The Well-Tempered Ear

Classical music datebook: This very busy week features Bach cantatas and a Handel oratorio; the Milwaukee Symphony Orchestra and the Madison Community Orchestra; and the acclaimed Gramercy Trio

November 17, 2010

By Jacob Stockinger

As we wind down towards Thanksgiving Break next week and eventually Winter Break starting next month, the concert schedule is picking up to a frenetic pace to conclude the Fall Semester.

Consider some of the train-wreck evenings this week: Friday, Saturday and Sunday, when even the fiercest fan can be easily overwhelmed with choices.

But one thing is sure: It will be great week for Barqoue vocal music as well as chamber music and orchestral music.

Just take a look at these lengthy Best Bets.


UW choral conductor Beverly Taylor will be a (pre-recorded) guest on Ena Foshay’s WORT 89.9 FM radio show this morning between 7:30–8 a.m. They will be discussing the UW Choral Union’s performances this weekend (see Monday’s blog post for details) of Handel’s oratorio “Israel in Egypt.” Visit:

At 7:30 p.m. tonight in Mills Hall, the Gramercy Trio (below) will perform on the UW’s Guest Artist Series. The Gramercy Trio is composed of violinist Sharan Leventhal, cellist Jonathan Miller and pianist Randall Hodgkinson.

The program includes “Trio for violin, cello and piano” (1914) by Maurice Ravel; “Buenos Aires Suite” (2006) by Sonia Possetti and “Trio in E-flat major,” Op. 100 (1827) by Franz Schubert.

Admission is free and open to the public.


From 1-3 p.m. in Morphy Hall, Gramercy Trio violinist Sharan Leventhal will give a free public violin master class. Leventhal teaches at the Boston Conservatory of Music and Brandeis University and has served on the faculties of Michigan State University and the Berklee College of Music. She has premiered more than 100 works by Gunther Schuller, Virgil Thomson, William Kraft and Scott Wheeler, among others.

At 4 p.m. in Room 1321 of the Mosse Humanities Building, the Gramercy Trio will do Composer Readings of compositions by UW School of Music students. Admission is free and open to the public.

At 8:30 p.m. in Morphy Hall, UW professor Javier Calderon leads the Guitar Ensemble. Admission is free.


The First Unitarian Society’s weekly free Noon Musicale, 12:30 to 1 p.m., will feature the Monroe Chamber Trio – Beth Wilson, piano; Laurie Riss, cello; and Mary Wilkosz, flute — in music of Bach, Bolling, LeClair and Martinu.

Free admission and coffee at the First Unitarian Society Meeting House, 900 University Bay Drive. For information, call (608) 233.9774.

At 7:30 p.m. in the Mitby Theater of Madison Area Technical College’s Truax campus, near the airport, the Madison Community Orchestra (below) will give its first concert of the year under conductor Blake Walter.

The program includes Rimsky-Korsakov’s “Tale of Tsar Saltan Suite” and Dvorak’s Symphony No. 8 in G Major.

Admission is free and open to the public.

Also at 7:30 p.m., at Trinity Lutheran Church, 1904 Winnebago St. in Madison, the Wisconsin Chamber Choir (below) will present “O Voluptuous Earth.”

The program, features music by Romantic composers and their latter-day admirers. “Voluptuous” part-songs by Brahms, Stenhammar, & Parry  rub shoulders with recent American   and Canadian works, including the world premiere of “Nature’s Cry” by Stephen Chatman; Jean Belmont Ford’s “Sand County” —a moving tribute to Wisconsin ecologist Aldo Leopold; Kirke Mechem’s passionate setting of “The World Is Too Much with Us” and “Smile, O voluptuous cool-breath’d earth” by British Columbian composer, Imant Raminsh.

For more information, visit http:///

Tickets are available at Brown Paper Tickets. Advance tickets are available at Orange Tree Imports (1721 Monroe St. Madison) and from choir members.

Advance tickets are $12, $10 for students; at the door: $15 and $12.

