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Samuel Barber

Wednesday, July 27, 2016


The Well-Tempered Ear

June 19

Classical music: What music would you play to honor and mourn the dead, wounded and traumatized victims of the gay night club shooting in Orlando, Florida?

The Well-Tempered EarBy Jacob Stockinger It has been a week now. A very long, hard and emotional week. The Ear has heard some classical music dedicated to the victims — 49 killed, some 50 wounded and countless traumatized — of the mass shooting at Pulse, a gay night club in Orlando, Florida , that took place one week ago. (Below is a vigil in support of the LGBT community .) Others might choose a standard like the famous “Adagio for Strings” by Samuel Barber. It is undeniably moving and perfectly appropriate. But so far the piece that most moved The Ear, unexpectedly, was a familiar one that aired on Wisconsin Public Radio : the “Nimrod” variation from the “Enigma Variations ” by Sir Edward Elgar . The Ear hears tenderness, gentleness and even love in the music. But in it he also hears strength, resilience and pride as well as sorrow, acceptance and resignation. Plus, he likes the idea of enigma that is attached to it, given all the issues and questions — terrorism, Islamic radicalization and extremism, homophobia, self-hatred, hate crimes, gun control, protests, mass grieving — that still surround the incident and remain to be solved. You can listen to the piece of music in the YouTube video at the bottom that features conductor Daniel Barenboim conducting the Chicago Symphony Orchestra . It ha more than 3 million hits. But The Ear is also sure that there is a great deal of other music that would suit the purpose. They include: The passions, oratorios and cantatas on Johann Sebastian Bach. The Requiems of Wolfgang Amadeus Mozart , Johannes Brahms , Giuseppe Verdi and Gabriel Faure. The symphonies of Ludwig van Beethoven , Robert Schumann, Johannes Brahms, Peter Tchaikovsky and Antonin Dvorak . The string quartets, piano trios, duo sonatas and other chamber music by Joseph Haydn and Franz Schubert as well as the solo piano music of Chopin Schumann and so many others. The masses of Haydn, Mozart, Beethoven and Schubert. The songs of Schubert and arias and choruses from all kinds of operas, but especially those of Giacomo Puccini. And on and on. Leave your personal choice, with a YouTube link if possible, and your reason for choosing it in the COMMENT section. The Ear wants to hear. Tagged: Adagio for Strings , arias , Arts , Bach , Barber , Baroque , Beethoven , Brahms , cantatas , Cello , Chamber music , Chicago Symphony Orchestra , Chopin , choral music , choruses , Classical music , conductor , Daniel Barenboim , Early music , Elgar , enigma , Enigma Variations , Faure , Florida , Franz Schubert , gay , Giacomo Puccini , grieving , gun , gun control , hate crime , homophobia , Islam , Islamist , Jacob Stockinger , Johann Sebastian Bach , Johannes Brahms , lesbian , LGBT , Ludwig van Beethoven , mass , masses , Mozart , Music , Nimrod , opera , oratorio , Orlando , Passion , Piano , Piano Trio , protest , Quartet , radicalization , Requiem , Robert Schumann , self-hatred , shooting , Sonata , song , String quartet , Tchaikovsky , terrorism , trio , University of Wisconsin-Madison School of Music , University of Wisconsin–Madison , Verdi , Viola , Violin , vocal music , wisconsin public radio , Wolfgang Amadeus Mozart , YouTube

ArtsJournal: music

July 15

What Happened To America’s Mid-20th Century Composers?

“I’ve never understood why the music of America’s midcentury modern composers disappeared from our concert halls. Not only is it “entertaining,” but it speaks to ordinary listeners in a direct, immediately comprehensible way, just like the better-known music of Copland and Samuel Barber. Don’t take my word for it—try listening for yourself.”




