Classical News of the Week: June 12, 2011

The 32nd Edition of the Festival International de Jazz de Montréal.
More Than 750 Free Outdoor Concerts in Addition to 250 Indoor Concerts.

Montreal - In total, more than 1000 concerts and activities await fans at the 32nd edition of the Festival International de Jazz de Montréal, presented by TD in collaboration with Rio Tinto Alcan! From June 25 to July 4, multiple musical celebrations, free outdoor mega-events, some thirty concert series, about fifty shows per day and a carnival's worth of entertainment and activities illuminate the downtown core of Montreal. Montrealers and their guests will find something for every conceivable taste in the wild array of diversity presented annually by the Festival. Legends from here and abroad, newcomers to the music scene, rising stars and undeniable icons all gather in our city, whether solo, as stars of a megaconcert, in minimalist combos or Big Bands, all pouring themselves into the heartbeat of the largest and greatest jazz festival in the world. It's an impressive free outdoor program in the heart of a city in tune with jazz, blues and world music, including a musical park for children, concerts, activities and entertainment, every day, from noon to midnight. Do the math: it's 10 days of musical pleasure.

For more information:  http://nouvelles.equipespectra.ca/blog/?p=1661&langswitch_lang=en

--Jill Chukerman, JAC Communications

Banjoist-Arranger Jake Schepps Makes Musical Magic with the East-Meets-West Stringband Sounds on An Evening in the Village: The Music of Béla Bartók.

The new album, to be released October 6, finds common ground between the piquant beauty of Bartók's take on Eastern European folk melodies and the Big-Sky vibrancy of new American acoustic music.

It's a marvelous thing when aspiration meets inspiration and a musician takes a striking leap, not only moving his art forward but raising the bar for those around him. Colorado-based banjoist-arranger Jake Schepps has taken just such a leap with his album An Evening in the Village: The Music of Béla Bartók. Devoted to arrangements of folk-influenced musicby the Hungarian composer and pioneering ethnomusicologist Béla Bartók (1881-1945), An Evening in the Village helps broaden the horizons of the string band, proving that the scintillating mix of banjo, fiddle, mandolin, guitar, and double-bass need not be limited to Americana tradition.The roots-music magazine Dirty Linen was prescient when it said, "Jake Schepps and crew are part of a growing modern stringband movement that uses bluegrass instrumentation but produces music without border."

An Evening in the Village sees Schepps and his virtuoso cohorts re-envision Bartók's modernist takes on old Eastern European melodies as if the collective were an Appalachian band jamming after hours in a Transylvanian town hall, the moods ranging from the gorgeously bittersweet title track and haunting full-moon "Melody" to the whirling, off-kilter hooks of "Ruthenian Kolomeika" and "Cousin Sally Brown," an old-time Anglo-American fiddle tune given an East-meets-West spin. The album was recorded in Nashville and Colorado, co-produced by Juno Award-winning banjoist Jayme Stone along with Schepps and mandolin ace Matt Flinner; the players include members of Schepps' band the Expedition Quartet and other top players on the new acoustic scene. The sophisticated arrangements and spirited performances capture the essence of the music--its mystery, humor, and crooked, folk-art beauty.

--Amada Sweet, BuckleSweet Media

Woodstock Mozart Festival Presents its 25th Anniversary Season, July 30-August 14, featuring the music of J.C.F. Bach, Barber, Beethoven, Duport, Liszt, Mozart, Prokofiev, and Thalberg.

Chicago--A diverse season of composers and award-winning artists combine in celebration of the Woodstock Mozart Festival's Silver Anniversary July 30-August 14, 2011 at the Woodstock Opera House, featuring three concert programs, a piano recital and two master classes.

Orchestral Programs:
Each of the three orchestral concert programs takes place Saturday at 8 p.m. and Sunday at 3 p.m. Pre-concert introductions take place one hour before each performance. The program lineup is as follows:
July 30-31, Echo Klassik (European Grammy) award-winning cellist Peter Hörr, conductor:
American premiere of Sinfonia in E-flat Major, HW 1/10 by Johann Christoph Friedrich Bach
Cello Concerto No. 6 in D Minor by Jean-Louis Duport.
Adagio for Strings by Samuel Barber.
Symphony No. 25 in G Minor, K. 183 by Wolfgang Amadeus Mozart

August 6-7: Hungarian conductor Istvan Jaray; Liszt virtuoso Mykola Suk
Symphony No. 35 in D Major, K. 385 "Haffner" by Wolfgang Amadeus Mozart.
Piano Concerto No. 2 in A Major by Franz Liszt.
Symphony No. 1 in C Major, Op. 21 by Ludwig van Beethoven.
Suk also leads a piano master class August 7 at 5:15 p.m.

August 13-14: Dutch conductor Arthur Arnold, violinist Karina Canellakis, and violist Rose Armbrust Griffin:
Classical Symphony by Sergei Prokofiev
Sinfonia Concertante for Violin and Viola in E-flat Major, K. 364 by Wolfgang Amadeus Mozart.
Symphony No. 7 in A Major, Op. 92 by Ludwig van Beethoven.

Piano Recital:
On Saturday, August 6 at 2 p.m. Mykola Suk performs a nearly all-Liszt piano recital featuring the composer's Fantasia quasi Sonata: Aprés une lecture de Dante (1849); Les Cloches de Genève (The Bells of Geneva) (1835–6); and Hungarian Rhapsody No. 12, as well as Fantasie sur l'opéra "moise" de Rossini, Op. 33 by Sigismund Thalberg.

The 2011 Woodstock Mozart Festival takes place July 30–August 14 at the Woodstock Opera House, 121 Van Buren Street, Woodstock. Tickets are $30–52 for each of the three orchestral concert programs (Saturdays 8 p.m., Sundays 3 p.m.); $20 for the piano recital by Mykola Suk (Saturday, August 6, 2 p.m.); and $10 for the master classes with Peter Hörr (Sunday, July 31, 5:15 p.m.) and Mykola Suk (Sunday, August 7, 5:15 p.m.). Tickets are available through the Woodstock Opera House Box Office at 815-338-5300 or at woodstockoperahouse.com. For more information about the Festival, visit mozartfest.org.

About the Woodstock Mozart Festival
The Woodstock Mozart Festival's first performances were held in 1987 at the restored 1880s Woodstock Opera House in an environment reminiscent of Mozart's day. From the beginning, the Festival showcased internationally recognized guest artists and conductors during its three weekends of concerts in late July and early August. The Festival's goal is to maintain a superb orchestra that delivers extraordinary performances that inspire and educate audiences of all ages under the banner "Mozart…and More!". The Woodstock Mozart Festival is a member of the League of American Orchestras and the Illinois Arts Alliance. Funding is provided by the Illinois Arts Council, the Gaylord and Dorothy Donnelley Foundation, the Arts Work Fund for Organizational Development, the MacArthur Fund for Arts and Culture, the AptarGroup Charitable Foundation and private and corporate contributions.

--Jill Chukerman, JAC Communications
JJP

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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 pucciojj@gmail.com.

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