In Morphy Hall from noon to 2 p.,m. Randall Hodgkinson of the Gramercy Trio will lead a free public master class for UW School of Music pianists. Hodgkinson has performed with orchestras in Atlanta, Philadelphia, Buffalo, Boston, Cleveland and abroad in Italy and Iceland. He is an artist member of the Boston Chamber Music Society and a member of the faculties of the New England Conservatory of Music, the Longy School and Wellesley College.

At 4 p.m. in Room 1641 of the Mosse Humanities Building, the UW School of Music Colloquium Series presents a public talk: “The Mise-en-scene of Mediation: Wagner’s ‘Götterdämmerung’” by David Levin of Germanic Studies.

This talk examines the stakes of theatricality in Peter Konwitschny’s strikingly unconventional production of Wagner’s “Götterdämmerung,” which concluded the Stuttgart Opera’s strikingly unconventional centennial production of the Ring cycle.

Admission is free.

At 8 p.m. in Morphy Hall, the UW Guest Artist Series presents cellist Ronald Leonard (below) with UW pianist Christopher Taylor, piano.

Leonard (below) and Taylor will perform “Prelude,” by Emanuel Moor; “Sonate in E major,” by Françoix Francoeur; “Fantasy Pieces,” Op. 73 by Robert Schumann; “Suite for Solo Cello,” Op. 131c, No. 1 by Max Reger; “Sonata in A minor,” Op. 36 by Edvard Grieg; and “Introduction, Theme and Variations,” Op. 82, No. 2 by Franz Schubert, transcribed by Gregor Piatagorsky.

Admission is free and open to the public.

At 8 p.m. in Mills Hall., the University Chorus and Women’s Chorus perform under conductors Michael Pfizter, Sarah Riskind and Brian Gurley. Admission is free.


From 2 p.m. to 5 p.m. in Morphy Hall, cellist Ronald Leonard will give a free public master class. Leonard joined the Los Angeles Philharmonic as principal cellist in 1975 and remained in that post until retiring in 2000. During his tenure, he performed as a soloist with the orchestra many times, under conductors Zubin Mehta, Carlo Maria Giulini, Sir Simon Rattle, Michael Tilson Thomas and Esa-Pekka Salonen.  He was formerly the Piatagorsky Professor of Cello at the University of Southern California and currently teaches cello and chamber music at the Colburn School.

At 8 p.m. in Mills Hall – and then again on Sunday at 4 p.m. in Mills Hall — the UW Choral Union and UW Chamber Orchestra (below), under conductor Beverly Taylor, performs Handel’s “Israel in Egypt” by Handel.

Soloists include sopranos Emily Birsan and Karen Bishop, mezzo-soprano Jennifer Sams, tenor James Doing, baritone Paul Rowe and bass-baritone Benjamin Schultz. The Choral Union has about 160 members, from both campus and community. See UW Professor Jeanne Swack’s program notes at (Click “Israel in Egypt” on calendar for page where notes are posted.)

Admission is $15, $8 for seniors and students. Call 608 262-2201 or visit:

For more information, visit:

On Saturday and Sunday, at 8 p.m. and 3:30 p.m. respectively (with accompanying pre-concert lectures at 7:15 and 2:45), the early music group the Madison Bach Musicians (below) will perform three cantatas by J.S. Bach in Grace Episcopal Church, 116 West Washington Avenue, on the Capitol Square downtown.

The cantatas are: BWV 4, “Christ lag in Todes Banden” (Christ Lay in Death’s Bonds”; 
BWV 106, “Gottes Zeit ist die allerbeste Zeit” (God’s Time Is the Best Time);
and BWV 196, “Der Herr denket an uns” (The Lord Thinks of Us).

Tickets can be 
purchased in advance or at the door. Advance ticket prices: $20 General, $15 Students/Seniors (over 65)
Tickets at the door: $25 General, $20 Students/Seniors. Cash or checks only:  Make checks payable to Madison Bach Musicians.

