The Well-Tempered Ear

Classical music: Prize-winning violinist Ilya Kaler returns to perform Paganini with the Wisconsin Chamber Orchestra this Friday night

April 18, 2018
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ALERT: This week’s FREE Friday Noon Musicale at the First Unitarian Society of Madison, 900 University Bay Drive, features bassoonist Juliana Mesa-Jaramillo, clarinetist Jose Garcia-Taborda and pianist Satoko Hayami in music by Mikhail Glinka, Max Bruch and Carlos Guastavino. The concert takes place from 12:15 to 1 p.m.

By Jacob Stockinger

If you were in the audience two years ago when violinist Ilya Kaler (below) made his Madison debut with the Wisconsin Chamber Orchestra, it is unlikely that you have forgotten it.

Kaler proved himself a complete virtuoso when he performed the Tchaikovsky Violin Concerto in D Major. The audience went wild and so did the critics, including The Ear.

Backed up with a first-rate accompaniment by music director and conductor Andrew Sewell and the WCO, Kaler showed a perfect mix of dramatic virtuosity, songful lyricism, lush tone and sonic clarity that you rarely hear.

This Friday night at 7:30 p.m. in the Capitol Theater of the Overture Center Kaler returns to perform with the Wisconsin Chamber Orchestra (below), again under the baton of music director Andrew Sewell.

The vehicle this time is the Violin Concerto No. 2 in B minor, Op. 7, by perhaps the most famous violin virtuoso of all time, Niccolo Paganini (below, playing for astonished listeners).

The concerto is famous for the “La Campanella” (The Bell) theme of the last movement that inspired the show-off etude of the same name by the great pianist Franz Liszt, who sought to emulate and transfer Paganini’s fiendish violin virtuosity on the piano. (You can hear that last movement in YouTube video at the bottom.)

Also on the program are: The Mozart-like and operatic String Sonata No. 2 by a 12-year-old Goiachino Rossini; and the Symphony No. 81 in G Major by Franz Joseph Haydn, a composer who is one of the interpretative strengths of Sewell (below).

Tickets are $15-$80. For ticket information and purchases, got to: http://www.overture.org/events/ilya-kaler

Born in Russia and trained at the famed Moscow Conservatory, Kaler now teaches at DePaul University in Chicago. He also won major gold medals in the 1980s at three major international competitions: the Tchaikovsky Competition in Moscow; the Paganini Competition in Genoa; and the Sibelius Competition in Helsinki.

He also records frequently for Naxos Records. To find out more about the impressive Kaler, go to: https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Ilya_Kaler


Classical music: The Oakwood Chamber Players will perform rarely heard Russian chamber music on this Saturday night and Sunday afternoon.

March 20, 2014
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By Jacob Stockinger

The Oakwood Chamber Players have a well-deserved reputation not only for quality performances but also for innovative and inventive programming.

This season the group (below) has been exploring the chamber music of diverse cultures around the globe.

Oakwood Chamber Players 2012 3

This weekend will see the ensemble turning to Russian culture, which is suffering these days from black eye over the Anschluss engineered by Russian President Vladimir Putin to take away the province of Crimea away from the sovereign post-Soviet state of Ukraine.

But politics is politics and music is music.

Here are the details in an official press release.

Oakwood Chamber Players 2012 2

OAKWOOD CHAMBER PLAYERS PRESENT “RUSSIAN RADIUS”

Join the Oakwood Chamber Players of Madison as they continue their season’s exploration of musical cultures with “Russian Radius,” a concert featuring the characteristic sounds of Russian music.

The ensemble will demonstrate an array of pieces from many Russian composers who interpreted the grandeur and breadth of Russian culture through their music.

Performances will include the spirited “Trio Pathetique” for clarinet, bassoon and piano by Mikhail Glinka (below), who is recognized as the founder of Russian classical music. (You can listen to Glinka’s “Trio Pathetique” in a YouTube video at the bottom.)

