The Well-Tempered Ear

Best Bets for Sept. 29-Oct. 5 include Romantic and modern piano music, and Baroque orchestral music

September 29, 2010
1 Comment

By Jacob Stockinger

A reminder: Tomorrow, Thursday, Sept. 30, at noon on Wisconsin Public Radio’s “Midday” program (88.7 FM in the Madison area), Trevor Stephenson will talk about the concerts on Saturday night and Sunday afternoon by the Madison Bach Musicians (see below). Also: This Friday night,Oct. 1, is Fall Gallery night in Madison. Hosted by the Madison Museum of Contemporary Art (go to MMoCA’s interactive website — http://www.mmoca.org/events/gallerynight/index.php — for details), it will run from 5 to 9 p.m. and feature 65 different shows or exhibits citywide.  So you may want to park early and take in a free art show or two or three before attending a concert.

The concert season now seems to building up to full steam, which will be when we all feel there is so much music, or too much music, for a city of this size and  that we have to make unfortunate choices between worthy events. Such luck!

But for my money and taste, two of the finest performers in the city will be offering events this events.

One will focus on Romantic and late 20th century music; the other will focus on the Baroque era. They should b make good bookends to a UW Symphony Orchestra concert that features turn-of-the-century music.

FRIDAY

On Friday, Oct. 1, at 8 p.m. in Mills Hall, UW piano virtuoso Christopher “Kit” Taylor (below) will perform a recital.


The program features “Waldszenen” (Forest Scenes) by Robert Schumann (2010 is the bicentennial of his birth); “32 Variations in C minor,” WoO. 80 by Beethoven; “Klavierstücke,” Op. 11, and “Small Pieces for Piano,” Op. 19 by Arnold Schoenberg; and “Three Movements from Petrouchka” by Igor Stravinsky, who made the virtuosic piano arrangement of his orchestral suite for Artur Rubinstein.

Taylor, a bronze medalist at the Van Cliburn International Piano Competition, is the Paul Collins Professor of Piano at UW-Madison.

Admission is free and open to the public.

In a review of Christopher Taylor’s July 2010 concert at the Music Academy of the West, Mark Swed of The Los Angeles Times wrote, “Taylor possesses one of the great keyboard techniques of our time and has a probing mind, musical and otherwise.”  Read the full review at:

http://latimesblogs.latimes.com/culturemonster/2010/07/christopher-taylor-at-music-academy-of-the-west.html

Of a performance at UC-Berkeley in January 2008, Jason Victor Serinus wrote for San Francisco Classical Voice, “It is doubtful that many of us who heard Taylor’s transcendent traversal of Messiaen’s “Vingt Regards sur l’Enfant-Jesus” for Cal Performances can imagine another pianist making an equal impact in such challenging music.”  Read that review at:

http://sfcv.org/reviews/messiaen-heaven-sent

ALSO ON FRIDAY: Musicologist Lily E. Hirsch will examine the role of Handel’s music in Nazi culture in a free lecture at the UW School of Music.

Her presentation is called “Jewish music, Handel, and the Berlin Jewish Culture League.”


The Berlin Jüdischer Kulturbund, or Jewish Culture League, was a closed cultural organization created by German Jewish luminaries in cooperation with the Nazi government.

This presentation examines the organization’s debate on “Jewish music” and its culmination, represented by the Jewish Culture League Conference in 1936. To further access this debate in practice, the presentation specifically focuses on Handel’s popularity in League performance.

However, Handel’s standing in the League’s repertoire may further confound, rather than clarify, this inquiry.

After all, Handel, of German origins, was quite popular in the League in part because of his music considered Jewish. Despite or maybe because of contradictions like this one, this paper is able to shed light on the complicated process of defining “Jewish music” in Nazi Germany.

It also offers a glimpse into the internal operation of this unique organization, a product of collaboration between Jews and Nazis, and, for many, a place of both salvation and damnation.

The presentation is at 4 p.m. in Room 1641 of the Mosse Humanities Building.

Admission is free and to the public.

SATURDAY and SUNDAY

The Madison Bach Musicians – who I think are Madison’s premier early music ensemble -– will open their new season with a concert of Baroque orchestral music and concertos.


MBM will perform and Saturday night and Sunday afternoon at the First Congregational Church, 1609 University Ave.

The program includes: Corelli’s Concerto Grosso; Vivaldi’s Bassoon Concerto, with guest soloist UW bassoonist Marc Vallon
 on the baroque bassoon; J.S. Bach’s Orchestral Suite No. 1 in C Major; and 
Haydn’s Symphony No. 26 in D minor (“Lamentation”), one of the Storm-and-Stress symphonies known for their depth of emotional feeling and expression.

The 
Saturday performance is at 8 p.m. with a pre-concert lecture by MBM artistic director Trevor Stephenson a 7:15 p.m.

On Sunday, the concert is at 3 p.m. with a 2:15 p.m. pre-concert lecture.

The Ear thinks Stephenson (below) is a terrific explainer. He is knowledgeable, witty and accessible. So I highly recommend attending the pre-concert lectures.


Tickets are cash or check only – no credit cards.

Advance tickets are $20 for general admission, $15 for students and seniors over 65. They are available at A Room of One’s Own; Orange Tree Imports; Willy Street Coop; Farley’s House of Pianos; and Ward-Brodt Music Mall.

Tickets at the door are $25 for general admission, $20 for students and seniors over 65.

For information, call (608) 238-6092 or visit:

http://www.madisonbachmusicians.org/

SUNDAY

This weekend’s “Sunday Afternoon Live from the Chazen” sees the Kosower Trio (below) performing at 12:30 p.m. in Brittingham Gallery III at the Chazen Museum of Art. Paul Kosower will be playing the cello, Richard W. Fletcher the clarinet and Nicholas Phillip the piano.  The trio will feature music from Gabriel Fauré’s Après un rêve, Op.7, No. 1, Robert Schumann’s Fantasiestücke, Beethoven’s Trio in B-flat major, Op.11, and Johannes Brahms’ Trio in A minor, Op.114. The concert will be broadcast live on Wisconsin Public Radio from 12:30 to 3 p.m. (WERN 88.7 FM in the Madison area.)

Alos on Sunday, at 2 p.m. in Mills Hall, the UW Symphony Orchestra, conducted by James Smith (below) will perform. The program includes  “The Forgotten Offerings” by Olivier Messiaen; “La Mer” by Debussy; and Symphony No. 4 (“The Inextinguishable”) by Carl Nielsen.

Admission is free, unticketed and open to the public.

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