Presenting “Free Wheeling: A Tribute to the Bicycle” with choirs and a jazz quintet. Bruce Gladstone, conductor.
The UW Madrigal Singers and Chorale, under the direction of Dr. Bruce Gladstone, will join forces to present “Free Wheeling: A Tribute to the Bicycle”, Saturday April 28 at 7pm in Mills Concert Hall.
The concert opens with no less than five world premieres, written specifically for this concert. “I was surprised, given the bicycle’s popularity, that there weren’t many choral works about bikes,” noted Dr. Gladstone. “It seems to be more the domain of the solo popular ballad or rock bands. There are loads of poems about bikes though, so I just commissioned new works from composers I know.”
There are two works from John Stevens, veteran composer and UW-Madison emeritus professor. “Toasting Song” is a rollicking number about the pleasures of both cycling and wine. “A Bicycler’s Song” takes a poem in praise of bicycles and cycling and sets it in a vocal jazz idiom reminiscent of the Manhattan Transfer.
UW-Madison alumus, former Madrigal Singer Scott Gendel also provided two new works for this event. “She Waits for Me” is a lush ballad that celebrates the joys of love and loyalty, while “Little Things” offers us a cautionary tale of a cyclist’s visit to church one Sunday morning.
Carl Buttke, a current graduate student, composed the fifth new work for this concert, a picturesque tale of a memorable day spent in the Austrian Alps, “Cycling the Rosental.”
The program will also include a fast and fun work for women’s voices, “The Bike Let Loose,” by composer Edie Hill.
This concert occurs at the end of the School of Music’s Jazz Week by design, since the major work in the concert is scored for massed choirs and jazz quintet. The singers are joined by our own Blue Note Ensemble, directed by Johannes Wallmann, for a performance of Alexander L’Estrange’s “Song Cycle” (see video below). The work was written in 2014 for the grand départ of the Tour de France in York, England. Comprised of ten movements, the work looks at the invention of the bicycle, the social changes that it wrought, and the joys that cycling offers to all.
It’s a charming and witty trip that is fun for the whole family, even giving the audience an opportunity to sing along.
The concert is free and all are encouraged to wear their favorite biking togs and join in the fun!