The Well-Tempered Ear

Classical music: On Tuesday night pianist Jeffrey Siegel wraps up his 26th — and probably his LAST — season in Madison of “Keyboard Conversations” with love-inspired music by Chopin, Schumann, Liszt, Debussy and Brahms. | May 5, 2014

By Jacob Stockinger

On this Tuesday night, May 6, at 7:30 p.m. in Mills Hall, pianist Jeffrey Siegel (below) will present this season’s last Keyboard Conversation, dedicated to love and love affairs by major Romantic composers, including Robert Schumann, Franz Liszt, Johannes Brahms, Frederic Chopin and the French Impressionist composer Claude Debussy.

According to sources, it will be Jeffrey Siegel’s last season of being sponsored by the Wisconsin Union Theater, which is using Mills Hall during renovations that will end this year when the hall reopens in the fall.

The Ear understands that the WUT tried to turn the declining attendance around for several years, but to no avail. So barring self-sponsorship or a new sponsor this concert is likely to be the last Keyboard Conversation in Madison. After more than a quarter century, that will be the sad end of a tradition.

The program includes the “Allegro non troppo ma enegetico” movement from the Piano Sonata No. 2 in F-sharp minor by Brahms; the Novelette, No. 1, plus “Warum?” (Why?) and “Aufschwung’ (Soaring) from Schumann’s “Fantasy Pieces; “Au bord d’une source” (At the Spring) and the popular “Liebestraum No. “3 (Love’s Dream, heard at bottom in a popular YouTube performance by Evgeny Kissin) by Franz Liszt; the “Minute” Waltz and the “Larghetto” slow second movement from the Piano Concerto No. 2 by Chopin; and “L’Isle joyeuse” (The Joyous Island) by Debussy.”

Jeffrey Siegel 2014

More information is available by calling the Box Office at 608-265-ARTS (2787). Tickets are: $32 for the General Public, $28 for Wisconsin Union Members, UW-Madison Faculty and Staff, and Non UW-Madison Student (with ID); and FREE for UW-Madison Student (with ID).

Buy tickets online here, call the Box Office at 608-265-ARTS (2787), or purchase in person at the Campus Arts Ticketing box office in Vilas Hall, 821 University Ave.

Tickets are required for entry even when free, so please reserve ahead of time.

For more information, including reviews and audio samples, visit:

http://www.uniontheater.wisc.edu/Season13-14/Keyboard-Conversations-Mistresses.html

Adds the Wisconsin Union Theater press release: “Whether you’re a classical music aficionado, a history buff, or just love a good story, Jeffrey Siegel’s Keyboard Conversations will take you beyond the music and into the lives and loves of some of the greatest composers of all time.

“In “Mistresses and Masterpieces,” Siegel introduces us to the romantic inspirations behind many popular works of classical music. While names like “Brahms” and “Schumann” may bring to mind proper-looking gentlemen in oil portraits, these brilliant composers’ lives were often closer to a soap opera than a history book blurb.

“As Siegel will tell you, these men not only loved and lost — they put their pain and passion into incredible works of music that still inspire those emotions to this day. Read more about these affairs in our blog.

“For the 26th consecutive season, Jeffrey Siegel presents his entertaining and informative concerts with commentary. He speaks to the audience briefly and in non-technical language before performing each composition in its entirety. The program will conclude with a Q and A.

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3 Comments »

  1. I believe this is also the last time Mr. Siegel will be presenting this series in Madison, at least as part of the Union Theater programming.

    Comment by Tim Drexler — May 5, 2014 @ 8:49 am

    • Hi Tim,
      Thank you so much for reading and replying.
      You are absolutely correct: This is the last season for Jeffrey Siegel with the Wisconsin Union Theater.
      Unless he sponsors it himself or finds another sponsor, it will be his last season for Keyboard Conversations in Madison.
      I will correct the blog post accordingly.
      Do you have a reaction to that news you care to share?
      Best,
      Jake

      Comment by welltemperedear — May 5, 2014 @ 9:52 am

      • Hi Jake,
        Naturally, I am disappointed that the series won’t continue. I have been to these programs the past couple of years and have always enjoyed them. For someone like myself without a background in or deep knowledge of classical music, these concerts were always enlightening and accessible.

        Given the sparse attendance at the most recent concerts, I am not surprised this decision was made. Maybe a smaller venue somewhere else in town would be more appropriate? Or maybe Madison is not worth the trouble to try to fit into Mr. Siegel’s schedule. Perhaps the audience just wouldn’t be there either way…

        Comment by Tim Drexler — May 5, 2014 @ 11:46 am


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