The Well-Tempered Ear

Classical music news: Tonight’s Concert on the Square postponed until Thursday night at 7

July 7, 2010
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By Jacob Stockinger

This just in:

Tonight’s Concerts on the Square by the Wisconsin Chamber orchestra under Andrew Sewell Is Postponed

The concert will be held tomorrow (Thursday) night  at 7 p.m.

Rain Date
Thursday, July 8, 2010, 7:00 p.m.

American Celebration
Amanda Huddleston-Clark

Broadway singer Amanda Huddleston-Clark joins the WCO for a star-spangled salute to America with rousing patriotic songs and some Bernstein and Gershwin for good measure. And of course, you’ll have a blast with crowd favorite, the 1812 Overture!

Program Highlights:
Arr. Cavacas:
A Star Spangled Spectacular
Gershwin / Summertime from Porgy & Bess
Lloyd WebberThink of Me from Phantom
Tchaikovsky / 1812 Overture

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Posted in Classical music

Classical music alert: Strictly Discs store will sell off a huge collection of used classical CDs this weekend

July 7, 2010
1 Comment

By Jacob Stockinger

Classical music fans — here is an ALERT to pass around:

The Ear has learned that Strictly Discs (below), the used recording store at 1900 Monroe Street, has come into a large collection (3,500) of classical music CDs (no vinyl LPs).

This weekend, the store will hold a sale — in the basement, not on the street or on the street level of the store — of the collection, which offers thousands of titles and features single CDs for a couple of dollar to complete sets for a couple hundred dollars.

Sale hours are Friday, 4-8 p.m.; Saturday, 10 a.m. to 7 p.m.; and Sunday, 11 a.m. to 5 p.m. For more information, call 608 259-1991.

Happy hunting and shopping, buying and listening.

Pass the word and tell them The Ear sent you.


Posted in Classical music

Classical music interview: Ben Luedcke is the man behind this Friday’s FREE concert by the Madison Summer Choir

July 7, 2010
4 Comments

By Jacob Stockinger

This Friday night, at 7:30 p.m. in Mills Hall on the UW campus, the Madison Summer Choir will perform a FREE concert.

The founder and director of the choir Ben Luedcke (below) – a UW music graduate who also directs the Lake Edge United Church of Christ in Madison, the Choral Arts Society Chorale and the UW Men’s Choir – recently offered The Ear an e-mail Q&A interview about the event:

Briefly, what is your background and why/how did you get involved in the chorus and what should the public know about it?

I graduated with a music degree from UW in 2007 and since then I conduct several choirs in the area and teach voice. The UW School of Music cut the UW summer choir due to budget constraints, and I stepped in, renamed the ensemble, spread the word, advertised for membership, and grew the membership.

I saw it as an opportunity as a young conductor, but also I did not want to see one of the few community/student summer singing opportunities in this city to disappear due to a lack of funding.  In this time of cuts to the arts, I wanted to keep it going.

How big is the chorus by section and in total?

It has 80 voices and it is split pretty equally among soprano, alto, tenor and bass sections.

Has it grown since its first year last year?

Last year, it has 65 voices.

Is there a typical profile of a chorus member?

A lot of of the members are students from UW choirs and community members who sing in other choirs, such as the Choral Arts Society, the Festival Choir and the UW Choral Union

Where does the orchestra come from?

The orchestra is mostly hired UW music students. It has some graduate students and undergrads, plus a few community members.

How long will the program this Friday last?

About an hour.

What can you say briefly about each piece you’ll do?

The concert is titled “A ‘Light’ Motif: the Sun, Stars and the Eternal”

The Schubert work —  with piano accompaniment — is about the majesty and power of the sun, yet our own mortality and connection to nature around us.  Musically, it is classic Schubert with his texture and tonal shifts that reflect the poetic meaning, but accompanied by his own twists, with increasingly more of Schubert’s comment on the text, as opposed to what the text could mean on its own.

The Marenzio (a cappella, late Renaissance) paints (in tone and text painting) a picture of a scorching summer day and the peasant shepherd is at ease resting in the shade – all beasts rest and the day is good.  Marenzio wrote 500 madrigals in his day and was well-known in Italy and England for his text painting and ability to paint a visual picture with his musical gestures, and this is no exception.

“At Sunrise” by Finnish composer Toivo Kuula — late romantic, turn-of-the-century — is about the peace found in the new day, but also hope found in the stars in the heavens.  The world is full of ugliness, lies, pain, sorrow, but there is hope as well.  The harmonic language like many of his Nordic counterparts of his time is very rich with unexpected turns and twists but also very thick texture with split sections.

David Dickau’s  “Stars I Shall Find” text is from a woman who took her own life.  It is about hope and an individual’s personal journey to find meaning.  The harmonic language is rich with seconds and sevenths and long, romantic phrases push and pull.

“Lux Aeterna” by Morten Lauridsen (below) is in five movements, and all the texts are based on light in some way. The first and last movements take their text from the beginning and end of the requiem mass, and the middle movements from the “Te Dum,” “O Nata Lux” and “Veni Sancte Spiritus.”

More interesting is how he calls attention to in unique and varied ways the sections of these texts that specifically mention light. The work is incredibly colorful with hardly a major chord that does not have an added second, fourth or seventh.

In fact the piece is based on a specific chord spelling – D major with the basses singing the third, and the altos singing an added second.  He uses this spelling in a few other chords and keeps returning to them and using them functionally in similar ways.  What keeps it varied is not only its rich color, but also his varied and often florid voice leading.

The melodies are often influenced by Gregorian chant.  Musical material is repeated in the first and fifth movements to tie the work together.

I believe you rehearse twice a week. Can you be specific about how people cold join up next year and what they would have to do?

Students in a UW-auditioned ensemble or community members in an auditioned-ensemble need not audition, and can simply email me — baluedcke@wisc.edu –for further information in the spring or to otherwise contact me to set up an audition.


Posted in Classical music

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