Classical Music News of the Week, July 15, 2012

Lincoln Center’s Mostly Mozart Festival Presents the “Viennese Oracle” for the First Time 

Beethoven’s Piano Concerto No. 3 with Osmo Vänskä & the Mostly Mozart Festival Orchestra

Pre-concert Recitals:
Beethoven’s Sonata No. 23 “Appassionata” (August 14, 7pm)
Beethoven’s Sonata No. 8 “Pathétique” (August 15, 7pm)

Tuesday, August 14 & Wednesday, August 15, 2012 at 8pm
Avery Fisher Hall | Lincoln Center | NYC
Tickets: $35-85 at 212.721.6500 or

Pianist Rudolf Buchbinder, whose interpretation of Beethoven has been described as “channeling the music from some cosmic beyond” (New York Times), will perform at Lincoln Center’s Mostly Mozart Festival for the first time in the festival’s history at 8pm on Tuesday, August 14 and 8pm on Wednesday, August 15, 2012 at Avery Fisher Hall, in Beethoven’s Piano Concerto No. 3 with Osmo Vänskä and the Mostly Mozart Festival Orchestra. In addition, New York audiences will have the unusual opportunity to hear Buchbinder in Beethoven’s Sonatas on the same evening – he will give pre-concert recitals at 7pm on both evenings on the stage of Avery Fisher Hall, featuring Beethoven’s Sonata No. 23 (“Appassionata”) on August 14 and Sonata No. 8 (“Pathétique”) on August 15. The concerts also include Mozart’s Symphony No. 32 and Schubert’s Symphony in C Major (“Great”).

Coinciding with Buchbinder’s Mostly Mozart concerts, on August 7 Sony Classical will release his recording of Beethoven’s 32 Piano Sonatas in a 9-CD set entitled The Sonata Legacy. The Sonata Legacy is Buchbinder’s second recording of Beethoven’s complete sonatas, and is a live recording of his performance of the entire sonata cycle in seven concerts at the Dresden Semperoper between September 2010 and March 2011. Now 65, Buchbinder’s first recording of the complete sonatas was released thirty years ago in 1982 on the Teldec label, when he was 35. The Sonata Legacy was released in Europe in 2011 and sold out its first pressing, ranking on the Austrian Pop Charts and in the Top 10 on the German Classical Charts.

Rudolf Buchbinder returns to the US on February 14-16, 2013 as soloist with the New York Philharmonic led by Alan Gilbert, and on March 8-10, 2013 as soloist with the Philadelphia Orchestra led by Christoph von Dohnányi.

Buchbinder is enjoying a banner year in his lifelong passion for the music of Beethoven. In January, his live performance (as pianist and conductor) of all five of Beethoven’s Piano Concertos with the Vienna Philharmonic was released in the US as a 2-DVD set by C Major/Unitel Classica. The concerts were filmed live in May 2011 at the Goldener Saal der Gesellschaft der Musikfreunde in Vienna. In addition to the performances, the DVDs include a conversation between Buchbinder and music journalist Joachim Kaiser as bonus material.

In opposition to recent trends, Buchbinder has been making live recordings instead of working in a studio for more than a dozen years. He explained why in a recent interview with the Wall Street Journal: “In the studio, you can't be spontaneous. In a live concert (and thank God you don't hear a lot of wrong notes when I play), you get the kind of emotion you can't produce in an artificial setting. There is a chemistry that takes place, and I don't care if there is also coughing and rustling.”

Rudolf Buchbinder’s concert calendar this year takes him around the world. His signature offering – the complete cycle of all of Beethoven’s Piano Sonatas (which he has performed in more than 40 cities worldwide since 1979) – began in Milan on January 25, in Hannover on March 25, and will begin in Beijing in October 2012 and in Berlin in December 2012. In March 2012, he was the soloist on a European concert tour with Andris Nelsons and the City of Birmingham Symphony Orchestra, with performances in cities including Coventry, Luxembourg, Vienna, Stuttgart and Frankfurt. Further appearances on important international stages have included a concert with the London Philharmonic and Vladimir Jurowski (Moscow, April 1), performances with the Munich Philharmonic, with Buchbinder playing and conducting six Mozart Piano Concertos (May 25 to 28), as well as upcoming concerts with the Israel Philharmonic and Zubin Mehta (Tel Aviv on July 11 and 12; Haifa on July 15; Salzburg Festival on July 25).

