The Well-Tempered Ear

Classical music: Today is Mother’s Day. What music would you play for your mom? Or would you, as a mom, like played in your honor?

May 8, 2016
3 Comments

By Jacob Stockinger

Today is Mother’s Day 2016.

Mother and Child face to face

That makes it the 102nd annual Mother’s Day celebration.

Which is why the Ear was to do reprise.

He wants to return to the Mother’s Day post he did in 2014 on the centennial of the holiday.

It has the surprisingly serious history of Mother’s Day plus a Mother’s Day quiz from NPR or National Public Radio.

Mothers Day clip art

And The Ear wants to ask you to list what music you would place for your mother.

Or, if you are a mother, what piece would you like to be played in your honor?

Please leave suggestions in the COMMENT section with a link to a YouTube performance if possible.

Here is the link:

https://welltempered.wordpress.com/2014/05/11/classical-music-what-piece-of-music-would-you-play-for-your-mom-on-mothers-day-and-can-you-pass-nprs-mothers-day-opera-quiz/

And here is one of the piano pieces – the famous “Bells of Moscow” Prelude in C-sharp minor by Sergei Rachmaninoff — that The Ear’s mother loved to hear him play and used to let phone-callers who asked listen to him while he was practicing the piece:


Classical music: It’s Mother’s Day. What music would you play for her? What music would she like to hear? Tell The Ear. Plus, this afternoon is your last chance to hear the final, critically acclaimed concert of the Madison Symphony Orchestra’s season with Beethoven’s Ninth on the program. Read the reviews here.

May 10, 2015
Leave a Comment

ALERT: This afternoon at 2:30 in Overture Hall is your last chance to hear the season finale by the Madison Symphony Orchestra: a program of  the “Serenade” after Plato’s “Symposium” by Leonard Bernstein, with concertmaster Naha Greenholtz (below) as soloist, and the famous Ninth Symphony — the “Ode to Joy” or “Choral” symphony — by Ludwig van Beethoven.

The reviews are unanimous in their enthusiastic praise.

Here is a link to the one that John W. Barker wrote for Isthmus:

http://www.isthmus.com/arts/stage/mso-closing-with-a-bang/

And here is one written by Lindsay Christians for The Capital Times:

http://host.madison.com/ct/entertainment/arts_and_theatre/review-big-voices-and-beethoven-bring-mso-season-to-a/article_ea23e056-f5bb-11e4-8b8f-5780d0daa395.html

And here is a review written by Bill Wineke for WISC-TV‘s Channel 3000.com:

http://www.channel3000.com/news/opinion/Symphony-review-MSO-ends-season-on-exuberant-note/32912810

Naha Greenholtz 2014 CR  Chris Hynes

By Jacob Stockinger

Today is Mother’s Day 2015.

Mothers Day clip art

And nothing says love like music.

So what music would you like to play for your mother?

And what music would she like to hear?

They aren’t necessarily the same.

So here are The Ear’s choices.

For the first I am torn between a work by Antonin Dvorak and one by Johannes Brahms.

The Dvorak work is “Songs My Mother Taught Me,” which you can hear below in a YouTube video by superstar violinist Itzhak Perlman playing a transcription from the original for voice.

The second is the movement of the “German” Requiem by Brahms in which he evokes his recently deceased mother. Here it is performed in a classic rendition by soprano Elizabeth Schwarzkopf with Otto Klemperer conducting:

And the piece my mother would love to hear? She loved it when I practiced the piano – and to think I wondered how anyone could enjoy listening to someone practicing? And she especially loved it when I practiced Chopin.

And her favorite piece by Chopin that I played was the bittersweet and elegant Waltz in C-sharp minor, Op. 64, No. 2, heard below in a YouTube video played by Arthur Rubinstein, whom she took me to hear when he played an all-Chopin concert in Carnegie Hall in 1961 – and we sat on stage.

What are your choices in each category?

Leave word plus, if possible, a YouTube link in the COMMENTS section.

The Ear wants to hear.

And wishes you a Happy Mother’s Day.


