By Jacob Stockinger
The last two weeks of April look to be a busy time, with several world premieres of new music taking place – one in chamber music this week, then next week one in choral music and one by the Wisconsin Chamber Orchestra in orchestral and piano music.
It is also a busy time for choral music, especially with back-to-back performances next week by the Concert Choir and the community-campus UW Choral Union.
All UW-Madison concerts scheduled for this week are FREE and OPEN TO THE PUBLIC.
Here — with an unfortunate lack of details about programs — is the UW-Madison lineup for this week:
At 7:30 p.m. in Music Hall, the University Opera presents its spring program of “Opera Scenes” done by the UW-Madison Opera Workshop. Sorry, no word about specific operas, scenes or singers. Staging is minimal and accompaniment is done by a piano.
At 7:30 p.m. in Mills Hall, the UW Pro Arte Quartet (below top) will give the world premiere of “The Cross of Snow,” written by John Harbison (below middle) and commissioned by local businessman William Wartmann in memory of his late wife.
The new work, scored for string quartet and voice, features guest mezzo-soprano Jazmina Macneil (below bottom).
For more information about the new work, including the text of the poem “The Cross of Snow” by Henry Wadsworth Longfellow, go to:
At 8 p.m. in Mills Hall, Chorale and the Madrigal Singers (below) team up for a joint concert under director Bruce Gladstone. Sorry, no word about composers or works.
At 4 p.m. in Mills Hall, the All-University Strings – an amateur group of non-music majors — will perform its annual spring concert. Sorry, no word on the program.
At 8 p.m. in Mills Hall, the Women’s Chorus (below), Masters Singers and University Chorus will give a joint concert. Sorry, no word on the program.
From 2 to 5 p.m. in Mills Hall, University Bands will perform under directors Darin Olson, Nathan Froebe and Justin Lingre will perform. Sorry, no word on specific programs.
This week, The Ear also counts 10 different student degree recitals on tap, from piano and violin to percussion and voice. Some listings mention programs, but others do not. For more information, go to:
By Jacob Stockinger
This weekend, the acclaimed and predictably creative Fresco Opera Theatre will celebrate the Halloween season with the literary masterworks of horror short story writer Edgar Allan Poe (below top) accompanied by the world premiere of a score composed by local composer Clarisse Tobia (below).
The Poe Requiem is a unique theatrical experience that will be staged in the beautiful Masonic Center, located in downtown Madison at 301 Wisconsin Avenue, at 8 p.m. on this Friday and Saturday. (You can see a trailer for the Poe Requiem in the YouTube video at the bottom.)
This will be a complete environmental experience with singing, orchestra, artwork, dancers and other surprises along the way.
There will be a chorus with four vocal soloists. The chamber orchestra will include the Masonic Center organ, one of the oldest in the area. Kevin McMahon (below), music director and conductor of the Sheboygan Symphony Orchestra, is the conductor.
During the production, Raw Inspirations Dance Company (below) will be performing and will have plenty of other surprises to get audience members in the mood for Halloween.
General seating is $25; Saturday student rush tickets are $15.
The Costume Contest is on Saturday.
There is a Post-Show Historic Ghost Tour of The Masonic Temple.
TICKETS ARE ON SALE NOW at www.frescooperatheatre.com
Use the Password “Raven” to get $5 off each ticket
By Jacob Stockinger
Today is Mother’s Day in the U.S.
So it is a fitting time to consider what music you would make and what music you would play to give your Mom as a gift.
It comes to mind because a couple of months ago, The Ear lost his Mom (below). She was 91, and had, as a red-headed and ever-resourceful War Bride for World War II, lived a long, good and quietly adventurous life with much spirit, good humor and boundless energy, despite various setbacks.
She also set me on the path to classical music – to making it and appreciating it – even though she herself was not especially musical except to sing hymns in church and ballades, show tunes and ditties in piano bars.
Way back when, my sister said she wanted to go take piano lessons and I asked if I could too. Mom said yes. My sister stopped; I kept going.
With a few intervals, some big and some small. those lessons that started at age 8 continued with right up until the present and will do so well into the future.
When I would visit Mom in her later years, we would go to a club house near the retirement community where she lived in Phoenix and I would play some of her favorite pieces. It was always a treat for her. She would just relax and lean back and smile in enjoyment. The pleasure she had given me was returned, and for her, everything had gone round and come home.
Chopin (below) was always her favorite. Probably because he was also mine.
So when I wanted to attend the legendary all-Chopin recital in Carnegie Hall by Arthur Rubinstein (below top) in 1961, she got the tickets –- which ended up being ON-STAGE tickets so I could see The Master play Chopin from maybe 20 feet away. (Below bottom is the view of Carnegie Hall FROM the main stage after its great renovation.)
Anyway, I miss Mom, more than I let on. But I keep her and my memories of her in my heart –- and I often think of her when I am at the keyboard, especially whenever I am playing Chopin. Which is often, sometimes daily.
I know she had a favorite Chopin piece. Probably because it was a favorite of mine, and I could play it for her pretty well. And without fail, she was proud and pleased.
That’s how Moms are.
And so in memory of all the pleasure she gave me through music, and all the caring she lavished on me in so many ways, I am posting a performance that set the standard for both me and her.
It is one of the greatest pieces by a great composer and played by a great pianist and great musician.
Here in a YouTube video is Chopin’s soulful Waltz in C-sharp Minor, Op. 64, No. 2, played by Arthur Rubinstein, first in an older recording and then in one, with music to follow, that is closer to the version we heard together.
Happy Mother’s Day, Mom.
I loved you then. I love you still. I will always love you and never forget you.