Rudolf Buchbinder was admitted to the Vienna Musik Hochschule at age five, and remains the youngest student to gain entrance in the school’s history. He made his debut at the age of ten at Vienna’s Musikverein, performing Beethoven’s Piano Concerto No. 1. The music of Beethoven has been a focal point of his career ever since – not only does he continue to perform Beethoven’s works, but he constantly re-examines his approach to it, as well as Beethoven’s scores. He owns 35 different, complete editions of the scores for Beethoven’s 32 Piano Sonatas, and has analyzed each, tirelessly finding and correcting editorial errors. He attaches considerable importance to the meticulous study of these musical sources, and has an extensive collection of autograph scores, first editions, and original documents – including the autograph scores and piano parts of both Brahms concertos as copies.

Buchbinder says, “The stricter and the more exacting I am in my approach, the more I learn about the freedom of making music. This merely seems to be a paradox. Anyone who reads what composers really wrote acquires the impetus for a freer kind of playing. Composers demand this freedom from their interpreters by including far more differentiated instructions than the regular printed notation can ever hope to reproduce.”

In spite of his heavy travel schedule, Buchbinder maintains that he spends many weeks of the year at his home in Vienna, which he shares with his wife. In addition to collecting musical scores, the pianist spends considerable time on other, non-musical hobbies – art and architecture, books, and movies. Buchbinder owns more than 4,000 DVDs of movies ranging from Abbot and Costello to Alfred Hitchcock and Billy Wilder, including all of the Oscar-winning films, and everything ever made by Charlie Chaplin and John Wayne.

About Rudolf Buchbinder: Rudolf Buchbinder is firmly established as one of the most important pianists on the international scene, and he is a regular guest of such renowned orchestras as the Berlin Philharmonic, Vienna Philharmonic, New York Philharmonic, Orchestre National de France, London Philharmonic, National Symphony, and the Philadelphia Orchestra. He has collaborated with the world's most distinguished conductors including Abbado, Dohnányi, Dudamel, Frühbeck de Burgos, Giulini, Harnoncourt, Maazel, Masur, Mehta, Saraste, Sawallisch and Thielemann and is a regular guest at the Salzburger Festspiele and other major festivals around the world. Throughout the 2010-2011 season Rudolf Buchbinder had a particularly close cooperation with the Staatskapelle Dresden as its Artist in Residence in the first-ever position of “Capell-Virtuoso.” Rudolf Buchbinder is also the founding artistic director of the Grafenegg Music Festival, a major international music festival near Vienna which launched in August 2007.

Of his appearance with the Los Angeles Philharmonic and Gustavo Dudamel, the Orange County Register raved, “You could hear the weight of his fingers, it seemed, falling onto the keyboard, each note given a nudged distinction. By avoiding both grandiloquent overstatement and dry objectivity, he plumbed the core of the noble simplicity in this music."

Rudolf Buchbinder has over 100 recordings to his credit, including the complete cycle of Beethoven sonatas, the complete Beethoven concertos, the complete Mozart piano concertos, all of Haydn's works for piano, both Brahms concertos, and all of the rarely performed Diabelli Variations collection written by 50 Austrian composers. The 18-disc set of Haydn's works earned him the Grand Prix du Disque. His cycle of all of Mozart's piano concertos with the Vienna Symphony Orchestra, recorded live at the Vienna Konzerthaus, was chosen by Joachim Kaiser as CD of the Year. Rudolf Buchbinder has also recorded live the Brahms piano concertos with the Royal Concertgebouw Orchestra under Nikolaus Harnoncourt, and all five Beethoven piano concertos with the Vienna Symphony Orchestra as soloist and conductor. In 2006, in celebration of his 60th birthday, he performed twelve Mozart piano concertos with the Vienna Philharmonic at the Vienna Festwochen, the live DVD recording of which was released by EuroArts. In November 2010 a live recording of the Brahms piano concertos with the Israel Philharmonic conducted by Zubin Mehta was released.

For more information, visit

--Christina Jensen PR

The National Philharmonic to Provide Groundbreaking Music Education Program to William E. Doar Jr. Public Charter School for the Performing Arts in Washington, D.C.
Starting in the fall, the National Philharmonic will partner with the William E. Doar Jr. Public Charter School for the Performing Arts (WEDJ PCS) in Washington, D.C., to provide an exclusive, groundbreaking music education program for WEDJ PCS students in kindergarten through 8th grade.

