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Johann Sebastian Bach

Friday, April 28, 2017


My Classical Notes

April 13

Helene Grimaud’s Perspectives

My Classical NotesPerspectives: Hélène Grimaud Bach, J S: Das Wohltemperierte Klavier I, BWV846-869 (excerpts) Bartók: Romanian Folk Dances for piano, Sz. 56, BB 68 Brahms: Waltz, Op. 39 No. 15 in A flat major Chopin: Berceuse in D flat major, Op. 57 Prelude Op. 28 No. 15 in D flat major ‘Raindrop’ Debussy: Préludes – Book 1: No. 10, La cathédrale engloutie Liszt: Les jeux d’eaux à la Villa d’Este (Années de pèlerinage III, S. 163 No. 4) Prelude and Fugue in a minor, BWV 543 (J.S. Bach), S. 462/1 Sgambati: Melodie from Gluck’s ‘Orfeo ed Euridice’ Ms. Grimaud also plays individual movements from solo works and concertos by JS Bach, Brahms, Beethoven, Mozart, Rachmaninov and Schumann. All performed by Hélène Grimaud (piano) For each successive Deutsche Grammophon release to date, pianist Helene Grimaud has created carefully considered (and occasionally provocative) contexts. For Hélène, this collection is a retrospective offering new perspectives through a very personal choice of repertoire which creates enlightening new echoes between works. From Bach to Rachmaninov, Mozart to Chopin, Hélène Grimaud’s own selection of highlights from her albums reflects her artistic journey through the piano’s most famous solo and concerto repertoire in a series of interpretations that never fail to offer new perspectives on even the most familiar music.

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




MMmusing

April 21

Creativity as its own reward

A few days ago, my sister posted some photos of azaleas on Facebook and noted that the azalea has historically been cheated in the poetry department, at least compared to the more easily rhymed rose. I suppose one could call azaleas by a more easily rhymed name (zales?) and they'd smell just as sweet, but she took up her own implied challenge and wrote a lovely little poem incorporating regalia, Australia, etc. I find this kind of challenge irresistible, but to up the stakes, I decided to reply to her photo with some verse about the chrysanthemum. It took a little doing and some really lame and ultimately abandoned attempts to make something of "anthem hum"-ming, but eventually the following popped up: I've fifty cents and offer up this handsome sum to any who can versify chrysanthemum.I think this little meta-couplet is pretty good (the trick being that "handsome sum" is a commonly used expression so that it flows naturally), and I hope you notice that writing it proved literally to be its own reward. I won the fifty cents! True, this is sort of the ultimate example of a closed economy. I've thought about this lately since I spend a lot of time doing little creative things that haven't necessarily paid off outside of my own little circular economy, but they're still rewarding! So it is that, also a few days ago and also on Facebook, I saw that it was the birthday of my blogging pianist friend Erica Sipes. I'll admit I don't pass along Facebook birthday wishes as often as I should because I always feel the pressure to do something creative. But I'd noticed that Erica was Facebook-live broadcasting one of her Bach practice sessions, so the idea of putting "Happy Birthday" into a Bach context came to mind. Of course, I knew without even