Mikhail Glinka

The group will also perform the energetic Quintet for flute, clarinet, horn, bassoon and piano by Nikolai Rimsky-Korsakov; the melodically compelling “Elegy” for viola and piano by Alexander Glazunov (below top); an arrangement for piano quartet the captivating “Polovtsian Dance” by Alexander Borodin (below middle); a Trio for flute, violin and cello by Alexander Tcherepnin (below bottom); and Waltzes for flute, clarinet and piano by Dmitri Shostakovich.

glazunov

Alexander Borodin

Alexander Tcherepnin at piano

The Oakwood Chamber Players will present Russian Radius on Saturday night, March 22, at 7 p.m. in the Oakwood Center for Arts and Education (below top), 6205 Mineral Point Road, on Madison far west side; and on Sunday afternoon, March 23, at 1:30 p.m. at the Arboretum Visitor Center (below bottom) at the University of Wisconsin-Madison Arboretum, on the city’s near south side.

Tickets are available at the door. They are $20 for general admission, $15 for seniors and $5 for students.

Oakwood wheelchair

UW Arboretum Visitor Center

This is the fourth concert in the Season Series titled “Origination:  Exploring Musical Regions of the World.”  The final remaining concert is titled Down Under, and will be held May 17 and 18.

The Oakwood Chamber Players is a group of Madison-area professional musicians who perform with other well-known local groups and who have rehearsed and performed at Oakwood Village for 30 years.

Visit www.oakwoodchamberplayers.com for more information.

The Oakwood Chamber Players are a professional music ensemble proudly supported by Oakwood Lutheran Senior Ministries and the Oakwood Foundation, in collaboration with Friends of the Arboretum, Inc.

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Classical music: Need a break from the holiday rush? Try the Middleton Community Orchestra and soprano Emily Birsan this Monday night at 7:30. Plus, tuba, sousaphone, euphonium and baritone players — both amateurs and professionals — are wanted for Sunday’s “Tuba Christmas” in the state Capitol.

December 20, 2013
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ALERT: Attention alls players of the tuba, sousaphone, euphonium and baritone players: If you want to have a Christmas blast, gathered in the Wisconsin State Capitol and around the state Christmas Tree in the Capitol Rotunda (bel0w), here is your chance. All you need is the instruments, the skills, the desire, some paraphernalia and $10. For details, see:

http://www.tubachristmas.com/readtcloc.php?TCState=WI&TCCity=Madison

tuba christmas in capitol

By Jacob Stockinger

Need a break from the rush of holiday shopping, partying and prepping?

You might try attending a concert by the Middleton Community Orchestra (below top), which is made up of amateurs and professionals and is conducted by Steve Kurr (below bottom).

Middleton Community Orchestra press photo1

Steve Kurr.

The concert is on this coming Monday night, December 23, at 7:30 p.m. at the comfortable Middleton Performing Arts Center (below), which is attached to Middleton High School.

Middleton PAC1

Tickets are $10 and are available at the door and at Willy St. Coop West.

The concert, “An Evening with the Middleton Community Orchestra and Soprano Emily Birsan” promises to be an enjoyable evening of great music.

The orchestra will be featured in: Mikhail Glinka’s “Russlan and Ludmilla Overture; Nikolai Rimsky-Korsakov’s “Dance of the Tumblers”; and Ludwig van Beethoven’sSymphony No. 6, “Pastoral.”

The very accomplished University of Wisconsin School of Music alumna Emily Birsan (below) will return top the MCO holiday concert to sing four arias by Mozart, Strauss, Donizetti and Charpentier.

Details are at www.middletoncommunityorchestra.org

Emily Birsan is in her final year of the Chicago Lyric Opera apprentice program and is on the brink of a stellar international career.  Here is a link to her bio for more details: http://www.emilybirsan.com/bio.html (You can hear her sing “Musetta’s Waltz,” from Puccini’s “La Boheme,” with the Middleton Community Orchestra under Steve Kurr in a YouTube video at the bottom.)

Emily Birsan 2013 in red

The Ear has found the MC performances a thoroughly enjoyable treat.

The performance usually lasts about 90 minutes without an intermission and features socializing over cookies and punch with the players afterwards.

Middleton Community Orchestra reception

If you need more reasons to attend, here is a review I wrote about one performance:

https://welltempered.wordpress.com/2012/06/04/classical-music-review-let-us-now-praise-amateur-music-makers-and-restoring-sociability-to-art-here-are-9-reasons-why-i-liked-and-you-should-attend-the-middleton-community-orchestra/

And if you use this website’s search engine, you can also check out the many positive reviews of the Middleton Community Orchestra by critic John W. Barker.


Classical music: Is this any way to schedule concerts? It’s the usual stacked up weekend as the first semester at the UW-Madison School of Music comes to a close.

