The Well-Tempered Ear

Classical music datebook: Best Bets for July 7-13 include a free choral concert, an instrument “petting zoo” and the opening of the Madison Early Music Festival

July 6, 2010
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By Jacob Stockinger

Even in mid-summer, Madison has a lot of classical music to take in, it is accessible – either for free or for a very reasonable admission fee.


This Friday, at 7:30 p.m. in Mills Hall, the 85-voice Madison Summer Choir will perform a FREE one-hour program at 7:30 p.m. in Mills Hall.

The theme of the concert is “Light” and it will feature the music if Schubert as well as hauntingly beautiful “Lux Aeterna,” with a pick-up orchestra, by Morten Lauridsen (below).

This is the second years of the concert, an officially registered student group that is not, however, an officially recognized group of the UW School of Music.

It was started by and is directed by Ben Luedcke (below) – a UW music graduate who also directs music for the Lake Edge United church of Christ in Monona — who will have more today about hat in a Q&A with The Ear tomorrow.


On Saturday, from 9 a.m. to 5 p.m., the annual Art Fair on the Square, will feature its first-ever Instrument Petting Zoo, done by the Wisconsin Public Radio and the Wisconsin Youth Symphony Orchestra.

Young, talented musicians will be on hand to offer children in the kid’s area – and adults too – the chance to hear and even try out an orchestral instrument.

WYSO has done it elsewhere, but this will be the first time it will be done at the Madison Museum of Contemporary Art’s huge annual fundraiser that draws 200,000 people to the Capitol Square over the weekend.

Here is link to websites with information about the “zoo”:


Finally, this Saturday will see the kick-off of another event that should occupy classical music fans for a while” the 11th annual Madison Early Musical Festival, which runs through July 17.

The events of the nationally acclaimed festival take place on the UW-Madison campus with concerts in Mills Hall.

The focus this year – “Merry and Musical Before Elizabeth” — is on English music from the 12th through the 16th centuries. There will be numerous workshops and master classes. But of special interest to the general public will be six concerts that also include a free pre-concert lecture.

The festival is a kind of Berlitz event—a one-week total immersion in the sounds and culture of a distantly past era.

The line-up of critically acclaimed and nationally renowned performers is, as usual, outstanding.

And there are some special events to pique one’s interest: one is an oral presentation of the epic poem “Beowulf” in the original Anglo-Saxon language with a six-string Anglo-Saxon  harp by Ben Bagby (below top) with a sample from YouTube (below bottom):

There will also be a showing of Douglas Fairbanks Sr.’ s film version of “Robin Hood,” with period music accompaniment provided the group Hesperus (below bottom).

Here are links to the festival where you can find out more about the events, performers and the very reasonably priced tickets for festival passes or for individual events:

Posted in Classical music

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