By Jacob Stockinger
Here is the official announcement of the 2017-18 season by the Madison Symphony Orchestra:
The 2017-18 season of the Madison Symphony Orchestra (MSO, below, in a photo by Greg Anderson) presents nine programs that invite audiences to “listen with all your heart” and “feel the emotion, power and majesty” of great classical music.
Subscriptions are available now, and single tickets for all concerts go on sale to the public Saturday, Aug. 12, 2017.
For more information about tickets and ticket prices plus discounts for new subscribers and renewing subscribers, go to:
MSO music director John DeMain, who will be marking his 24th season with the MSO, has created an exciting season that features favorites combined with firsts.
Says DeMain (below, in a photo by Prasad): “I must point out two monumental firsts: the MSO debut of the great violinist Gil Shaham, renowned and sought after the world over, whose appearance Madison has waited for for many years; and the Madison premiere of the Glagolitic Mass by Czech composer Leos Janacek, a gargantuan work for chorus and orchestra with a prominent role for our “Colossal Klais,” the Overture Concert Organ.”
Performances are in Overture Hall of the Overture Center at 7:30 p.m. on Fridays; 8 p.m. on Saturdays; and 2:30 p.m. on Sundays.
The 2017-2018 subscription series concerts begin on Sept. 15, 16 and 17 with “Orchestral Brilliance”—proudly presenting the Madison Symphony Orchestra performing the Johann Sebastian Bach/Leopold Stokowski version of the organ Toccata and Fugue in D minor; Felix Mendelssohn’s Reformation Symphony and Hector Berlioz’s “Harold in Italy” with MSO principal viola Christopher Dozoryst (below, in a photo by Katrin Talbot) as soloist. (You can hear Leopold Stokowski conduct his own transcription of the work by Bach, which was used in Walt Disney’s film “Fantasia,” in the YouTube video at the bottom.)
“From the New World” on Oct. 20, 21 and 22 features the return of beloved pianist Olga Kern (below), a gold medalist in the Van Cliburn competition, performing Samuel Barber’s Piano Concerto, and the MSO performing Antonin Dvorak’s Symphony No. 9 “From the New World” and Maurice Ravel’s Mother Goose Suite.
On Nov. 17, 18, and 19 “Troubadour: Two Faces of the Classical Guitar” features sensational guitar virtuoso Sharon Isbin (below) playing two works, one by American composer Chris Brubeck, and the other by the Spaniard Joaquin Rodrigo, with the MSO performing two Suites—Manuel DeFalla’s The Three-Cornered Hat and Aaron Copland’s Billy the Kid.
The cherished kickoff to the holiday season, “A Madison Symphony Christmas,” returns on the first weekend in December — the 1, 2, and 3. Guest artists Emily Pogorelc, soprano, and Eric Barry, tenor, join John DeMain, the MSO, the Madison Symphony Chorus (below), Madison Youth Choirs and Mount Zion Gospel Choir on stage for the family-friendly celebration.
The MSO season subscription continues in 2018 with the long awaited appearance of violinist Gil Shaham (below) with the MSO—“Gil Shaham Plays Tchaikovsky” on Jan. 19, 20 and 21. This program features works by three of the most popular Russian composers of all time— Sergei Prokofiev’s The Love for Three Oranges Suite, Sergei Rachmaninoff’s Symphony No. 3 and Peter Tchaikovsky’s Violin Concerto.
“Richly Romantic” concerts take place on Feb. 16, 17 and 18 when one of MSO’s favorite cellists, Alban Gerhardt (below), returns performing the lyrical William Walton’s Cello Concerto, and the MSO presents Johannes Brahms’ Symphony No. 1 and Gioachino Rossini’s Overture to Semiramide.
Spring arrives April 13, 14, and 15 with “String Fever” featuring Robert Schumann’s Symphony No. 1, Spring, Benjamin Britten’s Sinfonia da Requiem and Grammy Award-winning violinist Augustin Hadelich (below) performing the Antonin Dvorak’s Violin Concerto.
The season finale, “Mass Appeal,” takes place on May 4, 5 and 6. Star of NPR’s From the Top, pianist Christopher O’Riley (below), will open the program with Mozart’s Piano Concerto No. 22. The MSO premiere of the monumental Glagolitic Mass by Czech composer Leos Janacek features the Overture Concert Organ and the Madison Symphony Chorus, along with soloists Rebecca Wilson, soprano, Julie Miller, mezzo-Soprano, Roger Honeywell, tenor, and Benjamin Sieverding, bass.
The MSO’s 17-18 season includes the popular multimedia production of Beyond the Score®, “Edward Elgar: Enigma Variations,” featuring live actors and visuals in the first half, with the entire work performed in the second half. Joining the orchestra are American Players Theatre actors James Ridge (below), Colleen Madden and Brian Mani, along with Wisconsin Public Radio’s Norman Gilliland of Wisconsin Public Radio as the Narrator. This single performance takes place on Sunday, March 18, 2018*.
