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George Frideric Handel

Monday, April 24, 2017


parterre box

April 13

Their sound is gone out into all lands

parterre boxPerformances of Messiah abound during the Christmas season but Handel’s atypical oratorio should most appropriately be done at Easter. So “Trove Maundy Thursday” offers a recent un-HIP version conducted by Met Music Director Designate Yannick Nézet-Séguin with a stellar quintet of soloists: Karina Gauvin, Karen Cargill, Christophe Dumaux, Andrew Staples and Matthew Rose. Messiah isn’t like most other Handel oratorios. Though usually based on Biblical themes—a few exceptions being Semele, Hercules and Alexander Balus—they otherwise closely resemble his operas: a group of individuals interacting during a conflict. Though Messiah has occasionally been staged , it contains no plot per se nor are any of the soloists portraying characters. Perhaps because of this, Messiah has never been one of my favorite Handel oratorios; I prefer the arresting drama of Saul or Jephtha or Theodora. I might also put in a “plug” for Belshazzar, a rarely performed work that contains some of the composer’s most thrilling choruses. And it’s his choruses that remain the best-known examples of Handel’s vocal writing. Yet Messiah far more than any other oratorio has captured the public’s imagination since its premiere in Dublin during Lent in 1742. Most of the versions I have heard over the past several decades have been by original-instrument forces and smallish choruses usually featuring brisk tempi. Though he eschews the horrifying re-orchestrations that have often plagued large-scale Messiahs, Nézet-Séguin leads the Philadelphia Orchestra and a substantial-sounding chorus in an often very beautiful reading that generally favors slower, more deliberate pacing. Happily, he presents the work complete, unlike the annual presentations by the New York Philharmonic which in my experience have been defaced by brutal cuts. Handel: Messiah Kimmel Center, Philadelphia December 11, 2015 Karina Gauvin, soprano Karen Cargill, mezzo-soprano Christophe Dumaux, countertenor Andrew Staples, tenor Matthew Rose, bass Philadelphia Voices Philadelphia Orchestra Yannick Nézet-Séguin, conductor Trinity Church in lower Manhattan has recently begun the heroic endeavor of performing all of Handel’s oratorios in free weekly installments. Jephtha was featured in March and the remaining concert this spring will feature the third act of Solomon on April 19 . To download this Messiah, just click on the icon of a square with an arrow pointing downward on the audio player above and the resulting mp3 file will appear in your download directory. In addition Messiah, last week’s rapturous Strauss and more than 60 other “Trove Thursday” podcasts are available from iTunes (for free!) or via any RSS reader .

The Well-Tempered Ear

April 22

Classical music: Local music critic John W. Barker will host a fundraiser this Wednesday night for the Fifth Handel Aria Competition

