ALERT: Tonight’s concert of African-American spirituals and songs has been CANCELLED because guest scholar and singer Emery Stephens is ill. The UW-Madison School of Music hopes to reschedule the event later this spring.
By Jacob Stockinger
Guess who turns 332 on March 21?
This coming Saturday will bring a 12-hour, noon to midnight, marathon party for the Birthday Boy – Johann Sebastian Bach (1685-1750, seen below in a humorous poster for a similar event held several years ago).
The local event – now part of the nationwide “Early Music Month” — is being revived, thanks to Madison violist Marika Fischer Hoyt (below), who performs with the Madison Bach Musicians, the Ancora String Quartet and the Madison Symphony Orchestra, and to many sponsors.
The party will take place at St. Andrew’s Episcopal Church (below) on Regent Street. (Several years ago, the event, when it was sponsored by Wisconsin Public Radio, was held at the Pres House.) There will be live audio-visual streaming and free wi-fi, and the event will be recorded.
Here is a link to the updated schedule of performances:
Here is a link to an earlier post about the upcoming event:
If you love the music of Bach (below) – and The Ear doesn’t know anyone who is into classical music who doesn’t revere Bach — there will be a lot to love and to listen to at this FREE and OPEN TO THE PUBLIC celebration.
The event is modeled after a longtime similar event in New Orleans and those who attend it can come and go and come back again.
Local performers include groups and individuals who are professionals (Madison Bach Musicians and Wisconsin Chamber Choir), amateurs and students (Suzuki Strings of Madison).
The impressive program includes lots of variety.
There will be preludes and fugues.
Cantatas and concertos.
Sonatas and suites.
Obscure works will be performed.
But there will also be popular works such as two Brandenburg Concertos (Nos. 3 and 5), The Well-Tempered Clavier (Books I and II), the Magnificat, a Violin Concerto, “Jesu, Joy of Man’s Desiring” and some of The Art of Fugue. (You can hear Fugue No. 1 from “The Art of Fugue,” which will be performed at BATC, in the YouTube video at the bottom.)
There will be music played on period instruments and on modern instruments, including the harpsichord and the piano; the baroque violin and the modern violin; older recorders and newer flutes, the viola da gamba and the cello. And of course there will be lots and lots of singing and organ music.
Given such a marathon undertaking, you should know that there will be refreshments (coffee, tea, bottled water and snacks), comfortable seating and special birthday cakes — served at midnight — provided by Clausen’s Eurpean Bakery in Middleton.
NOTE: You can find out more when several organizers and performers from Bach Around the Clock are Norman Gilliland’s guests on Wisconsin Public Radio’s “The Midday” this coming Thursday from noon to 12:30 p.m.
For more information –including how to support the event with a donation and how to participate in it as a performer – go to the event’s homepage:
Here are some links to previous posts on this blog about attending earlier versions of Bach Around the Clock. Read them and look at the pictures, and you will see how enjoyable they are and how informative they are.
See you there!
By Jacob Stockinger
The Ear sees Lang Lang — the world’s highest paid classical pianist — and Yundi Li and all the Chinese winners of major competitions, and he reads that there are more piano students in China than in all of Western Europe, North America and South America combined.
But the path to such success wasn’t easy.
In fact it was downright tragic during the Cultural Revolution waged by Chairman Mao Zedong – with dramatic stories and figures that may be worthy of an opera or two. (Below is a poster from the Cultural Revolution.)
Anyway, weekends are a good time for reading longer pieces.
So here is a fine and eye-opening story The Ear liked. It comes from The Guardian newspaper in the UK. It even ponders the question of whether the more cerebral and intellectual Johann Sebastian Bach will soon replace the more dramatic and emotional Ludwig van Beethoven as China’s favorite classical composer.
By Jacob Stockinger
Store windows aren’t the only sign that the holidays are fast approaching, especially with Thanksgiving falling so late this year.
Performances, partial or complete, of the Baroque masterpiece oratorio “Messiah” by George Frideric Handel (below) are another sure sign. It brings joy, as you can see and hear in the food court flash mob video of the “Hallelujah Chorus” from YouTube at the bottom, which has over 42 MILLION hits.
If you want to hear a complete concert performance, the Wisconsin Chamber Orchestra (below top) and soloists, all under the baton of WCO music director and conductor Andrew Sewell (below bottom) – the WCO itself used to do annual Sing-Out Messiahs at holiday time — is offering one in Middleton on Dec. 13 and another in Stoughton, at the gloriously restored Stoughton Opera House (below), on Dec. 14.
Here are links for details:
But if you want to sing “Messiah” yourself, you might consider attending a rural one of two Sing-Out Messiahs to be given by the Rural Musicians Forum in Dodgeville on Dec. 6 and in Spring Green on Dec. 8.
In fact, you might consider becoming part of the community chorus.
Below are two posters that tell the story. You can enlarge them to zoom in on whatever information you want or need.
And here are details:
Handel’s Messiah is a world-wide event that awes singers and listeners with its thrilling emotional impact and an uplifting message. This year the Rural Musicians Forum is sponsoring SING OUT MESSIAH – an opportunity for the community to join in singing beloved choruses of the MESSIAH with soloists, instrumentalists and a rehearsed choir. The public concerts will be held on December 6 at the Dodgeville United Methodist Church and on December 8 at Spring Green’s St. John the Evangelist Catholic Church.
In preparation for the concerts, singers in the community are invited to join the community-based choir directed by the noted teacher and conductor Greg Dennis, to rehearse on three occasions prior to the public events. Rehearsals are scheduled for November 24, December 1, December 5. There are no auditions, and the choir is open to singers in all parts and with any level of experience. A full listing of the selections to be sung can be found on the RMF website.
Rehearsals will be held at Christ Lutheran Church (below) in Spring Green. Singers should provide their own scores. A limited number of copies will be available for purchase at Arcadia Books in Spring Green, and Cook’s Room in Dodgeville. All rehearsals will begin at 7 p.m.
For more information, contact Kent Mayfield, Artistic Director, email@example.com or check the RMF website www.ruralmusiciansforum.org.
You can visit the Rural Musicians Forum at: http://ruralmusiciansforum.org