NOTE: *Advance tickets for Beyond the Score® are available only to MSO 17-18 season subscribers prior to single tickets going on sale to the general public on Saturday, Aug. 12, 2017. Beyond the Score® is a production of the Chicago Symphony Orchestra. Gerard McBurney, Creative Director for Beyond the Beyond the Score®
ABOUT THE MADISON SYMPHONY ORCHESTRA
The Madison Symphony Orchestra celebrates its 92nd season in 2017-2018 and its 24th season under the leadership of music director John DeMain.
The MSO has grown to be one of America’s leading regional orchestras, providing Madison and south central Wisconsin with cultural and educational opportunities to interact with great masterworks and top-tier guest artists from around the world.
Find more information at madisonsymphony.org
By Jacob Stockinger
He is generally acknowledged as the greatest writer of all time and of any culture.
The English poet and playwright William Shakespeare (below) died 400 years ago today – on April 23, 1616 — in his hometown of Stratford-on-Avon where he returned to after his stage career in London. He was 52 years old.
You may have heard that a touring copy of the rare 1623 First Folio edition of his plays, on loan from the Folger Shakespeare Library in Washington, D.C., will be on display this fall at the Chazen Museum of Art at the University of Wisconsin-Madison. Dates of the exhibit are Nov. 3-Dec. 11, 2016.
Here is a link with more information:
And this summer’s Madison Early Music Festival will focus on Shakespeare and music of the Elizabethan Age when it is held from July 9 to July 16.
Here is more information about that event:
Today, what The Ear wants to know is what is your favorite piece of music inspired by Shakespeare?
The Overture to “A Midsummer Night’s Dream” by Felix Mendelssohn? (The Ear loves that richly atmospheric work. You can hear it, complete with the braying of the “rude mechanical” human who is transformed into a donkey — in a YouTube video at the bottom)
The operas ”Otello” or “Falstaff” by Giuseppe Verdi?
The opera versions of “Romeo and Juliet” by Hector Berlioz and Charles Gounod?
The incidental music to “Henry V,” “Hamlet” and “Richard III” by William Walton?
Franz Schubert’s song “Where is Sylvia”?
The “Romeo and Juliet” Fantasy Overture by Tchaikovsky?
Various setting of songs and ditties in Shakespeare’s plays?
If you need something to jog your memory about possible choices, here is a link:
Leave your choice, with a YouTube link if possible, in the COMMENTS section.
The Ear wants to hear.
By Jacob Stockinger
The end of the semester is approaching, and the situation is once again typical.
The choral concerts at the University of Wisconsin-Madison School of Music are starting to stack up the same way that singers walk on stage and start filling up risers.
Every semester, it seems, the choral music performances get backed up and squeezed into the last few weekends of the semester.
To help you fill in your calendars and datebooks, here is a summary of the major groups and concerts.
The UW Madrigal Singers and Chorale will both give FREE concerts at 7:30 p.m. in Luther Memorial Church (below), 1021 University Ave.
Bruce Gladstone (below) will conduct the groups.
Here are some notes from the UW-Madison School of Music website and calendar:
“With a Merry Noise” features sacred music from 20th-century England.”
Here are the programs:
“Ye Choirs of New Jerusalem” (1910) by Charles Villiers Stanford (below top, 1852-1924)
“O Pray for the Peace of Jerusalem” (1941) by Herbert Howells (below bottom, 1892-1983)
“The Twelve” (1965) by William Walton (below, 1902-1983)
With UW-Madison faculty members John Chappell Stowe, organ; Bruce Gladstone, conductor.
Soloists for Pilgrim’s Journey are: Sara Guttenberg, soprano; Josh Sanders, tenor; and Paul Rowe, baritone.
NOTES FROM THE UW SCHOOL OF MUSIC
England experienced an oft-called musical renaissance in the last half of the 19th century. Composers like Hubert Parry (below), Charles Stanford and others at the Royal College of Music sought to raise the standard of composition and find a true “English voice.”
The works on this concert, though stylistically varied, display a characteristic “Englishness,” and offer a look at four very important composers who not only helped change the face of music in Great Britain, but who also wrote sublime and glorious works.
The three shorter works were all written as church anthems. Vaughan Williams’ “Pilgrim’s Journey” started life as an opera and was adapted into its present cantata format for performance as a non-staged work.
On Sunday night, Nov. 16, at 7:30 p.m. in Mills Hall, the UW Concert Choir (below bottom) will present a FREE concert, under director Beverly Taylor (below top), called the “Style Show.”
It features works of different periods from the Renaissance to the present and showing where they overlap and imitate each other.
