The Well-Tempered Ear

Classical music: We should hear more encores, especially at outstanding chamber music concerts. Plus, a FREE Farmer’s Market organ recital is this Saturday at 11 a.m.

August 11, 2017
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ALERT: This Saturday at 11 a.m. in Overture Hall of the Overture Center, the Madison Symphony Orchestra will offer another FREE Farmers Market Organ Concert. The program, which runs 45 minutes, features music by Johann Sebastian Bach, Felix Mendelssohn, Charles-Marie Widor and Louis Vierne. The organist is the prize-winning Madison native Adrian Binkley.

By Jacob Stockinger

Two weeks ago, the Willy Street Chamber Players gave The Ear yet another reason to like them and be a fan.

After the season-ending program of Schubert, Osvaldo Golijov and Mozart was over, while the audience was cheering, standing and applauding loudly, two members of the young chamber music group played an encore.

The encore was “Julie-O” by Mark Summer. It was written for one cellist, as you can hear in a performance by the composer in the YouTube video at the bottom.

But this time it was performed by the two cellists of The Willys — Lindsey Crabb and Mark Bridges (below).

They agreed to play an encore only reluctantly – after some prodding by other members of The Willys, by guest clarinetist Michael Maccaferri (of the Grammy-winning group eighth blackbird) and, of course, by the audience.

But there shouldn’t have been any reluctance.

The Ear thinks we hear too few encores after so much memorable music-making.

Certain student recitals at the UW-Madison come immediately to mind. It sometimes seems that the protocol of student recitals prohibits encores, but The Ear has been told by faculty members that such is not the case.

What also comes to mind is the lack of encores at chamber music concerts by larger ensembles – piano trios, string quartets and piano or string quintets and sextets.

And rarely do you hear encores at the Madison Symphony Orchestra, Wisconsin Chamber Orchestra or Madison Opera except when they are played by concerto soloists.

But why not?

The Ear recalls that several years ago the Peruvian tenor Juan Diego Florez, performing the aria with notoriously difficult nine high C’s in the aria “Ah! Mes amis” from Donizetti’s opera “La Fille du Regiment,” then quickly repeated the same passage to frenzied approval.

What are encores but a way of saying: “You liked me, so now I like you.”

Encores are not immodest bragging. They are a reward, a gift, a way for the performer to say thank you to the audience for its attention and appreciation.

Maybe every individual or group should have some kind of encore in the back pocket and ready to go. It could be a short movement or even a section of a movement, perhaps a coda or finale.

It seems to The Ear that many instrumentalists, especially pianists who have such a rich repertory, would do well to have four encores ready: one fast and one slow, one loud and one soft.

That way, the encore can underscore —  by either complementarity or contrast — the piece or pieces that preceded it and called for it.

Have you ever wanted to hear an encore and been frustrated?

What do musicians themselves say about playing encores?

Are there unwritten guidelines or an unstated protocol about when to play encores?

The Ear wants to hear.


Classical music: The Gargoyle Brass and organist Jared Stellmacher perform Tuesday night

October 16, 2016
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By Jacob Stockinger

The Ear has received the following announcement:

The Madison Symphony Orchestra (MSO) opens its new 2016-17 Overture Concert Organ Season with the sounds of brass and organ, marking the return of Chicago’s Gargoyle Brass (below top) with organist Jared Stellmacher (below bottom).

Gargoyle Brass

Jared Stellmacher 

The concert is this Tuesday, Oct. 18, at 7:30 p.m. in Overture Hall, 201 State Street.

In addition to performing works by Charles-Marie Widor, Cesar Franck, Maurice Ravel and Alexandre Guilmant, Chicago’s Gargoyle Brass with organist Jared Stellmacher will perform The Dwarf Planets composed by Williams C. White, continuing MSO’s exploration of the universe that commenced with their season-opening concert, The Planets: An HD Odyssey in September.

Gargoyle Brass captured the Dane County Farmers’ Market audience in 2013 with an exciting program, which was enhanced by Stellmacher’s playing.

Subscriptions to all four organ concerts this season are available for $63, a 25% discount, at madisonsymphony.org/organsubscriptions or by calling (608) 257-3734.

General Admission for each Overture Concert Organ performance is $20. Tickets can be purchased at madisonsymphony.org/organperformancesTix, (608) 258-4141 or the Overture Box Office.

Student Rush tickets can be purchased in person on the day of the concert at the Overture Box Office at 201 State Street. Students must show a valid student ID and can receive up to two $10 tickets.

