The Crowning Concert of Three Decades

Token Creek Festival closes its 30th season with two masters of the keyboard   One never lacks for opportunities to praise the latest event from co-founders John and Rose Mary Harbison, but even so it should be said up front that when it comes to concluding the 30th season of the Token Creek Chamber Music… Continue reading The Crowning Concert of Three Decades

A Belated Birthday Party at Token Creek

TCCMF puts the 80-year old John Harbison squarely in the spotlight   There was a special program last Wednesday (8/28) in the Festival barn, the beloved and intimate venue of the Token Creek Chamber Music Festival these past thirty years. It was meant to occur last February, around the time that other Madison events joined… Continue reading A Belated Birthday Party at Token Creek

Token Creek Chamber Music Festival at 30: Time to Tweak One Thing

All-Brahms concert produces a different kind of poignancy It didn’t take long on Sunday afternoon, as an all-Brahms program unfolded in the Festival barn at Token Creek, to realize that this would not be an easy blog to post… Some context, with apologies to those who may already know some of this: I have been… Continue reading Token Creek Chamber Music Festival at 30: Time to Tweak One Thing

Art Songs Are Alive and Well

Soprano Mary Mackenzie and pianist Heidi Louise Williams survey mostly 21st-century songs in a compelling 2-CD set   It has been some months now (back in 2018 in fact) since Albany Records released “Vocalisms,” a 2-CD set of songs by four leading and living composers: John Harbison, James Primosch, Daniel Crozier and Ned Rorem. While… Continue reading Art Songs Are Alive and Well

A Requiem Review for a Birthday

We celebrate John Harbison’s 80th birthday with a review of the first recording of his Requiem   We don’t need a reason to join thousands of other music lovers around the world in honoring John Harbison, the Pulitzer Prize-winning (among many other high honors) composer born December 20, 1938. But it is particularly fitting (even… Continue reading A Requiem Review for a Birthday

Harbison and Stucky Headline a Stirring Naxos CD

Fascinating program from conductor David Alan Miller   A recent CD in the “American Classics” series from Naxos offers a compelling combination of works, masterfully played by the National Orchestral Institute Philharmonic, conducted by David Alan Miller. John Harbison headlines the booklet, but the first work on the disc is the earliest, Sun-Treader, by Carl… Continue reading Harbison and Stucky Headline a Stirring Naxos CD

Summer Leftovers, One Last Helping: Token Creek #3

Harbisons offer a potent potpourri   Painful to admit (and hard to believe) that the final program of the 29th Token Creek Chamber Music Festival was given four weeks ago…but in a season when I finally made it to all three offerings, I hope my readers will indulge me with a “better late than never”… Continue reading Summer Leftovers, One Last Helping: Token Creek #3

Summer Leftovers: Token Creek Chamber Music Festival, Concert #2

Rare sounds (and sighting) of the Kepler Quartet   It seems absurd that someone who has attended only the last eight years of the Token Creek Chamber Music Festival would suggest that the concert of August29 was the epitome of what the Festival is at its best—and yet such a case could be made. Festival… Continue reading Summer Leftovers: Token Creek Chamber Music Festival, Concert #2

Token Creek Chamber Music Festival: Ripe and Ready for the 29th Time

Opening program of Bach and Primosch is indeed a “harvest”   Any one of the previous incarnations of the Token Creek Chamber Music Festival’s end-of-summer celebrations might have been dubbed “Harvest.” As it happens, it is this year, the 29th go-round of great music, pithy insights and the precious camaraderie shared by a hundred or… Continue reading Token Creek Chamber Music Festival: Ripe and Ready for the 29th Time

Token Creek CMF Dances the Summer Away

The 28th Festival’s final program gives us “Waltz”   John and Rose Mary Harbison opened up their Festival Barn once more last Sunday afternoon, and the closing program of their 28th Token Creek Chamber Music Festival presented varied composers’ treatments of the waltz. By program’s end, the whole was greater than the sum of its… Continue reading Token Creek CMF Dances the Summer Away