Meeting in Music

June 3

American Opera - 2

Jack Beeson (1921-2010)THE SWEET BYE AND BYE (1956; rev. 1958) Kansas City Lyric Theater, dir : Russell PattersonRogers, Anthony, James, Seibel, Hook Citadel CT-DOS-2000 Recorded 1974FLAC, cuesheets, scans of covers and booklet John Musto (1965- ) VOLPONE (2004) Wolf Trap Opera, dir : Sara Jobin Jeremiah, Little, Sherman, Rosel Wolf Trap Recordings Recorded June 2007 FLAC, cuesheets, scans of covers and booklet Samuel Barber (1910-1981)VANESSA (1958) Metropolitan Opera, dir : Dimitri MitropoulosSteber, Gedda, Elias, Tozzi, ResnikRCA 7899-2-RGRecorded February, April 1958FLAC, cuesheets, scans of covers and booklet Anthony Davis (1951 - ) X, THE LIFE AND TIMES OF MALCOLM X (1985) Orchestra of St. Luke's, dir : William Henry Curry E. Perry, Young,  Baskerville, Harris, H. Perry Gramavision R2-79470 Recorded April 1989 FLAC, cuesheets, scans of covers and booklet Deems Taylor (1885-1966)PETER IBBETSON (1930) Seattle Symphony Orchestra, dir : Gerald SchwartzGriffey, Flanigan, Zeller, AustinNaxos 8.669016-17Recorded April, May 1999FLAC, cuesheets, scans of covers and booklet Leonard Bernstein (1918-1990) CANDIDE (1956) Original Broadway cast Rounseville, Cook, Adrian, Petina, Olvis Sony SK 48017 Recorded December 1956 FLAC, cuesheets, scans of covers and booklet  Carlisle Floyd (1926- )SUSANNAH (1956) New Orleans Opera, dir : Knud AnderssonCurtain, Treigle, Cassilly, KaldenbergVAI Audio VAIA 1115-2Recorded March 1962FLAC, cuesheets, scans of covers and booklet Stephen Hartke (1952- )THE GREATER GOOD (2006) Glimmerglass Opera, dir : Steward RobinsonWorra, De Haan, Abraham, Wentzel, WorthNaxos 8.669014-15Recorded August 2006FLAC, cuesheets, scans of covers and booklet Edward Thomas (1924- )DESIRE UNDER THE ELMS (1978) London Symphony Orchestra, dir : George ManahanHadley, Morriw, Livengood, Ulrich, LentzNaxos 8.669001-02Recorded 2000, 2002FLAC, cuesheets, scans of covers and booklet

The Well-Tempered Ear

May 11

Classical music: Longtime musical partners singer Kathleen Otterson and pianist Jamie Schmidt close out the season of FREE Noon Musicales this Friday.

By Jacob Stockinger The Ear received the following note from Edgewood College faculty singer Kathleen Otterson and thought it worth passing along because if its timeliness and local interest: I’d like to share a little information about the final Noon Musicale at the First Unitarian Society of Madison on this Friday, May 13. I’m sorry that I don’t have a photo of pianist Jamie Schmidt and me together, but I’ve included a photo of myself and a collage of some of our printed programs (below) from over the years. Here is our background: Mezzo-soprano Kathleen Otterson and pianist Jamie Schmidt met while students at the University of Wisconsin-Madison School of Music, and gave their first collaborative concert in 1996 at UW-Oshkosh , where Otterson was a member of the voice faculty. Over the next 13 years, there were many more concerts for the duo around Wisconsin and in the Chicago area after Schmidt moved there to serve as Music Director at the American Girl Place Theater. Kathleen Otterson (below) has been a member of the Edgewood College faculty since 1999, and Music Director at Christ Presbyterian Church since 2001. Jamie Schmidt (below) has been touring all over the country, along with his wife and two young children, with “The Lion King,” which arrived in Madison on May 9 for a lengthy run at the Overture Center . The two musicians will reunite to present the final Noon Musicale at the First Unitarian Society, 900 University Bay Drive, on Friday, May 13. The program includes favorites from the years of their concertizing together: German Lieder, or art songs, by Franz Schubert , Johannes Brahms and Gustav Mahler; and American songs by Ned Rorem, Samuel Barber, Chris DeBlasio, Dominick Argento and others. A very special part of the program is an excerpt from the song cycle “No Place, No Time,” composed by University Opera founder and UW-Madison Professor Emeritus Karlos Moser (below left, with his wife Melinda Moser), to texts of the Persian poet Rumi. Otterson and Schmidt commissioned this work from their teacher and mentor, which also features bassist, Ben Ferris. The Friday Noon Musicales run from 12:15 to 1 p.m. in the Landmark Auditorium, 900 University Bay Drive, and are open to the public, FREE of charge. Tagged: American Girl , American Girl Place Theater , American music , art song , Arts , bass , Chamber music , Chris De Blasio , Chris DeBlasio , Classical music , composer , Domenick Argento , double bass , faculty , Franz Schubert , German music , Gustav Mahler , Jacob Stockinger , Johannes Brahms , Karlos Moser , lieder , Madison , Mezzo-soprano , Ned Rorem , Overture Center , Pianist , Piano , Rumi , Samuel Barber , singer , song , The Lion King , United States , University of Wisconsin-Madison School of Music , University of Wisconsin–Madison , University Opera , vocal music , Wisconsin , YouTube



