Stewart Goodyear Celebrates Beethoven

New recording of the piano concertos raises the bar (again)   In the year of celebrating the 250th year of Beethoven’s birth — and at a time when so many planned live concerts have been silenced by the pandemic — we are all the more grateful for the steady stream of recordings of everything from… Continue reading Stewart Goodyear Celebrates Beethoven

“Once Upon a Time” becomes a new “happily ever after”

The Skylark vocal ensemble anchors a compelling and fresh take on familiar tales   If you thought you were familiar with “Snow White and the Seven Dwarves” or “The Little Mermaid,” take a listen to a stunning recent release by the vocal ensemble Skylark. Director Matthew Guard would be quick to point out that the… Continue reading “Once Upon a Time” becomes a new “happily ever after”

“100 Years Concert Series” Shares the Wealth

Pianist Wu Han joins UW Symphony at the Hamel Music Center   It was just last Thursday that pianist Wu Han was part of a Chamber Music Society of Lincoln Center performance at Shannon Hall, as part of the stunning array of artists who have come to town for the Wisconsin Union Theater’s “100 Years… Continue reading “100 Years Concert Series” Shares the Wealth

A Healthy Orchestra in Strong Hands

Kenneth Woods takes the podium of the Madison Symphony, and unleashes all its gifts   One couldn’t be certain Friday night if the empty seats in Overture Hall had to do with the recent warnings about the corona virus, or the fact that this weekend’s Madison Symphony Orchestra concerts were without John DeMain or a… Continue reading A Healthy Orchestra in Strong Hands

As Good As It Gets

Chamber Music Society of Lincoln Center continues the spectacular “100 Years Concert Series” for Union Theater   For eight nights this season, Madison Wisconsin might as well be New York City: as part of the Union Theater’s centennial celebration, we have already been treated to the superb vocalism of Chanticleer, the legendary pianist Emmanuel Ax,… Continue reading As Good As It Gets

University Opera Displays Teamwork

Mozart’s Cosi fan tutte is more than the sum of its parts   About a half-century ago I decided that if I was going to be serious about majoring in music, I’d better hear the Mozart operas. My first introduction to opera on vinyl was Carmen, followed by Die Walkure…somehow Mozart struck me as a… Continue reading University Opera Displays Teamwork

Escher Quartet, with David Finckel, Flirts with Perfection

“100 Years Concert Series” at Wisconsin Union Theater has another triumph   No one could complain that theWisconsin Union Theater’s “100 Years Concert Series” has lacked for star power: the peerless choristers of Chanticleer, pianist Emanuel Ax and the Kalichstein-Laredo-Robinson Trio have already lent dazzle and artistry to the season. As for the Escher String… Continue reading Escher Quartet, with David Finckel, Flirts with Perfection

A Second Dive into Beethoven’s “Kitchen Sink”

Six more CDs sampled from the Naxos 90-disc every-note-he-wrote collection After what was mostly a taste of major and personal favorite works a few weeks ago, this installment of reviews from Naxos Records 90-CD ultra-complete Beethoven collection stays mostly off the beaten path. And in sum…it was a whole lot of fun! From the Orchestral… Continue reading A Second Dive into Beethoven’s “Kitchen Sink”

At Madison Symphony, Everyone Is Home for the Holidays

DeMain rounds up his Madison Symphony Christmas community   For 26 years now, John DeMain has put together his “Madison Symphony Christmas” like a time-honored recipe, and it satisfies his guests’ expectations even as he tweaks it with a little bit different spice each time. It’s no mean trick — after all, you have to… Continue reading At Madison Symphony, Everyone Is Home for the Holidays

Beethoven—and His Kitchen Sink

Being the first of three reviews of the Naxos 90-CD boxed set   In case you hadn’t checked your calendar and done the math—or somehow hadn’t heard yet—2020 marks the 250th anniversary of Beethoven’s birth. Since his birthday was December 16, we’re still more than a year away from the actual celebration, but that hasn’t… Continue reading Beethoven—and His Kitchen Sink