The National Philharmonic will be in charge of all music education at WEDJ PCS. Groundbreaking in its scope and approach to music training, the program will provide intensive, daily music instruction from highly skilled National Philharmonic musicians and music teachers. Included in the program will be daily Suzuki-based violin instruction for all kindergarten through second-grade students. Children in grades three through five will get daily music instruction in a new piano lab as well as vocal training and lessons on orchestral instruments of their choice. Students in grades six through eight who select music as their concentration will spend nearly two hours a day benefiting from a customized program for individual music projects.

In addition to music education, the school will offer instruction in dance, theater and the visual arts from such partners as the Shakespeare Theatre and the Kirov Academy of Ballet. All of these services will be provided at no cost to WEDJ PCS families. “We are thrilled that WEDJ PCS School has chosen the National Philharmonic to design and execute a music education program for their students. The school’s mission of providing music education to all is in keeping with the Philharmonic’s own mission in that the arts be completely accessible to everyone,” says Piotr Gajewski, National Philharmonic’s Music Director and Conductor.

"We are excited to partner with the National Philharmonic to bring world-class music instruction from accomplished musicians and teachers into our school,” says WEDJ PCS Acting Executive Director John Goldman. “This collaboration means that our students, from diverse backgrounds, attending a public charter school, will have unprecedented and unparalleled access to musical excellence at no cost to their families. Our partnership with the National Philharmonic represents an amazing opportunity for our students."

WEDJ PCS blends rigorous academics with world-class arts instruction provided by accomplished artists from renowned dance, musical, theatrical and visual arts institutions. WEDJ PCS is the only public school in Washington, D.C. to provide professional-caliber arts training for students in preschool through eighth grade at no cost to families. The school serves approximately 500 students. For more information about the school, visit

About the National Philharmonic:
In addition to presenting more than 30 annual performances at the Music Center at Strathmore under the direction of Music Director and Conductor Piotr Gajewski, the National Philharmonic offers exceptional and unique education programs. Each year, in partnership with Strathmore and Montgomery County Public Schools (MCPS), the Philharmonic performs for all MCPS 2nd and 5th grade students in concerts specifically designed for their age groups. The concerts take place at Strathmore over six days, making it possible for nearly 20,000 children to experience the thrill of hearing a live orchestra each year.  In addition, annual winners of the Philharmonic’s high school concerto competition are given the exciting opportunity to perform as guest soloists with the Philharmonic at the fall concerts for MCPS second-grade students. Throughout the year, the Philharmonic offers master classes in which talented young musicians perform for and are mentored by acclaimed guest artists who appear in concert with the orchestra. All National Philharmonic concerts at the Music Center at Strathmore are preceded by free, pre-concert lectures.

Each summer, the National Philharmonic’s String Institutes offer talented and aspiring middle school and high school musicians an intensive week of mentoring, chamber music coaching, individual lessons and ensemble rehearsals led by Maestro Gajewski, Associate Conductor Victoria Gau, members of the Philharmonic and other distinguished faculty. Another summer program invites talented high school singers for intensive vocal training, master classes and rehearsals led by National Philharmonic Chorale Artistic Director Stan  Engebretson, Associate Conductor Victoria Gau  and Montgomery College Choral Director Molly Donnelly.

Also, the Philharmonic encourages young families to attend concerts by offering reasonably priced tickets and free admission to all young people age 7-17 under the All Kids, All Free, All the Time program, assuring its place as an accessible and enriching component in Montgomery County and the greater Washington, DC area. For more information, visit .

--Deborah Birnbaum, National Philharmonic

1 comment:

  1. I saw him last night at Sala São Paulo, Brazil and it was amazing. He played four sonatas (Pathétique, Moonlight, #6 and Appassionata) and the last movement of the Tempest for the encore.

    It's difficult to pull some highlights from the concert since the entire performance was outstanding, I must say I got pretty emotional on the Pathétique, which is not my favorite, and I think he absolutely nailed the last movement of the Appassionata, which I was anxious to hear. But the higher point was, maybe, the encore, with Buchbinder gracing us by surprise with a marvelous interpretation of Tempest's 3rd movement. By the way, you can watch it here:

    It was my first classical music concert and I enjoyed every second of it. This guy's truly a great musician.

    Best regards,



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