The Well-Tempered Ear

Classical music: Saturday is busy with baroque music by Vivaldi and Bach at the Wisconsin Union Theater; Wagner’s opera “Die Walküre” in cinemas; and FREE Beethoven performances for families by the Wisconsin Chamber Orchestra

March 28, 2019
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By Jacob Stockinger

This Saturday, March 30, is busy with classical music from morning until night.

In the morning, the Wisconsin Chamber Orchestra’s Family Series features two FREE performances of “Beethoven Lives Next Door” featuring Beethoven’s iconic Fifth Symphony.

They start with pre-concert educational activities at 9 a.m. and 10:45 a.m. with 40-minute concerts at 9:30 a.m. and 11:15 a.m.

All activities take place at the Warner Park Recreational Center, 1625 Northport Drive.

To get FREE tickets and see more information, go to:

https://wisconsinchamberorchestra.org/education/wco-connect-family-concerts/

From 11 a.m. to 4 p.m., the penultimate Live From the Met in HD production of this season will feature “Die Walküre” (The Valkyries), the Metropolitan Opera’s second installment of the epic “Ring” cycle by Richard Wagner.

Screenings will be at the Point Cinema on the west side, near West Towne Mall, and the Palace Cinema in Sun Prairie.

The encore HD showings are next Wednesday, April 3, at 1 p.m. and 6:30 p.m.

The opera will be sung in German with supertitles in English, Italian and Spanish.

Tickets for Saturday broadcasts are $24 for adults and $22 for seniors and children under 13. For encore showings, all tickets are $18.

 It will also be broadcast live on Wisconsin Public Radio, starting at 11 a.m. (You can hear the famous and dramatic “Ride of the Valkyries” in the YouTube video at the bottom.)

For a cast list and synopsis, go to:

https://www.metopera.org/season/in-cinemas/synopsiscast/2018-19/die-walkure/?performanceNumber=15381

For information about the production, go to:

https://www.metopera.org/season/2018-19-season/die-walkure/

But the big local event is the Madison debut of Apollo’s Fire (below), a period-instrument baroque group that just won a 2019 Grammy Award, at 7:30 p.m. in Shannon Hall of the Wisconsin Union Theater.

The program features suite and concertos by Antonio Vivaldi and Johann Sebastian Bach. Vivaldi’s Concerto for Four Violins and “The Goldfinch” Flute Concerto will be featured as will Bach’s Orchestral Suite No. 2 and Brandenburg Concerto No. 3.

Trevor Stephenson, founder and director of the Madison Bach Musicians, will give a FREE pre-concert lecture at 6 p.m. in the Old Madison Room.

For more information and samples of rare reviews about the Cleveland-based group devoted to passionate and dramatic performances of early music, go to:

https://apollosfire.org

For the full program, background, videos and ticket information ($10-$47), go to:

https://union.wisc.edu/events-and-activities/event-calendar/event/apollos-fire/


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Classical music: New biography explains the professional importance and personal quirks of famed maestro Arturo Toscanini

July 8, 2017
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By Jacob Stockinger

You  know  how sometimes a movie preview or trailer gives so much away of the story that it leaves you feeling you don’t really need to see the movie.

That’s how The Ear felt when he read a recent review in The New York Times of a new and exhaustive biography by Harvey Sachs of the famous conductor Arturo Toscanini (below).

Italian conductor Arturo Toscanini (1867 – 1957) conducts the NBC Symphony Orchestra in a televised recording of Verdi‘s ‘Hymn of the Nations‘, 1944. (Photo by Fox Photos/Hulton Archive/Getty Images)

This is the second time that Sachs has written about the maestro. This time, however, he had access to recently released private papers.

And boy, are there some surprises.

In his lengthy review, Robert Gottlieb gives The Ear just about all he wants to know or needs to know about the Italian master from his youth (below, ca. 1890) to old age — and then some. (In the YouTube video at the bottom you can hear and see Toscanini conducting “The Ride of the Valkyries” by Richard Wagner in  1948.)

The Ear knew Toscanini was important. But he was never really quite sure why.

Now he knows.

Here is a link:

https://www.nytimes.com/2017/06/27/books/review/toscanini-biography-harvey-sachs.html

Read the review and see if you agree.

And tell us what you make of Toscanini the musician and Toscanini the man.

The Ear wants to hear.


Classical music: British razzle-dazzle concert organist Thomas Trotter returns for a fifth appearance in Overture Hall on this coming Tuesday night.

February 13, 2015
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By Jacob Stockinger

On this coming Tuesday night at 7:30 p.m. in Overture Hall, the virtuoso British concert organist Thomas Trotter (below) will return for a fifth recital to mark the 10th anniversary of his unforgettable inaugural recital on the colossal custom-made Klais organ.

Trotter’s performance that night drew a sold-out crowd and he extraordinarily performed “Flight of the Bumblebee” by Nicolai Rimsky-Korsakov — with his feet! (At the bottom, you can hear him play in “The Ride of the Valkyries” by Richard Wagner in a YouTube video.)

Thomas Trotter

Admission is $20.

Buy $20 Tickets Now

Student Rush Tickets: $10 day of concert at Overture Box Office.

Adds the magazine The American Organist: “… Thomas Trotter completely deserves his high repute in the organ world…”

For more information and background about Trotter and the remaining organ concerts on the overture Concert Organ (below) this season, visit:

http://www.madisonsymphony.org/trotter

Overture Concert Organ overview

Here is the program, a mix of old and contemporary music, for Tuesday night:

Charles Villiers Stanford (below, 1852-1924)

Fantasia and Toccata in D minor

Sir Charles Villiers Stanford

John Stanley (1712-1786)

Voluntary in F, Op. 7 no. 6

Andante-Vivace

Johann Sebastian Bach (1685-1750)

Trio Sonata No. 1 BWV 525

Allegro-Adagio-Allegro

Jonathan Dove (below)

The Dancing Pipes (2014)

Jonathan Dove

INTERMISSION

Marcel Dupré (1886-1971)

The World Awaiting the Saviour

(1st movement from Passion Symphony)

William Bolcom (below, b. 1938)

Two Gospel Preludes: Sweet Hour of Prayer; Free Fantasia on “O Zion, Haste” and “How Firm a Foundation”

William Bolcom gesturing.

Paul Dukas (1865-1935)

The Sorcerer’s Apprentice

arranged by Thomas Trotter

Felix Mendelssohn (1809-1847)

Overture to St. Paul

arranged by W.T. Best


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