The Well-Tempered Ear

Classical music: Pianist Eugene Alcalay commemorates 9/11 and traces the Beethoven-Chopin connection through two “Funeral March” sonatas this Sunday on Wisconsin Public Radio’s “Sunday Live from the Chazen.”

September 16, 2011
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By Jacob Stockinger

Pianist Eugene Alacalay (below) will perform a recital on “Sunday Afternoon Live from the Chazen” this Sunday, Sept. 18, from 12:30 to 2 p.m. in Brittingham Gallery III at the University of Wisconsin’s Chazen Museum of Art. As usual, the FREE concert will be broadcast live statewide on Wisconsin Public Radio (WERN 88.7 FM in the Madison area.)

His program includes Liszt’s Ballade No. 2 in B Minor; Beethoven’s Sonata in A-flat Major (“Funeral March”), Op. 26; Rachmaninoff’s “Etudes Tableaux,” Op. 39; and Chopin’s Sonata No. 2 in B-flat minor (“Funeral March”), Op. 35.

Coming in the wake of last weekend’s 9/11 musical commemorates all over the US and the world, this program could be seen as a 9/11 tribute on the piano. It also traces the historical connection between Beethoven (below top) and Chopin (below bottom). Chopin did not much like the music of Beethoven, but he made an exception for the Sonata Op. 26, which he himself played and also taught, and which became the model for his own famous “Funeral March” sonata, with its universally used “Pray for the dead and the dead will pray for you” theme.

A professor of piano at the UW-Platteville, Alcalay is a native of Bucharest, Romania. He has performed internationally and has been praised for his “command of line, color, temperament, imagination,” and the “extraordinary qualities” of his artistry.

A student of Leonard Bernstein, who affirmed his “outstanding talent as both a performer and composer,” Alcalay was the first recipient of the Leonard Bernstein Scholarship for gifted young musicians at Indiana University School of Music. He received his master’s and doctoral degrees from the Curtis Institute of Music and the Juilliard School, respectively.

Alcalay will also perform music of Liszt, a composer whom he has recorded on a CD (below).

For more about Alcalay, visit:

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 (below) follows the performance, with refreshments generously donated by Fresh Madison Market, Coffee Bytes and Steep & Brew. A free docent-led tour in the Chazen galleries begins every Sunday at 2 p.m.

The series, hosted by WPR music commentator Lori Skelton, is broadcast live on Wisconsin Public Radio stations WERN, 88.7 Madison; WHRM, 90.9 Wausau; WPNE, 89.3 Green Bay; WUEC, 89.7 Eau Claire; WVSS, 90.7 Menomonie; WHSA, 89.9 Brule; WGTD, 91.1 Kenosha; WLSU, 88.9 LaCrosse; and WHND, 89.7 Sister Bay.

Posted in Classical music

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