This performance is sponsored by Friends of the Overture Concert Organ. Support for all Overture Concert Organ programs is provided by the Diane Endres Ballweg Fund. With a gift from Pleasant T. Rowland, the Madison Symphony Orchestra commissioned the Overture Concert Organ, which is the stunning backdrop of all MSO concerts.

Overture Concert Organ overview

 


Classical music: This afternoon is your last chance to hear pianist Christopher Taylor and the Madison Symphony Orchestra in rave-receiving performances of concertos by Bach and Liszt and the Symphony No. 7 by Anton Bruckner. Then this Tuesday night, organist Samuel Hutchison will continue the celebration of the 10th anniversary of the Overture Concert Organ with a recital of Bach, Mozart, Widor and other composers.

April 12, 2015
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ALERT: This afternoon at 2:30 p.m. in Overture Hall is your last chance to hear what may be the best concert of this season by the Madison Symphony Orchestra. The program features UW-Madison virtuoso pianist Christopher Taylor (below) in Keyboard Concerto No. 4 by J.S. Bach and Piano Concerto No. 1 by Hungarian composer Franz Liszt as well as a “landmark” performance of the Late Romantic Austrian composer Anton Bruckner’s Symphony No. 7.

Here is a rave review by John W. Barker, the dean of Madison’s music critics who writes for Isthmus and for this blog:

http://www.isthmus.com/arts/stage/piano-virtuoso-joins-madison-symphony-orchestra-christopher-taylor/

Christopher Taylor new profile

By Jacob Stockinger

The Madison Symphony Orchestra’s Principal Organist and Curator Samuel Hutchison will mark a decade of memorable performances on the Overture Concert Organ (below) in a recital on this coming Tuesday, April 14, at 7:30 p.m. in Overture Hall, 201 State Street.

Overture Concert Organ overview

The program will include music by Johann Sebastian Bach, Wolfgang Amadeus Mozart, Alexander Guilmant, Jehan Alain, Charles-Marie Widor and Charles Villiers Stanford. (You can hear one of the Bach works he will play — the Fantasy and Fugue in G  Minor, BWV 542, in a YouTube video at the bottom.)

For the specific works on the program and more information, go to:

http://www.madisonsymphony.org/hutchisonrecital

Hutchison (below) has presented many recitals in the U.S and in Europe in locations that include the Riverside Church, New York City; St. Paul’s Cathedral, London; and Notre Dame, St. Sulpice and St. Étienne-du-Mont, Paris.

Sam Hutchison with organ (c) JoeDeMaio

He also performed the complete works of J.S. Bach – himself primarily an organist — in a series of 11 weekly recitals for the 300th anniversary of the composer’s birth in 1985.

General admission for the concert is $20 and tickets can be purchased at www.madisonsymphony.org/hutchisonrecital, the Overture Center Box Office or (608) 258-4141.

Student rush tickets are $10 day of show with a valid student ID see http://www.madisonsymphony.org/studentrush).

This concert is sponsored by Friends of the Overture Concert Organ.

For more Overture Concert Organ information, including recital, hymn sings and community visit http://www.madisonsymphony.org/organseason

 


Classical music: The Madison Symphony Orchestra presents this summer’s last FREE organ concert for the downtown Dane County Farmers’ Market at 11 a.m. this coming Saturday.

August 7, 2014
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By Jacob Stockinger

The Madison Symphony Orchestra (MSO) will host the last of three FREE summer performances on the Overture Concert Organ, this time featuring guest organist Donald VerKuilen, during the Dane County Farmers’ Market (below) on this coming Saturday, Aug. 9, at 11 a.m. in Overture Hall, 201 State Street.

dane county farmers' market

No tickets or reservations are needed for this 45-minute concert.

A Wisconsin native and current Oberlin College organ performance major, Donald VerKuilen (below) makes his Overture Hall debut in an exciting program. (You can hear VerKuilen performing “Variations on ‘In Dulci Jubilo’ in a YouTube video at the bottom.) 

Donald VerKuilen

The music includes the Fantasie in D-flat Major, by Camille Saint-Saëns (below top), the Allegro Vivace for Organ Symphony No. 5 by Charles-Marie Widor (below middle, at the organ in the church of St. Sulpice in Paris circa 1900) and the Suite for organ by Malcolm Archer (below bottom).

Camille Saint-Saens

Charles-Marie Widor at St. Sulpice in Paris ca 1900

malcolm archer

VerKuilen recently returned from a concert tour of French organs, and is certain to bring the same magic to the colossal Klais organ, custom-built by Klais-Orgelbau of Bonn, Germany, in Overture Hall.

