The Well-Tempered Ear

Classical music: The chamber music group Con Vivo opens its new season this Saturday night with a program that spotlights the harp and the organ.

October 30, 2014
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By Jacob Stockinger

con vivo!…music with life (below) opens its 13th season of chamber music with a concert entitled “63 Strings and 2008 Pipes” on this coming Saturday night, November 1, 2014 at 7:30 p.m. at the First Congregational United Church of Christ, 1609 University Avenue, across from Camp Randall.

Con Vivo core musicians

Joining con vivo! for this concert is guest musician Karen Beth Atz on harp. Atz is principal harp with the Madison Symphony Orchestra.

Karen Beth Atz with harp

The program includes the Sonata in C Minor for violin and harp by Louis Spohr (below top); the Suite from The Victorian Kitchen Garden for clarinet and harp by Paul Reade; and Ganagobie for solo harp by Bernard Andres (below bottom), featuring Atz as soloist.

Louis Spohr

Bernard Andres

The performance will also feature the outstanding church organ in the Concerto in G Minor for organ and strings, opus 4, no. 1, HMV 298, by George Frideric Handel (below). (You can hear this popular work performed by Richard Egarr and The Academy of Ancient Music in a YouTube video at the bottom.)

handel big 3

Audience members are invited to join con vivo! musicians after the concert for a free reception to discuss this chamber music literature and to hear about their Carnegie Hall debut this past December.

Con Vivo at Carnegie Hall

Tickets can be purchased at the door for $18 for adults, $15 for seniors and students.

Artistic Director Robert Taylor, in remarking about the concert said, “con vivo! is excited to have Karen Beth Atz join us for this concert. We are looking forward to presenting chamber music that includes harp, the most angelic of all instruments, and organ, the ‘King of Instruments!’ It will be a night of new works and wonderful sounds for all.”

con vivo! is a professional chamber music ensemble comprised 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 visit, http://www.convivomusicwithlife.org

 

 

 

 

 


Classical music: Christopher Hogwood is dead at 73. But the early music pioneer was no purist.

September 27, 2014
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By Jacob Stockinger

Christopher Hogwood (below, in a photo by the Associated Press), who, along with Trevor Pinnock, Gustav Leonhardt, John Eliot Gardiner  and Frans Bruggen, became synonymous for many us with the movement to promote early music with authentic instruments and historically informed performance practices, has died.

He died Wednesday and was 73, and he had been ill for a brief time. He died at his home in Cambridge, England.

Chrisotpher Hogwood conducting AP

There are many things that The Ear loved about Hogwood, but nothing more than his recordings of string concertos by Antonio Vivaldi for their verve and of symphonies and concertos by Wolfgang Amadeus Mozart for their sweetness and transparency, energy and clarity. (You can hear Hogwood conducting the Academy of Ancient Music in  2009 in Suntory Hall in Tokyo, Japan. They are playing the spectacular and virtuosically contrapuntal last movement of Mozart’s last symphony — Symphony No. 41 “Jupiter”– at the bottom in a YouTube video. Just listen to the cheers!)

Hogwood’s version of the popular oratorio “Messiah” by George Frideric Handel is still my preferred one. Hogwood always seemed to serve the music first and foremost, and not fall into the kind of goofy or quirky readings that, say, Nikolaus Harnoncourt often did. Everything he did seemed balanced and just plain right, but nonetheless ear-opening in its originality. He made you say: THAT’S the way it should sound. 

But curiously, Hogwood (below, in a photo by Marcus Borggreve) seems to have understood other people and performers who prefer early music played in more modern approaches or idiosyncratic or individualistic manners. The Ear likes that kind of non-purist and tolerant approach to early music, to all music really. He is what Hogwood said in one interview:

‘THERE’S NOTHING WRONG WITH PLAYING THINGS HISTORICALLY COMPLETELY INCORRECTLY: MUSIC IS NOT A MORAL BUSINESS, SO YOU CAN PLAY ABSOLUTELY IN A STYLE THAT SUITS YOU AND PLEASES YOUR PUBLIC. IT MAY BE COMPLETELY UNRECOGNISABLE TO THE COMPOSER BUT SO WHAT, HE’S DEAD.’

christopher christopher hogwood CR Marcuys Borggreve

Here are some links for you to learn more about the achievements of Christopher Hogwood and the Academy of Ancient Music, which he founded and is now directed by Richard Egarr.

Here is a fine story from NPR (National Public Radio):

http://www.npr.org/blogs/deceptivecadence/2014/09/24/351193303/remembering-christopher-hogwood-an-evangelist-for-early-music

Here is a comprehensive obituary from The New York Times:

http://www.nytimes.com/2014/09/26/arts/christopher-hogwood-early-music-devotee-dies-at-73.html

Here is a story from The Washington Post:

http://www.washingtonpost.com/entertainment/music/christopher-hogwood-conductor-who-gave-new-drive-to-classical-warhorses-dies-at-73/2014/09/25/a148ff2a-44cb-11e4-b47c-f5889e061e5f_story.html

And here is a small story that appeared in Hogwood’s native Great Britain, even though Hogwood also directed American groups in Boston, St. Paul and elsewhere:

http://www.classicalmusicmagazine.org/2014/09/christopher-hogwood-10-september-1941-24-september-2014/

Here is a link to a 70-minute podcast that the magazine Gramophone did to mark Hogwood’s 70th birthday:

http://www.gramophone.co.uk/classical-music-news/remembering-christopher-hogwood

 

 

 

 


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