Mahler: Symphony No. 1 (CD review)

Sir Charles Mackerras, Royal Liverpool Philharmonic Orchestra. EMI Eminence 0 7777 64508 2 7.

When I first heard this 1992 recording, I couldn't remember listening to a more wholly satisfying Mahler First Symphony in quite a while. Indeed, after comparing it to a handful of distinguished Mahler Firsts in my collection, I was convinced it was among the best of the lot in terms of overall control, symphonic structure, intensity, atmosphere, and sound. That initial opinion still stands.

When CDs became popular in the early 1980's, it was Austrian composer and conductor Gustav Mahler (1860-1911) whose symphonies became quickly represented in the catalogue. In spite of a late start (but thank you maestros Walter, Bernstein, Klemperer, Solti, and others), Mahler became the darling of the audiophile music-loving set, and for good reason. His works combine good, old-fashioned nineteenth-century Romantic melodies alongside often bizarre, chaotic, experimental twentieth-century modernism. The results were perfect for musical enjoyment and pure sound.

No better are these characteristics displayed than in Mahler's First Symphony, where the opening movement begins with a mysterious awakening of Day or Spring or whatever, followed by fanfares and then several lush, rhapsodic tunes. The Scherzo is Brucknerian in concept, leading to a Funeral March that only Mahler would have dared: part parody, part wistful musing, and entirely peculiar. The Finale starts with a thunderous series of orchestral crescendos, followed by bits and pieces of the first movement's themes, settling into rich romance, and ending in strong, solid affirmative concluding outbursts.

Sir Charles Mackerras
Mackerras handled all of this with the ease of one who had been conducting Mahler all his life, which he may have been doing but not necessarily recording. He doesn't quite project the opening mists as atmospherically as Solti in his LSO account (Decca), but it's close, and then Mackerras launches into the most tightly controlled Mahler tune-making possible, a control that never oversteps the bounds into melodrama or sentimentality as Bernstein sometimes does in his last, DG, account.

To me Horenstein (Unicorn) always seemed to suggest the broad symphonic scope of the symphony better than anyone else, finding links among the varied movements rather than just playing them as separate and disparate entities. Well, Mackerras does much the same thing, with tempos that are quick but never fast or breathless. He presents a cogent portrait of the work as a whole, heightening our awareness of each movement's significance without the symphony ever losing internal cohesion or global unity. Needless to say, the conductor is also quite exciting when called upon, as in the onset of the final movement, and as rapt and mocking as needed. As I say, it all seems to work pretty well together.

It's a shame that EMI only made the 1991 performance available on their Classics for Pleasure and Eminence labels, which get a fairly limited distribution now that Warner Classics have taken over the label. It is for this reason that I only stumbled upon it about a decade after Mackerras recorded it (and that was more than a decade ago that I even found it). The sound is not so robust in the bass as Tennstedt's LPO recording, but it is otherwise detailed and well balanced.

Bernard Haitink (whose last rendering with the Berlin Philharmonic on Philips) is also quite good, once remarked that he believed one should play Mahler as straight as possible and the dramatics would take care of themselves. Mackerras observes this dictum and proves that Mahler can be just as powerful on his own as he can with any added histrionics from the conductor. Obviously, I recommend the disc highly.


To listen to a brief excerpt from this album, click on the forward arrow:

Liszt: Piano Concertos (SACD review)

Also, Malediction. Alexandre Kantorow, piano; Jean-Jacques Kantorow, Tapiola Sinfonietta. BIS 2100.

There are any number of young musicians I've never heard of. For instance, from the biography of this young pianist, "Alexandre Kantorow was born in 1997. After some lessons with Pierre-Alain Volondat, Alexandre joined the Schola Cantorum in Paris to study with Igor Lazko. He has also received advice from such eminent teachers as Jacques Rouvier, Théodore Paraschivesco, Georges Pludermacher, Christian Ivaldi and Jean-Philippe Collard. Alexandre continues his studies at the Paris National Conservatoire with Frank Braley and Haruko Ueda. He has won several first prizes in international competitions, and has played with orchestras such as the Bordeaux Chamber Orchestra, Orléans Symphony Orchestra and the Kaunas Symphony Orchestra in Lithuania."

On the current album, his solo debut with orchestra, Mr. Kantorow plays the two famous Liszt piano concertos and the little concerto "Malediction," accompanied by his more well-known violinist and conductor father Jean-Jacques Kantorow and the Tapiola Sinfonietta.