Classical music: Mother’s Day turns 100 today. What piece of music would you play for your Mom on her holiday? And can you pass NPR’s Mother’s Day opera quiz?

May 11, 2014
7 Comments

By Jacob Stockinger

Today is Mother’s Day, 2014.

That makes it the 100th anniversary of the national holiday that President Woodrow Wilson proclaimed in 1914, as World War I was beginning. The timing then seemed appropriate since the now festive and consumer-driven holiday was started in 1908 by Anna Jarvis as a way to honor fallen soldiers and to work for peace.

Here is a link to a story about the holiday’s history — with information about how Mother’s Day is celebrated in the Midwest and the Arab world — from National Geographic Society:

http://news.nationalgeographic.com/news/2014/05/140508-mothers-day-nation-gifts-facts-culture-moms/

In past years I have asked: What is the best music you can think of to express Mother’s Day? ?Songs My Mother Taught Me” by Antonin Dvorak? The lovely and moving “mother” movement from the “German” Requiem by Johannes Brahms? The beautiful song cycle “Frauenliebe- und -leben” (A Woman’s Loves and Life) by Robert Schumann?

Mother and Child face to face

Here is a Top 10 list from Limelight Magazine:

http://www.limelightmagazine.com.au/Article/256734,top-10-classical-mothers-mothers-day-special.aspx/0

And here are the Top 5 classical choices by the famed classical music radio station WQXR-FM in New York City:

http://www.wqxr.org/#!/story/208323-top-five-classical-pieces-about-moms/

Today I want to challenge to take a Mother’s Day quiz that appeared on the “Deceptive Cadence” blog on NPR.

Here is a link:

http://www.npr.org/blogs/deceptivecadence/2014/05/08/310427456/mothers-of-intervention-the-operatic-moms-puzzler

But this year my thoughts are more personal.

The Ear lost his Mom a year ago last March, but in the time since then I have had plenty of time to think about the loss and to see what music comes to mind when I think of her.

Now she was not a sophisticated listener of classical music.

But she loved a lot of fine music and had good taste.

She especially loved one piece in particular: Frederic Chopin’s Waltz in C-sharp Minor, Op. 64, No. 2. It is arguably Chopin’s finest waltz.

But it also embodies my Mom for two reasons.

One reason: When I was young she took to see Arthur Rubinstein  (below top) at Carnegie Hall (below bottom) – she even got STAGE sets — for his all-Chopin recital on Nov. 10, 1961. (I later found out that a young Emanuel Ax was also in the audience that evening, and was as impressed it as I was.) Rubinstein played that waltz, as I recall, perhaps as an encore.

artur rubinstein in moscow 1964

carnegiehallstage

More importantly, she also liked the particular Chopin waltz because I played it. In fact she probably liked the way I played more than the way Rubinstein did.

I was her son, after all, and Rubinstein wasn’t.

So this one is for you, Mom, on your day:

Now, if you care to, please leave me a REPLY, with a link to YouTube video if possible, of the one piece of music -– instrumental, song or opera aria, whatever -– that you would like to play and dedicate to you Mom whether she is living or not.

The Ear wants to hear.

And so would your Mom.

 

Enhanced by Zemanta

Classical music: Celebrate Mothers’ Day this weekend with chamber music by the Wisconsin Youth Symphony Orchestras (WYSO) and by graduate students in the Hunt String Quartet at the University of Wisconsin-Madison School of Music.

May 9, 2014
Leave a Comment

By Jacob Stockinger

If you are looking for something unusual or different to do to celebrate Mothers’ Day this weekend, you could turn to three FREE chamber music events.

SATURDAY

This Saturday afternoon at 1:30 p.m. and at 3:30 p.m. in Morphy Recital Hall on the University of Wisconsin-Madison campus in the Mosse Humanities Building, 455 North Park Street, the Wisconsin Youth Symphony Orchestras (WYSO) will present two different chamber music concerts, both FREE and open to the public.

