Keeping Things Loeki
The recorder has wide-ranging and unique qualities, given its pure tone. An instrument of pastorals and love scenes, enormously popular during the Renaissance and Baroque periods, it was gradually supplanted by the flute. Though it no longer has a regular seat at the orchestral table, the recorder has many devotees, finding a decent home in many a chamber ensemble.
In its next concert ("Across Borders, Across Time"), Early Music Now hosts the Amsterdam Loeki Stardust Quartet, recorder players in the midst of their 30th anniversary season. Works on the Loeki Quartet's program go back some 450 years, including those composed for the recorder and transcribed for it. The concert includes Tallis' In Nomine; Palestrina's Lamentationes; Sweelinck's Variations on Mein junges Leben hat ein End; Merula's Canzon la Lusignuola; Purcell's Chacony; Vivaldi's Concerto in D Minor; excerpts from J.S. Bach's The Art of Fugue; Piazzolla's La Muerte del Ángel and Otoño Porteño; Steenhoven's La Chanteuse et le Bois Sauvage; and Matthias Maute's Rush (the latter being the winning composition of 2008's American Recorder Society Competition). The event takes place March 14 in UW-Milwaukee's Helene Zelazo Center (silent auction and chocolate reception included).
While Early Music Now's concert spans the centuries, the upcoming Milwaukee Symphony Orchestra (MSO) concert does just the opposite. The scheduled works by three different composers are only separated by seven years: products of the turbulent World War Two years. Aaron Copland (1900-1990) composed what has become his most famous work-Fanfare for the Common Man-in 1942 at the request of Eugene Goossens, who was seeking patriotic fanfares meant for a war-stressed public. He received several, but alone among these, Copland's has lived on. William Schuman (1910-1992) decided to become a composer after attending a live Carnegie Hall concert in 1930 (who wouldn't be inspired by Toscanini and the New York Philharmonic?). His many compositions show him dabbling in opera, chamber music, ballet and the symphony (he'd eventually write 10). Of the latter, the MSO performs Schuman's 1943 Symphony for Strings (No. 5).
Germany's Carl Orff (1895-1982) survives in today's concert halls almost solely through his sprawling "scenic cantata" Carmina Burana (1936). Maestro Andreas Delfs leads the MSO, MSO Chorus, Milwaukee Children's Choir, and vocal soloists in Orff's magnificent hit.
The concert runs at Uihlein Hall March 13-15, where the MSO will also be collecting food donations for the Orchestras Feeding America food drive.