Insofar as concerns these performances being indispensable additions to every classical music lover's library, I wouldn't go so far as to say so; but they are fine, lyrical accounts of the music, with good nuance and excitement. In fact, out of context, one can hardly fault the performances. The problem comes when one compares Kantorow's readings with some of the classic recordings that have gone before.

Yes, I know it's unfair to make comparisons, but without them it's simply too hard to tell a good performance from a great one. In this case, after hearing Kantorow's rendition of the First Concerto, I listened to Sviatoslav Richter's version with Kiril Kondrashin and the London Symphony (originally on Philips and now remastered by HDTT); then Alfred Brendel with Bernard Haitink and the London Philharmonic (Philips); and, finally, Leonard Pennario with Rene Leibowitz and the London Symphony (HDTT). Kondrashin is probably still the top-of-the-order, the benchmark by which one must measure all other interpretations, and just a few seconds is all one has to hear to know everything that one needs to know. The Kondrashin performance is majestic, towering, and compassionate, dwarfing all others. Listening again to Kantorow finds him more than adequate but rather smaller, lighter, and more youthful in every way; it's still fun though a whole lot less imposing.

Anyway, the program begins with the Piano Concerto No. 1 in E-flat major, S.124, which Hungarian pianist, composer, and conductor Franz Liszt (1811-1886) wrote over a period of some twenty-six years, starting in 1830 and premiering it in 1855. Even though we usually hear it, as here, in three distinct movements--a traditional opening Allegro, a slow Adagio combined with an animated Scherzo, and then an Allegro finale--the movements play like one continuous piece, with variations on common themes throughout.

Alexandre Kantorow
The First Concerto begins in a big, grand manner, in the style of Beethoven, Schumann, Grieg, and Tchaikovsky. Here, Kantorow and company produce an energetic realization, even if the orchestral accompaniment appears more petite than it might sound from one of the larger, major ensembles. Still, this is not a bad thing because Liszt had a modest-sized orchestra in mind, in any case. So, the opening sounds fine, and Kantorow is particularly good in the airier, more songlike parts. Then come his best moments in the Adagio movement, beautifully judged, beautifully realized, sensitive, and affecting. There's a charming freshness to the scherzo section, too, and the whole thing ends with appropriate strength and brio.

The Kantorow team chose mostly moderate tempos, but there are times when they speed things up considerably and, conversely, times when things seem to move practically at a standstill. These contrasts do no real harm to the music, but they can be a mite distracting to those used to something more traditional. Likewise, the Kantorows seem to linger longer than usual over certain pauses, which can be momentarily disconcerting.

Liszt started writing his Piano Concerto No. 2 in A major, S.125 between 1839 and 1840, putting it away for a decade and not debuting it until 1857, then revising it yet again in 1861. This concerto also sounds like one continuous movement, although Liszt divided it into six separate segments: Adagio sostenuto assai; Tempo del andante; Allegro deciso; Marziale, un poco meno allegro; Un poco meno mosso; and Allegro animato. Kantorow handles it with a deftness of touch, complementing the somewhat chamber-music style of the orchestration. This second of Liszt's principal concertos sounds a little less Romantic and less rhapsodic than the earlier concerto, and, fittingly, Kantorow plays it more spontaneously, yet with a firm direction and considerable feeling. Again, it is in the quieter passages that the pianist seems happiest, his virtuosity always at the service of the score and yielding radiant results.

Between the two major concertos, Kantorow plays the little Concerto in E minor "Malediction" (Curse), written by Liszt in 1831, revised in 1840, then put aside and only published in 1915. It's a remarkable work, predating some of Stravinsky's clashing notes, the piano accompanied only by strings. Maybe Liszt thought it was too much ahead of its time when he decided to set it away. Who knows. The main thing is that Kantorow plays it with an entertainingly sinister delight, the piece never reaching any really venomous heights but appearing soulfully malignant just the same.

Producer and sound engineer Jens Braun (Take5 Music Production) made the album in 24-bit/96 kHz at the Tapiola Concert Hall, Finland in November 2014. The recording team used Neumann and Schoeps microphones; RME, Lake People, and DirectOut electronics; MADI optical cabling; B&W, STAX, and Sennheiser monitoring equipment; and Sequoia and Pyramix digital audio workstations. They created the album for SACD or regular CD hybrid playback, so one can play it in multichannel SACD or two-channel SACD from an SACD player, or in two-channel stereo from a regular CD player. I listened in two-channel SACD using a Sony SACD player.

