Wednesday, October 26, 2016
When it comes to expressing emotion, Cellist Gautier Capucon has no equal. Now he is out with a new recording: Beethoven: Cello Sonatas and Variations Beethoven: Cello Sonatas Nos. 1-5 (complete) Variations (12) on “See the conquering hero comes” for Cello and Piano, WoO 45 Variations (7) on “Bei Männern, welche Liebe fühlen”, for Cello and Piano, WoO 46 Variations (12) on “Ein Mädchen oder Weibchen” for Cello and Piano, Op. 66 All performed by Gautier Capuçon (cello) and Frank Braley (piano) Following after last year’s live recording of the Shostakovich cello concertos, this album sees Gautier return to the studio with his friend and recital partner of many years, Frank Braley, in a program of Beethoven’s Sonatas for Cello and Piano. In addition the album includes Beethoven’s wonderful variations on three different themes – two on arias from Mozart’s opera Die Zauberflöte, and the other from Handel’s Judas Maccabaeus. Here is Mr. Capucon in Beethoven’s Cello Sonata number 2:
By Jacob Stockinger This week will be a busy one at the University of Wisconsin-Madison School of Music , which is now funded in large part by the Mead Witter Foundation. The big event is the long-awaited groundbreaking for the new performance center. That, in turn, will be celebrated with three important and appealing concerts. Here is the lineup: FRIDAY From 4 to 5:30 p.m., an official and public groundbreaking ceremony for the new Hamel Music Center will take place at the corner of Lake Street and University Avenue. (Below is an architect’s rendering of the completed building.) At 8 p.m. in Mills Hall, pianist Christopher Taylor (below) will perform the “Goldberg” Variations by Johann Sebastian Bach on the two-keyboard “Hyperpiano” that he has invented and refined. (You can hear the opening aria theme of the “Goldberg” Variations played by Glenn Gould in the YouTube video at the bottom.) For more information about the concert and the innovative piano, visit: http://www.music.wisc.edu/2016/09/13/pianist-christopher-taylor-to-debut-new-piano/ Tickets are $18 and are available at the Wisconsin Union Theater box office. Last The Ear heard, the concert was close to a sell-out. SATURDAY At 7 p.m. in Mills Hall, UW-Madison faculty bassoonist Marc Vallon (below, in a photo by James Gill), who studied and worked with the recently deceased French composer and conductor Pierre Boulez , will lead a FREE “Breaking Ground” concert of pioneering music from the 17th, 19th, 20th and 21st centuries. Composers represented include Ludwig van Beethoven, Michelangelo Rossi, Alexander Scriabin , Iannis Xenakis , John Cage , Helmut Lachenmann and Morton Feldman. For more information and the complete program, go to: http://www.music.wisc.edu/event/breaking-ground-with-marc-vallon-and-sound-out-loud/ SUNDAY At 3 p.m. in Mills Hall, the Wisconsin Brass Quintet will give a FREE concert. For more information about the group and the program, go to: http://www.music.wisc.edu/event/the-wisconsin-brass-quintet/ Wisconsin Brass Quintet Tagged: "Goldberg" Variations , architect , aria , Arts , Baroque , Bassoon , Beethoven , brass , Brass quintet , Cello , Chamber music , Christopher Taylor , Classical music , composer , conductor , Early music , French music , Glenn Gould , groundbreaking , Helmut Lachenmann , Iannis Xenakis , Jacob Stockinger , Johann Sebastian Bach , John Cage , Keyboard , Ludwig van Beethoven , Madison , Mead Witter , Michelangelo Rossi , Morton Feldman , New Music , Piano , Pierre Boulez , quintet , Scriabin , Sonata , theme , theme and variations , United States , University of Wisconsin-Madison School of Music , University of Wisconsin–Madison , video , Viola , Violin , Wisconsin Brass Quintet , Wisconsin Union Theater , YouTube
Ten Questions with Liam Moran, bass Friar Lawrence in Romeo and Juliet 1. Where were you born / raised? I was born and raised in Brookline, Massachusetts, but am now a proud Dairy Stater. I live with my family in La Crosse. 2. If you weren't a singer, what profession would you be in? I'd want to be a pro soccer player, but that probably wouldn't have panned out! I suppose I'd be a lawyer or work in the mental health field. 