The Well-Tempered Ear

Classical music: Madison Youth Choirs will perform music of Madison’s nine sister cities this Sunday afternoon and evening

December 8, 2017

By Jacob Stockinger

The Ear has received the following announcement to post:

“This semester, Madison Youth Choirs singers (below) are embarking on a musical journey across the globe as they explore and perform compositions connected to the diverse cultures inhabiting Madison’s nine sister cities: Ainaro, East Timor; Arcatao, El Salvador; Camaguey, Cuba; Freiburg, Germany; Kanifing, The Gambia; Mantua, Italy; Obihiro, Japan; Tepatitlán, Mexico; and Vilnius, Lithuania.

“As we study the wide variety of musical forms that emerged from these nine regions and think about the reasons we’re drawn to establish sister city relationships, we’re examining both the common forces that drive the creative expression of artists from all cultures and the unique contributions that artists from our sister cities have made to the worldwide musical canon.

“We invite you to join us for a culminating winter concert series celebrating these international choral connections.


Madison Youth Choirs Winter Concerts, “Sister Cities

First Congregational United Church of Christ

1609 University Ave., Madison


Sunday, Dec. 10, 2017

1:30 p.m. Girlchoirs

4:00 p.m. Boychoirs

7:00 p.m. High School Ensembles

Tickets available at the door: $10 for general admission, $5 for students 7-18, and free for children under 7. A separate ticket is required for each performance. 

This concert is generously endowed by the Diane Ballweg Performance Fund with additional support from American Girl’s Fund for Children, BMO Harris Bank, and the Wisconsin Arts Board with funds from the state of Wisconsin and the National Endowment for the Arts.

About the Madison Youth Choirs (MYC):

Recognized as an innovator in youth choral music education, Madison Youth Choirs (MYC) welcomes singers of all ability levels, annually serving more than 1,000 young people, ages 7-18, through a wide variety of choral programs in our community. Cultivating a comprehensive music education philosophy that inspires self-confidence, personal responsibility, and a spirit of inquiry leading students to become “expert noticers,” MYC creates accessible, meaningful opportunities for youth to thrive in the arts and beyond.


Sunday, December 10, 2017, First Congregational Church, Madison

1:30 p.m. Concert (Featuring MYC Girlchoirs)


“Now We Are Met” by Samuel Webbe

“Sakura” Traditional Japanese folk song

“Tecolote” Spanish lullaby, arr. Victoria Ebel-Sabo

“S’Vivon” Traditional Jewish folk song, arr. Valerie Shields

Con Gioia

“Peace Round” Traditional round, text by Jean Ritchie

“Shepherd’s Pipe Carol by John Rutter

“Murasame” by Victor C. Johnson, text: 11th-century Japanese poem

“Guantanamera” Cuban folk song, text by José Marti

Capriccio (below)

“A Circle is Cast” by Anna Dembska

“Ich will den Herrn loben alle Zeit” by Georg Philipp Telemann, arr. Wallace Depue

“Ma come bali bene bela bimba” Traditional Italian, arr. Mark Sirett

“Soran Bushi” Japanese folk song, arr. Wendy Stuart

“Yo Le Canto Todo El Dia” by David L. Brunner

4:00 p.m. Concert (Featuring MYC Boychoirs)

Combined Boychoirs

“Dance for the Nations” by John Krumm, arr. Randal Swiggum

Purcell (below)

“La Nanita Nana” by José Ramon Gomis, arr. David Eddlemann

“Es is Ein Ros entsprungen” by Melchior Vulpius

“Sakura” Traditional Japanese folksong, arranged by Purcell choir members

Britten  (below)

Two Elegies by Benjamin Britten

  1. Old Abram Brown
  2. Tom Bowling

“No che non morira” (from Tito Manlio) by Antonio Vivaldi


“O Rosetta” by Claudio Monteverdi

“O là, o che bon echo” by Orlando di Lasso

“We Are” by Ysaye Barnwell

Combined Boychoirs

Chorus of Street Boys from Carmen by Georges Bizet

“Kimigayao” (The National Anthem of Japan) Melody by Hiromori Hayashi

7:00 p.m. Concert (Featuring High School Ensembles)


“How Can I Keep From Singing?” by Gwyneth Walker

Liebeslieder Walzer by Johannes Brahms, text by Georg Friedrich Daumer

  1. Wie des Abends (from Opus 52) (You can hear it in the YouTube video at the bottom.)
  2. Vogelein durchrauscht die Luft (from Opus 52)
  3. Nein, geliebter, setze dich (from Opus 65)


“Bar’chu” by Salamon Rossi

“The Pasture” (from Frostiana) by Randall Thompson

“Mogami Gawa Funa Uta” by Watanabe/Goto, based on folk materials, arr. Osamu



“Angelus ad pastores ait” (from Sacrae Cantiunculae, 1582) by Claudio Monteverdi

“Gamelan” by R. Murray Schafer

“Mata del Anima Sola” by Antonio Estévez

Cantabile and Ragazzi (below)

“The Virgin Mary Had a Baby Boy” Traditional carol from Trinidad, arr. Stephen


Combined Choirs

“Dance for the Nations” by John Krumm

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Classical music: This Sunday afternoon at 1 p.m., Wisconsin Public Radio — the biggest friend of classical music in the state — will broadcast the fifth annual holiday concert by the Madison Bach Musicians that took place last Saturday night.

