The Well-Tempered Ear

Classical music: You can celebrate Valentine’s Day this Thursday, Feb. 14, with live concerts of new music or old music in a large hall or a small cafe

February 10, 2019
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By Jacob Stockinger

If you are looking to celebrate Valentine’s Day on this coming Thursday, Feb. 14, with live classical music, there are at least two excellent choices facing you.

The larger event is a FREE concert at 7:30 p.m. in Mills Hall by the UW Symphony Orchestra (below top) under the award-winning conductor and professor Chad Hutchinson (below bottom) and two graduate student conductors, Michael Dolan and Ji Hyun Yim.

The program features the “Valse Triste” (Sad Waltz) by Finnish composer Jean Sibelius and the Symphony No. 39 in E-flat Major, K. 543, by Wolfgang Amadeus Mozart.

But the main focus will be on two works by the living American composer Augusta Read Thomas (below), who lives in Chicago and whose music is widely performed because of its accessible style.

The two works by Thomas are “Of Paradise and Light” and “Prayer and Celebration.”

Thomas, who this week will be doing a residency at the UW-Madison’s Mead Witter School of Music, will also hold a free and open master class in Music Hall, at the base of Bascom Hill, from 2 to 5 p.m. that same day. (You can listen to her discuss how she composes in the YouTube video at the bottom.)

For more information about the concert, the program and especially about Thomas – including an audio sample — go to: https://www.music.wisc.edu/event/uw-madison-symphony-orchestra/

A BAROQUE VALENTINE’S DAY

On Valentine’s Day, baroque chamber music enthusiasts can hear the music of the Kim-Kielson Duo as they perform a program on period instruments, titled Canons, Chaconnes and Chocolate!

Longtime friends and performers, baroque violinist Kangwon Lee Kim and recorder player Lisette Kielson (below top, right and left respectively) will be joined by viola da gambist James Waldo (below bottom).

The concert is on this Thursday, Feb. 14, at 7 p.m. at Chocolaterian Cafe, 6637 University Ave., in Middleton.

You can name your own ticket price — $20-$35 per person is suggested, payable in either cash or check.

There also will be Special Valentine’s Day Chocolate available for purchase.

The program celebrates the popular baroque forms of the canon and chaconne as composed by Italian, German and French masters.

The duo will perform three chaconnes by Tarquinio Merula, Antonio Bertali and Marin Marais plus canonic duos by Georg Philipp Telemann as well as an arrangement of canons from The Art of Fugue, BWV 1080, by Johann Sebastian Bach.


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Classical music: The Bach Dancing and Dynamite Society will perform music of Kenji Bunch, Mozart and Mendelssohn on Thursday, June 13, at the Prairie Rhapsody restoration and ecology benefit for the Benedictine Holy Wisdom Monastery in Middleton.

June 7, 2013
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By Jacob Stockinger

Each had what the other one needed or wanted, so a deal was reached.

On the one hand, the Benedictine sisters needed a music group to play for their annual Prairie Rhapsody benefit, held in at the Holy Wisdom Monastery, 4200 County Road M in Middleton, not far from Allen Boulevard off University Avenue.

Holy Wisdom Monastery Exterior3

On the other hand, the annual summer performers in The Bach Dancing and Dynamite Society needed a place to stay and eat, rehearse and practice.

And so a deal was reached.

On Thursday evening, June 13 — the night before BDDS opens its June 14-June 30 season called “Deuces Are Wild!” — the Prairie Rhapsody benefit will host members of the Bach Dancing and Dynamite Society (which earned Musician of the Year last year from The Ear) as performers along with food and walks around the beautiful grounds of the monastery.

Prairie Rhapsody 2011 setting

In return, the BDDS players can stay and rehearse for a week at Holy Wisdom. (You may recall that the past two years featured outstanding performances by Trevor Stephenson and members of the Madison Bach Musicians in the spacious, airy and light-filled auditorium, below.)

Holy Wisdom Monastery interior

Says Holy Wisdom’s director development Mike Sweitzer-Beckman: “I think it will be fantastic for Bach Dancing and Dynamite Society to stay here and rehearse here for the week. It should be interesting to mix things up a little bit since we try to maintain a very quiet, serene space most of the time.”

Adds BDDS’ Executive Director Samantha Crownover: “We’re thrilled to embark on this partnership. We are performing in the Prairie Rhapsody for them and they are hosting all of BDDS (food, lodging, rehearsal space) for our entire week 1. We’re excited to spend some quality time in the beautiful setting of Holy Wisdom!”

Prairie Rhapsody 2011 Holy Wisdom architecture

I have attended the event and it is well worthwhile — both enjoyable and constructive for a good cause. Here are details of the Prairie Rhapsody benefit, which benefit prairie restoration efforts and ecological work on the grounds of the monastery:

The benefit starts with a reception of eating, drinking and and socializing (below) at 5:30 p.m. There will be a silent auction. Then the concert runs from 6:30 to 8 p.m. Complimentary chocolates are available after the performance.

Tickets can be purchased on the Holy Wisdom website for $50 per person ($25 is tax-deductible) or you can download the registration form and return it to Benedictine Life Foundation, 4200 County Road M, Middleton, WI 53562. Space is limited, so it is suggested that you  register as soon as possible.

Prairie Rhapsody 2011 socializing

According to BDDS, the program of music, with co-founders and co-directors flutist Stephanie Jutt and pianist Jeffrey Sykes (both below in a photo by C&N Photographers) at the center, is likely to feature contemporary composer Kenji Bunch’s “New Moon and Morning” for flute and string quartet; Mozart‘s “Kegelstatt” Trio in E-flat, K. 498, for clarinet, piano and viola; and Felix Mendelssohn’s Sonata in C Minor (the opening is in a YouTube video at the bottom) featuring Yura Lee on viola.

Stephanie jutt and Jeffrey Sykes  CR C&N photographers

Here are links to the Holy Wisdom Monastery and to the Prairie Wisdom Benefit:

http://benedictinewomen.org

http://benedictinewomen.org/support-our-work/prairie-rhapsody-benefit-concert/

And here is a link to the Madison-based Bach Dancing and Dynamite Society’s homepage, which starts its summer season next weekend. The webpage has a full listing of performance times, venues, programs and performers as well as ticket information, CDs and photos:

http://www.bachdancinganddynamite.org


Classical music: For Easter and Passover, for both believers and non-believers of all kinds, J.S. Bach offers the perfect piece of spiritual music.

April 8, 2012
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By Jacob Stockinger

This weekend is a major weekend in terms of religion.

It features the Jewish Passover and the Christian Easter.

Both events celebrate freedom, one from slavery and the other from mortality.

I am often at a loss about what music best commemorates such events because so much religion seems to rely on a sense of its own superiority to other belief systems, toward which it can be downright hostile or even deadly.

Just look at the history of Holy Wars and The Crusades and Jihad and The Inquisition and the Hundred Years Wars and so on.

But leave it Johann Sebastian Bach (below), that old Reformation Lutheran himself, to offer us all a work that is as universal as music as genuine religious feelings – NOT religion intolerance – can get.

It is the “Erbarme dich” from his St. Matthew Passion.

The German title means “Have Mercy” and it applies, I think, to all of us and to each other.

It is what we expect for ourselves and what should extend to others.

So in honor of the various religious holidays and just a sense of universal humane bonding, I offer it today as a “You Must Hear This” selection.

If you have a better suggestion, The Ear wants to hear about it.


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