The Well-Tempered Ear

Classical music: The Wisconsin Baroque Ensemble offers early music rarities with verve and polish. Plus, TONIGHT at 7:30 p.m. native daughter violist Vicki Powell solos with the Middleton Community Orchestra

October 22, 2014
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ALERT: A reminder that Madison-born Vicki Powell, who trained at the UW-Madison School of Music, the Curtis Institute and the Juilliard School and who plays with the New York Philharmonic and other major groups, will perform two solos  TONIGHT at 7:30 p.m. at the season-opening concert by the largely amateur but very good Middleton Community Orchestra, under conductor Steve Kurr.

The place is the Middleton Performing Arts Center that is attached to Middleton High School, 2100 Bristol Street, not far off of University Avenue.

On the programs is the Overture to “William Tell” by Rossini, the Fantasy for Viola and Orchestra by Johann Nepomuk Hummel, the  Romance for Viola and Orchestra by Max Bruch and the Symphony No. 8 by Antonin Dvorak. Tickets are $10; all students get in for FREE. A meet-and-greet reception for the players and audience members follows the concert.

Here is a link to the Q&A with violist Vicki Powell that The Ear posted last week:

https://welltempered.wordpress.com/2014/10/17/classical-music-vicki-powell-talks-about-why-she-took-to-the-viola-rather-than-the-violin-she-returns-to-madison-to-solo-next-wednesday-night-with-the-middleton-community-orchestra/

Vicki Powell, Viola

By Jacob Stockinger 

Here is a special posting, a review written by frequent guest critic and writer for this blog, John W. Barker. Barker (below) is an emeritus professor of Medieval history at the University of Wisconsin-Madison. He also is a well-known classical music critic who writes for Isthmus and the American Record Guide, and who for 20 years hosted an early music show every other Sunday morning on WORT FM 89.9 FM. He serves on the Board of Advisors for the Madison Early Music Festival and frequently gives pre-concert lectures in Madison.

John-Barker

By John W. Barker

The Wisconsin Baroque Ensemble (below top) launched its new season in Madison last Sunday afternoon, not at its usual venue (Gates of Heaven Synagogue), but at St. Andrew’s Episcopal Church (below bottom).

Wisconsin Baroque Ensemble composite

St. Andrew's Episcopal Madison Front

The different location contributed to an enlargement of instrumental colors this time. Max Yount not only worked the harpsichord, but made good use of the church’s handsome Baroque organ in the numerous continuo functions.

In addition, Eric Miller (below) extended from his viola da gamba to show his new talents on the cornetto, while Theresa Koenig moved gracefully between dulcian (early bassoon) and recorders, and Monica Steger alternated on flute and recorder.

Eric Miller viol

The frequent vocal collaborators, UW-Madison soprano Mimmi Fulmer (below top, seen at the Hillside Theater at Frank Lloyd Wright’s compound Taliesin in Spring Green) and mezzo-soprano Consuelo Sañudo were on hand, and patriarch Anton TenWolde (below bottom) on cello completed the group of seven performers.

Mimmi Fulmer at Taliesin 2014

anton tenwolde

Two of the nine composers represented — the German Johann Sebastian Bach (1685-1750) and the Swede Johan Helmich Roman (1694-1758) — stood apart as almost chronological afterthoughts, though Roman’s sonata for flute and continuo was given a predictably rousing rendition by Steger.

Otherwise, the focus was on music of the 17th century, especially its very early epoch. Miller gave us gamba renditions of Giovanni Bassano’s variations on a popular madrigal by Cipriano de Rore (1515-1565), two training pieces by Christopher Simpson (1602-1669), and an unaccompanied solo by the enigmatic Sainte-Colombe (1640-1700). (An entrancing sample of solo viol music by Sainte-Colombe is in a popular YouTube video at the bottom.)

Koenig presented a sonata for dulcian and continuo by Giovanni Antonio Bertoli (1598-1645), then joining Steger on recorders for a duo sonata by Giuseppe Scarani of the mid-17th century.

On the vocal side, the two singers joined in an impressive cycle of eight Italian duets, with continuo, by Sigismondo d’India (1582-1629). In these, D’India, an epigone of Claudio Monteverdi (below), contrived writing of individual elaborateness for each singer while also ingeniously integrating their parts.