The composers include Orlando Gibbons, Robert Pearsall, Wolfgang Amadeus Mozart, Gyorgy Orban and John Harbison (represented by his jazz arrangements). Featured are serious and happy motets, several extended works, folk songs and close harmony.
On Friday, Nov. 21, at 8 p.m. in Mills Hall the University Chorus and the UW Women’s Chorus will give a FREE concert.
Anna Volodarskaya and Sarah Guttenberg will conduct.
Here is the program:
Three Madrigals Emma Lou Diemer (below)
Praise His Holy Name Keith Hampton
Ruhetal Felix Mendelssohn
Exsultate justi in Domino Ludovico da Daviana
UW CHORAL UNION AND UW SYMPHONY ORCHESTRA
On Saturday, Nov. 22, at 8 p.m. in Mills Hall and Sunday, Nov. 23, at 7:30 p.m. in Mills Hall, the UW Choral Union (made up of campus and community singers) and the UW Symphony will perform under the baton of Beverly Taylor (all seen below).
Tickets are $15 for the public; $8 for seniors and students.
Antonin Dvorak Te Deum
Ralph Vaughan Williams Flos Campi
Featuring Professor and Pro Arte Quartet violist Sally Chisholm
Giuseppe Verdi Te Deum
“Presented will be the buoyant, robust and beautiful Te Deum by Antonin Dvorak (performed for the first time by Choral Union); the languorously beautiful Flos Campi by Ralph Vaughan Williams for wordless chorus and solo viola, and the dramatic Te Deum by Giuseppe Verdi set for very large orchestra.
The two Te Deums are very different settings of an ancient liturgical song of praise.
The Flos Campi (below in a YouTube video) features violist Sally Chisholm (below), a member of the Pro Arte String Quartet and Professor of Music at UW-Madison.
By Jacob Stockinger
This Friday night is, as The Wise Critic likes to call them, another big “Train Wreck.”
That is because there are so many fine but conflicting concerts to choose from.
Yesterday, The Ear posted an interview with David Ronis, who talked about his own background and about the University Opera’s production of Benjamin Britten’s comic opera “Albert Herring.” It opens Friday night at 7:30 p.m. in Music Hall with repeat performances at 3 p.m. on Sunday and 7:30 p.m. on Tuesday night.
Here is a link:
But that opera opening night is just the beginning.
Here are three other events that merit your attention and consideration:
On Friday night at 7:30 p.m. in Overture Hall of the Overture Center, The Westminster Abbey Choir of London, England opens the 10th anniversary season of the Overture Concert Organ (below), custom built by Klais of Bonn, Germany.
From the Madison Symphony Orchestra: “For nearly 1,000 years, inspiring choral music has filled the vast cathedral of London’s Westminster Abbey, the site of every British coronation since 1066. (At the bottom in a popular YouTube video, you can hear the choir singing British composer John Rutter’s “The Lord Bless You and Keep You” at the 60th wedding anniversary of Queen Elizabeth II and Prince Philip.)
“Now, this renowned 40-voice choir (below) comes to Madison to sing with the Overture Concert Organ in a program of music from the 11th century to the Renaissance and 20th century, featuring the works of Orlando Gibbons, George Frideric Handel, Sir Hubert Parry and William Walton.
“Praised by the Sydney Morning Herald as “…One of the great choral powerhouses of our time,” The Choir of Westminster Abbey has performed for numerous notable events including, Evening Prayer in the presence of Pope Benedict XVI in 2010 and the wedding of the Duke and Duchess of Cambridge in 2011, which was seen by a worldwide television audience of over two billion people. In June 2012, the Choir made a historic visit to Rome, when it sang, at the Pope’s invitation, alongside the Sistine Chapel Choir.
“When not touring the world with destinations such as Sydney, Hong Kong, Washington, D.C., and Moscow, The Choir of Westminster Abbey works on a celebrated series of recordings for Hyperion. Their critically acclaimed recording Mary and Elizabeth at Westminster Abbey received the Gramophone Critics’ Choice Award and has been hailed as “a showcase for English choral singing at its most charismatic.”
General admission for the concert is $20 and tickets can be purchased at www.madisonsymphony.org/westminster, the Overture Center Box Office or (608) 258-4141. Student rush tickets are $10 on the day of show with a valid student ID (see www.madisonsymphony.org/studentrush).
This concert is sponsored by Pleasant T. Rowland Foundation, W. Jerome Frautschi Foundation, and Alfred P. and Ann M. Moore.
To see the Overture Concert Organ series of concerts for 2014-15 or to subscribe at a 25 percent savings, visit:
www.madisonsymphony.org/organseason14-15 or call (608) 257-3734.
PRO ARTE QUARTET
On Friday night at 7:30 p.m.in Mills Hall, the Pro Arte Quartet (below, in a photo by Rick Langer), which has been artists-in-residence at the University of Wisconsin-Madison School of Music since 1941, will perform a FREE concert.