searching that this is a challenge that's been taken up many times (including in this charming fugue), but I reached the point of no return when I thought about the C-sharp Major Fugue from Book II of Bach's Well-Tempered Clavier, a piece with which Erica and I have a shared history. She's the one who suggested that its bouncing staccato character and the rhythmic acceleration that happens over the course of the piece create an effect reminiscent of popcorn popping, which led me to create a fun program/animation: The reason this new, self-imposed challenge was so instantly appealing is that I realized Bach's fugue subject begins with the same basic melodic shape as the famous birthday tune (which also goes up, back down, back up a bit further, then down a step): So the terms of the challenge (or puzzle?) basically set themselves: Write a short (it's just a Facebook birthday greeting, after all), playable, fugue-like snippet that mimics the structure of Bach's popcorn fugue, while re-orienting the pitches along the lines of "Happy Birthday."There are many approaches I could have taken within these constraints. Notice that if I'd begun on the same bass-register C-sharp as Bach, I would have ended up with a subject in F-sharp Major instead of C-sharp because "Happy Birthday" begins on the 5th scale degree, whereas Bach's subject begins on the tonic. (Opening pitches would've been: C# - D# - C# - F# - E#.) As you can see below, I begin on G-sharp. So, the puzzle solution I came up with has the bass present all the correct pitches of "Happy Birthday" (in C-sharp Major) in order (minus a few pitch repetitions), but with a different rhythmic profile that follows the character of Bach's fugue. Because the subject also ends up functioning as a bass line, and because the birthday rhythms are obscured, it would probably be easy to miss that it's even there - which pleases me. The soprano fugue "answer" does pretty much the same thing (in the subdominant F-sharp Major*) through the third phrase of "Happy Birthday" before turning towards a sudden cadence, but again the tune could easily be missed here because our ears still hear this context as C-sharp Major. Note that, as with Bach's fugue, the entries of the theme are piled right on top of each other, with the third voice entering inverted and diverted towards the cadence almost right away. It's not really a full fugue or even a fughetta - more of a postcard fugue. It would make nice bumper music heading towards the commercial on some Baroque sitcom ("I Love Lully?"). Is this way too much to have said about a four-measure piece? Is this too short to be a piece? Is it more of a puzzle solution? Do I need to stop with the "Happy Birthday" homages already? There was a time when, understanding much less about musical structure and style, I was stunned that people could re-house a familiar tune in what I assumed to be the ineffably inimitable character of Bach, Mozart, or Beethoven. Now I realize it's kind of a parlor trick, and though I don't really aspire to be a musical comedian in the mold of Victor Borge or Peter Schickele, I obviously love interacting with musical puns. Such a fun creative outlet. I think I'll pay myself another fifty cents... * Having the answer in the subdominant instead of the dominant is a bit unusual, but it happened to work out well in a piece that needed to end quickly.