Except for the piano being too close for my taste, this is one of the best-sounding recordings of the concertos I can remember. The folks at BIS have captured the orchestra with extraordinary clarity and naturalness, wide, transparent, yet not at all bright or hard. The piano, too, appears exceptionally well reproduced, with a full, vibrant tone. But, yes, it does seem well out in front of the orchestra, practically in our laps. Still, it's a small price to pay for a recording as otherwise realistic as this one.


To listen to a brief excerpt from this album, click on the forward arrow:

Classical Music News of the Week, January 14, 2017

The Florence Gould Foundation Awards $20,000 Grant to American Bach Soloists

American Bach Soloists has been awarded a grant of $20,000 from The Florence Gould Foundation in support of our February 2017 concert set, "A Weekend in Paris." The Florence Gould Foundation, which was founded in 1957 by Florence Gould (pictured right on board the SS Normandie, circa 1935), daughter-in-law of the railway magnate Jay Gould, aims to support French-American relations, especially via the arts.

In response to the generous gift, ABS Artistic Director Jeffrey Thomas said, "We are so humbled to receive the support of such a prestigious foundation. It's an honor to have the Foundation's confidence in ABS, especially in what will be an unforgettable night of French Baroque music."

In February, "A Weekend in Paris" will offer a tour to the Opéra, the Ballet, and the Chapelle through the elegant music of masters of the French Baroque. When Jean-Baptiste Lully's monopoly on music in France ended at the end of the 17th century, an explosion of musical creativity erupted in Paris from a new generation of composers including Marais, Rebel, Corrette, Mondonville, and the great master of the age, Jean-Philippe Rameau. Featuring a selection of enchanting works for the Opéra, Ballet, and Chapelle, Thomas and ABS explore the vibrant Parisian spirit of invention, including its incorporation of new, cosmopolitan influences from abroad. The Italian style, especially, is evident in these works, as evidenced by Corrette's Laudate Dominum, which includes an interpolation of Vivaldi's "Spring" from The Four Seasons arranged for choir, vocal soloists, and orchestra.

For more information, visit

--American Bach Soloists

The Crypt Sessions Season 2
Unison Media is excited to announce Season 2 of its acclaimed concert series The Crypt Sessions, featuring intimate classical music and opera performances in the remarkable Crypt chapel underneath the Church of the Intercession in Harlem.

The season will begin February 1, 2017 with pianist Lara Downes performing a program remembering her father and his Harlem childhood, while also paying tribute to the many artists who made Harlem their home and inspiration. Taking place on both the first day of Black History Month as well as the birthday of Harlem Rennaisance poet Langston Hughes, the concert will feature a world premiere by composer/violinist Daniel Bernard Roumain, music from Downes' new album America Again by Duke Ellington, Billie Holiday, Florence Price, Nina Simone, William Grant Still, and a spoken word tribute to Hughes by poet and NEA Fellow Joshua Bennett.

Each Crypt Session will feature a pre-concert reception included in the ticket price, where Magnvm Opvs will host a tasting of wines specially chosen to suit the music of that evening's concert, and Ward 8 Events will provide hors d'oeuvrses similarly tailored to the wine and the performance.

All proceeds from ticket sales of The Crypt Sessions are donated to the Church of the Intercession, where the crypt is located. Unison Media gave over $10,000 to the church over the course of Season 1.

Due to rapid sell-outs and long waiting lists, each new concert will be announced immediately after the one preceding it, first to the mailing list, then via The Crypt Sessions Web site:

--Andrew Ousley, Unison Media

February Concerts at 92nd Street Y
Thursday, February 2, 2017 at 8 PM
92Y - Kaufmann Concert Hall, NYC
Kremerata Baltica
Gidon Kremer, violin
Maxim Kantor, artist

Wednesday, February 15, 2017 at 7:30 PM
92Y - Kaufmann Concert Hall, NYC
Christian Tetzlaff, violin
Lars Vogt, piano

Saturday, February 18, 2017 at 8 PM
92Y - Kaufmann Concert Hall, NYC
Elias String Quartet (92Y debut)

Saturday, February 25, 2017 at 2 PM
Guitar Marathon: The Innovation of Transcriptions – Session 1
92Y - Kaufmann Concert Hall, NYC
Benjamin Verdery, guitar & artistic director
John Schaefer, host
Brasil Guitar Duo (92Y debut)
Jorge Caballero (92Y debut)
Eden Stell Guitar Duo
Benjamin Verdery
Ana Vidovic

Saturday, February 25, 2017 at 8 PM
Guitar Marathon: The Innovation of Transcriptions – Session 2
Benjamin Verdery, guitar & artistic director
John Schaefer, host
Sergio & Odair Assad
Dublin Guitar Quartet (92Y debut)
Paul Galbraith
VIDA Guitar Quartet (92Y debut)
Max Zuckerman

For more information, visit

--Katharine Boone, Kirshbaum Associates

International Contemporary Ensemble Returns to Abrons Arts Center
The International Contemporary Ensemble (ICE) continues to transform the way music is created and experienced throughout January.

