The Well-Tempered Ear

Classical music: The critically acclaimed vocal group Cantus sings about four kinds of love at the Stoughton Opera House this Saturday night. The Stoughton High School Concert Choir is a special guest performer.

March 30, 2016
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By Jacob Stockinger

The Ear has received word about an intriguing and appealing performance this weekend:

On this Saturday night at 7:30 p.m., Cantus (below top, in a photo by Curtis Johnson), the critically acclaimed, nine-voice men’s vocal ensemble based in the Twin Cities, will perform at the Stoughton Opera House (below middle and bottom), known for its historical restoration and its fine acoustics.

Cantus Railing Clustered

Stoughton Opera House ext


Love has been the inspiration for artistic expression since the dawn of time. It is such a complex idea that the ancient Greeks broke it down into four different kinds: romantic, familial, friendly and unconditional or spiritual love.

Weaving together repertoire and interstitial remarks, Cantus regards this unquantifiable emotion from all sides.

The program spans multiple historical eras and cultural traditions.

It features music by Francis Poulenc, Edvard Grieg, Ludwig van Beethoven and Bobby McFerrin.

Each of those works is paired with newly commissioned works exploring each of the four loves (romantic, familial, friendly and spiritual) by Pulitzer Prize-winner David Lang (below top, in a photo by Peter Serling) as well as Roger Treece (second below), Joseph Gregorio (third below) and Ysaye Barnwell (below bottom).

david lang CR peter serling

Roger Treece

Joseph Gregorio

Ysaye Barnwell

The program brims with Cantus’s trademark programming juxtaposition, including pairing the Beach Boys’ “Their Hearts were Full of Spring” with  “Wedding Qawwali” by the Grammy Award- and Academy Award-winning Indian composer A. R. Rahman (below) and Michael McGlynn’s setting of the traditional Gaelic “Ceann Dubh Dilis (Her Sweet Dark Head)” in a set about romantic love.

A. R, Rahman

While seemingly disjointed on its face, the variety of repertoire throughout blends seamlessly and highlights the universality of Love – our greatest and most fragile gift.

For more information about Cantus, including biographies, photos, videos and audio samples, visit this link:

Here is a YouTube video about the program, with musical samples, to be performed in Stoughton:

Classical music: The Madison Chamber Choir will perform an eclectic concert of works by J.S. Bach, Amy Beach and the Beach Boys on Friday, May 31.

May 29, 2013
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By Jacob Stockinger

A blog fan and local singer writes:

I’m writing on behalf of the Madison Chamber Choir (below, in a photo by Jim Pippett) to let you know of our upcoming spring concert in the hope that you might spread the word to Madison-area music lovers through your fabulous blog.

madison chamber choir CR Jim Pippitt

We’re calling the concert “Bach & Beach.” It will be held on Friday, May 31, at 8 p.m. at Covenant Presbyterian Church, 3236 South Segoe Road. Admission is a suggested donation of $10.

Directed by Anthony Cao (below top, in a photo by Jim Pippitt) , the concert will be an eclectic offering that will include music of J.S. Bach (“Jesu, Meine Freude and “Sleepers Wake”), as well as some work of Amy Beach (below and at the bottom in a YouTube video are three songs) and, yes, The Beach Boys.

madison chamber choir dir anthony cao CR Jim Pippitt

Amy Beach BW 1

I’m attaching an e-version of a publicity postcard that includes some relevant details.

Adds The Ear: I didn’t get specific titles of works by Beach and The Beach Boys. But if the concert is half has half the fun and color of the poster (below), it should be a memorable event.

Madison Chamber Choir poster May 2013

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