3. The first opera I was ever in was... Falstaff. I sang in the chorus at Tanglewood when I was in high school. I got the bug for sure. 4. My favorite opera is... ...the hardest question to answer. Depends on what day you ask, could be any or some combination of Carmen, Le Nozze di Figaro, L'Incoronazione di Poppea, A Midsummer Night's Dream, Don Carlo, Eugene Onegin, you get the idea. 5. My favorite pre-show / post-show meal is... My favorite pre-show meal is light, roasted vegetables or an omelette. Post-show I love a salty snack and a beer. This is Wisconsin, right? Ha! 6. People would be surprised to know that... I've never joined Facebook. Well, people who know me aren't surprised, they just roll their eyes. But nope, never did. 7. A few of my favorite books are... ...also hard to narrow down. Today let's say: Anna Karenina, All the King's Men, Catcher in the Rye, The Blind Assassins, Thinking: Fast and Slow; The Rest is Noise... I could go on! 8. What do you like to binge-watch? Lately I've been binge-watching both of the OJ Simpson projects, the miniseries The People vs. OJ Simpson (outstanding) and the ESPN six-part documentary, OJ: Made in America. Both are extraordinary. Talk about operatic... 9. What four people (living or deceased) would you like to invite for a dinner party? Again, I'm sure if you ask me later today you'll get three new answers (I'd always say my grandma). But for now let's say: Mozart, Eleanor Roosevelt, Einstein, and my grandmother. Lots of people I'd like to meet, but suspect they'd be downers at a dinner party (Dostoevsky, Kant, Beethoven...). 10. Everyone should see Romeo and Juliet because.... It's a different way to experience a piece we all think we already know. There are several departures from Shakespeare, but the central story remains intact. But more important, with opera the music gives the audience a chance to experience the emotional undercurrent of each scene at the same time, adding a visceral element to the narrative arc of the piece. Plus there are loads of great tunes and, really, do you ever need an excuse to come to the Overture Center? Bonus: One question you wish someone would ask you (and the answer): We have two kids under the age of five, so.... Q: Would you like some coffee? A: Yes, yes I would. Don't miss the chance to see Liam in Romeo and Juliet, as Shakespeare's classic work comes to ravishing operatic life. Performances are November 4 and 6 in Overture Hall. Tickets start at $18; visit madisonopera.org for more information.
ALERT: This afternoon at 2:30 p.m. in Overture Hall is your last chance to hear the Madison Symphony Orchestra with violinist-composer Henning Kraggerud (below). The popular “Pastorale” Symphony by Ludwig van Beethoven is also on the program. Here are some reviews, all positive: Here is the review that John W. Barker wrote for Isthmus: http://isthmus.com/music/something-old-something-new/ Here is Jessica Courtier’s review for The Capital Times and The Wisconsin State Journal : http://host.madison.com/ct/entertainment/music/concert-review-madison-symphony-orchestra-takes-listeners-on-a-trip/article_6ccb102f-2f5a-5f81-8df0-84323c05ca44.html And here is the review written by Greg Hettmansberger for his blog “What Greg Says”: https://whatgregsays.wordpress.com/2016/10/22/no-place-like-a-second-home/ By Jacob Stockinger The Ear, who is an avid amateur pianist, ran across these 10 tips for productive practicing – something he can always use. He knew some of them before. But it never hurts to review the basics. That’s why they are called the basics. And some tips — included on a website based in Hong Kong, China , where music education is booming — were new. He thought that you too – no matter what instrument you play or if you sing – would find them helpful too. And if you don’t play or sing, maybe these tips will still enhance your appreciation of the hard work that goes into playing and practicing. So here they are: http://www.interlude.hk/front/ten-tips-productive-practice/ If you have some practice tips of your own to add, just leave them in the COMMENT section. The Ear wants to hear. And to play better. Tagged: Arts , Asia , Beethoven , blog , Cello , China , Classical music , Classically Speaking , Education , Greg Hettmansberger , Henning Kraggerud , Hong Kong , instrumentalist , Isthmus , Jacob Stockinger , Jessica Courtier , John W. Barker , Madison , Madison Magazine , Madison Symphony Orchestra , Music , Music education , Orchestra , Overture Center , pastoral , Pastorale , Piano , play , practice , review , sing , singer , symphony , Teacher , teaching , The Capital Times , tip , tips , United States , University of Wisconsin-Madison School of Music , University of Wisconsin–Madison , Viola , Violin , vocal music , What Greg Says , Wisconsin , Wisconsin State Journal
