Still summertime and the listenin’ is easy

There are still numerous attractions this summer
Still summertime and the listenin’ is easy
The Token Creek Chamber Music Festival

We might be starting the month by bidding a reluctant farewell to the last of this year’s Concerts on the Square (Aug. 3), but Madison music lovers have plenty left to enjoy before we turn the page to September and autumn.

The first weekend brings the final performances of the Madison Savoyards and Gilbert and Sullivan’s “The Gondoliers.” It’s a great chance to gauge the continued progress of conductor Kyle Knox–as well as indulge in the societal silliness and tongue-tripping lyrics of another great G&S romp. Remaining performances are Aug. 5 and 6 at 7:30 p.m., and Aug. 7 at 3 p.m.

You can also listen to what is arguably the finest choral singing in the area–alas, that it comes but once a year–when the Isthmus Vocal Ensemble presents Brahms’ “A German Requiem.” In celebration of their 15th year, IVE is going all out with a full orchestra and the world premiere of “Song of Jubilation” by Andrew Rindfleisch. This not-to-be-missed group can be heard Aug. 5 at 7:30 and Aug. 7 at 3 p.m. Both performances are at Mills Hall.

In what might be the loveliest local setting for outdoor music, the first season of Concerts in the Garden continues at Allen Centennial Gardens. August 7 brings an encore of the Willy Street Chamber Players, having just finished their own second season. (I finally heard them for myself: go, go, GO!). August 21 features the truly cutting-edge and always unpredictable group Clocks in Motion. Essentially a percussion ensemble, they never fail to engage visually and even theatrically in compelling ways. Concerts in the Garden are free.

In between those Sundays, we have another Madison first, the inaugural event of the Madison New Music Festival. Also free and open to the public, the event at the Madison Museum of Contemporary Art offers a wide range of intriguing composers, among them Eric Whitacre, Takemitsu and Wisconsin native Daron Hagen. Catch it Aug. 13 at 7:30 p.m.

The end of summer is verging upon us when the Token Creek Chamber Music Festival opens, and this year that happens on Aug. 27. Opening night attendees will meet at the beloved barn of John and Rose Mary Harbison at 6:45 p.m. for an informative lecture from restorative ecological experts and a stroll along lovely Token Creek. At 8 p.m. the concert (the series this year is dubbed “Water Music”) includes music of Schubert, Bach and Harbison. The program is repeated the following afternoon (lecture and creek stroll at 2:45 p.m., music at 4 p.m.).

Program II is on Tuesday, Aug. 30, featuring Second City Musick, a consort of viols. With a countertenor and other guest artists, they will treat the audience to a variety of Renaissance music and a Wisconsin premiere of Harbison’s “The Cross of Snow.” Ooh, there’s that word already!