The Well-Tempered Ear

Classical music: The Wisconsin Chamber Choir will sing a program of “Live, Laugh and Love” this Sunday afternoon. Music by Brahms, Puccini, Bizet, Sondheim, Lin-Manuel Miranda and others is featured | February 12, 2020

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By Jacob Stockinger

This Sunday afternoon, Feb. 16, at 3 p.m. in the First Unitarian Society of Madison’s Landmark Auditorium, 900 University Bay Drive, the Wisconsin Chamber Choir will perform a varied program of vocal music.

The “Live, Laugh and Love” program includes Johannes Brahms’ Neue Liebeslieder Waltzes (New Love Song Waltzes) along with a wide variety of solos, duets and ensembles encompassing music by Giacomo Puccini, Georges Bizet, Clara Schumann, John Dowland, Stephen Sondheim and Lin-Manuel Miranda.

The singers will accompanied by duo-pianists Mark Brampton Smith and Sherri Hansen.

Brahms (below) completed his second group of “Love Song Waltzes” in 1874, setting poems that are alternately passionate, brooding, fiery and contemplative. (You can hear some excerpts in the YouTube video at the bottom.)

Building on the success of his first installment of Liebeslieder from five years earlier, Brahms’ music for the later set is more deeply emotional, mirroring the composer’s own complex romantic entanglements. Out of all Brahms’ female friends, he seems to have maintained the deepest affection for Clara Schumann (below), whose music appears on the first half of our program.

Classic arias and duets from the operas La Bohème, and The Pearl Fishers, and contemporary selections by Stephen Sondheim and Hamilton composer, Lin-Manuel Miranda, round out the program to be performed in the intimate setting of the historic auditorium designed by Frank Lloyd Wright.

A wine-and-cheese reception will follow the concert.

Advance tickets are available online for $15 ($10 for students) from www.wisconsinchamberchoir.org or Brown Paper Tickets, or from a member of the choir. The ticket price at the door is $20.

Founded in 1998, the Wisconsin Chamber Choir has established a reputation for excellence in the performance of oratorios by Bach, Handel, Mozart and Brahms; a cappella works from various centuries; and world premieres.

Artistic director and conductor Robert Gehrenbeck (below) – who heads the choral program at the University of Wisconsin-Whitewater — has been hailed by critics for his vibrant and emotionally compelling interpretations of a wide variety of choral masterworks.

 


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4 Comments »

  1. Another choice (perhaps the best) after “Music” would be “compositions.” Hence a better sentence would be “Music compositions by Brahms…. .” Definitely plural.

    It’s nice that we agree on Puccini.

    He was much greater than he gets credit for (he is one of the top opera composers but was much more. I love his “Edgar” interludes; Puccini himself thought of the opera itself as a failure. Not so the music.

    Here’s a plug for this composition featuring Riccado Chailly and the La Scala Orchestra: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=aHfl7WRSge0

    Comment by fflambeau — February 12, 2020 @ 10:21 pm

  2. I looked for more information on the program at the group’s website and could find nothing further, indeed less than here.

    Unfortunately, the headline is gramatically incorrect: it should read: “Music by Brahms, Puccini, Bizet…ARE (not “is”) featured.” Sorry about that.

    I’m just beginning to learn that Puccini not only wrote magnificent music for the opera, but also great symphonic music too. It’s nice to see more of his work being performed (whatever it might be).

    Comment by fflambeau — February 12, 2020 @ 1:11 am

    • Thank you for your reply.
      However, your grammar correction is incorrect.
      The subject of the verb is the singular “Music,” not the plural “musics.” Therefore, the singular verb “is” is correct and the plural “are” is incorrect.
      You might also enjoy Puccini’s chamber music, specifically his string quartet “Chrysanthemums.”

      Comment by welltemperedear — February 12, 2020 @ 8:17 am

      • Thanks Ear.

        With respect to “music” it is a collective noun; collective nouns often take plural verbs especially if they are “acting as individuals” as here seems the case. See Merriam-Webster: http://www.learnersdictionary.com/qa/Collective-Nouns-and-Verb-Agreement

        I agree it is a close call but think of the what is in a sense missing word after music (selections? pieces?) Both are plurals so they take a plural verb. It is less grating on the ear too.

        Thanks for the tip on Puccini’s chamber music.

        Comment by fflambeau — February 12, 2020 @ 10:11 pm


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