By Jacob Stockinger The Ear has received the following information to post: John W. Barker (below right), local music critic for Isthmus and The Well-Tempered Ear and an arts supporter extraordinaire, will present “Handel and Other Friends,” a fundraiser for the Handel Aria Competition, at Immanuel Lutheran Church , 1021 Spaight Street, on this Wednesday night, April 26, at 7:30 p.m. Performers will include: Madison Savoyards Karlos Moser Trevor Stephenson of the Madison Bach Musicians Paul Rowe and Cheryl Bensman Rowe Pro Arte Quartet Mosaic Chamber Players Claire Powling, Rebecca Buechel and Talia Engstrom from the U.W. Madison Opera Program singing Handel duets A highlight of the evening will be the official announcement of the seven national finalists in the Fifth Annual Handel Aria Competition (below is contestant and winner soprano Chelsea Morris). Tickets to the April 26 fundraiser are $25 general admission, and $40 for special donor seating. They are available in advance at Orange Tree Imports, 1721 Monroe Street, online at Brown Paper Tickets , and at the door. We are delighted to have received over 100 applicants from Canada, Mexico , Puerto Rico and 26 states — including Hawaii — for this year’s competition. Please plan to join us on Friday, June 9 at 7:30 p.m. in Mills Hall in the Humanities Building, University of Wisconsin-Madison Mead Witter School of Music for the Fifth Annual Handel Aria Competition. The Madison Bach Musicians, under the direction of Trevor Stephenson, will again accompany the finalists. In addition to the professional judging for first, second and third prize, there will be a cash prize for Audience Favorite. (In the YouTube video below is Christina Kay singing from Handel’s “Joshua” during the 2016 Handel Aria Competition.) Tickets will be $15 each and go on sale in May. For more information, or to make a contribution, please go to www.HandelAriaCompetition.com Tagged: applicant , aria , Arts , Baroque , Canada , cash , Cello , Chamber music , Chelsea Morris , Cheryl Bensman Rowe , Christina Kay , Classical music , critic , duets , Early music , George Frideric Handel , Handel Aria Competition , Hawaii , Isthmus , Jacob Stockinger , John W. Barker , Joshua , Karlos Moser , Madison , Madison Bach Musicians , Madison Savoyards , Mexico , Mosaic Chamber Players , Music , opera , oratorio , Orchestra , Paul Rowe , prize , Pro Arte Quartet , Puerto Rico , soprano , state , states , The Well-Tempered Ear , Trevor Stephenson , United States , University of Wisconsin-Madison School of Music , University of Wisconsin–Madison , Viola , Violin , vocal music , Wisconsin , YouTube




The Well-Tempered Ear

April 21

Classical music: Saturday night brings the Grammy Award-winning Los Angeles Guitar Quartet to the Wisconsin Union Theater and a concert of chamber works by the Wisconsin Baroque Ensemble. Plus tonight’s concert by the Madison Choral Project is at 8:30 p.m. — NOT 7:30 as originally announced.

