The Well-Tempered Ear

Classical music: Take a FREE choral tour of the past year’s holidays this coming Saturday night at the UW-Madison. Plus, pianist Mark Valenti performs a FREE recital of Milhaud, Schubert and Prokofiev this Friday at noon. | November 18, 2015

ALERT: This week’s FREE Friday Noon Musicale, to be held from 12:15 to 1 p.m. in the Landmark Auditorium of the Frank Lloyd Wright-designed First Unitarian Society of Madison, 900 University Bay Drive, features pianist Mark Valenti. He will play Three Pieces from “Le Printemps” (Spring) by Darius Milhaud; the Sonata in A major by Franz Schubert; and the Sonata No. 7 in B-flat major by Sergei Prokofiev.

By Jacob Stockinger

This week brings two FREE concerts by several choral groups at the University of Wisconsin-Madison School of Music.

UW Madrigal Singers

On Friday night at 8 p.m. in Mills Hall, the University Chorus, Women’s Choir and Master Singers will perform a FREE concert. Sorry, no word yet about the program.

Then on Saturday night at 8 p.m. in Mills Hall, the UW Chorale will perform a FREE concert called “It’s a Jolly Holiday!” Director Bruce Gladstone (below, in a photo by Katrin Talbot) will conduct.


NOTE: This concert is NOT to be confused with the usually packed Winter Choral Concert — with its theme of holidays, multiple choirs and several conductors — that will take place on Sunday, Dec. 6, at 2 and 4 p.m. at Luther Memorial Church.

Here are some program notes:

“This fall, the UW Chorale gets into the holiday spirit.

“But which one?

“An entire year of them!

“The ensemble starts with New Year’s Day and moves through the calendar year singing choral works to commemorate each festive day.

“They’ll celebrate President’s Day, Valentine’s Day, St. Patrick’s Day, Easter, Earth Day (below) and so on, with a variety of great music that will leave you wondering why you only think about hearing a choir sing at Christmas.


“Works include “My Funny Valentine,” “Free at Last,” Wolfgang Amadeus Mozart’s “Regina Coeli,” Howard Hanson’s “Song of Democracy,” Aaron Copland’s “The Promise of Living” and many more.” (You can hear Howard Hanson’s “Song of Democracy,” with words by poet Walt Whitman and with the famous Interlochen theme from his “Romantic” Symphony No. 2, in a YouTube video at the bottom.)

“There will be something for everyone as they explore the days we call “holy.””


1 Comment »

  1. It’s nice to see that they will be performing Howard Hanson’s “Song of Democracy”. He might not be as familiar to younger people as, say, Aaron Copland, but he was a wonder both as a music educator, a conductor, and a composer. So, good choice!

    Born in Nebraska, Hanson was chosen at an early age by the Kodak Camera King, George Eastman, to head up his new Eastman School of Music in Rochester, New York. Hanson pretty much built that institution into the one which has such a formidable reputation today. He served as the head of that music school for 4 or 5 decades and was able to conduct, and to compose at the same time.

    His Symphony #2, “Romantic” is his most famous work and it contains the wonderful Interlochen theme (plus some very nice jazz sounds) that ends every single concert at Interlochen (Hanson was also instrumental in setting up that program). That theme, not as full blown as in his symphony, also opens Hanson’s “Song of Democracy” and is referred to again in the middle of the work. It has been featured in many movies, including, oddly enough, “Alien”.

    Both works, “Song of Democracy” and his Symphony #2, “Romantic” can be found on this YouTube with Howard Hanson himself conducting and with the choir and orchestra of the Mormon Youth Chorus and Orchestra:


    Comment by fflambeau — November 18, 2015 @ 12:54 am

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