The Well-Tempered Ear

Classical music datebook: A week of small-scale concerts highlights songs, percussion and recreating the Beat movement by putting poetry to music. | February 15, 2012

By Jacob Stockinger

While a major conflict between performers and presenters looms next week (the Wisconsin Union Theater and the Wisconsin Chamber Orchestra both have events on next Friday night, Feb. 24), this week features smaller groups in some unusual and interesting repertoire that ranges from Western percussion and Elizabethan songs to modern Beat poetry set to music, with a lot in between.

Take a look:


Friday’s FREE Noon Musicale, from 12:15 to 1 p.m. in the Landmark Auditorium of the First Unitarian Society Meeting House, 900 University Bay Drive, features mezzo-soprano Julie Cross and pianist Karen Boe (below)  in the music of Handel, Debussy and De Falla. For information visit


At 7:30 p.m. Farley’s House of Pianos will present a classical voice and guitar duo “The Dream Songs Project” (below). The concert will be held at Farley’s House of Pianos at 6522 Seybold Road in Madison, on the city’s far west side near West Towne. Tickets are $15 general admission. Tickets are available at Farley’s or Orange Tree Imports. Call (608) 271-2626 to reserve tickets with a credit card.

The Minneapolis- and Madison-based duo, The Dream Songs Project, mezzo-soprano Alyssa Anderson and guitarist Joseph Spoelstra have collaborated on performances for nearly 10 years, but recently established a duo dedicated to exploring the diverse repertoire for voice and guitar–from Renaissance lute-song transcriptions to new commissions.

For this concert “The Dream Songs Project” will perform works by John Dowland, Franz Schubert and Matyas Seiber as well as transcriptions of Baroque and popular opera arias. The duo recently released “Mauro Giuliani: Songs for Voice and Guitar” on the independent label TDSP Records, and the program will also feature a number of pieces from the recording.

More information on the ensemble can be found at


This week’s “Sunday Afternoon Live from the Chazen” offers Lawrence University percussionist Dane Richeson (below) in “Paths in Percussion” 12:30 to 2 p.m. in Brittingham Gallery Number III at the Chazen Museum of Art.

Richeson, along with vocalist Timothy Troy, bassist Mark Urness, and digeridoo player Brian Pertl, will be reviving the beat poetry movement of the mid-20th century in their own way, presenting a program to be selected from works by William Shakespeare, James Dickey, Mary Oliver and Lawrence Ferlinghetti set to the music of their jazz quartet. The second half of the program will feature a modern reimagining of Igor Stravinsky’s “L’histoire du sold at” (The Soldier’s Tale) with vocalist Alex York as the Soldier.

Dane Richeson has been Director of Percussion Studies at Lawrence University Conservatory of Music for 27 years. Richeson has performed throughout the world as a solo marimbist, percussionist in contemporary music settings, world percussion specialist, and jazz drummer.

He has performed with such diverse artists as Bobby McFerrin, Gordon Stout, Nancy Zeltsman, and Gunther Schuller, among many others. Having lived in Ghana, Cuba, and Brazil, Richeson is a leading expert in world percussion and music cultures of the world.

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 Steep & Brew. A free docent-led tour in the Chazen galleries begins every Sunday at 2 p.m.

At 2:30 p.m. in Edgewood College’s St. Joseph Chapel, 1000 Edgewood Drive, guitarist Nathan Wysock (below) will give a faculty recital.

Admission is $7 at the door and benefits music scholarships at the college.

Included in the program are an arrangement of three pieces from Leonard Bernstein’s “West Side Story”; Terry Riley’s “Ascención” and a collection entitled “American Bouquet” featuring George Rochberg’s arrangements of popular music by a wide array of composers, including Richard Rodgers, George Gershwin, Hoagy Carmichael and more.


At 7:30 p.m. in Mills Hall, the UW Western Percussion Ensemble (below) and UW percussionist Anthony Di Sanza will give a FREE concert. No program is available yet.

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