URGENT CORRECTION: The time for tonight’s performance of “Privilege” by the Madison Choral Project has been moved from 7:30 p.m. to 8:30 p.m. due to noise from a nearby football game in Camp Randall Stadium . For more about the concert, go to: https://welltempered.wordpress.com/2017/04/20/classical-music-madison-choral-project-gives-concert-of-new-music-focusing-on-the-social-and-political-theme-of-privilege-this-friday-night-and-sunday-afternoon/ THIS JUST IN: Hi Jake: We’ve got cellist Karl von Huene and bassist John Dowling at the Malt House, at 2609 East Washington Avenue on the corner of Milwaukee Street, again this Saturday, from 3-5 p.m. Karl says the pieces they’ll play are by J.S. Bach , W. A. Mozart , Arcangelo Corelli, S. Lee, F. J. Haydn , G.F. Handel , Dmitri Kabalevsky , and Francesco Durante. It should be fun! Cheers, Bill Rogers BIG ALERT: This is a reminder that, in this busy week of music, one stand-out concert is by the Grammy Award-winning Los Angeles Guitar Quartet. It will perform the annual Fan Taylor Memorial Concert this Saturday night at 8 p.m. in Shannon Hall of the Wisconsin Union Theater . (You can hear a sample of the Brandenburg Concerto No. 6 they will play in the YouTube video at the bottom.) The acclaimed quartet will perform music by Bach, Bizet, Debussy, and Villa-Lobos as well as 17th-century Spanish music from the age of the novelist Cervantes For more information about the group, the program and tickets ($10-$48), go to: https://union.wisc.edu/events-and-activities/event-calendar/event/los-angeles-guitar-quartet/ By Jacob Stockinger The Wisconsin Baroque Ensemble will give a concert of baroque chamber music on Saturday night, April 22, at 7:30 p.m. It will take place in Saint Andrew’s Episcopal Church, 1833 Regent Street. Members of the WBE are: Mimmi Fulmer, soprano; Nathan Giglierano, baroque violin; Brett Lipshutz, traverse flute; Eric Miller, viola da gamba; Sigrun Paust, recorder; Monica Steger, traverse flute and harpsichord; Anton TenWolde, baroque cello; and Max Yount, harpsichord. The program includes: Georg Philipp Telemann – Quartet for two traversi, recorder and basso continuo, TWV 43:d1 Mr. De Machy – Pièces de Violle, Suite No. 3 (Pieces for Viol) Francesca Caccini – “Lasciatemi qui solo” (Leave me here alone) Quentin – Trio Sonata for two traversi and basso continuo, Op. 13, No. 3 INTERMISSION Johannes Hieronymus Kapsberger – “Interrotte Speranze” (Vain Hope) Johann Christoph Pepusch – Trio Sonata for recorder, violin and basso continuo Georg Philipp Telemann (below) – Nouveaux Quatuors (Paris Quartets), No. 6 in E minor Giulio Caccini – “Odi, Euterpe” (Hear, Euterpe) Tickets at the door are $20, $10 for students. A post-concert reception will be held after the concert at 2422 Kendall Ave, second floor. For more information, go to: www.wisconsinbaroque.org Tagged: Arcangelo Corelli , Arts , Bach , bar , Baroque , bass , Beer , Bizet , Brandenburg Concerto , Caccini , Cello , Cervantes , Chamber music , classical guitar , Classical music , Compact Disc , continuo , Corelli , Debussy , double bass , Early music , Episcopal , Euterpe , Fan Taylor , flute , Francesca Caccini , Francesco Durante , Georg Philipp Telemann , Grammy Award , guitar , Handel , harpsichord , Haydn , hope , Jacob Stockinger , Johann Sebastian Bach , Kabalevsky , Kapsberger , Le sieur de Machy , Los Angeles , Los Angeles Guitar Quartet , Madison , malt , Malt House , Mozart , Music , Paris , Pepusch , Quartet , Quentin , recorder , Sonata , soprano , Spain , Spanish music , St. Andrew , tavern , Telemann , traverso , trio , United States , University of Wisconsin-Madison School of Music , University of Wisconsin–Madison , vain , Villa-Lobos , Viol , Viola , viola da gamba , Violin , vocal music , Wisconsin , Wisconsin Baroque Ensemble , Wisconsin Union Theater , YouTube

