , piano sales and other events: http://www.farleyspianos.com/pages/events_main.html

IN OTHER NEWS: Thank you, viewers and readers. The Well-Tempered Ear passed 1,500 hits about 6:30 Wednesday night. That’s a full week ahead of the goal to get 1,500 by the end of September. (The Ear was launched Aug. 20 and it took until Sept. 7 – Labor Day, appropriately – to surpass 500 hits.)

So it seems to be catching on at an increasing rate.

So let’s shoot for 3,500 hits by the end of October.

What have been your favorite postings so far?

Do you have any suggestions for topics?

Other advice or criticism?

The Ear wants to hear.


Posted in Classical music

Have you ever booed? Would you ever boo? Let the Metropolitan Opera know.

September 24, 2009
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By Jacob Stockinger

By now, you have perhaps heard that the normally cheering and conservative audience at the Metropolitan Opera in New York City booed Swiss director Luc Bondy (below right) for his new production of Puccini’s “Tosca.” (It replaced the longtime Met favorite staging by Franco Zeffirelli.) Luc Bondy

From various news reports, it seems most of the audience did not at all like the austere and non-traditional set, with some lush violence and edgy eroticism, that they felt interfered with the staging of the classic masterpiece. (A New York Times photo by  Richard Temine  is below center).

Tosca2

Now, I have heard live performances of music – and seen live performances of theater – that I did not like or even downright despised.

I usually stare down at my shoes or make a disapproving face that my concert-partner and surrounding others can see.

But I can’t recall having ever booed.

For me, it takes a certain amount of courage to boo. Or maybe just plain rudeness coupled with a lack of appreciation of the effort behind even a bad result.

But maybe I’m just being prudish because booing in one sense doesn’t seem any more extreme or unjustified than so many standing ovations.

Anyway, here’s alink to a story about the Met booing: http://www.nytimes.com/2009/09/23/arts/music/23opera.html?_r=1

And here’s what I want to know:

What do you think of booing in general and the booing at the Met?

Have you ever booed a live performance?

Why?

Would you boo?

When or under what circumstances?

The Ear wants to hear.


Posted in Classical music

Classical music Best Bets for Sept. 23-29 are big on chamber music for strings, winds

September 23, 2009
3 Comments

By Jacob Stockinger

This coming weekend is a memorable one for chamber music fans of strings and winds.

On Friday, Sept. 25, at 8 p.m. in Mills Hall the UW Pro Arte String Quartet (below right) kicks off its new season with a terrific program that features the return of guest violist Victoria Chiang. The group will perform a MUST-HEAR CONCERT of Brahms’ String Quintet in F Major, Op. 88; Beethoven’s String Quartet in B-flat Major Op., 18, No. 6; and Edvard Grieg’s rarely heard Quartet in G Minor, Op. 27. (Members in the photo, from left, are David Perry and Suzanne Beia, violins; Parry Karp, cello; and Sally Chisholm, viola.)

ProArtecolor

The concert is part of the Faculty Concert Series, which is FREE to the public this season. For more information, see  http://www.music.wisc.edu/calendar.

(The Pro Arte will repeat two-thirds of the program — the Brahms and the Grieg — at “Sunday Live From the Chazen” which will take place and be broadcast live on Wisconsin Public Radio (WERN 88.7 FM in the Madison area) on Sunday from 12:30 to 2 p.m.)

Also on Friday night at 7:30 at the First Congregational Church, 1609 University Ave., the local chamber group Con Vivo will open its fall season with “Da Capo,” a program that includes Beethoven’s Septet, Carl Nielsen’s “Serenata in vano” and the “Meditation” from “Thais by Jules Massenet as well as Jean Langlais’ “Suite Medievale” scored for the pipe organ at First Congregational Church. Tickets at the door are $10 adults and $8 seniors and students.

Then on Saturday night at 7:30 pm. in the First Unitarian Society, 900 University Bay Drive, the Ancora String Quartet (below center)

Acora2big

will perform a program of Beethoven’s late String Quartet No. 15 in A minor, Op.132, with the famous “Heilegedankgesang” or Sacred Song of Thanksgiving) along with the rarely heard work String Quartet No. 7 in D minor, Op. 192, No. 2. “The Maid of the Mill” by Joachim Raff, who was a protege of Mendelssohn and Liszt.

Admission is $12 general admission, $10 for students and seniors, $6 for children under 12. Tickets are available at the door.

A free reception will follow. (The receptions are good — believe me, I know and my waistline knows.)

(Member of the quartet in the photo above are  Marika Fischer Hoyt, viola; Robin Ryan and Leanne Kelso League, violins; and Benjamin Whitcomb cello..

The Ancora String Quartet — perhaps Madison’s most deserving up-and-coming chamber music group — is in residence at the First Unitarian Society and has been invited to do a residency at the Monroe Arts Center in Monroe, Wis., next season. The quartet is also looking forward to its debut at the Stoughton Opera House on Saturday, Nov. 7, as well as a return appearance on the Sunday Afternoon Live” series at the Chazen Museum on March 14, 2010.

For more information about the Ancora’s new season, visit http://www.ancoraquartet.com and go to the 2009-2010 Recitals page.

Also on Saturday, Saturday 26: At 8 pm. in Morphy Hall, the UW Wingra Woodwind Quintet (below in a photo by John Wingren: members are, from left, Linda Bartley, clarinet; Marc Vallon, bassoon; Linda Kimball, horn; Dawn Lawler, flute; and Marc Fink, oboe.)

Wingra_Quintet 09-09

Admission is free tot he public.

The program features the String Quartet in F major, Op. 96 (“American”) by Dvorak (whom The Ear blogged about the underperforming of Dvorak on Sept. 8), transcribed for wind quintet by David Walter; the Woodwind Quintet (“La Nouvelle Orleans”) by Lalo Schifrin; quintets by Robert Muczynski and Clint Needham; and “Music at the Movies,” commissioned by Wingra from James Christensen, the director of the UW Marching Band from 1961 to 1968.

It should be a memorable concert. These are all consummate soloists and ensemble players.

If you go to any of these concerts, why not be a critic and leave a mini-review for those who didn’t?

The Ear wants to hear.


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