Classical Music News of the Week, December 4, 2011

Pianist Simone Dinnerstein's "Something Almost Being Said" Traces the Shared Vocal Aspects of the Music of Bach and Schubert

New York, NY— Sony Classical will release pianist Simone Dinnerstein's second album "Something Almost Being Said: Music of Bach and Schubert," internationally on January 30, 2012 and in the U.S. on January 31, 2012. The new album combines J. S. Bach's Partitas Nos. 1 and 2, with Schubert's Four Impromptus, Op. 90, and was recorded at the Academy of Arts and Letters in New York by Grammy-winning producer Adam Abeshouse. The album's title is taken from English poet Philip Larkin's poem, The Trees.

Dinnerstein says of her new album, and its title, "Bach and Schubert, to my ears, share a distinctive quality. Their non-vocal music has a powerful narrative, a vocal element. The effect is that of wordless voices singing textless melodies. Bach and Schubert's melodic lines are so fluent, so expressive, and so minutely inflected that they sound as though they might at any moment burst suddenly into speech. They sound like something almost being said."

Simone Dinnerstein has been called "a throwback to such high priestesses of music as Wanda Landowska and Myra Hess," by Slate magazine, and praised by TIME for her "arresting freshness and subtlety." The New York-based pianist gained an international following because of the remarkable success of her recording of Bach's Goldberg Variations, which she raised the funds to record. Released in 2007 on Telarc, it ranked No. 1 on the US Billboard Classical Chart in its first week of sales and was named to many "Best of 2007" lists including those of The New York Times, The Los Angeles Times, and The New Yorker. Her follow-up album, "The Berlin Concert," also gained the No. 1 spot on the Chart.

--Christina Jensen PR

Music Institute of Chicago Chorale Opens 25th Season
All-Britten Program with Chicago Children's Choir December 18

The Music Institute of Chicago presents the 25th season of its community chorus, the Music Institute of Chicago Chorale, opening with "Britten" December 18 at 3 p.m. at Nichols Concert Hall, 1490 Chicago Avenue, Evanston.

A celebration of the music of Benjamin Britten, the concert features the composer's popular Ceremony of Carols and Hymns to Saint Cecilia, as well as Te Deum in C, Flower Songs, A Boy was Born, Festival Te Deum, and Two-Part Songs for High Voices. Joining the Chorale will be members of the Rogers Park and Humboldt Park Neighborhood Choirs of the Chicago Children's Choir.

The Chorale's 25th season continues at Nichols Concert Hall with "A Choral Festival" Saturday, March 31, featuring music for multiple choirs and brass including music by Gabrieli and Sch├╝tz, and "25 Great Years" Sunday, June 10, highlighting audience favorites from the Chorale's history.

Daniel Wallenberg, conductor of the Chorale since 1987, noted, "Although our Chorale is Evanston-based, participants come from as far south as Chicago and far north as Zion and everything in between. Several members have been in the Chorale for more than 15 years, and a few have been members since its inception in 1986."

About the Music Institute of Chicago Chorale: The Music Institute of Chicago Chorale is a community chorus that provides an opportunity for adult singers with prior experience to study and perform the best in sacred and secular choral music. Now celebrating its 25th anniversary, the Chorale has one continuing goal: to perform the finest sacred and secular choral music with the highest of standards in a community setting. Under the leadership of Conductor Daniel Wallenberg, the Chorale has developed a wide range of repertoire, including motets, madrigals, part-songs, folk songs, and larger choral-orchestral works by Bach, Beethoven, Haydn, Mozart, Durufle, and many others. Throughout the years, the Chorale has collaborated with local choirs and symphony orchestras and has produced two fully costumed Elizabethan madrigal dinners. In addition, the Chorale has collaborated several times with the Music Institute's voice faculty for concerts of opera and Broadway music.

Chorale conductor Daniel Wallenberg is also on the staff of the Chicago Children's Choir, working with the In-School Chorus and After-School Programs for the Rogers Park and Humboldt Park Neighborhood Choirs, as well as its world-renowned Concert Choir with whom he toured Ukraine and the United States. He is the director of the junior and adult choirs at the Jewish Reconstructionist Congregation and the founder and artistic director of "Zemer Am," the Chicago Jewish Choral Festival. A native of Bogota, Colombia, Wallenberg founded several adult and children's choirs while living in Israel.

About Chicago Children's Choir/Rogers Park Neighborhood Choir: Founded in 1956, Chicago Children's Choir is a multiracial, multicultural choral music education organization, shaping the future by making a difference in the lives of children and youth through musical excellence. The Choir currently serves 3,000 children ages eight to 18 through choirs in 51 schools, after-school programs in eight Chicago neighborhoods and the internationally acclaimed Concert Choir. Under President and Artistic Director Josephine Lee, the Choir has undertaken many highly successful national and international tours, received a Chicago/Midwest Emmy Award for the 2008 documentary Songs on the Road to Freedom, and has been featured in nationally broadcast television and radio performances, most recently on The Oprah Show, NBC's Today and the PBS series From the Top: Live from Carnegie Hall. The Humboldt Park and Rogers Park Neighborhood Choirs rehearse twice weekly under the direction of Danny Wallenberg at Casa Central on the city's West Side and St. Scholastica Academy on the North Side, respectively. Select members of these ensembles perform regularly with the Concert Choir, as part of the Neighborhood Honors Choir, with the Lyric Opera of Chicago—most recently in Carmen and Boris Godunov—and with the Chicago Symphony Orchestra both at Symphony Center and the Ravinia Festival. For more information, visit ccchoir.org.

"Britten," performed by the Music Institute of Chicago Chorale, takes place Sunday, December 18 at 3 p.m. at the Music Institute of Chicago's Nichols Concert Hall, 1490 Chicago Avenue, Evanston. Tickets are $15 for adults, $10 for seniors, and $7 for students and are available at 847.905.1500 ext. 108 or at musicinst.org.

--Jill Chukerman, JAC Communications

Music Institute of Chicago Welcomes Brotherhood Chorale
8th Annual FREE Martin Luther King Celebration: January 15 at Nichols Concert Hall

The Music Institute of Chicago honors the extraordinary legacy of Martin Luther King, Jr. at its eighth annual celebration of the legendary civic leader, featuring the renowned Brotherhood Chorale of the Apostolic Church of God. This free concert takes place Sunday, January 15 at 5 p.m. at Nichols Concert Hall, 1490 Chicago Avenue, Evanston.

The 180-member male choral group, led by conductor Brian C. Rice, will again perform an electrifying program of repertoire offering traditional and contemporary gospel and jazz arrangements.

Admission is free; all contributions that evening benefit the William Warfield Memorial Scholarship Fund of the Music Institute of Chicago, which annually offers need-based financial assistance for minority students. William Warfield, famed operatic baritone, was a longstanding member of the Music Institute's board of trustees. This concert is generously sponsored by Schaefer's Wines, Foods and Spirits.

About the Brotherhood Chorale: The nationally recognized Brotherhood Chorale was founded in Chicago in 1969 with less than 30 members. Under the guidance of its current and visionary director, Brian Rice, the Brotherhood Chorale has built an impressive repertoire and grown to approximately 180 members. In addition to performing every fourth Sunday for service, the choir sings outside the church and has been featured at the South Shore Cultural Center and the Chicago Civic Orchestra, among others.

--Jill Chukerman, JAC Communications

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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.

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"Their Master's Voice" by Michael Sowa

"Their Master's Voice" by Michael Sowa