The Well-Tempered Ear

April 18

Classical music: Mozart masterfully melds the emotional and the intellectual, says maestro Gary Thor Wedow, who will conduct two performances of “The Magic Flute” this weekend for the Madison Opera. Here is Part 1 of his two-part interview with The Ear

By Jacob Stockinger The Madison Opera will stage Wolfgang Amadeus Mozart ’s The Magic Flute this Friday night, April 21 at 8 p.m. and Sunday afternoon, April 23, at 2:30 p.m. in Overture Hall. (Production photos are courtesy of the Arizona Opera , from which the Madison Opera got its sets and costumes.) Here are an introduction and some details, courtesy of the Madison Opera: Written in the last year of his life, Mozart’s opera is part fairy tale, part adventure story, and is filled with enchantment. Set in a fairy-tale world of day and night, the opera follows Prince Tamino and the bird-catcher Papageno as they embark on a mission to rescue Pamina, the daughter of the Queen of the Night. Pamina had been kidnapped by Sarastro, the leader of a religious order. But it turns out that exactly who is “good” and who is “evil” is not always what it appears. Along the way to happily-ever-after, Pamina, Tamino and Papageno face many challenges, but are assisted by a magic flute, magic bells, a trio of guiding spirits and their own clear-eyed sense of right and wrong. “The Magic Flute has been beloved around the world since its 1791 premiere,” says Kathryn Smith (below in a photo by James Gill), Madison Opera’s general director. “It has been called a fairy tale for both adults and children, with a story that works on many levels, all set to Mozart’s glorious music. I’m so delighted to be sharing it again with Madison, with an incredible cast, director and conductor.” The opera runs about 2 hours and 45 minutes with one intermission. Tickets are $18 to $130. “The Magic Flute” will be sung in German with English supertitles. For more about the production and cast, go to: http://www.madisonopera.org/performances-2016-2017/the-magic-flute/ And also go to: http://www.madisonopera.org/performances-2016-2017/the-magic-flute/cast/ Dan Rigazzi, who has been on the directing staff at the Metropolitan Opera for 10 years, makes his Madison Opera debut with this beautiful production that incorporates some steampunk elements into its fairy-tale setting. Gary Thor Wedow, a renowned Mozart conductor, makes his mainstage debut with this opera, after having conducted Opera in the Park in 2016 and 2012. Conductor Wedow (below) recently agreed to do an email Q&A with The Ear: Could you briefly introduce yourself to readers? Hello! I’m an American conductor, born in LaPorte, Indiana . A faculty member at The Juilliard School , I spend a lot of time with music of the 18th century — Handel and Mozart and often earlier, like Monteverdi, Purcell and Cavalli. But I conduct everything and grew up in love with the Romantics. I’ve also always done a lot of contemporary music. I love it all. Mozart’s music sounds so clear and easy or simple, but the reality is quite different, musicians say. What do you strive for and what qualities do you think make for great Mozart playing? Mozart engages both the brain and the heart. He challenges your intellect with amazing feats of counterpoint, orchestration and structure while tugging at your heart, all the time pulling you along in a deep drama. Mozart was an Italian melodist with a German contrapuntal, harmonic engine – like an incredible automobile with an Italian slick body and a German motor. Do you share the view that opera is central to Mozart’s music, even to his solo, chamber and ensemble instrumental music? How so? What is special or unique to Mozart’s operas, and to this opera in particular? From all accounts, Mozart (below, in his final year) was a huge personality who was full of life and a keen observer of the human condition; his letters are full of astute, often merciless and sometimes loving evaluations of family, colleagues and patrons. Mozart’s music speaks of the human condition: its passions, loves and hopes— no matter what genre. His music is innately dramatic and primal, going immediately to the most basic and universal human emotions with breathtaking nuance, variety and depth. (You can hear the Overture to “The Magic Flute,” performed by the Metropolitan Opera orchestra under James Levine , in the YouTube video at the bottom.) Tomorrow: Tricks to conducting Mozart and what to pay special attention to in this production of The Magic Flute. Tagged: adult , adventure , American , Arizona , Arizona Opera , Arts , Baroque , bells , body , Brain , car , cast , Cavalli , Chamber music , children , choral music , Classical music , colleagues , conductor , contemporary music , costumes , counterpoint , Dan Rigazzi , debut , depth , director , email , emotion , enchantment , engine , English , English Baroque Soloists , evil , fairy tale , Family , Gary Thor Wedow , George Frideric Handel , German , good , heart , human condition , Indiana , intellectual , interview , Italian , Jacob Stockinger , James Levine , Juilliard School , kidnapped , letters , Love , Madison Opera , Madison Symphony Orchestra , Metropolitan Opera , mission , Monteverdi , Mozart , Music , New Music , nuance , opera , Opera in the Park , Orchestra , orchestration , Overture Center , premiere , primal , Purcell , rescue , right , Romantic , sets , solo , spirit , steam-punk , steampunk , stream-punk , structure , symphony , the Met , United States , University of Wisconsin-Madison School of Music , University of Wisconsin–Madison , variety , vocal music , Wisconsin , Wolfgang Amadeus Mozart , wrong , YouTube



George Frideric Handel
(1685 – 1759)

George Frideric Handel (23 February 1685 - 14 April 1759) was a German-British Baroque composer, famous for his operas, oratorios, and concertos. Handel was born in Germany in the same year as Johann Sebastian Bach and Domenico Scarlatti. Handel received critical musical training in Italy before settling in London and becoming a naturalised British subject. His works include Messiah, Water Music, and Music for the Royal Fireworks. He was strongly influenced by the great composers of the Italian Baroque and the middle-German polyphonic choral tradition. Handel's music was well-known to composers including Haydn, Mozart, and Beethoven.



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