By Jacob Stockinger Norwegian violinist Henning Kraggerud plays beautifully, even flawlessly, but always expressively. You can hear that for yourself tonight, Saturday night and Sunday afternoon when he solos in the popular Violin Concerto No. 1 in G Minor by Max Bruch with the Madison Symphony Orchestra under the baton of John DeMain . (The famous Symphony No. 6 “Pastoral” by Ludwig van Beethoven is also on the program.) Here is a link to more about the MSO concerts: https://welltempered.wordpress.com/2016/10/17/classical-music-madison-symphony-orchestra-and-violinist-henning-kraggerud-perform-music-by-beethoven-bruch-elgar-and-kraggerud-this-weekend/ But Kraggerud is also a serious thinker about music and musicians. He recently appeared in a blog posting. There he praised the use of improvising and composing as ways to explore and expand one’s musicality. And he practices what he preaches: three of his own compositions are on the MSO program this weekend. (You can hear more about his own training in the YouTube interview with Henning Kraggerud at the bottom.) He also improved Thursday afternoon on The Midday program of Wisconsin Public Radio . Kraggerud laments the loss of well-rounded musicians who know more about the world than music. He puts the use of metronome markings in a subjective perspective by quoting famous composers like Johannes Brahms and Claude Debussy . He believes that expression, rather than precision, should be the ultimate goal. And he condemned various practices, including teaching methods, recordings and competitions, that place technical perfection above personal, subjective interpretation as a goal. He praises the use of informed interpretative freedom from Johann Sebastian Bach onwards. Here is a link to Kraggerud’s remarks and observations, which take on added interest and relevance from his appearances in Madison this weekend: http://www.classical-music.com/blog/problem-perfection?source=techstories.org Tagged: Artistic director , Arts , Baroque , Beethoven , Chamber music , Classical music , Compact Disc , Competition , compose , concerto , Debussy , Edward Elgar , expression , freedom , Henning Kraggerud , improvisation , improvise , interpretation , interview , Jacob Stockinger , Johann Sebastian Bach , Johannes Brahms , John DeMain , Ludwig van Beethoven , Madison , Madison Symphony Orchestra , Max Bruch , metronome , Music , Norway , Norwegian , Ole Bull , Orchestra , Overture Center , pastoral , Pastorale , precision , recording , symphony , teaching , United States , University of Wisconsin-Madison School of Music , University of Wisconsin–Madison , Viola , Violin , Wisconsin , wisconsin public radio , Wolfgang Amadeus Mozart , YouTube
After hearing Gabriela Montero Monday afternoon in Sanders Theater, I went home, and before my mystical feelings passed, sat down to play better piano than I had any right to expect. Montero had played and advocated as guest of Lespau, a Harvard affiliate celebrating 50 years of connecting Latin America and the Caribbean with opportunities for quality higher education. Montero’s the total package. She reveals a monster-scary technique, but that’s not what you take away. She’s about the music, being in the moment, with an unreal level of concentration (Barenboim-like, but with more piano coloring). She generates more warmth from her right little finger than a nuclear reactor, along with gorgeous sound, and extended musical arcs of lyric melody. That’s what you take away. She is known as much for her improvising as for her improvisatory takes on standard repertoire. In the latter halves of many of her recitals she fills in the blanks after asking the audience to supply a theme—it must be sung, not simply named—then she goes to town. Remarkable, the way she can incorporate so many classical musical styles and periods into a single creation on a theme, totally on the fly. Jazzy, too. Leading into this program, I was most excited about the improvisations promised. And she delivered, on all two of them. Just Two? I forgave her on the spot (of course), because I couldn’t imagine a better, or more satisfying, performance of the Schubert or Schumann that the first part of her program comprised. But more on that little finger. Trust me, eyes and ears were trained on that finger, mostly during the four Schubert Impromptus, Op. 90, D. 899, where said finger got a considerable share of the music’s focus, particularly in the 3rd Impromptu. She must have started learning these pieces at age six. Such old friends they seemed. Not that they sounded old, like early 19th century German period pieces, which would have