Classical Music News of the Week, November 13, 2011

Maestro Artist Management Announces Winter/Spring 2012 Season
Repin, Kern, Spivakov, Maisky, Bashmet, Golan, Matsuev Highlight Stellar Schedule
Moscow Soloists Chamber Orchestra Celebrates 20th Anniversary

Maestro Artist Management (MAM) is pleased to announce their latest line-up of world class classical artists and orchestras to visit major markets in the U.S. in early 2012.  Denis Matsuev, Vladmir Spivakov with Olga Kern, Vadim Repin with Itamar Golan, and the Moscow Soloists Chamber Orchestra with conductor/soloist Yuri Bashmet featuring cellist Mischa Maisky will all be presented by MAM in the nation's most prestigious concert halls across the country.  State MAM founders Maria Shclover and Irina Shabshis: "Our announced season offers something for everyone, most especially our very discerning classical music audience.  Every season, we strive to introduce U.S. audiences to the best and most prominent international talent, and we are certain that these upcoming performances will delight music lovers from coast to coast."

Virtuosic pianist Denis Matsuev returns to the U.S. with a recital program of Schubert, Beethoven, Grieg and Stravinsky, while the magnetic duo of violinist Vladmir Spivakov and pianist Olga Kern promise to delight with Brahms, Stravinsky, Pärt and Franck. David Finckel (cello) of the celebrated Emerson String Quartet will join Spivakov and Kern for the  performance of Dmitri Shostakovich's Piano Trio No. 2 in E Minor, Op.67 at Carnegie Hall  only. Ranking among the most prominent classical artists in the world today, Vadim Repin and Itamar Golan will perform a recital program of works by Janacek, Ravel, Grieg and Chausson. Celebrating their 20th anniversary, the Moscow Soloists Chamber Orchestra, conducted by Yuri Bashmet, will make a triumphant visit to the US featuring cellist Mischa Maisky, who will make his first appearance on a major U.S. tour in almost 20 years. The orchestra will present works by Schubert/Mahler, Hayden, Tchaikovsky and Brahms. 

Maestro Artist Management is a full-service production, touring and promotion company that focuses on presenting international artists in a variety of genres, from classical music and dance, theatre and world music to audiences in the U.S. Founded by passionate arts enthusiasts Maria Shclover and Irina Shabshis, MAM's vision is focused on creating an ongoing dialogue between American audiences and international artists with the goal of promoting greater cultural understanding. They are strongly committed to providing the finest entertainment, exceptional musical performances and enlightening educational programs for their patrons, and bear an impassioned belief that shared musical experiences enrich the lives of our community by stimulating cultural awareness and celebrating artistic achievements.

Maestro Artist Management January – May 2012 Classical Concert Season
Denis Matsuev, piano
January 22 Benaroya Hall Seattle, WA
January 24 Royce Hall, UCLA Los Angeles, CA
January 27 Carnegie Hall New York, NY

Vladmir Spivakov,  violin  and Olga Kern, piano

February 17 Sanders Theatre Boston, MA
February 18 Carnegie Hall New York, NY
February 19 Orchestra Hall Chicago, IL
February 25 Benaroya Hall Seattle, WA
February 26 Herbst Theatre San Francisco, CA

Vadim  Repin, violin and Itamar Golan, piano
March 16 Strathmore Hall Bethesda, MD  (co-presented by Washington Performing Artist Society – WPAS)
March 17 Alice Tully Hall New York, NY
March 18 Jordan Hall Boston, MA

Moscow Soloist Chamber Orchestra with Yuri Bashmet, conductor and soloist (viola) and Misha Maisky, cello
April 26 Orchestra Hall Chicago, IL
April 27 Strathmore Hall Bethesda, MD
April 28 Avery Fisher Hall New York, NY
April 29 Boston Symphony Hall Boston, MA
May 4 Herbst Theatre San Francisco, CA
May 5 Wilshire Ebell Theatre Los Angeles, CA  (Maisky will not perform)
May 6 Benaroya Hall Seattle, WA

--Liza Prijatel, Rebecca Davis PR

Music Institute of Chicago Sponsor Young Composer's Competition
Application Deadline: December 15, 2011
To encourage and promote the development of young composers ages 12–18, the Music Institute of Chicago is sponsoring the Generation Next Young Composer's Competition. Prizes range from $75 to $350. In addition, winners will hear their works performed live at Nichols Concert Hall, receive a CD recording of the performance and become eligible for scholarships to participate in the Music Institute's Composer's Lab.

