The Well-Tempered Ear

Classical music: Pianist-scholar Charles Rosen is dead at 85.

December 11, 2012

By Jacob Stockinger

Charles Rosen, the acclaimed concert pianist and award-winning author of books about music history, has died of cancer in New York City. He was 85.

Rosen (below, in a 2007 photo at his home by Sara Krulwich for The New York Times) was best known as a performer and music scholar who often recorded alternative versions of well-known works by such composers as Schumann. He also performed and recorded major works by Bach, Mozart, Beethoven and Chopin (at bottom), and he championed modern and contemporary composers like Arnold Schoenberg and Elliott Carter.

Charles Rosen in 2007 Sara Krulwich NY TImes

As an author, Rosen is best known for his work “The Classical Style” (below), which won a National Book Award in 1972. His other works include “The Romantic Generation,” “Sonata Forms” and “Piano Notes.

Charles Rosen The Classical Style

Rosen was an impressive figure who held a PhD in French from Princeton and who taught French at MIT before turning to music full-time. I have read much of what he wrote about music, and I heard him perform live with the Madison Symphony Orchestra, in Mozart’s Piano Concerto in C minor, if I recall correctly.

I suspect he was rarely anyone’s favorite pianist in any given work, but he invariably turned in performances that made you think about the music and about other performances of it. (Below, Rosen performs at the 92nd Street Y in New York City in 2007 in a photo by Hiroyaki Ito for The New York Times,)

Charles Rosen performing in 2007 Hiroyaki Ito NY Times

Here is a long and detailed obituary from The New York Times:

Here is a New York Times profile of Rosen when he turned 80, five years ago:

And here is a fine appreciation that aired on NPR”s “Morning Edition”:

Classical music: Madison chamber music group Con Vivo! explains what it means to play at Carnegie Hall later this week – and how they got there.

December 11, 2012

By Jacob Stockinger

So, the old joke goes, an out-of-town stranger in New York City comes up to a native resident on the street  and asks directions: “How do you get to Carnegie Hall?”

And the city sly, unexpected answer comes: “Practice, practice, practice!”

Well, a number of Madison-based individuals and groups, including the Pro Arte String Quartet, have practiced, practiced, practiced and then played in Carnegie Hall (below).


But The Ear still felt that asking about getting to Carnegie Hall was a good question to put to the distinguished and talented local chamber music group con vivo! (With Life) , which is now in its 11th season and will perform in Carnegie Hall’s Weill Recital Hall this Thursday night.

So now that the practicing is over, I asked the group to provide a short essay to post, and the co-artistic director of con vivo! (below, in a photo by Katrin Talbot), Robert and Kathy Taylor, obliged my request.

Here is their essay:

Con Vivo 2012 Katrin Talbot

By Kathy and Robert Taylor

The con vivo! musicians were all sitting around chatting at a rehearsal last year when someone said wouldn’t it be awesome to perform at Carnegie Hall.

So our Artistic Director, Robert Taylor, investigated the possibility.  We applied and were accepted into Carnegie Hall’s Visiting Artist program. A mutually acceptable date was found which is now upon us: Thursday, Dec. 13, 2012 at 8 p.m.

To prepare for our appearance in Weill Recital Hall at Carnegie Hall, we have been fundraising and performing over the past year. Our last performance in Madison before going to New York was last Sunday, Dec. 9, at Capitol Lakes Retirement Center’s Great Hall.

The program for Carnegie is: “Overture on Hebrew Themes” by Prokofiev; Haydn’s Piano Trio in G Major, the “Gypsy Rondo”; selections from Eight Pieces for Clarinet, Viola and Piano by Max Bruch; and the beautiful Mozart Clarinet Quintet.

con vivo! is honored to have the opportunity to represent the Madison music community in New York City in Weill Recital Hall (below) at Carnegie Hall.

We are so very grateful to all those who have supported us to help make this event possible. It is probably every musician’s dream to perform at Carnegie Hall, so we are very excited about this performance!

Weill Recital Hall

Another motivating factor was that preparing for this event and performing in New York will make us better at what we do, both as individual musicians and as an ensemble.

It is also our hope that this opportunity will enhance our visibility in the Madison music scene.

In the future, in addition to our local performances, we dream about performing in some of the beautiful churches of Europe!

But for now, we’re off to New York’s Carnegie Hall!

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