Monteverdi 2

Vocal music returned at the end, too, when Sañudo, joined by all the players, sang the opening aria of Bach’s Cantata 161, and then the two singers and almost all the players came together for an early carryover by Heinrich Schütz (below, 1585-1672) from his Italian training, a moralizing madrigal in German for two voices, two melody instruments, and continuo, which made a richly satisfying conclusion to the program. It was in these two last vocal works, too, that Miller forsook his gamba and took up his cornet.

Heinrich Schutz

What can we say? After some 17 years, the WBE is still going strong, offering us annual presentations of mostly rare Baroque chamber works, in elegant performances in intimate venues. They are the trailblazers in Madison’s early music scene, and they remain a vital component of that scene.

 

 


Classical music: An newly formed early music trio will give two performances of rarely played 16th-century and 17th-century Baroque music this weekend at two Madison churches. Plus, Madison Symphony Orchestra maestro John DeMain discusses Dvorak’s “New World” Symphony on WORT-FM 89.9 Thursday morning.

January 22, 2014
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ALERT: Blog friend Rich Samuels, who hosts his “Anything Goes” show from 5 to 8 a.m. every Thursday on WORT-FM 89.9, writes: John DeMain joins me at 7:08 a.m. on Thursday, Jan. 23, to talk about the Madison Symphony Orchestra‘s “Beyond the Score” presentation and performance of Antonin Dvorak‘s Symphony No. 9 on Sunday, 1/26. In addition to John DeMain’s take on the symphony “From the New World.” I’ll also be offering a 1927 discussion of the work by Leopold Stokowski (with musical examples performed by Artur Rodzinski, who was then Stokowski’s assistant at the Philadelphia Orchestra), and a 1956 analysis by Leonard Bernstein taken from an LP distributed by the Book of the Month Club. I’ll also be airing the one and only recording by African-American composer Harry T. Burleigh (below) who, as a young music student, introduced Dvořák to the Negro spiritual. And I’ll be playing Marian Anderson’s first recording (made when she was 26) of Burleigh’s arrangement of “Deep River.”

harry t burleigh

By Jacob Stockinger 

The Ear met Eric Miller (below) at Wisconsin Public Radio‘s now defunct “Bach Around the Clock,” which used to e held annual to mark the birth of Johann Sebastian Bach. Miller, who plays the viola da gamba and is a friend of the blog, writes about two performances by an early music and  period instrument trio of 16th-century and 17th-century Baroque music coming up this weekend:

Eric Small

Miller writes: “Come hear our new trio, as part of the newly formed Wisconsin Baroque Musicians Collective, a collection of musicians from across the state interested in historically informed performance.

“The musicians for this concert are: Theresa Koenig (below top), recorder and dulcian; Sigrun Franzen (below bottom) on organ; Koenig; and me on cornetto and baroque cello:

Theresa Koenig

Sigrun Franzen

“Here is the program: Daniel Speer, Sonata II; Giovanni Cima, Capriccio and Sonate from “Concerti Ecclesiastici”; Girolamo Frescobaldi (below top), “Canzon Prima, Ricercar”; Phillipe Boddecker, Sonat Sopra la Monica; Giovanni Bassano (below bottom and in a YouTube video at the bottom), “Dolci rosate labia”; Giovanni Fontana, Sonata Nona”; and Bartolome de Selma, Canzon.

Girolamo Frescobaldi

Giovanni Bassano

“There will be two chances to hear this program: on Saturday, Jan. 25, at 7 p.m. in Saint Andrew‘s Episcopal Church (below), 1833 Regent Street, with a $15 suggested donation; and on Sunday, Jan. 26, at 3 p.m. at Zion Lutheran Church, 2165 Linden Ave.; also with a $15 suggested donation, with all proceeds going to the Zion food pantry.

St. Andrew's Episcopal Madison Front

“The program will feature the beautiful organs at both Saint Andrew’s Episcopal and Zion Lutheran, both in Madison and a variety of instrument combinations, including the dulcian (below top), a predecessor of the modern bassoon, and the cornetto (below bottom), a wooden instrument with holes like a flute, but played with a brass embouchure.

Dulcian

cornetto 2

For more information, here is a link to a Facebook page: https://www.facebook.com/events/496065417177605/?source=1

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