The Well-Tempered Ear

May 9

Classical music: Oakwood Chamber Players concludes its season with performances of “Summer Splash” this Saturday night and Sunday afternoon. Schubert’s “Trout” Quintet and music by Samuel Barber is included.

By Jacob Stockinger The Ear has received the following announcement from the outstanding Oakwood Chamber Players, known for giving fine performances of programs that feature both unusual repertoire and classic works: The Oakwood Chamber Players will round out its 2015-2016 season with a concert entitled Summer Splash on this Saturday, May 14, at 7 p.m. and Sunday, May 15, at 1:30 p.m. The concerts will both be held at the Oakwood Village University Woods Center for Arts and Education, 6209 Mineral Point Road, on Madison ‘s far west side near West Towne Mall . Tickets can be purchased with cash or personal checks at the door – $20 general admission, $15 seniors and $5 students. Visit www.oakwoodchamberplayers.com for more information. The concert will honor the 400th anniversary of Shakespeare ’s death through Six Pieces After Shakespeare by American composer Craig Bohmler (below). This piece – which was commissioned by the Oakwood Chamber Players and which is receiving its world premiere — explores some of the Bard’s most emblematic comedic and dramatic characters: flute, oboe, clarinet, horn and string bass depict the quicksilver movements of Puck, pathos of Ophelia, eeriness of Macbeth’s witches and rollicking nature of Falstaff. The program will also include Romanesque by Argentine/French composer Reynaldo Hahn (below), a work that radiates charm with its simplicity and heart as well as its sweetly flowing melody. The expressive musical lines are even more emphasized by the melded flute and viola timbres as they join together in unison. The complexity and artistry of Summer Music by Samuel Barber (below) make it an enduring and fascinating piece of music. Its slow and bluesy beginning shifts to flashes of dissonance with contrasting lofty and flowing lines. As the work draws to its conclusion the listener is returned to the lazily unfolding material of the start, echoing the idle quality of summertime. Finally, the concert will close with the delightful and uplifting theme and variations movement from the beloved “Trout” Piano Quintet in A Major , D. 667, for violin, viola, cello, bass and piano, by Franz Schubert (below). The work gets its nickname from the theme and variations movement based on the song “The Trout” by Schubert. (You can hear that movement in the YouTube video at the bottom.) The Oakwood Chamber Players is a group of Madison-area professional musicians who have rehearsed and performed at Oakwood Village for over 30 years. The Oakwood Chamber Players are a professional music ensemble proudly supported by Oakwood Lutheran Senior Ministries and the Oakwood Foundation. Tagged: Argentina , Arts , Bard , blues , brass , Cello , Chamber music , clarinet , Classical music , Craig Bohmler , dissonance , Falstaff , flute , France , Franz Schubert , Horn , Jacob Stockinger , Macbeth , Madison , Madison Symphony Orchestra , Oakwood Chamber Players , Oboe , Ophelia , Piano , Puck , quintet , Reynaldo Hahn , Shakespeare , splash , string bass , strings , summer , Trout Quintet , University of Wisconsin-Madison School of Music , University of Wisconsin–Madison , Viola , Violin , winds , Wisconsin , YouTube

The Well-Tempered Ear

May 6

Classical music: The Festival Choir of Madison performs under famed choral conductor Joseph Flummerfelt this Saturday night.