For its next installment of free OpenICE initiatives, on Monday, January 23 at 8:00 p.m., ICE returns to the Abrons Arts Center's Underground Theater in a rare performance of renowned German composer Wolfgang Rihm's hour-long string trio Musik für Drei Streicher. An oblique tribute to Beethoven's late quartets, Rihm's 1977 work remains among the most ambitious in the string trio literature, relentless in its hyper-romantic expressivity and technical demands, "an unfathomable, clear, confused and passionate music, music that is precise and astonished, like human existence."

Launched in 2015, OpenICE continues to develop, engage, and sustain diverse 21st-century listeners through an outpouring of free artist-driven programming that is open to the public. The program serves a wide range of constituencies, ranging from those with limited access to the art form to students of all ages and backgrounds. Through its partnership with the Abrons Arts Center, the performing arts wing of the Henry Street Settlement, OpenICE brings every aspect of the ensemble's artist-curated and ensemble-commissioned music-making—including performances, digital documentation, workshops, hands-on educational activities, and in-person interaction with the composers—into the open for the benefit of new audiences.

On Thursday, January 19 at 6:00 p.m. at the Performing Arts Branch of the New York Public Library, ICE is joined by composer Ashley Fure in an exploration of two of her works: Therefore, I Was for cello, piano and percussion, and Shiver Lung Two. The interactive evening--the third in a series of events at the NYPL which focus on a single composer--allows the audience to participate and ask questions about Fure's compositional process. The event will be recorded as part of an on-going effort to collectively build archives and documentation for composers.

ICE collaborates with other leading musicians and ensembles on Friday, January 20 at 7:00 p.m. at the DiMenna Center for Classical Music as part of the Anti-Inaugural Ball, a fundraiser in response to the current political climate, where attendees are encouraged to donate to their preferred social activist organizations. In addition to a performance by ICE, participating artists include Phyllis Chen, Jordan Dodson, ETHEL, Flor de Toloache, Flutronix, Gemini, JACK Quartet, Darius Jones, Loadbang, So Percussion, Adam Tendler, with dancing provided by DJ Robert Maril.

For more information, visit

--Katlyn Morahan, Morahan Arts and Media

Cal Performances Celebrates Steve Reich at 80
Cal Performances celebrates the 80th birthday of composer Steve Reich with the U.S. premiere of his new work, Runner, a Cal Performances co-commission, on Sunday, January 29 at 7 pm in Hertz Hall, University of California, Berkeley, CA.

Reich visits Cal Performances with New York's Ensemble Signal, which has performed and recorded his works to great acclaim. The program also includes Reich's Pulitzer Prize-winning Double Sextet (2007), and the recent works Quartet (2013) and Radio Rewrite (2012). Reich himself will join Ensemble Signal's director and conductor, Brad Lubman, for a performance of his seminal 1972 work, Clapping Music. The performance and residency events are part of the Cal Performances 2016/17 Berkeley RADICAL Innovation thematic strand, which follows a group of artistic trailblazers, some celebrating key milestones, who continually ask us to perceive, think, and understand in new ways.

Tickets for Ensemble Signal on Sunday, January 29, 2017 at 7pm in Hertz Hall range from $36-$126 (prices subject to change). Half-price tickets are available for UC Berkeley students. Tickets are available through the Ticket Office at Zellerbach Hall, at (510) 642-9988, at, and at the door. For more information about discounts, go to

--Louisa Spier, Cal Performances

One Found Sound Performs Debussy, Ravel and Respighi
One Found Sound, a chamber orchestra that performs without a conductor, concludes its 2016-2017 season on Friday, February 3 at Heron Arts with a program of works by Debussy, Ravel and Respighi.