More than a dozen various combinations of chamber music — duets, trios, quartets — will be performed by middle school and high school students. Sorry, no word on specific programs or works but you are sure to hear what jazz people call “standards.” The Ear would be surprised if we didn’t hear some music by Franz Joseph Haydn, Wolfgang Amadeus Mozart, Ludwig van Beethoven, Franz Schubert, Johannes Brahms and Antonin Dvorak among others.

Most people probably think of WYSO members as primarily orchestral musicians, and indeed they are. Next weekend, Saturday and Sunday, May 17 and 18, WYSO will present various orchestral concerts during the Spring Concert Weekend.

For more information including the groups and the programs, here is a link:

http://wyso.music.wisc.edu/events/concerts-recitals/

WYSO DSC_8972

SUNDAY

Then on Sunday evening, it is the turn of the Hunt Quartet to perform a FREE concert, their second and final of the season, in honor of Mother’s Day.

Members of the quartet (below, in a photo by Katrin Talbot) are graduate students at the University of Wisconsin-Madison School of Music: Paran Amirinazari (center right) and Elspeth Stalter-Clouse (center left), violins; Ju dee Ang (far left), viola; and Lindsey Crabb (far right), cello. They will be joined by guests violist Molly O’Brien and cellist Rachel Bottner.

hunt quartet 20-13-14 CR katrin talbot

The Ear heard the Hunt Quartet perform a concert (below) in Mills Hall in February of string quartets by Franz Joseph Haydn and Bela Bartok, and he was impressed.

Hunt Quartet in Mills 2-2014

Sunday’s FREE concert will be at 7 p.m. in the Madison Country Day School (below), located at 5606 River Road in Waunakee. It is a lovely setting for a spring concert, surrounded by scenic landscape and farm fields.

Madison Country Day School BIG USE 2

The program includes the String Quartet No. 1 in C minor, Op. 51, by Johannes Brahms (bel0w) and the string sextet “Transfigured Night” (“Verklarte Nacht”), an early work by Arnold Schoenberg that is based on a poem by Richard Dehmel – an unusual but fitting choice for the holiday, as you can find out in the program notes further down.

Here are notes of the program provided by the Hunt Quartet:

Brahms, String Quartet No. 1 in C minor, Op. 51: This quartet is considered to be a masterwork of string quartet repertoire. It was written in 1873 and was a long work in progress for the prolific composer. Out of his three string quartets the quartet in C minor is one of the more popularly performed works. Consisting of four movements, the outer movements are angst driven and energetic while the middle two movements show Brahms’ lyrical and singing style.

brahms3

“Verklarte Nacht” (“Transfigured Night”), Op. 4, by Arnold Schoenberg (below): This is a programmatic one-movement string sextet divided up into five distinct sections, each corresponding to one of the stanzas in the poem by Richard Dehmel. At the bottom, you can hear a wonderful YouTube performance of it by Pierre Boulez and members of the acclaimed Intercontemporary Ensemble of Paris.

The title translates to “Transfigured Night,” and the poem is about a man and woman walking through the woods by the light of the moon. They are in a relationship, but the woman has a secret— before meeting her current partner, she conceived a child by a stranger.

She confesses this and the man accepts the child she is carrying as his own, thereby “transfiguring” both the unborn child and the night itself.

Arnold Schoenberg 1936

Enhanced by Zemanta

Classical music: It’s Mother’s Day. What piece of music would you perform or play for your Mom today? I choose a Chopin waltz for mine.

May 12, 2013
14 Comments

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.

Gladys Stockinger

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.

piano keys

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.

Chopinphoto

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.)

Arthur Rubinstein

carnegiehallstage

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.

 


Classical music: For Mother’s Day this Sunday, consider giving the gift of live music – Chopin, Debussy, Dvorak and Grieg. Plus, organist-composer Carson Cooman performs a FREE recital tonight at St. Andrew’s Episcopal Church.

