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:

--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 For more information about the Festival, visit

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

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Meet the Staff

Meet the Staff
John J. Puccio, Editor, Publisher, Reviewer

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.
Karl W. Nehring, Contributing Reviewer

For more than 20 years I was the editor ofThe $ensible Soundmagazine and a regular contributor to its classical review pages. I would not presume to present myself as some sort of expert on music, but I have a deep love for and appreciation of many types of music, "classical" especially, and have listened to thousands of recordings over the years, many of which still line the walls of my listening room (and occasionally spill onto the furniture and floor, much to the chagrin of my long-suffering wife). I have always taken the approach as a reviewer that what I am trying to do is simply to point out to readers that I have come across a recording that I have found of interest, a recording that I think they might appreciate my having pointed out to them. I suppose that sounds a bit simple-minded, but I know I appreciate reading reviews by others that do the same for me -- point out recordings that I think I might enjoy.

For readers who might be wondering about what kind of system I am using to do my listening, I should probably point out that I do a LOT of music listening and employ a variety of means to do so in a variety of environments, as I would imagine many music lovers also do. Starting at the more grandiose end of the scale, the system in which I do my most serious listening comprises an Onkyo C-7030 CD player, Legacy Audio StreamLine preamplifier, Legacy Audio PowerBloc2 amplifier, and a pair of Legacy Audio Focus SE speakers augmented by a Legacy Point One subwoofer. I also do a lot of listening while driving in my 2016 Acura RDX with its nice-sounding ELS Studio sound system through which I play CDs (the ones I especially like I rip to the Acura's hard drive so that I can listen to them whenever I want) or stream music through the system using my LG G7 ThinQ cell phone, which features surprisingly sophisticated audio circuitry. For more casual listening at home when I am not in my listening room, I often stream music through the phone into a Vizio soundbar system that has remarkably nice sound for such a diminutive physical presence. And finally, at the least grandiose end of the scale, I have an Ultimate Ears Wonderboom Bluetooth speaker for those occasions where I am somewhere by myself without a sound system but in desperate need of a musical fix. I just can't imagine life without music and I am humbly grateful for the technology that enables us to enjoy it in so many wonderful ways.
Bryan Geyer, Technical Analyst

I initially embraced classical music in 1954 when I mistuned my car radio and heard the Heifetz recording of Mendelssohn's Violin Concerto. That inspired me to board the new "hi-fi" DIY bandwagon. In 1957 I joined one of the pioneer semiconductor makers and spent the next 32 years marketing transistors and microcircuits to military contractors. Home audio DIY projects remained a personal passion until 1989 when we created our own new photography equipment company. I later (2012) revived my interest in two channel audio when we "downsized" our life and determined that mini-monitors + paired subwoofers were a great way to mate fine music with the space constraints of condo living.

Visitors that view my technical papers on this site may wonder why they appear here, rather than on a site that features audio equipment reviews. My reason is that I tried the latter, and prefer to publish for people who actually want to listen to music; not to equipment. My focus is in describing what's technically beneficial to assure that the sound of the system will accurately replicate the source input signal (i. e. exhibit high accuracy) without inordinate cost and complexity. Conversely, most of the audiophiles of today strive to achieve sound that's euphonic, i.e. be personally satisfying. In essence, audiophiles seek sound that's consistent with their desire; the music is simply a test signal.

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. --John J. Puccio

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"Their Master's Voice" by Michael Sowa

"Their Master's Voice" by Michael Sowa