A Journey Through Madison's Classical Music Scene
Oct 31, 2013
11:20 AM
Classically Speaking

Too Much to Be Thankful For—Already!

Too Much to Be Thankful For—Already!


Dr. Robert Spring

Music lovers in Madison well know that we have so much to be thankful for all year round; we certainly don’t need the impending Thanksgiving holiday to put us in the mood. But the November schedule almost makes one ask if we have too much of a good thing—and certainly makes me feel like Mozart in the film Amadeus when, exasperated over having to choose just one wig, exclaims: “They’re all so beautiful…why can’t I have three heads!”

Saturday, November 2, is the day to explore all wonders of the clarinet: Robert Spring, a professor at Arizona State University, comes to town courtesy of The Kat Trio Chamber Music Series. Dr. Spring will offer a clinic, open to the public and free of charge, at 1 p.m. in room 2650 of the UW-Madison Humanities Building. At 7 p.m., at the Memorial United Church of Christ at 5705 Lacy Rd., Fitchburg, Dr. Spring performs works of Poulenc, McAllister and others. There will be a Q&A at 6:30, and there is a suggested donation of $15 for adults and $7 for students.

On November 9 there are two wonderful events, including the second season opener of Sound Ensemble Wisconsin. Their 7:30 p.m. event is in the beautiful new Downtown Central Library, and features a compelling program of works composed in prison or political confinement. The highlight is the Quartet for the End of Time by Messiaen. With free admission, the concert will also include poetry written by inmates at Oakhill Correctional Facility while hearing Henry Cowell’s Pulse and Return for Percussion, which of course will be heard at this event. Admission is free.

If University Opera’s Ariodante last weekend whetted your appetite, or you’re still wondering why Handel is so hot these days, you can satisfy your curiosity/craving at a fundraiser for the second annual Handel Aria Competition. Last summer’s winner of the inaugural competition, Elisa Sutherland, will headline the 7:30 p.m. concert at the First Unitarian Society at 900 University Bay Dr. Tickets are $25 and are available at the door, or at Orange Tree Imports at 1721 Monroe St. Other performers include Melanie Cain of Fresco Opera, Mimmi Fulmer, and two cast members of Ariodante, Susanna Beerheide and Christina Kay.

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About This Blog

Years before I contributed my first classical review to the Los Angeles Times in 1988, I started a class in music appreciation for adults that had one aim: to put a few cracks in the “ivory tower elitism” I found pervasive in the classical music world since my boyhood days. Whether as a critic, program annotator or band director, that goal has never changed. After all, Mozart and Beethoven and the gang wrote their music for people like you—not critics or professors!

After growing up in the suburbs of New York City, and spending twenty years in and around Los Angeles, the last twelve years here leave me more amazed than ever at the musical riches of Madison. I’m a cheerleader at heart, because I always think more people would become classical fans if they’d give it a chance—but I’m also quick to tell you when you’re not getting your money’s worth. Classically Speaking brings you as much news and as many reviews as possible, and I hope you’ll join me for a fabulous musical journey.

–  Greg Hettmansberger
Follow Greg on Twitter @ghettmansberger

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