Classical News of the Week: June 19, 2011

Jean-Yves Thibaudet to Perform the Complete Piano Works of Ravel at Tanglewood This Summer

New York, NY - Internationally renowned pianist Jean-Yves Thibaudet prides himself on his ability to get lost in a particular composer's oeuvre, mining even obscure works for poetic insights into the writer's intentions. Thibaudet builds seasons around composers; he makes falling in love with their music the centerpiece of his artistic life. In the past decade, Thibaudet has planned programs and albums around composers such as Frédéric François Chopin, Eric Satie, Franz Liszt, Bill Evans, and George Gershwin. This July, Thibaudet will perform the complete piano works of Maurice Ravel over three days of concerts at Tanglewood. The Boston Symphony Orchestra, under the baton of Emmanuel Krivine, will join Thibaudet on the final day. During the three days, Thibaudet will play the first and last compositions of Ravel's lifetime.

Performance schedule:
Wednesday, July 20 - 8:00 p.m. (solo)
Thursday, July 21 - 8:00 p.m. (solo)
Saturday, July 23 - 10:30 a.m. (public rehearsal with the Boston Symphony Orchestra)
Sunday, July 24 - 2:30 p.m. (with the Boston Symphony Orchestra)

On August 5 and 6, 2011, Thibaudet will highlight his commitment to current music at the Cabrillo Festival of Contemporary Music. With Marin Alsop conducting, he will perform Macmillan's Piano Concerto No. 3, The Mysteries of Light and Ranjbaran's Concerto for Piano. Thibaudet gave the world premiere of The Mysteries of Light in April of 2011 with the Minnesota Orchestra. Concerto for Piano was written for Thibaudet and premiered with the Atlanta Symphony. During the 2012-13 season, Thibaudet will continue to tour internationally, playing Debussy in honor of the composer's 150th birthday.

--Amanda Ameer, First Chair Promotion

Pianist Beth Levin Performs at BargeMusic in New York on Friday July 22, 2011

Pianist Beth Levin performs a varied programme, including a world premiere composition by Mohammed Fairouz, at Bargemusic.
Works of Rameau, Scarlatti, Andrew Rudin, and Robert Schumann
Mohammed Fairouz: Piano Miniatures, No.7 and 8 (*World Premiere)

Bargemusic presents chamber music in an unlikely and startlingly beautiful venue--a floating barge at the foot of the Brooklyn Bridge. Both established and emerging musicians perform at Bargemusic on a small stage with the dramatic backdrop of the East River and lower Manhattan skyline. Enjoy a concert of piano music while taking in the breathtaking New York City skyline at Bargemusic.

About Beth Levin:
Beth Levin made her debut with the Philadelphia Orchestra at the age of twelve. Soon after, she was selected as one of three students to study with Rudolf Serkin at the Curtis Institute of Music. Her training began with Maryan Filar at the Settlement Music School in Philadelphia. In addition to Rudolf Serkin, her teachers have included Leonard Shure at Boston University and Dorothy Taubman in New York City. She has earned the acclaim of colleagues and critics as an exceptional talent.  She made her New York debut in 1982 at the Metropolitan Museum of Art. Recitals at the Gardner Museum, Forum in North Carolina, the Dame Myra Hess Series in Chicago, Harvard University, Randolph Macon College, New York University, Williams College, the Brooklyn Museum, Merkin Hall and Weill Recital Hall followed. She has toured Europe with Trio Borealis and performed the Emperor Concerto with the Symphony Orchestra of Quito, Ecuador. Her live radio broadcasts have aired on National Public Radio, WGBH in Boston, WFMT in Chicago and WNYC, WNYE and WQXR in New York.

Appearing as soloist with such orchestras as the Philadelphia Orchestra, Boston Pops Orchestra, Seattle Symphony Orchestra, Boston Civic Symphony and chamber orchestras around the USA, Beth Levin has worked with such conductors as William Smith, Arthur Fiedler, Benjamin Zander, Milton Katims, Silas Huff and Joseph Silverstein. As a Music From Marlboro Artist, she toured the USA and Canada and taped the Hummel Quintet in D minor for Columbia Masterworks. She has collaborated with the Audubon Quartet, the Vermeer Quartet, The Reykjavik Woodwind Quintet, the Daniel Quartet, the Boston Artists Ensemble and the Saratoga Chamber Players. Participation in the Taubman International Piano Festival, Marlboro, Casals, Harvard, Edinburgh Fringe and Blue Hill summer music festivals also resulted. Beth Levin was a founder of the Gramercy Trio and the American Arts Trio. Concert recordings of Schubert's Wanderer Fantasy and Scott Wheeler's Artist Proofs (1998) have been released on the Palexa label.

As a soloist and chamber musician, Beth Levin has performed and recorded contemporary works by Alan Campbell, Marc Eychenne, Mohammed Fairouz, Brian Fennelly, Steven R. Gerber, Alexander Goretzky, Louis Karchin, Michael Rose, Andrew Rudin, Scott Wheeler, and David Del Tredici.

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--Chris DiGirolamo, Two for the Show Media

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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