The Well-Tempered Ear

Classical music: The Oakwood Chamber Players will give two performances this weekend of “Celebration” – a program that mixes holiday-themed music with stories and poems. Plus, Naxos Records releases its FREE Advent app for iOS and Android platforms to bring you music from December 1 to Christmas Day.

November 26, 2013
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NEWS: A good friend of this blog who works at Naxos Records writes: “Monday marked the release of our Advent Calendar app for iOS and Android platforms. The app is FREE and will supply you with 1 complete musical track for each day of Advent starting on this Sunday, December 1, up to Christmas Day. The Naxos Advent Calendar App can be downloaded to any iPhone, iPad, or Android device. Go to iTunes or Google Play.

By Jacob Stockinger

This coming Friday afternoon and Sunday afternoon, the Oakwood Chamber Players (below) will weave together heart-warming folk tales from around the world along with a feast of holiday music. The concert will feature musical performances from the familiar to folk, from classical to jazz, and from duos to nonets.

Oakwood Chamber Players 2012 2

The family-friendly stories, interspersed throughout the concert, drawn from the wealth of global storytelling, are both cheering and poignant, expressing the cultures from which they are drawn.

The Oakwood Chamber Players will present Celebration! on this Friday November 29, at 1:30 p.m. and on Sunday, December 1, at 1:30 p.m. at the Oakwood Center for Arts and Education, 6205 Mineral Point Road. (In past year, the concert was called “Holiday Lights,” I believe, and was performed twice on the same day.)

Guest artists flutist Elizabeth Marshall(below) and oboist Jennifer Morgan (below bottom) will join the core musicians of the ensemble for the concerts.

Elizabeth Marshall flute

real Jennifer Morgan Oakwood USE photo

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

There is holiday-related music covering quite a range from popular to traditional to folk in a variety of genres from trios to nonets. The music will be interspersed with stories and poems.

The program includes: the Motet from “Cantate Domino” by Orlando di Lasso (below top); Six Christmas Pieces, Op. 72 by Felix Mendelssohn; “Christmas Time is Here” by Vince Guaraldi with Vince’s jazz interpretation; “Shepherd’s Hey” by Percy Grainger (below bottom); and “Troika” by Sergei Prokofiev. Orlando di Lasso Percy Grainger

In keeping with the ensemble’s global theme for the year, some sets are grouped by geographic region. For example,  “Where Are You, Little Star” by Modeste Mussorgsky (below); the Slovak folk music of “Pastorela” as arranged by Tomacek; and Trepak” (at bottom in a popular YouTube video) from the ballet suite for “The Nutcracker” by Piotr Tchaikovsky; and also “Dormi, Dormi, O Bel Bambino,” a traditional Italian song; and “A La Nanita Nana” and “Riu Riu Chiu,” both traditional Spanish music.

Modeste Mussorgsky color tchaikovsky

This is the second concert in the Season Series titled “Origination:  Exploring Musical Regions of the World.”  Upcoming concerts by the Oakwood Chamber Players Concerts, performed at Oakwood Village and the University of Wisconsin-Madison Arboretum Visitors Center, include:

  • “Nordic” – February 1 and 2
  • “Russian Radius” – March 22 and 23
  • “Down Under”  – May 17 and 18

The Oakwood Chamber Players is a group of Madison-area professional musicians who have rehearsed and performed at Oakwood Village for 30 years.

For more information about the group, concerts, tickets and performers, visit www.oakwoodchamberplayers.com

 


Classical music: The Wisconsin Chamber Choir celebrates the centennial of British composer Benjamin Britten this Saturday night, June 1, at 7:30 p.m.

May 30, 2013
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By Jacob Stockinger

To mark the centennial of the great modern British composer Benjamin Britten, the Wisconsin Chamber Choir (below top) will perform “Benjamin Britten and Friends.”

Wisconsin Chamber Choir 1

Special guest performers are the  Britten Choir (below, in a photo by Karen Holland) of the Madison Youth Choirs, conducted by Randal Swiggum.

Madison Youth Purcell and Britten Choirs cr Karen Holland

The concert is this Saturday night, June 1, at 7:30 p.m. in St. Stephen’s Lutheran Church, 5700 Pheasant Hill Road, in Monona, Wisconsin.

Tickets are $15 for adults and $10 for students. They are available via Brown Paper Tickets or www.wisconsinchamberchoir.org or at the door.

Benjamin Britten (below, 1913-1976) was perhaps the greatest choral composer of the 20th century. In celebration of Britten’s 100th anniversary this year, the Wisconsin Chamber Choir has assembled a delightful program featuring Britten’s quirky cantata, “Rejoice in the Lamb,” along with his rapturously beautiful “Five Flower Songs” (at bottom in a YouTube video).

Benjamin Britten

Complimenting Britten’s works are pieces by his “friends” (both figuratively and literally), including music by Arvo Pärt, Henry Purcell, Percy Grainger and Frank Bridge, who taught Britten. The Britten Choir of Madison Youth Choirs, conducted by Randal Swiggum (below), will make a special appearance performing music by Britten and others.

Randall Swiggum

Organist and pianist Mark Brampton Smith (below) joins the WCC performing the virtuoso keyboard parts in Britten’s Rejoice in the Lamb and in several of Percy Grainger’s boisterous folksong arrangements.

Mark Brampton Smith

Founded in 1999, the Madison-based Wisconsin Chamber Choir has established a reputation for excellence in the performance of oratorios from the Baroque and Classical eras, a cappella masterworks from various centuries, and world premieres. Robert Gehrenbeck (below), the director of choral activities at the University of Wisconsin-Whitewater, is the WCC’s Artistic Director.

Robert Gehrenbeck

 


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