A Journey Through Madison's Classical Music Scene
Jun 13, 2013
01:51 PM
Classically Speaking

Bach Dancing and Dynamite Society Deals Winning Hands

Bach Dancing and Dynamite Society Deals Winning Hands

Photo courtesy of C & N Photographers

Stephanie Jutt and Jeffrey Sykes

When I first covered the Bach Dancing and Dynamite Society two years ago, I attended five of the six programs—and was sorry I missed the sixth. I also used up all my clever puns. You know…explosive playing, more bang for your buck, etc. Now in its 22nd year, the nine-day, six-program festival founded by Stephanie Jutt and Jeffery Sykes simply continues to be an unbeatable mixture of world-class playing, stimulating repertoire and about as much fun as you’re likely to have at any classical event.

One of the best things about BDDS is that it is spread over three weekends and three venues. All six of the programs are repeated in separate matinee and evening concerts at the Hillside Theater at Taliesin, with the others divided among the Stoughton Opera House and the Overture Center. Visit the BDDS website for details and tickets.

This year’s “Deuces Wild” series opens Friday, June 14, at The Playhouse in the Overture Center. Titled “Follow Suit,” clarinet repertoire is the theme with two of the great masterworks: Mozart’s Trio for Clarinet, Viola and Piano and the sublime Quintet for Clarinet and Strings by Brahms. Burt Hara is the soloist, and you can also hear it on Sunday in Spring Green on June 16.

“Lost in the Shuffle” on June 15 and 16 (Playhouse and Hillside) features a work that must be experienced live at least once: Messiaen’s “Quartet for the End of Time.” Written while in a Nazi prison, and influenced by vivid dreams, malnutrition and the “The Revelation of St John,” Messiaen’s masterpiece for clarinet, violin, cello and piano will be augmented with narration by Linda Clauder.

The second week highlights local musicians, and June 21 in Stoughton brings Faure’s exquisite Piano Quartet No. 2 and Ned Rorem’s “War Scenes” for bass-baritone and piano (repeated on June 23 in the Hillside matinee). On June 22 the Playhouse and Hillside on June 23 evening offer a compelling mixture of the relationships of Robert and Clara Schumann and Johannes Brahms “in songs, instrumental works, letters and diary entries.” There are songs by all three composers (yes, Clara composed, too), and one instrumental work by each.

Week 3 opens in Stoughton with another BDDS tradition: transcriptions rare and well done. Mozart’s Piano Concerto No. 22 is offered in Hummel’s version for piano, flute, violin and cello, and Brahms’ String Sextet, Op. 36 has been trimmed down to a piano trio by Kirchner. The last program is a perfect mix of a “typical” BDDS concert (if there really is such a thing!): Dick Kattenburg’s Quartet for flute, violin, cello and piano, Korngold’s Suite, Op. 23 and Beethoven’s magnificent “Archduke” Trio.

Whether you get to just one, or go for the six-pack, you’re guaranteed that BDDS will deal a winning hand.

Bookmark and Share Email this page Email Print this page Print Feed Feed

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

Recent Posts



Atom Feed Subscribe to the Classically Speaking Feed »