By Jacob Stockinger
The Madison Bach Musicians, perhaps the premier local early music group in Madison that draws bigger audiences and offers terrific education through pre-concert lectures, will open its 11th season this coming weekend.
On this Saturday evening, Oct. 4, at Christ Presbyterian Church, and Sunday afternoon, Oct. 5, at St. Stephen’s Lutheran Church in Monona, the Madison Bach Musicians will perform a program of cantatas and concertos by Johann Sebastian Bach.
Included are two cantatas: Cantata 82, “Ich habe genug” (I Am Content); and Cantata 58, “Ach Gott, wie manches Herzeleid” (O God, How much Heartache); plus the well-known Harpsichord Concerto in D minor (you can hear the irresistibly energetic first movement played by the Concert des Nations in a YouTube video at the bottom) and the Concerto for Oboe and Violin in C minor.
Featured soloists are bass-baritone Joshua Copeland (below top), who is flying in from England for the performances; and soprano Chelsea Morris (below, bottom) the recent winner of the second annual Handel Aria Competition during the Madison Early Music Festival in July), who has moved from Chicago to Madison; harpsichordist Trevor Stephenson; baroque oboist Luke Conklin; and baroque violinist Kangwon Kim.
The concert will be played entirely on 18th-century period instruments.
Beginning 45 minutes before the concert, MBM founder and director Trevor Stephenson (below) will give a pre-concert lecture about the music and the period instruments. Ticket information can be found at madisonbachmusicians.org or by calling (608) 238-6092.
Here are specifics about the two performances
Saturday, Oct. 4, 7:15 p.m. for the lecture, 8 p.m. for the concert – at Christ Presbyterian Church, 944 E. Gorham St.
Sunday, Oct. 5, 2:45 p.m. for the lecture, 3:30 p.m. for the concert — at St. Stephen’s Lutheran Church, 5700 Pheasant Hill Rd.
Tickets for Madison Bach Musicians concerts may be purchased in advance or at the door. Advance outlets include the Willy Street Coops east and west; Orange Tree Imports on Monroe Street; Farley’s house of Pianos near West Towne Mall; A Room of One’s Own, downtown; and the Ward Brodt Music Mall, off the West Beltline.
NOTE: Cash or checks only. Please make checks payable to Madison Bach Musicians.
For this weekend, advance ticket prices: $25 general, $20 students and seniors over 65; tickets at the door are $30 general, $25 for students and seniors.
Season tickets are also available.
The Madison Bach Musicians will also perform other concerts this season -– an always reliable holiday program in December at the First Congregational United Church of Christ and a concert “Pygmalion,” an opera-ballet by Jean-Philippe Rameau in April at the First Unitarian Society of Madison. For the lineup and details, go to:
By Jacob Stockinger
Gradually the old sign will turn into a new building.
In case you missed it – and it was easy to do with all the live events going on this weekend – the University of Wisconsin School of Music announced the long-awaited plans for its new music center with a concert hall and rehearsal space. The Ear is very pleased that acoustics are given a top priority.
Compromises have been made due to funding delays and shortfalls. But even with the scaled-down design, the $22-million building still sounds as if it will be an impressive building, and an impressive addition to the UW-Madison School of Music program.
Here is an architect’s rendering, a drawing of what the building at the corner of Lake Street and University Avenue, next to the new wing of the Chazen Museum of Art, will look like.
It should help maintain or even foster the already high standards of the UW-Madison School of Music, which is nonetheless facing major challenges in student recruitment and staffing. But one wonders: What will music students think about the glass-walled room that will allow passers-by to peer in while they are practicing?
For the full story, including what happens when more money is collected, here is a link to the official announcement.
And here is a link to a story in The Wisconsin State Journal
The Ear wants to hear.
ALERT: Just a reminder that there is a lot of live music competing for audiences this afternoon. But if you can, be sure to catch the UW-Madison Pro Arte Quartet and guest clarinetist Charles Neidich giving the FREE second world premiere performance of American composer Pierre Jalbert‘s Clarinet Quintet — which is based on Beat poet Allen Ginsberg’s “Howl” — at the Chazen Museum of Art at 12:30 p.m. in Brittingham Gallery 3. The new work, which The Ear heard on Friday night, is the real thing: a winning gem of new music. Of course the short-sighted Wisconsin Public Radio is no longer broadcasting local and regional live music from the museum, so forget the radio. But you can stream the concert live from the Internet at the museum’s website www.chazen.wisc.edu.