December 19, 2015
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By Jacob Stockinger

Last Saturday night saw one of those unfortunate train wrecks.

And making it even more unfortunate was that it came at holiday time, when music takes on special meaning and seems more festive or celebratory.

The conflict centered on two very worthwhile concerts by two very reliable groups.

The first was the fifth annual Holiday Concert by the Madison Bach Musicians at the First Congregational Church of Christ, seen below in a photo by Kent Sweitzer.

The program featured two cantatas by Johann Sebastian Bach, a recently discovered “Gloria” Cantata by George Frideric Handel; and the Christmas Concerto in G minor by Arcangelo Corelli plus chamber music by Georg Philipp Telemann. (You can hear the lovely Corelli concerto performed by the Freiburg Baroque Orchestra in a YouTube video at the bottom.)

Here is a link with much more information as well as an interview with MBM founder, director and harpsichordist Trevor Stephenson:

Madison Bach Musician -Baroque Holiday 2015 cr Kent Sweitzer

The second concert was a single performance – there used to be two – by the UW-Madison Choral Union and UW Symphony Orchestra with graduate student and guest soprano Tyana O‘Connor, all under the baton of Beverly Taylor, in Mills Hall on the UW-Madison campus.

That program was all 20th-century and featured the Overture to “The Wasps” by Ralph Vaughan Williams; the Symphony of Psalms by Igor Stravinsky; and the Gloria by Francis Poulenc.

Here is an interview about the program with Beverly Taylor who is the choral director at the University of Wisconsin-Madison School of Music:

The Ear couldn’t go to both and went to the memorable Choral Union concert, which I will comment on tomorrow.

But veteran critic John W. Barker (below), who writes for Isthmus and often for this blog, did go to the Madison Bach Musicians and filed this rave review:


Thanks to Wisconsin Public Radio – the biggest friend of classical music in the state – you can hear most of the Madison Bach Musicians’ concert (the Bach, Handel and Corelli) this Sunday afternoon at 1 p.m.

The broadcast may be delayed and not live. But it is NOT too late for the holidays!

The Ear will be tuning in.

If you also missed it, perhaps you will too.

Classical music: The Madison Symphony Orchestra’s Rhapsodie Quartet makes its first international appearance as cultural ambassadors to Madison’s sister city, Freiburg, Germany, to mark the 25th anniversary of the Sister City bond.

June 3, 2013
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By Jacob Stockinger

This week finds the Madison Symphony Orchetsra’s Rhapsodie String Quartet on the road, making its first international appearance as cultural ambassadors to one of Madison’s many sister cities, Freiburg, Germany.

The members (below, in a photo by Greg Anderson) of the Rhapsodie Quartet are MSO Co-Concertmaster Suzanne Beia, Principal Viola Christopher Dozoryst, Principal Cello Karl Lavine and violinist Laura Burns. The ensemble is the resident quartet of the MSO’s internationally acclaimed HeartStrings Community Engagement Program.

Rhapsodie Quartet MSO Greg Anderson

The Rhapsodie Quartet’s concerts will happen during Freiburg’s Annual Sister City Festival. The quartet will act as the official Cultural Ambassadors during Freiburg’s Annual Sister City Festival, celebrating the 25th anniversary of the Madison-Freiburg sister city partnership. (A photo of Freiburg by Alberto Pretto is below.)

Freiburg CR Alberto Pretto

The centerpiece of their schedule will be a performance at the festival’s opening ceremonies, where Madison Mayor Paul Soglin and Freiburg Mayor Dieter Salomon will speak. Also in attendance will be MSO Music Director John DeMain and MSO Director of Education and Community Engagement Michelle Kaebisch.

Mike von Schneidermesser, President of the Madison-Freiburg Sister City Committee, said: “I am very happy to see the exchange of performing arts organizations through the sister city partnership.”

In the summer of 2012, the Freiburg Cathedral Girl’s Choir, below, traveled to Madison to perform at Overture Center for the Arts in a concert that was sponsored by the Madison Roman Catholic Diocese and the MSO.