Committed to highlighting the individual talents of musicians from within the orchestra, One Found Sound will feature Sasha Launer (flute), Jeannie Psomas (clarinet) and Meredith Clark (harp) with string quartet in Ravel's chamber work Introduction and Allegro. The program also includes Respighi's Ancient Airs and Dances, Suite No. 1, a Renaissance-inspired orchestral work that incorporates the unique instrumentation of harpsichord, and an orchestral version of Debussy's Petite Suite for Piano four hands, transcribed by the composer's colleague Henri Büsser. This performance coincides with a solo exhibition of works by local artist Scott Hove entitled "Cakeland," which launches at Heron Arts on January 14.

For more information, visit

--Brenden Guy

Mahler for Vision at Carnegie Hall
Music For Life International continues its decade-long tradition of global humanitarian concerts at Carnegie Hall by presenting Mahler For Vision, a benefit concert of Gustav Mahler's monumental Second Symphony "Resurrection" on Monday, February 13, 2017 at Carnegie Hall's Stern Auditorium/Perelman Stage. The concert aims to promote the restoration of vision to millions around the world affected by treatable cataract blindness on the most prestigious concert stage in the world. The net proceeds of Mahler For Vision will benefit HelpMeSee's unique efforts to end preventable cataract blindness and to preserve and enrich the dignity of those affected through the innovative use of cutting-edge technology and transformative socio-economic models for distributing these critical public health services.

The performance (the only performance of Mahler's Second Symphony at Carnegie Hall during the 2016-17 season) is the culmination of the Music For Vision series of concerts in the Netherlands and Mumbai and Delhi, India, which has highlighted the issue of cataract blindness on three continents. The performance will be conducted by Singapore-born, Indian conductor and Music For Life Artistic Director, George Mathew, and will feature renowned American violinist, Elmira Darvarova (the first woman ever to serve as Concertmaster of the Metropolitan Opera Orchestra in New York); distinguished soprano Indra Thomas; and mezzo-soprano Susanne Mentzer, a familiar voice to New York audiences from more than thirty years of iconic performances at the Metropolitan Opera and the concert stage.

Program: Gustav Mahler: Symphony No. 2, "Resurrection"
When: Monday, February 13, 2017 at 8PM
Where: Carnegie Hall: Stern Auditorium/Perelman Stage, New York, NY
Tickets: $35-$149 | | CarnegieCharge 212-247-7800 | Box Office at 57th Street & Seventh Avenue, NYC

--Katharine Boone, Kirshbaum Associates

Music Institute Adds New Chicago Campus
The Music Institute of Chicago  announces an additional Chicago teaching campus, broadening its network of locations to eight in the Chicago metropolitan area. The 87-year-old institution, which serves more than 2,000 students of all ages and ability levels, has entered into a partnership with St. James Cathedral, located at 65 E. Huron Street in the heart of one of the nation's busiest urban environments, just one block from "The Magnificent Mile."

Beginning January 30, the Music Institute will offer lessons Monday–Saturday at the new location, expanding its city-based activities beyond programming in the Chicago Public Schools and lessons at Fourth Presbyterian Church's Gratz Center. Immediate opportunities for instruction at the St. James location, home of the well-known Rush Hour Concert Series, will include piano, violin, flute, French horn and harp lessons, with cello and voice to follow.

Music Institute Trustee and Chicago resident David Heroy said, "Downtown residents have struggled with access to the Music Institute's excellent programs for many years. Now music students and enthusiasts will benefit from the Music Institute's increased presence at multiple Chicago locations."

"Our partnership with St. James Cathedral, a musical powerhouse in its own right, allows the Music Institute of Chicago to reach more students who are hungry for music education," commented Music Institute President and CEO Mark George. "That's why we welcome all students, including beginners and casual players, as well as advanced musicians."

For more information, visit or call 847.905.1500.

--Jill Chukerman, JAC Communications

Three New Operas Developed by American Opera Projects to Premiere
American Opera Projects (AOP) in New York is currently developing twenty-one new operas with three to premiere in 2017 in multiple locations across the US:

Three Way
Premieres January 27-29 @ Nashville Opera; June 15-18 @ Brooklyn Academy of Music.
Developed in AOP's Composers & the Voice and First Chance programs.
Tickets for the January world premiere are on sale at

The Summer King
Premieres April 29-May 7 @ Pittsburgh Opera.
Developed in AOP's Composers & the Voice and First Chance programs.
For tickets and details see

Independence Eve
Premieres June 3 - 11, Signature Theatre, Arlington, VA
Complete info can be found at

--Matthew Gray, American Opera Projects

Fort Worth Opera Launches Exciting Free Event "Opera Unfiltered"
Fort Worth Opera (FWOpera) kicks off the New Year with the unveiling of a hot new event on January 26, 2017, at Wild Acre Brewing Company, entitled "Opera Unfiltered." Remaining true to the forward-thinking mission of the company, Opera Overture, a popular highlight of our Festival season, is expanding into a new event called "Opera Unfiltered." Stepping out the art museum and into the brewery, FWOpera's seasonal preview has evolved to capture the raw spirit of the occasion. Designed to highlight and explore the inspiration behind our "Opera Unbound" selections, FWOpera will now present the event free of charge to the public in unique, trendy spaces throughout the city. The title may have changed, but the innovative essence remains the same, as we feature an in-depth discussion with the creative team of our 2014 Frontiers showcase winner Voir Dire.