The program is: String Quartet in D Major, Op. 71 No. 2 (1793) by Franz Joseph Haydn; String Quartet No. 4 (1936) by Alexander Zemlinsky (1936); and the popular String Quartet in F Major, Op. 96 “American” (1893) by Antonin Dvorak.
On Friday night at 7 p.m., Edgewood College will present its Fall Choral Concert in the St. Joseph Chapel, 1000 Edgewood College Drive. Admission is FREE.
The Edgewood Chamber Singers, under the direction of Albert Pinsonneault (below top), will be joined by the Women’s Choir, under the direction of Kathleen Otterson (below bottom) and the Men’s Choir, under the direction of Sergei Pavlov.
There is no admission charge.
Sorry, The Ear has received no word about specific works on the program.
By Jacob Stockinger
In case you haven’t already heard, the great British conductor and longtime music director of the London Symphony Orchestra Sir Colin Davis (below) died last Sunday at 85 after a brief illness.
The news came unexpected to The Ear as Davis seemed actively involved in conducting almost up to the end. He seemed to have the stamina that would take him well into his 90s – especially since the aerobic act of conducting seems conducive to conductors have long careers and lives.
But then again, the obituaries make it clear that he suffered deeply from the death of his wife.
I never heard him live. But I loved his recorded performances –- and he recorded prolifically with some 250 albums to his credit. In the works of Sibelius and Berlioz he was a stalwart champion and acclaimed master. He also championed British composers such as Edward Elgar, William Walton and Benjamin Britten.
But I also liked his complete command of the Classical era-style in Mozart, Haydn and Beethoven – symphonies, concertos, operas, oratories and other choral works. (Below is the cover of his recording on the London Symphony Orchestra‘s own in-house label LSO Live of the Berlioz Requiem.)
Sir Colin earned fame and a fine living early on (below) in the 1950s and 1960s. But I especially liked that his career seemed to peak late in his life –- a good riposte to the cultural tendency today to worship prodigies and young achievers. He was never better than when his hair turned white.
There is also something endearing and Britty eccentric about Davis who liked to sit in a chair and think about musical interpretations while he was puffing on his pipe and knitting.
And in his stage performances and touring, and it sounds to The Ear as if Sir Colin led a very good and very full life. Which may help explain why Sir Colin’s music-making sounded so healthy and robust and natural rather than neurotic or forced. (Below is a photo of Sir Colin at his home.)
Anyway, here are links to some of the best stories, remembrances and obituaries I found along with a fitting YouTube video of Sir Colin conducting Mozart’s Requiem at the bottom):
Here is a comprehensive and compassionate overview of Sir Colin’s life and career from NPR’s always outstanding blog “Delayed Cadence”:
And here is a story from Sir Colin’s native UK:
Here is a link to BBC report:
Here is a link to report from The New York Times:
And here is a story from another UK source, The Guardian:
Here is a report from the UK wire service Reuters:
Did you hear Sir Colin live? What did you think?
Do you have a favorite recording?
A word of tribute about Sir Colin to leave in the COMMENTS section?
The Ear wants to hear.
By Jacob Stockinger
But guess what?
Guess who, despite ups and downs, saved the institution of the monarchy in the public’s eyes?
All the experts seem to agree: Credit goes to the Queen herself – and not the hipper, more photogenic and glamorous younger royals like the late and much hyped Princess Diana or the nerdy Prince Charles, or the gallant Prince Andrew. (But Price William and Kate Middleton do seem to be building on her precedent.)
It was Her Majesty herself – in the words of The Beatles, a pretty nice girl who doesn’t have a lot to say” and who, one fashion wag fondly and approvingly remarked, dresses like an oven mitt — who revived the popularity of the monarchy among a public that only a decade or two ago was growing increasing doubtful and negative about continuing the royal rule. She sure can half-smile and half-wave. Plus she stays dignified and largely silent, but seemingly amiable and hard-working.
I have already posted something about this the day that she actually ascended to the throne (versus the date of her official Coronation).
Here is a link to that posting back on Feb. 6:
And here are some links to official websites being used by the country and the royal family to mark the official Diamond Jubilee, which starts today and runs through Tuesday.
Here is a trivia test of your knowledge about the Queen:
Finally, what music should I post as a Shout Out to QE2 on this grand occasion?
I thought about posting something by Sir Edward Elgar – maybe one of the less popular and less well-known “Pomp and Circumstance” Marches or maybe the first movement of the Symphony No. 1. But that is just too easy and too … well, common.
But I may be mistaken.
Maybe you can improve on me.
So, what greetings and good wishes would you like to leave for the Queen in the Comments section to mark her Diamond Jubilee?
And what piece of music do you think should be played to mark the occasion?