The Well-Tempered Ear

Classical music: Books, science, art, religion and early music meet in a FREE concert Thursday afternoon at the University of Wisconsin’s Memorial Library

November 29, 2011
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By Jacob Stockinger

The Ear has received late word of about a very intriguing, unusual and FREE concert.

The Mellon Workshop on Science & Print Culture presents “Kircher’s Rome: Music in the 17th-century Collegio Romano” as performed by the Madison-based early music group Eliza’s Toyes (below).

The early music vocal ensemble is led by the very talented Jerry Hui (below), who is also a composer and new music advocate while finishing his graduate studies at the UW School of Music.

It will take place this Thursday, December 1, at 4:30 p.m. in the Special Collections Room, on the 9th floor (F section) of the University of Wisconsin’s Memorial Library (below).

That’s where the current exhibit, “Jesuits and the Construction of Knowledge, 1540-1773,” highlights, among other topics, Jesuit interest in music and includes a copy of Kircher’s “Musurgia” (1650, below). The library is located at 728 State Street on Library Mall across from the Memorial Union. (I suggest parking in the nearby Lake Street ramp.)

This program reflects vocal and instrumental music one might have heard in the Society of Jesus‘ college in 17th-century Rome. Professor of mathematics at the Collegio Romano and polymath, Athanasius Kircher mentioned these composers in his “Musurgia Universalis” (1650), a monumental encyclopedia of musical history, theory and practice.

The program includes: “Ecce sic benedicetur” by Christóbal Morales (1500-1553); “Dunque con stile” by Giovanni Girolamo Kapsperger (1580-1651); “In lectulo meo per noctes” from Kircher’s Musurgia Universalis (1650); and “Historia di Jephte” by Giacomo Carissimi (1605-1674).

The performers include: Katherine Peck, soprano; Chelsie Propst, soprano; Sandy Erickson, alto/recorder; Steve Johnson, tenor; Ben Li, baritone; Jerry Hui, bass/recorder; Doug Towne, theorbo; Theresa Koenig, dulcian/bassoon; and Andrea Kleesattel, cello.

The faculty guest performer will be UW baritone Paul Rowe (below, in photo by Katrin Talbot).

For more information about Eliza’s Toyes, see:

For location and directions about the Memorial Library, see:

This program is part of the A.W. Mellon Interdisciplinary Workshops in the Humanities, sponsored by the Center for the Humanities at UW-Madison with support from the A.W. Mellon Foundation. It is co-sponsored by the UW School of Music.

Posted in Classical music

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