And here is a link with an overview of all the music concerts available this afternoon:
Well, here is another reason to welcome the end of the work week and the coming of the weekend.
NPR is saying TGIF.
Every Friday afternoon, the Deceptive Cadence blog folks at National Public Radio gather with the public via Twitter to check out issues and performers, performances and recordings — including the new CD “Motherland” by pianist Khatia Buniatishvili (the Sony Classical CD cover with her Frida Kahlo-like portrait is below and a sample is at the bottom in a YouTube video in which she plays an arrangement of Johann Sebastian Bach‘s “Sheep May Safely Graze“). You should try checking it out and add your own comments and recommendations.
And that’s just what you can do using the link below:
The Ear thinks you will like it for several reasons.
The discussion keeps you updated on new recordings, new performers and new music. But it also suggests older composers and repertoire to listen to, including recommended interpretations of that repertoire.
It also features some very insightful and some very funny comments from other readers and followers that you can check out.
So don’t be afraid to hop on in – or at least to add to your To Do List checking out Deceptive Cadence at NPR every Friday.
By Jacob Stockinger
Christopher Hogwood (below, in a photo by the Associated Press), who, along with Trevor Pinnock, Gustav Leonhardt, John Eliot Gardiner and Frans Bruggen, became synonymous for many us with the movement to promote early music with authentic instruments and historically informed performance practices, has died.
He died Wednesday and was 73, and he had been ill for a brief time. He died at his home in Cambridge, England.
There are many things that The Ear loved about Hogwood, but nothing more than his recordings of string concertos by Antonio Vivaldi for their verve and of symphonies and concertos by Wolfgang Amadeus Mozart for their sweetness and transparency, energy and clarity. (You can hear Hogwood conducting the Academy of Ancient Music in 2009 in Suntory Hall in Tokyo, Japan. They are playing the spectacular and virtuosically contrapuntal last movement of Mozart’s last symphony — Symphony No. 41 “Jupiter”– at the bottom in a YouTube video. Just listen to the cheers!)
Hogwood’s version of the popular oratorio “Messiah” by George Frideric Handel is still my preferred one. Hogwood always seemed to serve the music first and foremost, and not fall into the kind of goofy or quirky readings that, say, Nikolaus Harnoncourt often did. Everything he did seemed balanced and just plain right, but nonetheless ear-opening in its originality. He made you say: THAT’S the way it should sound.
But curiously, Hogwood (below, in a photo by Marcus Borggreve) seems to have understood other people and performers who prefer early music played in more modern approaches or idiosyncratic or individualistic manners. The Ear likes that kind of non-purist and tolerant approach to early music, to all music really. He is what Hogwood said in one interview:
‘THERE’S NOTHING WRONG WITH PLAYING THINGS HISTORICALLY COMPLETELY INCORRECTLY: MUSIC IS NOT A MORAL BUSINESS, SO YOU CAN PLAY ABSOLUTELY IN A STYLE THAT SUITS YOU AND PLEASES YOUR PUBLIC. IT MAY BE COMPLETELY UNRECOGNISABLE TO THE COMPOSER BUT SO WHAT, HE’S DEAD.’
Here is a fine story from NPR (National Public Radio):
Here is a comprehensive obituary from The New York Times:
Here is a story from The Washington Post:
And here is a small story that appeared in Hogwood’s native Great Britain, even though Hogwood also directed American groups in Boston, St. Paul and elsewhere:
Here is a link to a 70-minute podcast that the magazine Gramophone did to mark Hogwood’s 70th birthday:
By Jacob Stockinger
The following announcement comes from our friends at the Wisconsin Chamber Orchestra (below):
The Wisconsin Chamber Orchestra Chorus announces auditions for its 2014 performance of George Frideric Handel’s Baroque oratorio “Messiah.” (You can hear the most famous chorus — the Hallelujah Chorus — at the bottom in a popular YouTube video that has almost 3 million hits.)
This year, the Wisconsin Chamber Orchestra and Chorus, under the baton of longtime WCO music director and conductor Andrew Sewell, will perform “Messiah” at the Blackhawk Church in Middleton (below top), the Stoughton Opera House (below middle) and the Al Ringling Theater (below bottom) in Baraboo.
Come be a part of the six-year tradition of “Messiah” with the Wisconsin Chamber Orchestra and guest soloists.
Auditions will be held next Wednesday, October 1. Rehearsals begin October 29. If you are interested, contact firstname.lastname@example.org with your name, phone number and email address to set up an audition time. You can also call (608) 257-0638.
