The Well-Tempered Ear

Classical Music: Unitarians announce December’s Friday Noon Musicales

November 30, 2009
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By Jacob Stockinger

The First Unitarian Society of Madison has announced its December line up of free Friday Noon Musicales.

And it looks really good — keeping  in mind that both Christmas and New Year’s Eve fall on Friday this year.

The concerts take place on Fridays 12:15 – 1 p.m., October through May, in the historic original Frank Lloyd Wright-designed sanctuary called the Landmark Auditorium. It’s located at 900 University Bay Drive, on Madison’s near west side near University Hospital, right off the end of Campus Drive where it turns again into University Avenue.

You can bring a lunch, maybe even a dessert to share.

Silence is requested — out of respect for the performers and other listeners — and free coffee is served.

And then there is the music.

What a deal!

This Friday, DEC. 4: Madison keyboard artist and conductor Trevor Stephenson (below) will perform works by Mozart, Haydn and Beethoven on his fortepiano, the early form of the modern piano –with leather over the hammers rather than felt — that followed the harpsichord.

Plus, you should know that Stephenson, who teaches at Edgewood College and heads up the period group Madison Bach Musicians. is not only a terrific performer but also a wonderful and insightful explainer. When it comes to communicating, he has that light Leonard Bernstein touch — remember the Lennie of the Young People’s Concerts and the Norton lectures? — and makes great sense of the music, putting it in aesthetic and historical contexts that illuminate and deepen your appreciation.

I wish I knew the specific program and pieces, so I could tell you. But I’ve heard him this year on Wisconsin Public Radio’s “Midday” and “Sunday Afternoon Live from the Chazen,” and am sure he’ll be playing some great music — perhaps even Beethoven’s “Moonlight” Sonata, as it must have originally sounded or  close to it.

Then on Dec. 11 you can hear a performance of Brahms’ String Sextet in B flat Major, Op. 18. It’s a gorgeous piece of chamber music not heard often enough, one suspects, because of the scoring requirements. It’s not easy finding a string sextet. But the Society has — with Kangwon Kim and  Edith Hines on violin; Andrew Waid and Youngwha Chae on viola; and Eleanor Cox and Martha Vallon on cello.

On Dec. 18 will be a Holiday Carol Sing with Linda Warren on harp and FUS music director Dan Broner on piano. That sure would be a nice interlude form working or shopping.

There is No Musicale on Dec. 25 because it is Christmas.

The Noon Musicales take place October through May.

Plus, the Society seems ot have a new logo (below).

I like it.

Good design.

Bold lines.

No right angles.

Done in black-and-white.

I think Frank would approve.

What do you think of the new logo?

Of the Friday Noon Musicales?

The Ear wants to hear.

Posted in Classical music

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