December 5, 2013
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By Jacob Stockinger

This weekend, there will be a lot of music-making at the UW School of Music.

So much, in fact, that I bet you and I don’t or can’t get to it all.

As usual, when the end of semester approaches, the concerts start looking like planes stacked up over O’Hare.

FRIDAY

It starts on Friday night at 8 p.m. in Mills Hall wth the UW Wind Ensemble under Scott Teeple (below top) and with guest soloist UW violinist Felicia Moye (below bottom).

Scott Teeple

Felicia Moye color

The forces will play a FREE concert that includes two works by composers Joel Puckett (below), who teaches at the Peabody Conservatory at Johns Hopkins University in Baltimore but who has been in residence at the UW-Madison.

The full program includes: 
”Septimi Toni a 8, No. 2″ by Giovanni Gabrieli;
”Music for Winds” by Stanislaw Skrowaczewski;
”Suite in E-flat,” by Gustav Holst, as arranged by Matthews;
”Avelynn’s Lullaby” and “Southern Comforts,” by Joel Puckett, 
featuring guest soloist Felicia Moye, who is professor of violin at the UW-Madison School of Music.

Named as one of NPR’s listeners’ favorite composers under the age of 40, Joel Puckett is a composer who is dedicated to the belief that music can bring consolation, hope and joy to all who need it. The Washington Post has hailed him as both “visionary” and “gifted” and the Baltimore Sun proclaimed his work for the Washington Chorus and Orchestra, “This Mourning,” as “being of comparable expressive weight” to John Adams’ Pulitzer Prize-winning work.

Puckett’s flute concerto, “The Shadow of Sirius,” has been performed all over the world and commercially recorded multiple times. Before the end of 2014, a total of five commercial recordings of “The Shadow of Sirius” will be available.

Joel Puckett

That event certainly seems appealing and accessible enough.

But what about Saturday and Sunday?

SATURDAY

At noon in Morphy Recital Hall, the World Percussion Ensemble under Todd Hammes and Tom Ross performs a program. Sorry, no details about specific pieces.

Western Percussion Ensemble

At 4 p.m. in Mills Hall, the All University String Orchestra will perform a FREE concert under Janet Jensen (below top, in a photo by Katrin Talbot). There is a program note: Two pieces for oboe and strings are dedicated to Cassidy “Kestrel” Fritsch (below top) and her family and friends. Kestrel played bass in the All-University String Orchestra, but was also a serious oboist. She passed away early in this semester, just into her freshman year. With these pieces, oboe Professor Konstantinos Tiliakos (below bottom, in a photo by Kathy Esposito) and the members of the orchestras give musical voice to their collective sense of loss and sadness for a life that ended too soon.

I. Orchestra, Too!

Adagio from the Concerto for Oboe and Strings by Alessandro Marcello with Konstantinos Tiliakos as oboe soloist and 
Kasey Wasson as student conductor; Johann Roman – Sinfonia XX – Movements 1, 2 and 4; Wolfgang Amadeus Mozart, “Salzburg” Symphony Movement III; Ingvar Lidholm, “Straktrio”; Ottorino Respighi, “Antique Airs and Dances,” Suite III, 
Movements II and IV; Dave Brubeck, “Blue Rondo a la Turk”; and Scott Joplin, “Palm Leaf Rag”

Cassidy %22Kestrel%22 Fritsch

II. Orchestra I

Morricone – Gabriel’s Oboe, UW oboist
 and soloist Konstantinos Tiliakos; Johann Friedrich Fasch, Symphony in A; Mozart, “Adagio and Fugue,” K. 546, with Kasey Wasson, Student Conductor; Paul Hindemith, Eight Pieces, Nos. 1 and 3; Respighi, “Antique Airs and Dances, Suite III,
Movements I, III, IV; Jeremy Cohen – Tango Toscana; Scott Joplin, “Sugar Cane Rag.”

Janet Jensen Katrin Talbot

kostas tiliakos 2013

At 8 p.m. in Mills Hall, the UW Tuba and Euphonium Ensemble, under the direction of composer/tuba player John Stevens (below) perform a FREE concert. The program includes arrangements of works by Anton Bruckner, Claude Debussy, Paul Dukas, Mikhail Glinka, Karl King and Samuel Scheidt, plus original works by James Barnes, Stephen Bulla and Jan Koetsier. Sorry, again no word on specific pieces.

john stevens with tuba 1

SUNDAY

On Sunday at 2 p.m. in Mills Hall, the University Bands will perform a FREE concert under Darin Olson. Sorry, no word on either composers or pieces.