Note: Rehearsals are on Wednesday evenings at 7 p.m. Performances are December 11, 12 and 13.
By Jacob Stockinger
There are “train wrecks,” as the Wise Critic likes to call competing or conflicting music events.
And then there are TRAIN WRECKS!!!!!!!!!
Take the afternoon of this upcoming Sunday, Sept. 28, 2014.
The best The Ear can figure, you have a choice of five trains to ride into the wreck, possibly two if you plan really carefully and everything — including the length of concerts, transportation time and the availability of parking — falls into place.
There are just too many events and too few weekdays to do separate blog posts on all of them. Besides, it will probably be helpful for scheduling –- if discouraging –- to see them all listed together.
Here, in timetable order, we go:
PRO ARTE STRING QUARTET
The Pro Arte Quartet (below top, in photo by Rick Langer), which is wrapping up its centennial anniversary and six centennial commissions with a gala FREE world premiere concert and dessert reception at the Wisconsin Union Theater on this Friday night at 8 p.m., will repeat the program in a FREE concert at the Chazen Museum of Art on Sunday at 12:30 p.m. in the Brittingham Gallery No. 3 (below middle). It will be streamed live by Audio for the Arts. Go to www.chazen.wisc.edu on the day of the concert for a link.
The program includes the world premiere of the Clarinet Quintet “Howl” (based on the Beat poem by Allen Ginsberg) by American composer Pierre Jalbert (below bottom) by as well as String Quartet No. 2 in A Major (1824) by Spanish composer Juan Crisostomo Arriaga and the gorgeous Clarinet Quintet by Wolfgang Amadeus Mozart.
Here is a link: http://proartequartet.org
Originally scheduled for Friday, Sept. 26, the Ancora Quartet (below top, in a photo by Barry Lewis), with guest violinist Wes Luke (below bottom, in a photo by Barry Lewis) filling in for Leanne League. The three regular quartet members are, from left, violinist Robin Ryan, violist Marika Fischer Hoyt and cellist Benjamin Whitcomb.
They will instead perform the Ancora’s opening concert of the season on Sunday afternoon at 2 p.m. in the Landmark Auditorium of the First Unitarian Society where the quartet has been artists-in-residence. The program includes the “Sun” Quartet, Op. 20, No. 4, by Franz Joseph Haydn; the one-movement Quartet for Strings by Amy Beach, which uses Inuit tunes; and the final String Quartet in F minor, Op. 80, composed by Felix Mendelssohn in honor of the death of his beloved sister Fanny. A champagne reception is included. Tickets at the door are $15; $12 for seniors; and $6 for children under 12.
Other performances of this program will take place on Saturday, Sept. 27, at 7:30 p.m. at Eaton Chapel on the Beloit College campus, and on Sunday, Oct. 26, at 4 p.m. at St. Peter’s Episcopal Church in Fort Atkinson. In addition, the quartet has added the following dates: Monday, Oct. 20, at 7 p.m. at Oakwood Village West on Madison’s far west side at 6902 Mineral point Road, with FREE admission, followed by a Meet & Greet with the musicians; and on Thursday, Oct. 23, at 7:30 p.m. at the Loras College Visitation Center: Gallagher Hall, in Dubuque, Iowa.
UW SYMPHONY ORCHESTRA AND SOPRANO ELIZABETH HAGEDORN
At 2 p.m. in Mills Hall, the University of Wisconsin-Madison Symphony Orchestra (below top, in photo by John W. Barker) with guest UW-Madison professor soprano Elizabeth Hagedorn (below middle) and conductor James Smith (below bottom) will perform a FREE concert.
The program includes the “Totenfeier” (Funeral Rites) music (the first draft of the First Movement from the Symphony No. 2 “Resurrection”; and the “Rueckert Lieder,” both by Gustav Mahler; and also the Symphony No. 1 “Spring” by Robert Schumann.
EDGEWOOD COLLEGE CHAMBER ORCHESTRA
At 2:30 p.m. in the St. Joseph Chapel, 1000 Edgewood College Drive, at Edgewood College, the Edgewood Chamber Orchestra (below top, in an old poster), conducted by Blake Walter (below bottom, in a photo by John Maniaci), will perform the “Ojai Festival Overture” by Peter Maxwell Davies, “Historic Scenes,” Op. 66, by Jean Sibelius and Symphony No. 53 in D Major “Imperiale” by Franz Joseph Haydn. Tickers are $5 at the door, free with an Edgewood College ID.