Written by composer Matthew Peterson and librettist Jason Zencka, this explosive new courtroom opera features grisly, firsthand accounts of real-life cases documented by Zencka as a crime reporter in a Wisconsin courtroom. Festival audiences will find themselves transported back and forth in time, as the narrative flits between macabre legal cases and harrowing flashback scenes of the crimes themselves. Voir Dire's "Circus of the Law" taps into pop culture's enduring fascination with true-crime tales of unspeakable depravity, and its title refers to a French phrase that describes the preliminary questioning of prospective jurors by attorneys and a judge, to determine whether or not they will be biased in their decision making.

Celebrated director David Gately will be on hand to discuss the intricate process of developing the piece from the page to the stage, and fashion stylist|costume designer Meredith Hinson will give audiences a unique view into the creative methodology behind her designs. Stars from Voir Dire, who are also part of FWOpera's prestigious Hattie Mae Lesley Apprentice program, (soprano Christina Pecce, mezzo-soprano Anna Laurenzo, baritone Trevor Martin, tenor Andrew Surrena) will perform selections from the new composition, joined by bass-baritone Nathan Mattingly as Judge Dodsworth. For opera lovers in North Texas, this is the perfect opportunity to gain an insider's perspective of this new work before it receives its world premiere on April 23, as part of the 2017 FWOpera Festival.

"Opera Unfiltered": Voir Dire
6:00 pm – 8:00 pm
Wild Acre Brewing Company, 1734 East El Paso Street, #190, Fort Worth, TX 76102


--Ryan Lathan, Fort Worth Opera

John J. Puccio

John J. Puccio

About the Author

Understand, I'm just an everyday guy reacting to something I love. And I've been doing it for a very long time, my appreciation for classical music starting with the musical excerpts on The Big John and Sparkie radio show in the early Fifties and the purchase of my first recording, The 101 Strings Play the Classics, around 1956. In the late Sixties I began teaching high school English and Film Studies as well as becoming interested in hi-fi, my audio ambitions graduating me from a pair of AR-3 speakers to the Fulton J's recommended by The Stereophile's J. Gordon Holt. In the early Seventies, I began writing for a number of audio magazines, including Audio Excellence, Audio Forum, The Boston Audio Society Speaker, The American Record Guide, and from 1976 until 2008, The $ensible Sound, for which I served as Classical Music Editor.

Today, I'm retired from teaching and use a pair of bi-amped VMPS RM40s loudspeakers for my listening. In addition to writing the Classical Candor blog, I served as the Movie Review Editor for the Web site Movie Metropolis (formerly DVDTown) from 1997-2013. Music and movies. Life couldn't be better.

Mission Statement

It is the goal of Classical Candor to promote the enjoyment of classical music. Other forms of music come and go--minuets, waltzes, ragtime, blues, jazz, bebop, country-western, rock-'n'-roll, heavy metal, rap, and the rest--but classical music has been around for hundreds of years and will continue to be around for hundreds more. It's no accident that every major city in the world has one or more symphony orchestras.

When I was young, I heard it said that only intellectuals could appreciate classical music, that it required dedicated concentration to appreciate. Nonsense. I'm no intellectual, and I've always loved classical music. Anyone who's ever seen and enjoyed Disney's Fantasia or a Looney Tunes cartoon playing Rossini's William Tell Overture or Liszt's Hungarian Rhapsody No. 2 can attest to the power and joy of classical music, and that's just about everybody.

So, if Classical Candor can expand one's awareness of classical music and bring more joy to one's life, more power to it. It's done its job.

Contact Information

Readers with polite, courteous, helpful letters may send them to

Readers with impolite, discourteous, bitchy, whining, complaining, nasty, mean-spirited, unhelpful letters may send them to pucciojj@recycle.bin.

"Their Master's Voice" by Michael Sowa

"Their Master's Voice" by Michael Sowa