Overture Concert Organ overview

The Madison Symphony Orchestra and Overture Center for the Arts present the Farmers’ Market Concert Series in partnership with 77 Square.

The Free Farmers’ Market Concerts are sponsored by Pleasant T. Rowland Foundation. Support for all Overture Concert Organ programs is provided by the Diane Endres Ballweg Fund.

To see the Overture Concert Organ series of concerts for 2014-15 or to subscribe at a 25 percent savings, visit: www. madisonsymphony.org/organseason14-15

 

 


Classical music: The Madison Symphony Orchestra will present FREE organ concerts in Overture Hall on three Farmers’ Market Saturdays this summer. The first one is this Saturday, June 21, at 11 a.m. The two others are on July 19 and August 9.

June 17, 2014
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By Jacob Stockinger

The Madison Symphony Orchestra (MSO) will host FREE performances on the custom-built Overture Concert Organ (below top) during the Dane County Farmers’ Market (below bottom) on three Saturdays -– June 21, July 19, and Aug. 9 –- all at 11 a.m.

Overture Concert Organ overview

dane county farmers' market

The concerts will take place in Overture Hall, 201 State Street. NO tickets or reservations are needed for these 45-minute concerts featuring MSO organist and curator Samuel Hutchison, as well as guest organists Ahreum Han and Donald VerKuilen.

Here are more details:

June 21: Samuel Hutchison (below), the MSO’s principal organist and curator, presents a program entitled “Bach’s Lunch”, featuring the music of Johann Sebastian Bach. Favorites including the famous and popular  Toccata and Fugue in D Minor, used in the Walt Disney movie “Fantasia” (and available at the bottom in a popular animated YouTube voice that has more than 22 million hits) and a transcription of the Air on the G-String are among other items on the program.

Sam Hutchison  close up

July 19: Korean organist Ahreum Han (below) brings a delightful program to Overture Hall in her first recital on the Overture Concert Organ. A graduate of the prestigious Curtis Institute of Music in Philadelphia, Han is known throughout the US, Asia, and Europe for her imaginative, powerful, and extraordinary performances.

Ahreum Han

Aug. 9: Wisconsin native and current Oberlin College organ performance major Donald VerKuilen makes his Overture Hall debut in an exciting program of music by Charles-Marie Widor, Bonnal, Camille Saint-Saëns, and Langlais. He recently returned from a concert tour of French organs, and is certain to bring the same magic to the colossal Klais organ in Overture Hall.

Donald VerKuilen

To see the Overture Concert Organ series of concerts for 2014-15 or to subscribe at a 25 percent savings, visit:

www.madisonsymphony.org/organseason14-15

The Madison Symphony Orchestra and Overture Center for the Arts present the Farmers’ Market Concert Series in partnership with 77 Square.

The Free Farmers’ Market Concerts are generously sponsored by Pleasant T. Rowland Foundation. Support for all Overture Concert Organ programs is provided by the Diane Endres Ballweg Fund.

 


Classical music: The Freiburg Cathedral Girls Choir performs a free concert on Wednesday, Aug. 8, in Overture Hall in Madison.

August 3, 2012
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By Jacob Stockinger

This year the Madison Symphony Orchestra has again sponsored free one-hour Farmers Market organ concerts on the third Saturday of every month in Overture Hall, with the last one scheduled for Saturday, Aug. 18, at 11 a.m.

But there is one remaining event, and it has the hallmark of being an enjoyable and memorable event.

On Wednesday, August 8, at 7:30 p.m. in Overture Hall, the  Freiburg Cathedral Girls Choir (below to) from Madison’s sister city of Freiburg, Germany (below bottom is the Freiburg Cathedral) will make its local debut. It will perform a concert that is FREE and open to the public without reservation or ticket.

Last year, Freiburg welcomed hosted a Madison group during a three-day Sister City Festival. Now comes the reciprocal event. The choir has already performed in New York City (the famed St. Patrick’s Cathedral) and New York State as well as Washington D.C., and Chicago.

The program includes music by Felix Mendelssohn, Johannes Brahms, Arvo Part, Claude Debussy, Charles-Marie Widor, Henry Purcell, John Rutter and other less well-known or contemporary composers. The impressive Overture Concert Organ (below) will be played by Marjorie Frances Mayo.

The 42 young singers, ages 11-19, will stay with local families.

For more information about the Freiburg Cathedral Girls Choir (below) and its upcoming concert, including specific works on the program, visit:

http://www.madisonsymphony.org/freiburg

For more information about other concerts involving the Overture Concert Organ, visit:

http://www.madisonsymphony.org/organperformancesTix


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