Darin Olson

At 2 p.m. and 4 p.m. in Luther Memorial Church (below), 1021 University Ave., the Prism Concert that features fives choirs will perform a very varied program with FREE admission.

luther memorial church madison

The choral groups include: The UW “Prism” Concert, featuring five combined choirs: Concert Choir (below top) under Beverly Taylor (below middle, in a photo by Katrin Talbot); Chorale, under Bruce Gladstone (below bottom, in a photo by Katrin Talbot); the Women’s Chorus, the Madrigal Singers, under Bruce Gladstone; and the University Chorus.

Concert Choir

Beverly Taylor Katrin Talbot

BruceGladstoneTalbot

The generous holiday program will include: “Tantum Ergo,” Op. 65, No. 2, by Gabriel Faure; “
Apple Tree Wassai,” arr. Hatfield; “
Psallite, unigenito” by Michael Praetorius; “
Angelus ad pastores ait” by Andrea Gabrieli; “
Ave Maria” by Fernando Moruja; “
Kling, Glöckchen, Kling” (Tyrolean Carol); “
Resonet in Laudibus” by Chester Alwes’ “
Und alsbald war da bei dem Engel” by Melchior Vulpius; “
Summer in Winter” by Richard N. Roth; “
Benedicamus Domino” by Peter Warlock
; “Upon this night” by Richard Hynson
; “O magnum mysterium” by Tomás Luis de Victoria; “
Hodie Christus natus est,” by Healy Willan
; and “Peace, Everywhere,” by UW alumnus Scott Gendel (below).

Two Halls Scott Gendel

At 7:30 p.m. in Mills Hall, the UW Chamber Orchestra (below) under director and conductor James Smith will perform Chamber Symphony, opus 73a (arranged by Rudolf Barshai from the composer’s String Quartet No. 3) by Dmitri Shostakovich and Symphony No. 8 by Ludwig van Beethoven.

UW Chamber Orchestra entire

So, which concerts can you get to?

And which ones will you regret having to miss?

Doesn’t it seem like there ought to be a better way to organize and schedule concerts and space things out, and maybe draw bigger audiences from the general public to each event? The Ear thinks that the performers, both faculty and students, deserve better.

 


Classical music news: Con Vivo plays music by The Four G’s – NOT the more famous Three B’s – to end its 10th anniversary season this Saturday night

June 7, 2012
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By Jacob Stockinger

Con Vivo! (below) – or “Music With Life” — will conclude its 10th anniversary season with a chamber music concert called “Gee, Isn’t That Grand!” The concert will be this Saturday night (June 9) at 7:30 p.m. in the First Congregational United Church of Christ, 1609 University Ave., across from Camp Randall.

Tickets can be purchased at the door for $12 for adults and $10 for seniors and students.  (Please note the date was changed from May 31.)

You probably know The Three B’s – Bach, Beethoven and Brahms. But when it comes to composers, can you name four G’s that don’t include Grieg?

Con Vivo’s concert will feature an eclectic selection with music by Gershwin, Gould, Glinka and Gigout.

The program includes eight jazzy Duets for Clarinet and Strings Bass written for Benny Goodman’s 70th birthday by Morton Gould (below), and “Three Preludes” for clarinet and piano by George Gershwin.

The early Romantic era is featured with the rarely performed Septet by Russian composer Mikhail Glinka.

And the “Grand Choeur Dialogue” in G major for solo organ by Eugène Gigout (below) will be played on the impressive organ at First Congregational Church.

Audience members are invited to join Con Vivo! musicians after the concert for a free reception to discuss this chamber music literature and to celebrate our 10th season.

The ensemble’s artistic director Robert Taylor (below), in remarking about the concert said, “We have always strived to present chamber music in an enjoyable and enlightening manner.  This program shows how varied the chamber music canon can be.  With our 10th season, we continue the tradition of bringing to our audience works that are familiar and some that are perhaps new, as well as the occasional surprise piece!”

Con Vivo! (below) is a professional chamber music ensemble composed of Madison area musicians assembled from the ranks of the Madison Symphony Orchestra, the Wisconsin Chamber Orchestra, and various other performing groups familiar to Madison audiences. 

For more information including background, here is a link:

http://convivomusicwithlife.org/


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