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 20

Classical music: Madison Choral Project gives a concert of new music focusing on the social and political theme of “Privilege” this Friday night and Sunday afternoon

ALERT: This week’s FREE Friday Noon Musicale, held at the First Unitarian Society of Madison, 900 University Bay Drive, features David Miller, trumpet; Amy Harr, cello; and Jane Peckham, piano. They will play music by Bach, Schmidt, Piazzolla, Honegger and Cooman. The concert runs from 12:15 to 1 p.m. By Jacob Stockinger Call it activist beauty or beautiful activism. It sure seems that political and social relevance is making a comeback in the arts during an era in which inequality in race, gender, ethnicity, wealth, education, health, employment, immigration status and other issues loom larger and larger. For the Madison Choral Project (below), for example, singing is about more than making music. It can also be about social justice. Writes the Project: “The Madison Choral Project believes that too often the classical music concert is simply a museum of the beautiful. Yet the worlds of theater, art and literature can so brilliantly combine beauty with material that provokes contemplation and understanding. “Our world is increasingly complicated, and we seek to provide voices exploring important emotional and social concerns of today.” That means that, in its two concerts this weekend, the Madison Choral Project will explore the concept of privilege in two performances this weekend. The repertoire is all new music or contemporary music by living composers. The Madison Choral Project, under the direction of Albert Pinsonneault (below), who formerly taught at Edgewood College and is now at Northwestern University, presents their 10th Project – Privilege – on this Friday night, April 21, at 7:30 p.m.; and in Sunday afternoon, April 23, at 3 p.m. Both performances are at the First Congregational United Church of Christ, 1609 University Avenue, near Camp Randall Stadium. General admission is $24 in advance and online; $28 at the door; and $10 for students either in advance or at the door. A limited number of preferred seats are offered for $40. The Privilege concerts feature the work Privilege by Ted Hearne (b. 1982), which Hearne (below) writes “are settings of little texts questioning a contemporary privileged life (mine).” With texts that range from the inequality of educational experiences, to the unfair playing field brought through race, the work sets thought-provoking texts in a beautiful and musically accessible way. (NOTE: You can hear it in the YouTube video at the bottom.) The program also includes the world premiere of a new piece of music from Wisconsin composer and UW-Madison graduate D. Jasper Sussman (b. 1989, below), whose piece Work: “What choice?” is a contemplation of society’s confusing and hypocritical demands on women, their bodies and their appearance. Sussman writes “I have never identified as a feminist. It’d be impossible, however, for me to remain ignorant of the clumsily uneven climate of our world, and certainly of this country. Work: “What Choice?” is an attempt at telling a common story shared by many.” Included on the concert are two works of Pulitzer Prize-winning composer David Lang (b. 1957, below), whose new minimalism includes sonorities influenced by rock and popular music, but with layered repetition that gives the pieces a meditative and contemplative quality. Also featured is When David Heard by Eric Whitacre (b. 1970, below), a gorgeous and devastating monologue contemplating the death of one’s child. For more information and tickets, go to www.themcp.org You can also go to a fine story in The Capital Times: http://host.madison.com/ct/entertainment/arts-and-theatre/with-privilege-madison-choral-project-sings-on-social-justice/article_1d4ecf46-3347-5950-a655-eb270449fb96.html The Madison Choral Project is Wisconsin’s only fully professional choir. All the singers on stage are paid, professional musicians. Tagged: Activism , activist , Albert Pinsonneault , Art , Arts , Bach , Baroque , beautiful , beauty , Camp Randall Stadium , Chamber music , Child , choral music , Classical music , climate , composer , contemporary , Cooman , country , D. Jasper Sussman , David Lang , death , Edgewood College , Education , emotion , employment , Eric Whitacre , Ethnicity , feminism , feminist , First Unitarian Society of Madison , gender , Health , Honegger , immigration , Income Disparity , income inequality , inequality , Jacob Stockinger , Johann Sebastian Bach , literature , Madison , Madison Choral Project , minimalism , monologue , Music , New Music , Northwestern University , Piano , Piazzolla , political , Politics , pop , popular music , privilege , professional , Pulitzer Prize , race , relevance , repetition , Rock , Schmidt , singer , Singing , social , social justice , society , Ted Hearne , theater , Trumpet , United States , University of Wisconsin-Madison School of Music , University of Wisconsin–Madison , vocal music , wealth , wealth gay , Wisconsin , world premiere , YouTube

Johann Sebastian Bach
(1685 – 1750)

Johann Sebastian Bach (21 March 1685, - 28 July 1750) was a German composer, organist, harpsichordist, violist, and violinist whose sacred and secular works for choir, orchestra, and solo instruments drew together the strands of the Baroque period and brought it to its ultimate maturity. Although J.S. Bach did not introduce new forms, he enriched the prevailing German style with a robust contrapuntal technique, an unrivalled control of harmonic and motivic organisation, and the adaptation of rhythms, forms and textures from abroad, particularly from Italy and France. Bach's abilities as an organist were highly respected throughout Europe during his lifetime, although he was not widely recognised as a great composer until a revival of interest and performances of his music in the first half of the 19th century. He is now generally regarded as one of the main composers of the Baroque style, and as one of the greatest composers of all time. Revered for their intellectual depth, technical command and artistic beauty, Bach's works include the Brandenburg Concertos, the Goldberg Variations, the Partitas, The Well-Tempered Clavier, the Mass in B minor, the St Matthew Passion, the St John Passion, the Magnificat, A Musical Offering, The Art of Fugue, the English and French Suites, the Sonatas and Partitas for solo violin, the Cello Suites, more than 200 surviving cantatas, and a similar number of organ works, including the famous Toccata and Fugue in D minor and Passacaglia and Fugue in C minor, as well as the Great Eighteen Chorale Preludes and Organ Mass.



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