Classical Music News of the Week: August 21, 2011

Deutsche Grammophon and Decca Classics U.S. in Partnership with L4 Mobile Present iClassics
New iPad Application Dedicated To Discovering The Best In Classical Music

August 15, 2011, New York, NY:  iClassics is a new classical music discovery application developed exclusively for Apple's iPad.  Created by Deutsche Grammophon and Decca Classics U.S. in partnership with L4 Mobile, the app allows consumers to explore the recordings from these labels' vast and prestigious catalogues in a new and interactive way.  Deutsche Grammophon and Decca labels are home to such lauded artists such as Luciano Pavarotti, Cecilia Bartoli, Daniel Barenboim, Gustavo Dudamel, Leonard Bernstein, Anna Netrebko, Renée Fleming and many more.

Utilizing a unique tagging interface, iClassics offers the ability to search, mix and match composers, instruments and even moods, successfully catering to classical music beginners and established fans alike. iClassics also includes an interactive composer timeline featuring over 100 composers ranging from the Medieval time period through the present.

In addition, users have the ability to share their classical music discoveries with friends on Facebook and Twitter. Free updates will include new recordings along with new features as they roll out.

iClassics is free to download and can be accessed with the following link:

It includes the following features:
* Interactive Tagging Interface
* Free Streaming Deutsche Grammophon & Decca Classics Radio
* Streaming Audio Samples
* Integration directly with the iTunes Music Store
* Facebook integration
* Twitter Integration
*Apple AirPlay Enabled

"Classical music is an incredibly rich experience, but the sheer variety of composers, performers and interpretations can be daunting for some," said Max Hole, Chief Operating Officer, Universal Music Group International, who is responsible for UMG's market-leading classical music labels worldwide.  "This new, exciting iClassics app simplifies this complex world and guides music lovers to the finest recordings of the masterpieces performed by the world's top performers in an enjoyable, user-friendly way. Our goal is to help more people discover this extraordinary world."

--Olga Makrias, VP, Publicity
Deutsche Grammophon & Decca Classics, U.S.

Elza van den Heever Makes Her First Appearances of the 2011-12 Season with Chicago Lyric Opera, Hamburgische Staatsoper, and the Berlin Philharmonic
August 17, 2011 - South African soprano Elza van den Heever's 2011-2012 performance schedule begins with her Hamburgische Staatsoper debut as Donna Anna in Don Giovanni, the role that launched her professional career in 2007 in San Francisco, and which she has repeated to critical acclaim in Frankfurt, Arizona and Santa Fe.

At Oper Frankfurt, where she has been a member of the resident company since 2008, Ms. van den Heever sings her role debut as Desdemona in Johannes Erath's new production of Otello and reprises the role of Antonia in Dale Duesing's production of Les contes d'Hoffman.

With recent successes in operas by romantics Strauss, Offenbach, Wagner and Verdi, 2011-2012 sees the soprano taking on the baroque era with two Handel role debuts, both under the baton of leading baroque maestro Harry Bicket.  For her Lyric Opera debut, she sings Armida in the company's all-star cast of Rinaldo, which also includes renowned countertenor David Daniels in the title role, Julie Kleiter as Almirena, and Luca Pisaroni as Argante. With Opéra National de Bordeaux Ms. van den Heever assumes the title role in Alcina in a new production by David Alden featuring Isabel Leonard as Ruggiero.

Building on an acclaimed concert season in which she performed Strauss's Four Last Songs in San Francisco and the Verdi Requiem in Frankfurt, Ms. van den Heever makes her Berlin Philharmonic debut in Beethoven's Missa Solemnis conducted by Herbert Blomstedt.

In coming seasons, Ms. van den Heever will make her debut at the Metropolitan Opera and expand her repertoire to include Elisabetta in Maria Stuarda and Hélène in Les Vêpres siciliennes. Winner of the 2008 Seattle Opera Wagner Competition, Ms. van den Heever was born and raised in Johannesburg, South Africa and studied at the San Francisco Conservatory of Music. A graduate of both the Merola Opera Program and San Francisco Opera's Adler Fellowship (where she created the role of Mary Custis Lee in the world première of Philip Glass's Appomattox), she continues to study with Sheri Greenawald. When not performing in Frankfurt, Ms. van den Heever makes her home in Bordeaux, France.

Mexican Tenor David Lomeli's 2011-2012 Performance Season Includes Glyndebourne Festival, Houston Grand Opera, Hollywood Bowl, and Others
August 19, 2011 - Mexican tenor David Lomelí's 2011-12 season takes the talented young performer to stages in the United States, Canada, Switzerland, the United Kingdom and Germany. Proclaimed "the vocal discovery of the season" by the The Washington Post's Charles Downey for his performances as Rodolfo in La bohème at Santa Fe Opera, Lomelí will make his Glyndebourne Festival debut in June in the same role, which he also performs in concert with the Pacific Symphony.  Lomelí begins his season as the Duke of Mantua in Rigoletto for Canadian Opera Company, a role he will also perform under the baton of Gustavo Dudamel in an August concert with the Los Angeles Philharmonic at the Hollywood Bowl and with the Badisches Staatstheater Karlsruhe.  He makes his Houston Grand Opera debut as Alfredo in La Traviata under the baton of Music Director Patrick Summers; Edgardo in Lucia di Lammermoor with Deutsche Oper Berlin; a professional recital debut with the Birmingham Music Club at the Wright Center in Birmingham, Alabama; and performances of Verdi's Requiem with Sinfonieorchester Basel.

Nadja Salerno-Sonnenberg and the New Century Chamber Orchestra Celebrate 20th Anniversary
August 19, 2011 - Music Director Nadja Salerno-Sonnenberg and the New Century Chamber Orchestra celebrate the ensemble's 20th anniversary season with a five-concert East Coast tour featuring appearances in New York, Albany, Worcester, Amherst and Wayne, return appearances of former Music Directors Stuart Canin and Krista Bennion Feeney and a world premiere from Featured Composer Ellen Taaffe Zwilich. Repertoire for the 2011 East Coast tour includes Rossini's Sonata in G Major, Mendelssohn's Octet in E-flat Major, the East Coast Premiere of Bolcom's Romanza for Violin and String Orchestra, commissioned by New Century, with Ms. Salerno-Sonnenberg as soloist and Barber's Adagio for Strings, featured on the orchestra's most recent CD release Live: Barber, Strauss and Mahler.

Joining the New Century for their 20th Anniversary Season celebrations in the Bay Area will be Pulitzer Prize winner Ellen Taaffe Zwilich as featured composer, mandolinists Mike Marshall and Caterina Lichtenberg, and special showcase performances by former music directors Stuart Canin and Krista Bennion Feeney.

The season opens September 22. In addition to the tour, sixteen San Francisco Bay Area performances, and a world premiere, the Ensemble will hold a special 20th Anniversary Gala on November 5 to celebrate the important anniversary and send the orchestra off on their East Coast tour.

--Karen Ames, International Press Representation

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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