Freiburg Cathedral Girls Choir in Mozart Hall and organ

The Rhapsodie Quartet’s first recital will take place this Wednesday, June 5, at 1 p.m. in the St. Augustine of Canterbury Church of Wiesbaden. (Below is a photo of the Augustineplatz on Freiburg.) The second performance will be at the Freiburg festival’s opening ceremonies on Thursday, June 6, at 6 p.m. in the Kaisersaal of Freiburg’s historic Kaufhaus. Another performance is scheduled for 6 p.m. in the Mozartzaal of the Bischofspalais, and the quartet will wrap up the tour with a final performance at 10 a.m. on Saturday, June 8 at the Sister City Rathausplatz Market, an open-air market where all of Freiburg’s sister cities will have displays.

The quartet’s all-masterpiece repertoire for the tour includes Franz Joseph Haydn’s String Quartet in D Major, Op. 76. No. 5; Charles Ives‘ String Quartet No. 1; and Franz Schubert’s String Quartet No. 14 in D minor, “Death and the Maiden.” (The first movement of the famous Schubert work is performed by the Alban Berg Quartet of Germany in a YouTube video at bottom.)

The Ear thinks it is an especially fitting choice for the Rhapsodie Quartet to take an American work such as the Charles Ives quartet to German-speaking Europe, the home of the string quartet that also saw major advances in that form of chamber music.

Freiburg Augstineplatz

HeartStrings is a music therapy-informed program that reaches beyond traditional learning environments to bring live, interactive performances into healthcare and residential facilities, where they annually benefit over 3,200 individuals with disabilities, assisted living needs and long-term illnesses, as well as aging adults with dementia.

As part of the tour, Kaebisch and the quartet will conduct a HeartStrings session at the Freiburg University’s Comprehensive Cancer Center.

More information about the quartet and the HeartStrings program is available at tour is made possible through the generous support of JoAnn Six and an anonymous friend of the MSO.

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:

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

Classical music news: Three FREE Farmers Market organ concerts plus a bonus August mid-week concert, featuring the organ, singers and brass, start this Saturday morning in Overture Hall.

June 13, 2012

By Jacob Stockinger

The Dane County Farmer’s Market has developed a national reputation as one of the biggest and oldest and finest such markets in the entire country. Over more than 25 years, it has become a focal point for the city’s and area’s community life in summer.

But you can get a lot more than food there.

Of course, you can see politicians and judges running for election and all sorts of other groups and community organizations on the Capitol Square recruiting members during the market on summer Saturday mornings.

But classical music fans have also started in recent years to bring their own “wares” to the Farmer’s Market.

Grace Episcopal Presents offered a free noontime concert last week.

Classical Revolution and New Muse (New Music Everywhere) also do events centered on the Farmer’s Market, sometimes with individual recitals or chamber concerts, sometimes even with a mass “flash mob” including a moving performance of Samuel Barber‘s “Adagio for Strings” (below).

And this summer, once again the Madison Symphony Orchestra is again presenting its FREE organ concert series in Overture Hall, in the nearby Overture Center, at 11 p.m. on the third Saturdays on June, July and August during the summer.

This summer will also feature a midweek FREE bonus concert in early August, a girls choir from Freiburg, Madison’s sister city in Germany, and a brass group.

One of the purposes, of course, is to showcase the colossal and impressive custom-built Klais concert organ (below) in Overture Hall:

Here is a schedule – so far no individual programs have been provided — for this summer’s Farmer’s Market organ concerts by the MSO. They are at 11 a.m.-noon in Overture Hall, if it is not stated otherwise:

THIS SATURDAY, JUNE 16: Mark Brampton Smith (below) is the organist at St. Luke’s Lutheran Church, in Middleton.

SATURDAY, JULY 21: JARED STELLMACHER (below top) and the GARGOYLE BRASS QUINTET (below bottom). The Director of Music and Organist at Redeemer Lutheran Church in Hinsdale, Illinois, returns to Madison with a finalist group at the Chicago Brass Festival.

SATURDAY, AUGUST 18: KATHRINE HANFORD. Hear the organist and Director of Music at Central Presbyterian Church in St. Paul, Minnesota, and a faculty member at the Lawrence University Conservatory of Music in Appleton, Wisconsin.

You can also hear a FREE bonus concert by the FREIBURG CATHEDRAL GIRLS CHOIR on WEDNESDAY, AUGUST 8, AT 7:30 P.M. Madison’s sister city of Freiburg, Germany, sends its Cathedral Girls Choir to perform accompanied by the Colossal Klais Organ.

The Free Farmers Market Concerts are generously sponsored by Pleasant T. Rowland Foundation. Additional support for all Overture Concert Organ performances is provided by the Diane Endres Ballweg Fund.

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