The Well-Tempered Ear

Classical music: The fifth annual Schubertiade is this Sunday afternoon at the UW-Madison and will chronicle Franz Schubert’s short but prolific career year by year

January 23, 2018

CORRECTION: The concert by the Wisconsin Chamber Orchestra this Friday night in the Capitol Theater of the Overture Center starts at 7:30 p.m. — NOT at 7 as was incorrectly stated in an early version of yesterday’s posting and on Wisconsin Public Radio.

By Jacob Stockinger

On this Sunday afternoon at 3 p.m., the fifth annual Schubertiade — celebrating the music of Franz Schubert (1797-1828, below) will take place in Mills Hall on the UW-Madison campus.

The informal and congenial mix of songs and chamber music in a relaxed on-stage setting and with fine performers is always an informative delight. And this year promises to be a special one. (Performance photos are from previous Schubertiades.)

Tickets are $15 for the general public, and $5 for students. Students, faculty and staff at the UW-Madison’s Mead Witter School of Music get in for free.

A reception at the nearby University Club will follow the performance.

For more information about the event and about obtaining tickets, go to:

Pianist and singer Bill Lutes (below, in a photo by Katrin Talbot), who plans the event with his pianist-wife and UW-Madison professor Martha Fischer, explained the program and the reasoning behind it:

“This year’s Schubertiade is a program that could never have actually occurred during the composer’s lifetime. It is in fact a year-by-year sampling of Schubert’s music, spanning the full range of his all-too-brief career.

“As with our previous programs, we still focus on those genres which were most associated with the original Schubertiades (below, in a painting) – those informal social gatherings in the homes of Schubert’s friends and patrons, often with Schubert himself presiding at the piano, where performances of the composer’s lieder, piano music, especially piano duets, and vocal chamber music intermingled with poetry readings, dancing, games and general carousing.

“Our hope on this occasion is to present the development of Schubert’s unique art in much the same way we might view a special museum exhibition that displays the lifetime achievements of a great visual artist.

“Thus we will follow Schubert from his earliest work, heavily influenced by Haydn and Mozart, and his studies with Antonio Salieri, to the amazing “breakthrough” settings of Goethe’s poems in 1814 and 1815, and on to the rich procession of songs and chamber music from his final decade. (Below is a pencil drawing by Leopold Kupelwieser of Schubert at 14.)

As always we have chosen a number of Schubert’s best-known and loved favorites, along side of lesser-known, but equally beautiful gems.

We are also particularly delighted to work with a large number of School of Music students and faculty, as well as our featured guest, mezzo-soprano Rachel Wood (below), who teaches at the UW-Whitewater.

(D. numbers refer to the chronological catalogue of Schubert’s work by Otto Erich Deutsch, first published in 1951, and revised in 1978.)

SCHUBERTIADE 2018 – Schubert Year by Year: Lieder, Chamber Music and Piano Duets by Franz Schubert (1797-1828)


Rachel Wood (RW)

Katie Anderson (KA), Matthew Chastain (MC), James Doing (JD), Wesley Dunnagan (WD), Talia Engstrom (TE), Mimmi Fulmer (MFulmer), Benjamin Liupiaogo (BL), Claire Powling (CP), Cheryl Rowe (CR), Paul Rowe (PF), singers

The Hunt Quartet, Chang-En Lu, Vincius Sant Ana, Blakeley Menghini, Kyle Price (HQ)

Parry Karp, cello (PK)

Bill Lutes (BL) and Martha Fischer (MF), pianists (below)


1811   Fantasie in G minor, D. 9 (MF, BL)

1812   Klaglied, D. 23 (Lament )– Johann Friedrich Rochlitz (MF, BL)

            Die Advokaten, D. 37 (The Lawyers, comic trio) after Anton Fischer)     (PR,BL, WD, MF)

1813   Verklärung, D. 59 Transfiguration – Alexander Pope (RW, BL)

1814   Adelaide, D. 95Friedrich von Matthisson (WD, MF)

            Der Geistertanz, D. 116 The Ghost Dance – Matthisson (MC, BL)

            Gretchen am Spinnrade, D. 118 Gretchen at the Spinning Wheel –         Goethe (CP, MF)

1815   Wanderers Nachtlied I, D. 224 Wanderer’s Nightsong – Goethe (MF, BL)

            Erlkönig, D. 328 The Erl-king – Goethe (TE, MC, WD, CP, MF, BL)

1816  Sonata for violin and piano in D Major, D. 384 (PK, below, BL)

           Allegro, Andante, Allegro vivace

1817   Der Tod und das Mädchen, D. 531 Death and the Maiden – Matthias   Claudius (RW, MF)

            Erlafsee, D. 586 Lake Erlaff – Johann Mayrhofer (CR, BL)

            Der Strom, D. 565 The River – anon. (PR, MF)

1818   Deutscher with 2 Trios in G (MF, BL)

            Singübungen, D. 619 Singing Exercises (CP, TE, BL)