SOPRANO CHELSEA MORRIS AND FORTEPIANIST TREVOR STEPHENSON
At 3 p.m. in Christ Presbyterian Church, 944 East Gorham Street, there will be a voice concert and CD-release party with soprano Chelsea Morris and fortepianist Trevor Stephenson (both are below), the founder and leader of the Madison Bach Musicians, to celebrate the release of their new CD of songs by Mozart, Haydn and Franz Schubert. This past summer, Morris won top spot in the second annual Handel Aria Competition during the Madison Early Music Festival.
Trevor Stephenson will bring his 5-octave, 18th-century German fortepiano to accompany Ms. Morris and he also will play solo fortepiano works by Mozart and Beethoven.
He will give a brief talk about the Classical style and discuss how the fortepiano creates a thrilling sense of theatrical immediacy in the music of the 18th-century masters. Selections on the concert from Morris and Stephenson’s new CD: Songs by Mozart, Haydn & Schubert. A CD autograph signing will be held after the concert.
OVERTURE CENTER ANNIVERSARY
At 3:30 p.m. in the Overture Center for the Arts, “American Kaleidoscope,” the second performance of a multi-performing arts celebration of the Overture Center’s 10th anniversary, will take place, continuing from the all-day festival on Saturday.
All the resident performing arts companies — including the Madison Symphony Orchestra, the Madison Opera, the Wisconsin Chamber Orchestra, the Bach Dancing and Dynamite Society — will do a second performance (the first is Saturday night). Here is a link:
By Jacob Stockinger
Although they are not one of the resident performing arts companies, our friends at the ever-inventive Fresco Opera Theatre will take part — in a figurative sense and as a preview — in the 10th anniversary celebration this weekend of the Overture Center for the Arts.
Here is what the topsy-turvy Fresco folks sent over as a preview:
“What would Bizet sound like with a heavy rock drum beat?
“How about Richard Wagner with electric guitar?
“And what if Giuseppe Verdi’s famous aria “La donna e mobile” (at bottom in a popular YouTube video that has over 6 million hits and is performed by famed tenor Luciano Pavarotti) was sung from the point of view of 3 sopranos instead of 3 tenors?”
Find out at 8 p.m. on this Friday, Sept. 26, in The Playhouse at the Overture Center when Fresco Opera Theatre presents “Opera Unplugged,” the story of the formation, success, breakup and reunion of a fictional band called “The Band Fresco.” Tickets are $20. Visit the Overture Center box office or call (608) 258-4141.
Here is a description from the Overture Center’s website:
“The Band Fresco thrilled audiences with their fresh take on a traditional art form. Through the whirlwind years, there were highs and lows. Virtuosos all of them -– the group soon felt the pressure that comes with skyrocketing fame. Ego. Addiction. Heartbreak. Love.
“Their meteoric rise inevitably crashed before the group could say a proper goodbye.
“Fresco Opera Theatre in association with Eddie Slim Productions is proud to present a once in a lifetime event.
This is the story of “The Band Fresco –- Behind The Music,” including a live concert celebrating their legacy, coinciding with the 10th anniversary of the Madison Overture Center for the Arts.
The “band” is made up of three singers, bass, violin, cello, guitars and drums. In between numbers, the story of “The Band Fresco” will be told in the style of VH1’s “Behind The Music.”
The story is very much like that of the popular satirical movie spoof “This Is Spinal Tap.” But instead of heavy metal, the subject matter is opera, and the trials and tribulations that are associated with operatic performers and performances.
By Jacob Stockinger
This coming Friday night will bring the FREE world premiere of the final work of the six commissions to mark the centennial of the Pro Arte String Quartet (below, in a photo by Rick Langer) at the University of Wisconsin-Madison School of Music.
The work is a Clarinet Quintet, written Pierre Jalbert (below), a prize-winning American composer with French-Canadian roots. It will receive its world premiere at 8 p.m. on Friday night in the newly renovated Wisconsin Union Theater. A FREE dessert reception in the Memorial Union follows. There is also a FREE and OPEN TO THE PUBLIC rehearsal, with the composer advising the string quartet, from 9 a.m. to noon on this Thursday morning in Mills Hall.
Here is a link to the Pro Arte Quartet’s website
And here is the official press release about the new work and the upcoming concert. It was researched and written by Mike Muckian (below), who also writes and blogs for Brava Magazine and the Wisconsin Gazette.