By Jacob Stockinger The Ear has received the following timely and important announcement: The Festival Choir of Madison (below) and its new artistic director Sergei Pavlov – who teaches at Edgewood College — will close the current season with a special concert this Saturday night, May 7, at 7:30 p.m. at the Christ Presbyterian Church, located at 944 East Gorham Street in downtown Madison. The performance features one of the legendary American choral conductors, Maestro Joseph Flummerfelt (below right, with Sergei Pavlov). You can hear a long Q&A interview with Joseph Flummerfelt in the YouTube video at the bottom. The program with the Festival Choir includes music by German composers Felix Mendelssohn and Johannes Brahms, British composer Herbert Howells, Russian composer Sergei Rachmaninoff, Polish composer Henryk Gorecki and Scottish composer James MacMillan. Sorry, no word on individual works to be performed. Tickets for the evening concert are available at the door and cost between $9 and $15. Since 1971, Joseph Flummerfelt (below) has been responsible for most of the choral work of the New York Philharmonic, working closely with its music directors Leonard Bernstein , Zubin Mehta , Pierre Boulez, Kurt Masur , Lorin Maazel and Alan Gilbert. Until 2004 he was Director of Choral Activities in the Westminster Choir College in Princeton, New Jersey . Joseph Flummerfelt (below) with the Westminster Symphonic Choir and New York Choral Artists has been featured in 45 recordings, including a Grammy Award-winning CD of the Symphony No. 3 by Gustav Mahler with Leonard Bernstein. His collaboration with the great American composer Samuel Barber includes the Grammy Award-winning recording of Barber’s opera “Anthony and Cleopatra.” In 2004 Flummerfelt was awarded a Grammy for the New York Choral Artists’ recording of “On the Transmigration of Souls,” a Pulitzer Prize-winning composition written by John Adams in memory of the victims of the terrorist attacks on 9/11. A master teacher, Flummerfelt’s many former students occupy a number of major choral positions throughout the world. Yannick Nezet-Seguin (below) — the current music director of the Philadelphia Orchestra and guest conductor of the Metropolitan Opera, who, as a teenager, studied with Dr. Flummerfelt in two advanced conducting summer workshops — cites him as one of the two major influences in his life as a conductor. A 2009 New York Times article said, “Mr. Nezet-Seguin called those sessions with Flummerfelt the only significant conducting lessons he ever had.” Flummerfelt has a special connection with Madison as well. As an undergraduate student in De Pauw University in Indiana, he was deeply inspired by a performance of a visiting choir, and the conductor of this group was Robert Fountain, the legendary Director of Choral Programs at the University of Wisconsin-Madison School of Music . Also on Saturday, May 7 at 11 a.m. there will be a question/answer session for all who would like to meet the Maestro Flummerfelt. The host is Edgewood College, and the session will be at the Washburn Heritage Room in the Regina Building. This is a FREE event. Tagged: 9/11 , Alan Gilbert , Anthony and Cleopatra , Arts , Brahms , Britain , choral music , Classical music , Compact Disc , conduct , Edgewood College , England , Felix Mendelssohn , Festival Choir , German music , Germany , Grammy , Great Britain , Gustav Mahler , Henryk Gorecki , Herbert Howells , Jacob Stockinger , James MacMillan , Johannes Brahms , John Adams , Joseph Flummerfelt , Kurt Mas , Kurt Masur , Leonard Bernstein , Lorin Maazel , Madison , Met , Metropolitan Opera , Music , New York City , New York Philharmonic , On the Transmigration of Souls , opera , Orchestra , Pierre Boulez , Poland , Polish music , Rachmaninoff , Rachmaninov , Robert Fountain , Russia , Russian music , Samuel Barber , Scotland , Scottish , Sergei Pavlov , singer , Singing , symphony , terrorism , terrorist attack , UK , United States , University of Wisconsin-Madison School of Music , University of Wisconsin–Madison , UW-Madison , vocal music , Westminster , Wisconsin , YouTube , Zubin Mehta

Samuel Barber
(1910 – 1981)

Samuel Barber (March 9, 1910 - January 23, 1981) was an American composer of orchestral, opera, choral, and piano music. His Adagio for Strings is his most popular composition and widely considered a masterpiece of modern classical music. He was twice awarded the Pulitzer Prize for music, for his opera Vanessa and his Concerto for Piano and Orchestra. His Knoxville: Summer of 1915, a work for soprano and orchestra, was an acclaimed setting of prose by James Agee.



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