While there are abundant performance opportunities and competitions for young musicians, there are far fewer opportunities to recognize talented young composers. In an effort to stimulate interest in the music of our time and support young composers in their endeavors, the Music Institute began the Generation Next Young Composer's Competition in 2006. Each year talented young musicians from the Music Institute's Academy and Community School programs perform the winning works at Nichols Concert Hall in Evanston.

This year the Winner's Concert takes place March 9, 2012, as part of MIC's annual Four Score Festival. In addition to performances of the winner's composition, the program also will feature works from the Music Institute's Composer's Lab Program, created by Composer-in-Residence Mischa Zupko, and performances by young composers from the studio of Chicago-based composer Dr. Stacy Garrop. The Music Institute again has partnered with 98.7 WFMT to record the performance for future broadcast on the popular radio program Introductions, which celebrates talented pre-college classical musicians.

--Jill Chukerman, JAC Communications

David Lang Releases New album, "this was written by hand," on November 15, and Announces YouTube Competition for May 6 New York Performance
Although David Lang is known for his fearless innovation and daring experiments, a certain amount of introspection and longing is not unknown in his work. His latest album, "this was written by hand," to be released by Cantaloupe Music on November 15, is the perfect marriage of the composer's relentless need to expand the forms of classical music and his desire the recover lost memories. The CD is made up of two compositions, the title work "this was written by hand" and "memory pieces," both performed by Andrew Zolinsky. Zolinsky and Lang have a history of collaboration, as Zolinsky gave the first performances of both the works on this disc, as well as the premiere of 'fur,' commissioned by the BBC, and the ensemble works 'how to pray' and 'forced march.'

"this was written by hand" is a 10-minute piece for solo piano. The inspiration for the piece came from the physical process of writing music. "Writing music [used to be] an intensely physical activity," Lang muses in the album's liner notes. "I got my first computer in 1993, and I have not written music with a pencil ever since, but I wonder how - or if - the means of my writing had any effect on the writing itself. I wrote this piano piece to find out." The second part of the release is the eight-sectioned "memory pieces." Each was written to honor a friend of the composer who have passed away. They serve, however, less as monument than as an attempt to enclose a specific memory about the loved one. Lang explains, "Each of these little pieces highlights some aspect of my relationship with each friend. I hope this will help me hold on to these memories just a little while longer."

One of the works on the album, "wed," is at the center of an online contest. The sheet music for "wed" will be available for free here on November 15, and users are invited to download it. Pianists can then post videos of themselves playing the work onto YouTube with the tag "david lang piano competition 2011." After January 1, all of the submissions will be judged by an all-star pianist panel consisting of Vicky Chow, Jeremy Denk, Lisa Moore, Andrew Zolinsky, and the composer himself. The winner will be flown out to New York, and Lang will compose a new work for four hands to be played by him/her and Zolinsky at (le) poisson rouge on May 6. The winner will also play his or her rendition of "wed" at (le) poisson rouge. The full rules can be found here.

The contest is an attempt to recreate a lost part of classical music. Lang says, "One of the things I have always loved about piano music is that for a long time it was the most democratic part of the classical music world. In the 19th century--the glory years of classical music--if you wanted to hear music in your home you would have to play it yourself, and many people became acquainted with famous operas or symphonies only from the piano transcriptions that they could play themselves, in their own homes. Good pianists, bad pianists, amateur pianists, virtuosi - anyone interested in the music found out about it by playing it, or at least trying to.  When I put the pieces together on this disc I started wondering if there were some way to engage that same wide range of listeners and performers and abilities, so I thought up this contest. Of course I hope that some people will submit their videos, but what makes me most excited is the hope that many more people will download the free sheet music and play the piece themselves. That makes me really happy."

The 2011-2012 season continues the proliferation of David Lang's vision. October will see the premiere of "reason to believe" with the Trio Mediaeval and Norwegian Radio Symphony, and Lang as the featured composer at the Bowling Green New Music Festival. "the little match girl passion" will be performed by the Los Angeles Master Chorale at Disney Hall on November 13. Also in November, the UK theater company Cryptic begins a tour of an evening-length work, dramatizing Lang's pieces "the little match girl passion" and "world to come." On December 2, anonymous 4 will premiere "the wood and the vine," which will tour the world as part of the company's 25th anniversary tour. Cantaloupe will also release Lang's soundtrack for the award winning documentary The Woodmans, in conjunction with its national broadcast on PBS this December. 2012 begins with a new work commissioned by Stanford Lively Arts and Carnegie Hall for Bryce Dessner, Owen Pallett, Shara Worden, and Nico Muhly in Stanford, California, and Zankel Hall in Carnegie Hall. Lang will be a featured composer at the festival Les Subsistances in Lyon, France February 3 through 7, 2011. The season will continue with the American premiere of "I never" at Sacred Music in a Sacred Space on March 28. In April will be the premiere of Pontus Lidberg's choreography to "the little match girl passion" sung live, at the Royal Swedish Ballet.