MADISON, Wis. – When Beat Generation poet Allen Ginsberg (below) published “Howl” in 1956, he may have anticipated the obscenity charges he faced because of the work’s highly charged content. Chances are he didn’t foresee his epic poem, now considered a significant work of American literature, as the source of inspiration for a 21st-century chamber music composition.
Pierre Jalbert, an American composer of French-Canadian descent, thought otherwise. When commissioned by the University of Wisconsin-Madison Pro Arte Quartet to compose an original work to help the quartet celebrate its centennial season, Jalbert chose Ginsberg’s poem as his source of inspiration.
Jalbert’s “Howl” for clarinet and string quartet will receive its world premiere by the Pro Arte on Friday, Sept. 26, at the Wisconsin Union Theater in the historic Memorial Union on the University of Wisconsin-Madison campus.
The event, free and open to the public, will be the first classical music concert to take place in the venerable theater’s newly refurbished Shannon Hall (below top).
The 8 p.m. concert will be preceded by a 7 p.m. concert preview discussion with Pierre Jalbert in Shannon Hall. In addition to Jalbert’s composition, the evening’s program includes the String Quartet No. 2 in A Major (1824) by Juan Crisóstomo Arriaga (below top) -– known as “the Spanish Mozart” — and the gorgeous Clarinet Quintet in A Major (1791) by Wolfgang Amadeus Mozart (below bottom).
The Pro Arte Quartet (below, in a photo by Rick Langer) includes violinists David Perry and Suzanne Beia, violist Sally Chisholm and cellist Parry Karp.
PLEASE NOTE: The Pro Arte Quartet concert will be repeated Sunday, Sept. 28, at 12:30 p.m. in Gallery III at the Chazen Museum of Art, also on the UW-Madison campus. The concert will be streamed live worldwide on the Internet by the Madison-based Audio for the Arts. Check the Chazen Museum of Art’s website (www.chazen.wisc.edu) on the day of the concert. Details of the Chazen music series for 2015 will be announced on Sunday at the concert. The new series is designed to replace the “Sunday Afternoon Live From the Chazen” series (below) of live chamber music concerts that was abruptly canceled by Wisconsin Public Radio last spring after 36 years. Sunday’s concert is FREE and OPEN to the public; however, Chazen Museum of Art members can call 608-263-2246 to reserve seating.
Joining the Pro Arte for both concerts will be guest clarinetist Charles Neidich (below, in a photo by Sallie Eichson), a regular member of the New York City-based Orpheus Chamber Orchestra and noted guest performer with orchestras and string quartets worldwide. Here is a link to Neidich’s own impressive website:
“The Jalbert quintet is a very exciting composition, often very rhythmic, but with very serenely quiet contrasting sections,” said Neidich. “It is also interesting in that the clarinetist has to switch to bass clarinet, creating a very different sound for the group.” (At bottom is a YouTube interview with Pierre Jalbert, who explains his philosophy of composing and his concern with the audience’s understanding of his work.)
Ginsberg (below, young), who died in 1997, began work on “Howl” as early as 1954. The poem was first published in “Howl and Other Poems” in 1956 as part of the “Pocket Poets” series by fellow beat poet Lawrence Ferlinghetti, also known as founder of City Lights Books in San Francisco.
Upon the poem’s release, both Ferlinghetti and City Lights manager Shigeyoshi Murao were arrested and charged with distributing obscene material because of the poem’s profanity, drug references and frank sexual content. Four months later, Judge Clayton Horn ruled that the work was not obscene and charges against Ferlinghetti and his employee were dropped.
Judge Horn deemed “Howl” to have redeeming social content, and over the years it has proved its worth both in terms of social and literary value, according to Dr. Lynn Keller, the Martha Meier Renk Bascom Professor of Poetry in the UW-Madison Department of English.
“’Howl’ stands out stylistically in its compellingly and varied repetition of words beginning successive lines, its near surrealist imagery, and its combination of agonized depictions at once hellish and lofty with a very appealing sense of humor,” Dr. Keller said. “In terms of content, it also stands out in celebrating the down-and-out hipster as spiritual quester and visionary.”
As part of the Beat Generation – as much a social as a literary phenomenon – Ginsberg’s celebration of physical pleasures and suspicions about “the military industrial complex” created a new path that still appeals to younger audiences.
“It is a powerful poem, a howl from the heart of an agonized generation in a repressive era,” Dr. Keller said.
Jalbert was familiar with the poem prior to the Pro Arte commission, but it was only after he started composing the work that he began to realize the influence Ginsberg had on the music. Those similarities had less to do with the poem’s content and more to do with its structure and rhythm, the composer said.
