The Well-Tempered Ear

Classical music: The Madison Bach Musicians will perform a concert of Baroque holiday music by Vivaldi, J.S. Bach, Handel and William Byrd this Saturday night.

December 10, 2013
1 Comment

By Jacob Stockinger

Except perhaps for centuries-old hymns and carols, Baroque music remains the gold standard when it comes to the holiday season.

The Ear suspects it has something to do with the easy melding of the sacred and the secular that took place during the Baroque era, and with the transparent appeal and accessibility of the music itself.

All the major composers – Vivaldi (below top), Handel (below middle) and Bach (below bottom) took the religion of the day, whether Catholic or Protestant, seriously. But they also created music that stands just fine on its own in a more secular age.


handel big 2


Little wonder, then, that with such popular music to draw on, the Madison Bach Musicians (below) will perform its third annual Baroque Holiday Concert on this coming Saturday evening, December 14, at 8 p.m. at the First Congregational Church, 1609 University Ave.

Kangwon KIm with Madison Bach Musicians

The repertoire for the concert features: William Byrd’s celestial a cappella Ave Verum Corpus (heard at the bottom in a popular YouTube video by The Tallis Scholars); Antonio Vivaldi’s Bassoon Concerto in A minor, with UW-Madison bassoonist Marc Vallon as soloist; Vivaldi’s fiery “La Folia variations; George Frideric Handel’s gorgeous sacred cantata “Gloria” for soprano and strings; Johann Sebastian Bach’s probing and magnificent Cantata BWV 153Schau, lieber Gott, wie meine Feind” (See, Dear God, How My Enemies); and selections from Handel’s well-known oratorio “Messiah.”

Trevor Stephenson (below), founder and keyboard artist of the Madison Bach Musicians and a master at giving entertaining explanations of music, will give a free pre-concert lecture at 7:15 p.m.

Trevor Stephenson Explains

For more information, visit: and

Advance ticket prices: $20 General, $15 Students/Seniors (over 65)
Tickets at the door: $25 general admission, $20 for students and seniors. Visit or call 608 238-6092.

Performers include the critically acclaimed guest singers Chelsea Morris – soprano; Sarah Leuwerke – alto; Peter Gruett – tenor; and 
Joseph Hubbard – bass.

Chelsea Morris soprano

Sarah Leuwerke alto

peter gruett

joseph Hubbard bass

Other performers are Kangwon Kim and guest artist Brandi Berry (below top), baroque violins; Marika Fischer Hoyt, baroque viola; Martha Vallon, baroque cello; Marc Vallon (below bottom), baroque bassoon; and Trevor Stephenson, harpsichord.

Brandi Berry Marc Vallon playing Mozart on bassoon

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