Monday, October 24, 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:
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.
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
ALERT: This week’s FREE Friday Noon Musicale, at the First Unitarian Society of Madison , 900 University Bay Drive, features sopranos Susan Savage Day, Rebekah Demure and Arianna Day in music by Wolfgang Amadeus Mozart , John Corigliano , Ottorino Respighi , Richard Strauss and others. It runs from 12:15 to 1 p.m. By Jacob Stockinger Edgewood College will present its Fall Choral Concert at 2:30 p.m. this Sunday in the St. Joseph Chapel, 1000 Edgewood College Drive. Admission is FREE. The Women’s Choir and the Chamber Singers , under the direction of Kathleen Otterson (below top) and Sergei Pavlov (below bottom), will feature a wide variety of musical selections. is The eclectic program includes the Johann Sebastian Bach -Charles Gounod setting of “Ave Maria,” heard in the YouTube video at the bottom; Sydney Carter’s beautiful arrangement of “Lord of the Dance”; and music of Pentatonix. The Chamber Singers is the College’s premier a cappella choral ensemble, open to students of all majors. The choir performs literature from the medieval period to the 21st century, participating in multiple concerts throughout the school year. The Women’s Choir performs a wide variety of traditional and modern music specifically for women’s voices. Tagged: a cappella , Arts , Ave Maria , Bach , Chamber music , chamber singers , Charles Gounod , Choir , choral music , Classical music , Edgewood College , fall , First Unitarian Society of Madison , Jacob Stockinger , Johann Sebastian Bach , John Corigliano , Kathleen Otterson , Lord of the Dance , Madison , Medieval , Mozart , Music , musicale , Ottorino Respighi , Pentatonix , Richard Strauss , Sergei Pavlov , singer , singers , soprano , United States , University of Wisconsin-Madison School of Music , University of Wisconsin–Madison , vocal music , Wisconsin , Wolfgang Amadeus Mozart , women , women;s choir , 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 .
Ten Questions with Chris Carr, tenor Tybalt in Romeo and Juliet 1. Where were you born / raised? Born in Tom's River, New Jersey and raised (mostly) in Quasqueton, Iowa. 2. If you weren't a singer, what profession would you be in? Every singer I know has asked themselves this question, and so far I don't have the clearest answer. Coffee is a big passion of mine, so I suppose I could always try to open a coffee shop! 3. The first opera I was ever in was... I was a super in Gianni Schicchi my first semester of college; the next semester was my first singing role as Sid in Albert Herring. 4. My favorite opera is... Always changing. There are some I love because of a production I was in and some I have never seen. Let's go easy and say top five, in no particular order: La Bohème, Eugene Onegin, Pélleas et Mélisande, The Tales of Hoffmann, Macbeth. 5. My favorite pre-show meal is... I will forever swear by the magic of a spicy falafel sandwich before a big sing. 6. People would be surprised to know that... I grew up on a horse farm and rode for most of my childhood, thanks to my very dedicated mother. Also, I started college as a jazz saxophonist. 7. A few of my favorite books are... The Lord of the Rings and The Hobbit (Tolkein); Hard Boiled Wonderful and The End of the World (Murakami); Ender's Game (Card); The Telling Room (Paterniti); and The Rest is Noise (Ross). 8. What do you like to binge-watch? Every Star Trek show made. I'm currently re-watching DS9. 9. What four people (living or deceased) would you like to invite for a dinner party? I guess I've always wanted to see what Mozart thought of jazz, so Mozart and Coltrane? Anthony Bourdain would have to come to show us where to eat, then round it off with Patrick Stewart, maybe? 10. Everyone should see Romeo and Juliet because.... It's a moving retelling of this story. The play itself is aided so well by Gounod's music and his pacing. It's just simply a classic tale told in a way that you won't see anywhere else. Bonus: One question you wish someone would ask you (and the answer): Q: Would you like fries with that? A: YES, I WOULD! Don't miss the chance to see Chris 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.
Wolfgang Amadeus Mozart (27 January 1756 - 5 December 1791), was a prolific and influential composer of the Classical era. Mozart composed over 600 works, many acknowledged as pinnacles of symphonic, concertante, chamber, piano, operatic, and choral music. He is among the most enduringly popular of classical composers. Mozart showed prodigious ability from his earliest childhood in Salzburg. Already competent on keyboard and violin, he composed from the age of five and performed before European royalty. At 17, he was engaged as a court musician in Salzburg, but grew restless and travelled in search of a better position, always composing abundantly. While visiting Vienna in 1781, he was dismissed from his Salzburg position. He chose to stay in the capital, where he achieved fame but little financial security. During his final years in Vienna, he composed many of his best-known symphonies, concertos, and operas, and portions of the Requiem, which was largely unfinished at the time of Mozart's death. The circumstances of his early death have been much mythologized. He was survived by his wife Constanze and two sons. Mozart learned voraciously from others, and developed a brilliance and maturity of style that encompassed the light and graceful along with the dark and passionate. His influence on subsequent Western art music is profound. Beethoven wrote his own early compositions in the shadow of Mozart, of whom Joseph Haydn wrote that "posterity will not see such a talent again in 100 years."
Great composers of classical music