The Well-Tempered Ear

Classical music datebook: Busy pianist Jeremy Denk performs a must-hear recital this week, plus two master classes and a blogging panel, and Holy Week means a lot of great music in area churches

April 20, 2011

By Jacob Stockinger

This week seems some schedules changes for Holy Week. But there are still some wonderful concerts and other musical events to be heard, especially at the university and the Wisconsin Union Theater.

Because of Good Friday, there is no free Friday Noon Musicale at the First Unitarian Society, 900 University Bay Drive. They will resume a week from Friday with trios for harp, flute and cello by Debussy and Respighi.

Also, since Sunday is Easter, there is no “Sunday Live From the Chazen.” That will also resume the following week with the Lawrence Chamber Players.

On the other hand, for the little bit of professional music that is changed or cancelled because of Good Friday and Easter, think of all the great music – especially the great baroque vocal and organ music by Bach, Vivaldi, Handel, Gabrieli and others – that will be heard in churches.

And music performed more democratically, so to speak, is a good thing, don’t you think?

Here is a the line-up this week:


Pianist Jeremy Denk (below, in a photo by Lisa-Marie Mazzucco) will give three events today, all free and open to the public:

From noon to 2 p.m., Denk will give a master class at noon in the Wisconsin Union Theater with five students from the Madison Area Piano Teachers Association. It is free and open to the public.

From 3:30 to 4:30 p.m. in Morphy Hall in the UW Mosse Humanities Building, Jeremy Denk will give a guest lecture on “Not Just Anything: Pedaling and Meaning with Chopin.” It is free and open to the public.

Then from 5:30 to 6:30 p.m., there will be a panel discussion about blogging on classical music with Jeremy Denk and Jacob Stockinger (aka The Ear) . It is at the Memorial Union, Check “Today in the Union” for the exact location. It, too, is free and open to the public.

Denk, who is one of the nation’s most compelling concert pianists, writes the acclaimed blog “Think Denk,” which chronicles the life of a traveling concert musician. To sample it, visit:

Stockinger, former arts editor for The Capital Times, writes the blog “The Well-Tempered Ear,” documenting the classical music scene in and around Madison. To sample it, visit:

And, by the way, if you are reading this you are already there.

At 7 p.m., the Capitol Lakes Retirement Community’s Grand Hall will host Sound Health musicians (below) and reflections by musicians, faculty and staff at the School of Music and patients at the UW Hospital on how Sound Health has touched their lives or how they have seen Sound Health touch the lives of others.

The program is free, but attendees will have the opportunity to donate to Sound Health.  A reception will follow the program.

Capitol Lakes is located at 333 W. Main Street, off Capitol Square.


At 7:30 p.m. in the Wisconsin Union Theater, acclaimed pianist Jeremy Denk will perform Sonata No. 1 by Charles Ives (below) and J.S. Bach’s “Goldberg” Variations. Tickets are $20, $30 and $34. Young people 6-18 gets in for $14 and UW students get in for $10.

Tickets are available through the Wisconsin Union Theater Box Office by calling (608) 265-ARTS or visiting

For concert and outreach information as well as a video, visit:


There will be no Friday Musicale at the First Unitarian Society because of Good Friday. See above.


At 4 p.m. in Mills Hall, the All-University String Orchestra, conducted by Janet Jensen (below, in a photo by Katrin Talbot), will perform. A shared program with two full orchestras, composed of non-music majors from across campus. Free admission.

At 8 p.m. in Mills Hall, the UW Madrigal Singers, directed by Bruce Gladstone (below, in a photo by Katrin Talbot) will perform “St. John Passion” by Leonhard Lechner (c. 1553-1606), “O vos omnes” by Tomas Luis de Victoria, two motets by Poulenc and works by Gesualdo, Lotti, Blow, Casanovas and Nestor. Free admission.


At 7:30 p.m. in Mills Hall, UW Masters Singers, directed by Russell Adrian, Brian Gurley and Sarah Riskind, and University Chorus, directed by Michael Pfitzer, will perform.

Masters Singers will perform the “Dona nobis pacem” from “Mass in B minor” by Bach (below); works by Bennet, Riskind, Victoria, Holst, Weelkes; spirituals arranged by Hogan and Swiggum.

The University Chorus with student orchestra will perform the opening movements from Vivaldi’s “Gloria” and Haydn’s “Creation” and “Lord Nelson Mass”; Pinkham’s “In the Beginning of Creation” for mixed chorus and electronic tape; and madrigals by Finney.

Free admission.


At 7:30 p.m. in Mills Hall, the Western Percussion Ensemble (below), directed by Anthony Di Sanza, will perform the North American premiere of “A Light Hour” by Danish composer Per Norgaard. The work is approximately 75 minutes long and uses an enormous set-up of instruments from around the world.

These include Chinese tom-toms, Middle Eastern darabukka, Indonesian gongs, Japanese uchiwa-daiko (fan drums) and binsazara (wooden rattle), bass chimes, calliope bells, Chinese cloud gongs, African rattles and djembe, German almglocken, Brazilian surdo (bass drums), Cuban bongo drums, found instruments (brake drums, soup warmers, iron skillets) and rocket nose cones from Los Alamos. Di Sanza will give a short lecture prior to the performance.

Admission is free and open to the public.

At 7:30 p.m. in Morphy Hall, the UW Early Music Ensemble, directed by John Chappell Stowe (below in a photo by Katrin Talbot), will perform music written between 1600 and 1760, including two solo motets by Arcangelo Crotti for voice, cornetto and organ; a solo motet by Guillaume-Gabriel Nivers; the song “From Rosy Bowers” by Henry Purcell; and works by Giovanni Paolo Cima, William Bates, Alessandro Scarlatti, G. F. Handel and J. S. Bach.

Performers are Chelsie Propst and Brigid Schultz, sopranos; Spencer Schumann, countertenor; Michael Roemer, baritone; Douglas Lindsey, cornetto; Emily Fox and Joel Gilbert, baroque horn; Brian Ellingboe and Theresa Koenig, baroque bassoon; and Kirstin Ihde, harpsichord.

Admission is free and open to the public.

Posted in Classical music

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