1819   Die Gebüsche, D. 646 The Thicket – Friedrich von Schlegel (RW, BL)

1820   String Quartet #12 in C Minor “Quartetsatz” (HQ)

1821   Geheimes, D. 719 A Secret – Goethe (TE, MF)

1822   Des Tages Weihe, D. 763 Consecration of the Day (KA, MF, WD, MC,BL)

1823   Drang in die Ferne, D. 770 The Urge to Roam – K.G. von Leitner (MC,BL)

             from Die Schöne Müllerin, Mein, D. 795 Mine – W. Müller (WD, MF)

1824   Grand March No. 6 in E major, D. 819 (MF, BL)

1825   Im Abendrot, D. 799 Sunset Glow – Karl Lappe (RW, MF)

             An mein Herz, D. 860 To my Heart- Ernst Schulze (BenL, MF)

1826   Am Fenster, D. 878 At the Window – J. G. Seidl (MFulmer, below, BL)

1827   from Winterreise Frühlingstraum, D. 911 Dream of Spring – Muller(RW,MF)

1828   Die Sterne, D. 939 The Stars – Leitner (KA, BL)

          from Schwanengesang (Swansong), D. 957

          Ständchen (JD, MF) –Serenade – Ludwig Rellstab

          Die Taubenpost (PR, MF)The Pigeon Post – J.G. Seidl

An die Musik, D. 547 To Music (below) – Franz von Schober

Everyone is invited to sing along. You can find the words in your texts and translations.

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Classical music education: Next summer’s Madison Early Music Festival will explore the 17th century German Renaissance.

July 18, 2012

By Jacob Stockinger

The final All-Festival concert of the 13th annual Madison Early Music Festival took place Saturday night on the University of Wisconsin-Madison campus and surely left a lot of people – both performers and listeners — with a lot of good memories as well as a newly informed appreciation of early music in North America. (Last year’s theme was the early music of South America.)

But first things first – by which I mean there is NEWS to report.

Co-artistic directors Cheryl Bensman-Rowe and Paul Rowe announced that the 14th annual Madison Early Music Festival will take place next summer from July 6 to July 13, 2013. The theme will be “Stuttgart 1616: A Festive Celebration of the German Renaissance.”

More details about performers and repertoire will be forthcoming. But for the moment, you can find more information about attending the festival – as either a participant or a listener – by visiting the website’s home page at:

As for the final all-forces-combined concert of this summer’s festival, the theme was “Oh, the Happy Journey.”

As a metaphor, the theme of voyage served the program very well. The program started with music that musically said good-bye to the Old World and gradually worked into the arrival in the New World, where indigenous music itself proved yet another voyage that took different routes as it developed and evolved.

Like most long journeys and extended voyages, there were ups and down, moments where we seem becalmed and moments when the wind stirred our souls.

Mostly, of course, it was a historical journey through time from the Colonies to the Federalist period that started with Shaker hymns, Moravian songs in German, fuguing tunes, Federal and Presidential marches, dances, and songs by such American pioneers as Boston-based William Billings and New Haven-based Daniel Read (below).

In short, the ear-opening unusual program proved both instructive and enjoyable.

The combined forces of vocal and instrumental students, teachers and guest artists formed an impressively large body of musicians. They once again performed under the capable direction of the Milwaukee-based early music conductor Kristina Boerger (below)

The inventive conductor even had singers performing in the aisles (below) before moving onstage and placed brass players in the upper back balcony – all to terrific effect.

Others might disagree but The Ear heard several highlights, most of which came during the livelier second half.

One was a work taken from the official and impressive music library of President Thomas Jefferson who practiced his violin (below) up to three hours a day.

The work was English poet Alexander Pope’s “The Dying Christian to His Soul” set to the “Stabat Mater” music by Pergolesi. The poignantly close harmonies and bittersweet dissonances showed just what exquisite taste Jefferson (below) had in this, as in so many other things. What we don’t even know about our own heroes!

Another highpoint was to hear the variety of music composed by William Billings (below). He was a tanner by trade who was also a largely self-trained composer. Some of his music seemed pretty typical of 18th century. But when the performers got to “Jargon” (at bottom, with different performers), Billings used wild dissonances and weird sound effects, including animal noises. It was the kind of iconoclastic Yankee music and humor that reminded one of the later Charles Ives — or even of Mozart’s “A Musical Joke.”

A friend asked me: How come so much of this music seems so naïve and simple when it was composed after Vivaldi and Bach, Haydn and Mozart had finished their careers and more sophisticated works?

UW-Whitewater professor and bass trombone player J. Michael Allsen (below), who also writes the outstanding program notes for the Madison Symphony Orchestra, provided the answer.

In his pre-concert lecture, which fittingly took a fabric sampler (below), with many different stitches and patterns, as its theme or metaphor, Allsen discussed how American composers set out to create a distinctly American sound, to write music of the New World homeland and not its Old World roots.

Sometimes, it seems, such an evolution can seem like re-inventing the wheel. But as the concert showed, that long and seemingly repetitive process can yield unique and unusual , if not mainstream, results.

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