been just fine. They were fresh, universal sounding. Though I usually find these impromptus in need of whittling down, with so much repetition of musical ideas, Montero made these not-so-small pieces hum (vibrate), and dance, with grace, mass, and (importantly) structure. Again, I’m reminded of Barenboim, relentless in the loud, aggressive sections Beethoven’s last movement of the Waldstein, while so quiet throughout the initial theme and its returns, but as a result, bringing structure to the work, making us hear the movement (and work) as a whole. Montero brought scale to the set of four with blood-pulsing life. She is a master of subdivision on a minute (emphasis on second syllable) scale, and her Impromptus unfolded rhythmically from so many different temporal gears that it gave her, almost paradoxically, the power to bend time, if she so wished. And so wish she did, but not initially. That would come with time, because she indulged in only the barest rhythmic nuance in the opener. This was not Brendel’s Schubert. It was classically structured all the same, but with more: more power, more sectional contrast, more drama, more quiet, more breadth, more noble sorrow, and more singing. Such singing! And when that ever-slight nuance came, she made the works her own. If you wished, you could hear increments of four, sixteen, and 32 between the larger musical pulse. You could almost see humming birds drawn to and hovering above. There’s a lot of reverb in Sanders. My colleague found some of Montero’s playing to be just a little over-legato, but not over-pedaled. I hadn’t noticed. It was certainly never brittle. Triplets in the 2nd and 4th impromptu shimmered, with all the repetition serving to mesmerize rather than sound like repetition. Both impromptus danced, bounced lightly (with all that de-emphasis of the 3rd beat), and melodies (be it played with right little finger or left thumb) soared. In the 3rd impromptu we marveled at her rubato. Montero could extract as much time between those right little finger melodic notes as she wanted, and it all worked because she was (as were we) so much in the moment as the piece pulsed. Before the close, double-forte drama had unfolded with the same gorgeous sound as her floating pianissimos. Carnival had all the stop-start-accelerate-turn-get loud-get soft-spin-on-a-dime Sturm und Drang one could desire. It was much like Matsuev’s marvelous rendition at Sanders two years before, but perhaps imbued more warmth, and more ache. Big, tiny, and intimate at once. Gabriela Montero (Shelly Mosman photo) Her virtuoso arsenal included joyous bursts of sound, whisper quiet octaves then huge washes of sound, left hand leaping over the keyboard (much fun to watch), orchestral playing but über-pianistic. Her piano pleaded and waltzed about with wit and wackiness—no shying away from those Schumann-ic schizophrenic shifts of character; extra pronounced they were—all leading to an exultant, joyous close. After the Schumann, Montero announced she would be playing two improvisations. One on an audience-provided theme, the other on a theme she would introduce based on her homeland. It took all of two moments for her to get her bearings with Bob Dylan’s “Blowing in the Wind.” She played the theme, then launched into a Mozart variation, then riffed into a dizzying array of styles, moods, and modes on the Dylan theme, adding and dispensing with her own creative supporting material along the way. It was a hoot! And an audience delight. An ardent activist and spokesperson for her native Venezuela, Montero spoke briefly of her country’s descent into lawlessness, corruption, and violence. But, she said, she is absolutely convinced things will get better. Her improvisation, she said, would start from fear and despair, but would end with quiet triumph. A dark and haunting theme emerged, quietly. It, too, descended into violence, before rising from tones of despair to sounds of hope. If there was some slight self-indulgence in this improvisation, it was entirely warranted. Montero has blood in her veins, marrow in her bones, and age in her soul. She played with passion and sinew while projecting great composure. I was the one to have had a fine meltdown. Jim McDonald has masters degrees in arts administration and piano performance from the University of Iowa, where he studied with John Simms. He has presented chamber music for 25 years. The post A Committed Montero Triumphs appeared first on The Boston Musical Intelligencer .
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