Advance ticket purchase locations in Madison include:
Orange Tree Imports, 1721 Monroe Street,
 608 255-8211; Farley’s House of Pianos,
6522 Seybold Road,
 608 271-2626; A Room of One’s Own,
 307 W. Johnson St.
608 257-7888; Ward Brodt Music Mall,
 2200 West Beltline Highway (Exit Todd Drive);
 608 661-8600; and Willy Street Co-op,
1221 Williamson St., 608 251-6776.


“Sunday Afternoon Live from the Chazen” presents violinist Wen-Lei Gu and pianist Anthony Padilla from 12:30 to 2 p.m. in Brittingham Gallery III at the Chazen Museum of Art.

The performance will feature music from Robert Schumann’s Sonata No. 1 in A minor for Piano and Violin, Op. 105 and Grand Sonata No. 2 in D minor for Violin and Piano, op. 121; Johann Sebastian Bach’s “Chaconne” from Partita No. 2 in D minor for Violin Solo, BWV 1004; and Brahms’ Scherzo in C minor for Violin and Piano from the F.A. E. Sonata.

Gu is currently the Assistant Professor of Music at the Lawrence University Conservatory of Music in Appleton, Wisconsin. Padilla also teaches at the Lawrence University Conservatory of Music and serves as a professor of piano and chamber music.

Members of the Chazen Museum of Art or Wisconsin Public Radio can call ahead and reserve seats for Sunday Afternoon Live performances. Seating is limited. All reservations must be made Monday through Friday before the concert and claimed by 12:20 p.m. on the day of the performance. For more information or to learn how to become a museum member, contact the Chazen Museum at 608 263-2246.

A reception follows the performance, with refreshments generously donated by Fresh Madison Market, Coffee Bytes and Fair Trade Coffee House. A free docent-led tour in the Chazen galleries begins every Sunday at 2 p.m.

At 3:30 p.m. in Grace Episcopal Church, the Madison Bach Musicians will perform three cantatas by J.S. Bach. See Saturday above.

At 4 p.m. in Mills Hall, the UW Choral Union and UW Chamber Orchestra, under Beverly Taylor (below)  will give a repeat performance of Handel’s “Israel in Egypt.” See Saturday’s listing, above.

At 7:30 p.m in the Wisconsin Union theater, the Milwaukee Symphony Orchestra  (below) returns to Madison to perform under its new music director Edo de Waart. The program includes MSO concertmaster Frank Almond in Samuel Barber’s Violin Concerto. Also featured are Grieg’s “Peer Gynt” Suite No. 1 and Bartok’s Concerto for Orchestra. A free pre-concert lecture by Perry Allaire is at 6:30 p.m.

Tickets are general admission is $20, $42 and $46, $10 for UW students. Youth tickets are only $14 with purchase of adult ticket – limit 2 youth tickets per adult ticket. Youth tickets must be purchased at the same time as the adult tickets and are valid for youths 6-18 years old. Age is verified at the door.

Call 608 262-2201 or visit:


At 7:30 p.m. in Music Hall, an Opera Workshop will be held. It will offer duets and trios from “Der Freischuetz,” “Die Frau ohne Schatten,” “Billy Budd,” “L’incoronazione di Poppea,” “Don Giovanni” and “Arabella.” The performers are Emily Worzalla, K. C. Peck, Lindsay Sessing, Yohan Kim, Michael Roehmer and Chelcie Probst.

Also featured are pianists Susan Goeres, Bill Lutes and Mimmi Fulmer with direction by Mimmi Fulmer, William Farlow and Jamie Van Eyck.

At 7:30 p.m. in Mills Hall, the UW Concert Band under Scott Teeple, conductor (below), and guest conductors Matthew Mireles, Tobin Sucha and Matthew Schlomer, features guest clarinet soloist James Smith.

The program includes “Slava!” by Leonard Bernstein; “Toccata,” by Girolamo Frescobaldi; “Gandalf,” by De Meij; “Concertino for Clarinet,” Op. 26 by Carl Maria von Weber with soloist James Smith; “Lux Aurumque,” by Eric Whitacre and “Carmina Burana,” by Carl Orff.

Posted in Classical music

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