“At the beginning of my piece, the clarinet is basically playing long tones, creating a long line much like the long lines in Ginsberg’s poem, while the strings present the rhythmically pulsating harmonic underpinning,” Jalbert said. “Ginsberg’s poem has been called a ‘litany of praise,’ and the second movement of my work becomes a litany, much like a series of prayers in a liturgy, with the strings creating chant-like lines while the clarinet becomes the vox Dei, or “voice of God,” hovering mysteriously over everything. The third movement returns to the musical materials from the first movement, but now the bass clarinet takes on the virtuosic role.”
In keeping with emotional soundings in parts of “Howl,” Jalbert also has attempted to capture the “shrieks” that were characteristic to the poem alongside the aforementioned litany of praise.
“There are buildups to shrieking moments in my piece as well as a “howl” motive of a low chord slurred up to an immediate high cluster, all played very forcefully,” said Jalbert. “There’s also something very urban about parts of the poem and to me, there’s an urban quality in my first and third movements. There are also many religious allusions and the last words of Christ on the cross, so the second movement uses some of this.”
The Jalbert composition is the final of six commissions for the Pro Arte Centennial seasons, and it has all the earmarks of a contemporary work with staying power, according to clarinetist Neidich.
“Having studied the score, I believe that it will be accessible to listeners and exciting to hear,” said Neidich. “It features the clarinet both in the role of soloist and as contributor to the sonority of the ensemble. It has all the necessary attributes to become a significant work.”
The Jalbert commission also brings to an end the Pro Arte’s seasons of centennial celebration in honor of the quartet’s long and storied history.
The Quatuor Pro Arte of Brussels, first formed in 1911-1912, was performing quartets by Ludwig van Beethoven at the then-new Wisconsin Union Theater on the UW-Madison campus on May 10, 1940, when Belgium was overrun and occupied by Nazi forces, turning three of its original four musicians into war orphans.
By October of that year, the group had officially become the UW Pro Arte Quartet, making it the first artists ensemble-in-residence at any university in the world. At more than 100 years old, Pro Arte also is thought to be the world’s oldest continuously performing string quartet.
The Pro Arte in May traveled back to Belgium to perform the European premiere of its fifth centennial commissioned work, Belgian composer Benoît Mernier’s String Quartet No. 3. The work had received its world premiere on March 1 in Mills Concert Hall in the Mosse Humanities Building on the UW-Madison campus with the composer in attendance.
A 2-CD set (below) of the first four commissions was released last year by Albany Records. It includes two string quartets by Walter Mays and John Harbison as well as two piano quintets, one by William Bolcom and the other by Paul Schoenfield.
ALERT: The final performance of the Madison Symphony Orchestra’s season-opening program of Richard Strauss “Also Sprach Zarathustra” (with the organ theme from “2001: A Space Odyssey”), Frank Martin’s Concerto for Seven Wind Instruments and Camille Saint-Saens (Symphony No. 3 “Organ”) will be given today at 2:30 p.m. in Overture Hall of the Overture Center. Here is a link to a previous post about the concert as well as links to several very positive reviews:
Here is a link to a review by John W. Barker (below) for Isthmus:
Here is a link to the review by Gregg Hettmansberger (below) for Madison Magazine’s blog “Classically Speaking”:
And here is a link to Lindsay Christians’ review for The Capital Times and 77 Square:
By Jacob Stockinger
All right, then.
The Big Vote is over.
The outcome surprised The Ear since so many of the arguments offered by Great Britain seemed similar to the ones that were probably made about why the United States should remain a colony of England.
But now the question is answered for at least another generation.
You’d be surprised. I was.
One obvious, and, for many, noisily unpleasant, answer is the bagpipes. We’re not talking about Scotland-inspired music such as Felix Mendelssohn‘s justly famous “Hebrides” Overture (at bottom in a popular YouTube video featuring Claudio Abbado conducting the London Symphony Orchestra, though it sure does seem to capture the dark North Sea atmosphere of Scotland.)
But there are other answers too, and some of them may surprise you.
Be sure to listen to some of the sound samples provided on the NPR website posting. Here is a link:
Also be sure to check out the readers’ comments. They are a hoot, or whatever the equivalent saying is in Scotland.
And the reader comments contain one of the all-time best puns, based on The Rolling Stones song “Hey You, Get Off of My Cloud.” Of course, someone says it isn’t funny! Which makes it only funnier to The Ear.