--Amanda Ameer, First Chair Promotion

Boston Symphony Orchestra Eagerly Anticipates Return Visit to San Francisco, After a 15-Year Absence from the City, December 6 & 7
Ludovic Morlot leads the BSO in Mozart's Piano Concerto No. 25 with American pianist Richard Goode, Elliott Carter's Flute Concerto with BSO principal flutist Elizabeth Rowe, Berlioz's Roman Carnival Overture, and Bartok's Miraculous Mandarin Suite, December 6.

Maestro Morlot leads the orchestra in Harbison's Symphony No. 4, Ravel's Daphne et Chloe Suite No. 2, and Mahler Symphony No. 1, December 7

With these BSO Davies Hall programs--part of a season-long celebration by the San Francisco Symphony of its 100th anniversary--the BSO kicks off its West Coast tour, to include additonal stops in Santa Barbara, Palm Desert, and Los Angeles.

The Boston Symphony Orchestra's five-concert West Coast tour under the direction of Ludovic Morlot begins with its eagerly anticipated return to San Francisco after a 15-year absence for two performances in the San Francisco Symphony's Davies Hall, December 6 and 7, 2011, as part of the SFS's celebration of its 100th anniversary. Mr. Morlot, who started his appointment as Music Director of the Seattle Symphony Orchestra this past September and is also Chief Conductor Designate of La Monnaie, the famous opera house in Brussels, makes his Davies Symphony Hall debut with these BSO programs.  

To kick off their West Coast tour on December 6, the Boston Symphony Orchestra welcomes two distinguished American musicians to the stage—Richard Goode, a frequent BSO collaborator who will perform Mozart's Piano Concerto No. 25 in C, K.503, and BSO principal flute Elizabeth Rowe, who will be the featured soloist in Elliott Carter's Flute Concerto, the American premiere of which she performed in January 2010 at Symphony Hall in Boston. This concert opens with one of the BSO's signature overtures, Berlioz's Roman Carnival Overture, and ends with Bartók's Miraculous Mandarin Suite, a BSO audience favorite, first performed by the orchestra in the 1950s, and subsequently performed many times since, with Seiji Ozawa, the BSO's music director from 1973-2002, having led the work several times during his 29-year tenure.

--Bernadette Horgan, Director of Public Relations, BSO

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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 Jon 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 of The $ensible Sound magazine 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 simpleminded, 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 Arcam CDS50 CSD/SACD CD player, Goldpoint SA4 Passive Preamp, Legacy Audio PowerBloc2 amplifier, and a pair of Legacy Audio Focus SE loudspeakers. 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 cell phone. 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.

William (Bill) Heck, Contributing Reviewer

Among my early childhood memories are those of listening to my mother playing records (some even 78 rpm ones!) of both classical music and jazz tunes. I suppose that her love of music was transmitted genetically, and my interest was sustained by years of playing in rock bands – until I realized that this was no way to make a living. The interest in classical music was rekindled in grad school when the university FM station serving as background music for studying happened to play the Brahms First Symphony. As the work came to an end, it struck me forcibly that this was the most beautiful thing I had ever heard, and from that point on, I never looked back. This revelation was to the detriment of my studies, as I subsequently spent way too much time simply listening, but music has remained a significant part of my life. These days, although I still can tell a trumpet from a bassoon and a quarter note from a treble clef, I have to admit that I remain a nonexpert. But I do love music in general and classical music in particular, and I enjoy sharing both information and opinions about it.

The audiophile bug bit about the same time that I returned to that classical music. I’ve gone through plenty of equipment, brands from Audio Research to Yamaha, and the best of it has opened new audio insights. Along the way, I reviewed components, and occasionally recordings, for The $ensible Sound magazine. Recently I’ve rebuilt--I prefer to say reinvigorated--my audio system, with a Sangean FM HD tuner and (for the moment) an ancient Toshiba multi-format disk player serving as a transport, both feeding a NAD C 658 streaming preamp/DAC, which in turn connects to a Legacy Powerbloc2 amplifier driving my trusty Waveform Mach Solo speakers, supplemented by a Hsu Research ULS 15 Mk II subwoofer.

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