May 10, 2013
Leave a Comment

ALERT:  A friend writes:  The composer and organist Carson Cooman (below) will perform a FREE recital tonight, Friday, May 10, at 7:30 p.m. in St. Andrew’s Episcopal Church, 1833 Regent Street.  I thought you might want to give readers a heads up about this.  It the last concert of the church’s yearly concert series.  This recital is notable for a couple of reasons. Carson is one of today’s leading composers — at the age of 31 he has been amazingly prolific and the music is of a wide range and high quality. He has had 17 CDs recorded of his music — he is also highly regarded as an organ recitalist with over 130 works by 100 composers written for him. And the recital has a few baroque composers, but is mostly of contemporary works especially suited for St. Andrew’s beautiful Taylor and Boody tracker organ.  I have attached the concert’s program and notes. Here is a picture of the organ and a link to its specs: http://www.taylorandboody.com/opus_pages/opus_33/simpleviewer/organ_photo_gallery.html

Here is a link to Cooman’s website. http://www.carsoncooman.com/

Carson Cooman and organ

By Jacob Stockinger

It’s late if you are still searching for a Mother’s Day gift. But here is something to consider.

At first it may seem odd to schedule a concert on Mother’s Day. But then I think of the role that music played with the lives of me and my Mom, and it doesn’t seem to far out.

So The Ear got word from Trevor Stephenson, who is hosting one of his delightful and relaxed house concerts (below) on Mother’s Day, this coming Sunday.

Schubert house concert

This Sunday afternoon, May 12, at 3 p.m. — on Mother’s Day — he will play a house concert of piano music by Frederic Chopin (selected Mazurkas and Nocturnes) and Claude Debussy (“Children’s Corner Suite” – how fitting for Moms), with some cameo appearances by Antonin Dvorak (“Humoresque,” at bottom) and Edvard Grieg (“Cow-keepers Song”).

The featured instrument will his beloved and historic Victorian English Upright piano “Fred” (below).

Stephenson Fred ca. 1840 upright

There will be tasty treats and refreshment as well. The hospitality is tops, take it from me, and music explanations by Trevor Stephenson are both entertaining and enlightening.

The address is 5729 Forsythia Place on Madison’s far west side.  Admission is $35. Only about 40 people can be accommodated, so reservations are required. 
Contact trevor@trevorstephenson.com
or (608) 238-6092.

Also, coming up on Sunday, June 30, is a house concert featuring the wonderful late piano music of Brahms “Six Piano Pieces,” Op. 118 (complete), which is one of The Ear’s all-time favorite sets of piano pieces). It also includes Claude Debussy’s visionary Violin Sonata from 1917 –- and one of The Ear’s all-time favorite pieces of chamber music. Guest violinist will be Brandi Berry from Chicago — playing on gut strings, as it was done in 1917!


Classical music: What is the best music for Mother’s Day? What music would you play for your Mom? Here are Dvorak songs for all mothers and a Chopin waltz for my Mom.

May 13, 2012
4 Comments

By Jacob Stockinger

Today is Mother’s Day, a holiday that is rightly celebrated in one way or another and at one time another around the world.

It seems a good time to ask: “What is appropriate music to play on Mother’s Day?”

Well, it depends of course on the music and the Mom.

So for all mothers, I offer these beautiful and poignant “Songs My Mother Taught Me’ by Antonin Dvorak as sung by Anna Netrebko.

They capture the sweetness and innocence of motherhood and childhood without being hackneyed.

Listen to the beauty:

For my Mom, something special and particular is required.

After all, she took me to see the great pianist Artur Rubinstein in Carnegie Hall – where she even managed to get stage seats so I, as a young and aspiring pianist, could be close to The Master — perform an all-Chopin recital on my 15th birthday.

So, here are clips of Rubinstein playing one of the pieces we heard that night way back in 1961.

The choice of a waltz is poignant because at 90 Mom is now confined to a wheelchair. But she fights back with energy and determination and love, always love, and dances in her heart.

Happy Mother’s Day, Mom.

I am proud of you.

And I love you.

What piece would you play and dedicate to your Mom on Mothers Day? Let us know,, and include a link is possible, in the Comments section.


    Enter your email address to subscribe to this blog and receive notifications of new posts by email.

    Join 1,197 other followers

    Blog Stats

    • 2,067,541 hits
%d bloggers like this: