Classical Music News of the Week, October 14, 2012

The King’s Singers Make Zankel Hall Debut with Myths on November 2nd; Program features a Labyrinth of Tales from Madrigals to Modern

On November 2, The King’s Singers bring their unparalleled artistry to Carnegie Hall with a program of masterpieces and delights from the Renaissance to the Twentieth Century, music that explores stories from the imagination and from human experience: that program is, appropriately, Myths. One of the world’s most popular vocal ensembles in any style or genre, The King’s Singers have a musical range that demolishes boundaries, connecting Early Music, modern compositions and pop — from Gibbons to Ligeti to Michael Bublé. Along with being exceptional vocalists, the group of singers are also famous for witty and polished performing artistry. A King’s Singers performance charms, delights and touches the heart.

Their discography comprises over 150 recordings, including their 2009 Grammy® award winning album Simple Gifts. The newest release, Royal Rhymes and Rounds, is a unique survey of music written for, and even by, the English court from the 16th to 20th centuries, and the group is also touring a program this fall based on music from that release and concerts given to celebrate the Diamond Jubilee of Queen Elizabeth II. Those concerts add to The King’s Singers extensive, worldwide performing career, one that also includes radio and television broadcasts. With Myths at Carnegie Hall, the ultimate vocal group explores madrigals, the ultimate vocal music, relying on their precise technique, passionate expression and assured musicality that are the singers’ hallmarks.

Bass Jonathan Howard says of the concert “Myths is a fascinating program, interweaving Renaissance madrigals with modern works that carry us through disparate and often challenging cultures. We travel through Grecian woodlands filled with magical creatures, indulge in a Bacchanale before Lent's penury begins, endure the hardships of Winter and journey along Spain's oldest route of pilgrimage beneath the burning heat of the midday sun. At the beginning of the second half, we are divorced from reality entirely, with tales of comically pointy chins, aggressive old women, and snake-confounding flautists from some of Edmund Lear's most famous Nonsense Poetry. We and our audience will returning to reality at the end of the concert, when we finish with a selection of popular close-harmony songs, taken from the lighter side of The King's Singers' repertoire. We hope you enjoy the journey as much as we do!"

At the core of Myths is the late Sixteenth Century collection of Italian madrigals, Il Trionfo di Dori, itself the inspiration for the English collection, The Triumphs of Oriana. From each book comes works from Thomas Morley, Edward Johnson, Thomas Weekes (representing The Triumphs) and Giovanni Croce, Giovanni Gabrieli and Palestrina (Il Trionfo). The stories behind the madrigals come from pagan roots, and so were secular for the times, and this is a unique opportunity to hear non-liturgical music from the great master, Palestrina. The English music is dedicated to the first Queen Elizabeth, known via one of her nicknames as Oriana, and uses the thread of myth to honor and glorify her. Popular at the time, the music now is a triumph of English national pride and style.
Interleaved with the madrigals are Camille Saint-Saens Saltarelle, not strictly a myth, but a fable of the church casting a blind eye on the perhaps excessive celebration of Carnival in a country village. Francis Poulenc’s Un soir de neige takes words from Paul Eluard about fighting for the French Resistance in WWII and spins them into a dramatic picture of war and sacrifice. The most recent pieces on the program, Leon from Joby Talbot and Goffredo Petrassi’s famous, wonderful Nonsense, are being shared with other programs from The King’s Singers this fall, the latter with the aforementioned Riddles, Rhymes and Rounds (from Royal Rhymes and Rounds) and former as a key feature of an exciting project, Travel Songs, which has the singers collaborating in performance with choreography and dance from the Sean Curran Dance Company. Leon is music that conveys the experience of the famous Cathedral Leon, a key point in the important Camino Frances Catholic pilgrimage, while Nonsense is a contemporary madrigal that loves the form musically and gently teases it lyrically, with it’s nonsense verse from Edward Lear.

Rounding out the Myths is popular music that has been integral in creating modern myths of popular culture, ideas about how to dress and think and feel and live. The Singers will tell charming stories through seminal works from the pop and jazz world, using the music of some of the greatest musicians and lyricists of the twentieth century. These are stories exploring regular, flesh and blood human beings, not gods or history or ideas and beliefs, but the reality of life and love and loss. And, in the final measure, it’s all singing. From The King’s Singers.

--Amanda Sweet, BuckleSweet Media

Strathmore: Nine New Shows Added to 2012-2013 Season: Olivia Newton-John, Gladys Knight, Michael Feinstein Among Big Names Coming to Music Center
Strathmore announces the addition of nine concerts in the Music Center and Mansion. The arts center has increased its offerings in the Music Center with a stellar selection of distinctive and thought provoking performers, including the dynamic Olivia Newton-John, NPR hallmark Ira Glass, the incomparable Béla Fleck, show-stopping Gladys Knight, Dave Koz with a cadre of music friends that includes drummer Sheila E., and the 2013 Spring Gala at Strathmore headliner, Michael Feinstein. Enterprising jazz pianist and composer Dan Tepfer returns to the Mansion at Strathmore to debut his latest album during a Music in the Mansion season enhanced by pianist Alain Lefèvre performing the Washington area premiere of Francois Dompierre’s “24 Preludes” and the bold Now Ensemble.

Tickets for all concerts are on sale now to Strathmore Stars, the art center’s philanthropic program that supports arts programming, education programs and community outreach projects. Tickets will be available to the general public beginning Thursday, September 27, 2012 at 10 a.m.

New concerts for the 2012-2013 season:

MUSIC CENTER:
OLIVIA NEWTON-JOHN
Friday, November 16, 2012
8 p.m.
Tickets $38-$78

DAVE KOZ & FRIENDS, CHRISTMAS TOUR 2012
starring David Benoit, Sheila E., Javier Colon and introducing Margo Rey
Monday, December 3, 2012
8 p.m.
Tickets $35-$65

2013 SPRING GALA AT STRATHMORE
MICHAEL FEINSTEIN—THE GERSHWINS AND ME
Saturday, April 20, 2013
9 p.m.
Tickets $40-$105 (Orchestra tickets are reserved for those purchasing Gala dinner packages)

GLADYS KNIGHT
Thursday, April 25 & Friday, April 26, 2013
8 p.m.
Tickets $58-$128

BÉLA FLECK AND THE MARCUS ROBERTS TRIO
Friday, May 10, 2013
8 p.m.
Tickets $28-$58

REINVENTING RADIO: AN EVENING WITH IRA GLASS
Saturday, June 29, 2013
8 p.m.
Tickets $38-$68

MANSION:
ALAIN LEFÈVRE, PIANO
Sunday, March 3, 2013
4 p.m.
Tickets $45

DAN TEPFER, PIANO; BEN WENDEL, SAXOPHONE
Sunday, March 10, 2013
7:30 p.m.
Tickets $20

NOW ENSEMBLE
Friday, March 15, 2013
7:30 p.m.
Tickets $25

--Michael Fila, Strathmore

The Bach Sinfonia Performs Handel’s Royal Fireworks with North American Premieres by Baroque Composers Capel Bond & Charles Avison
October 21, Cultural Arts Center at Silver Spring, Montgomery College, 7995 Georgia Ave., Silver Spring, MD 20910

Tickets:
$30 adult
$27 seniors (60 and up)
$15 (ages 15 – University)
FREE (ages 14 and under)
Order Online at www.bachsinfonia.org or call (301) 362-6525

The Bach Sinfonia will perform George Frideric Handel’s Music for the Royal Fireworks and Concerto Grosso in D Minor, Op. 3, No. 5 as well as works by the next generation of English composers – Charles Avison, Capel Bond and William Boyce on Sunday, October 21 at 3PM.  Baroque trumpeter Joshua Cohen will be the featured soloist for this performance, which will include the North American premieres of Bond’s Concerto for Trumpet in D Major and Avison’s Concerto in B-flat Major, Op. 6, No. 5.

A free pre-concert discussion precedes this and all Bach Sinfonia performances at 2:25 PM led by Daniel Abraham.

ABOUT THE MUSIC
Handel’s Music for Royal the Royal Fireworks is widely regarded as one of his most famous works for orchestra along with his Water Music – both of which were originally written to be performed outdoors. George II of Great Britain commissioned Fireworks as a wind band suite to accompany a fireworks display in London celebrating the end of the War of Austrian Succession and the signing of the Treaty of Aix-la-Chapelle in 1748.

William Boyce (1711-1779) is recognized as England’s greatest native composer of the 18th century. His symphonies were widely circulated and performed after their publication in 1760 by the London publisher John Walsh. The Symphony No. 5, originally title Overture to St. Cecilia features a regal pair of trumpets alongside oboes, string and continuo.

Charles Avison (1709-1770), a prodigious musical essayist and composer, spend his entire career in the Newcastle upon Tyne despite being offered multiple prestigious positions throughout England at various times during his lifetime. Best know as an organist, holding positions at St John the Baptist Church and St. Nicholas’s Church (later the Cathedral) in Newcastle, Avison published seven sets of concertos including three (Opp. 2, 3 & 6) in full score, a rarity in music publication at the time. His Op. 6 concertos show a strong engagement with the newly prevailing more classical gallant style and a sharp contrast to Handel’s high Baroque compositions. 

Capel Bond (1730-1790) was a renowned organist who served posts at two churches—St Michael’s and Holy Trinity in Coventry—for forty years. Bond’s only surviving works are his Six Concertos in Seven Parts (published by Walsh in 1766) and his Six Anthems (published by Walsh in 1769). They were very well received as both received multiple printings. The first concerto, with solo trumpet, probably dates back to 1754.

ABOUT THE SOLO PERFORMER
Joshua Cohen is a baroque trumpeter who specializes in the playing of the florid and high in tessitura clarino parts on the baroque trumpet. He has appeared as soloist in many leading North American ensembles, is the principal trumpet for Bach Sinfonia as well as the Washington Bach Consort, and many other baroque ensemble around North America. He has recorded several CDs, including a Juno award-winning performance of music by Vivaldi with the early music ensemble Aston Magna.

ABOUT SINFONIA
The Bach Sinfonia is a Maryland-based organization dedicated to excellence in performance and public education of Baroque and Classical music. Lead by Conductor and Artistic Director Daniel Abraham, the ensemble is now in its 18th season of presenting an annual series of unique concerts, open dress rehearsals, and listening lectures of music from the seventeenth and eighteenth century. Sinfonia strives to create programs that differ from the standard classical music concert with performances that aren't just listening entertainments but are also learning experiences.

PROGRAM        
George Frideric Handel:
Music for the Royal Fireworks, HWV 351
Concerto Grosso in D Minor, Op. 3 No. 5, HWV 316
Charles Avison:
Concerto in B-flat Major, Op. 6, No. 5 [North American Premiere]
William Boyce:
Symphony No. 5 in D Major
Capel Bond:
Concerto No. 1 (for Trumpet) in D Major [North American Premiere], Joshua Cohen, baroque trumpet

--Jennifer Buzzell

Deadline Approaching for Submissions to Longwood Gardens First International Organ Competition Largest International Prize--Deadline for Submissions November 1, 2012
Longwood Gardens presents the inaugural International Organ Competition, where up-and-coming organists will compete on The Longwood Organ for a $40,000 first prize. This is the largest cash prize of any organ competition in the world and applications are being accepted through November 1st, 2012. Applications are available at www.longwoodgardens.org/organcompetition. Open to ages 18-30 years old, only the first 100 applicants will be accepted.

“The Longwood Gardens International Organ Competition is about recognizing and nurturing the brightest young talents in the organ world,” said Longwood Gardens Director Paul B. Redman.  “We have already received applications from throughout Europe and North America and look forward to showcasing these talented musicians at Longwood Gardens in June,” Redman said.

Preliminary and final rounds are June 18-22, 2013 in the magnificent ballroom at Longwood Gardens near Philadelphia, Pennsylvania.  A distinguished panel of experts will judge the competition including Paul Jacobs, Chair of the Organ Department at The Juilliard School; Thomas Murray, Professor of Music at Yale University; Oliver Condy, Editor of BBC Music Magazine; Sophie-Véronique Cauchefer-Choplin, Titular of the Grand Orgue of Saint Jean-Baptiste de la Salle in Paris; and Peter Richard Conte, Grand Court Organist of the renowned Wanamaker Organ and Principal Organist at Longwood Gardens.

The Longwood Organ is among the world’s largest concert organs, with 146 ranks and 10,010 pipes. After a seven-year restoration completed in 2011, the organ is restored to its original 1930 condition and incorporates today’s most innovative technology.  

The winner receives the $40,000 Pierre S. du Pont First Prize, a contract with Phillip Truckenbrod Concert Artists, and a 2013-14 performance at Longwood. Second place receives the Firmin Swinnen $15,000 prize and third place receives the Clarence Snyder $5,000 prize. Swinnen and Snyder were past resident organists at Longwood. Again, applications are available at www.longwoodgardens.org/organcompetition.

About Longwood Gardens
Longwood Gardens is one of the world’s great gardens, encompassing 1,077 acres of gardens, woodlands, meadows, fountains, a 10,010-pipe Aeolian organ and a 4-acre conservatory. Longwood continues the mission set forth by founder Pierre S. du Pont to inspire people through excellence in garden design, horticulture, education and the arts. More information at www.longwoodgardens.org.

--Amada Sweet, BuckleSweet Media

Swapping Classical Instruments for Cricket Bats, the City of Birmingham Symphony Orchestra Raises Money for Charity
Some of the best classical musicians in the UK are taking time out of their busy performing schedule and swapping their instruments for cricket bats to raise money for Leukaemia & Lymphoma Research and for the Musicians Benevolent Fund.

Members of the City of Birmingham Symphony Orchestra are heading to the MCC Cricket Academy at Lord’s, the home of cricket, to pitch their skills against eight cricket teams made up orchestral musicians from across the county, as part of English National Opera’s Orchestra Super 8 on Sunday 21 October 2012 in the MCC Cricket Academy at Lord’s, the home of cricket.

Adrian Spillet, Section Leader Percussion for the CBSO said: “We’re hoping to raise both money and awareness for Leukaemia & Lymphoma Research and the Musicians Benevolent Fund. Both are important charities that strike a chord with people and musicians up and down the country.

“The competition is tough. Not only are some musicians fine performers in their own right but we hear their also pretty good cricket players. We’re asking people to dig deep and support us in our quest to bring the Orchestra Super 8s title to the CBSO and to Birmingham”.

The CBSO’s team of cricket enthusiasts includes the CBSO’s Associate Conductor and Captain Mike Seal, trumpeters Jon Quirk, Alan Thomas and Jon Holland, double bassist Julian Walters, violinists Byron Parish and Gabriel Dyker. They will bowl, bat and field their way through their competition with consists of teams made up of players from English National Opera Orchestra, BBC Concert Orchestra, BBC Symphony Orchestra, Bournemouth Symphony Orchestra, Freelance Players, Royal Philharmonic Orchestra and Session Musicians.

Before the first ball has even been bowled, a bat, signed by the members of Sky Sports’ commentary team during England’s 2011 tour of India Mike Atherton, Michael Holding, Ian Botham, David Gower, David Lloyd and Shane Warne was sold at auction for £175. All proceeds will be divided equally between the two charities.

Jonathan Manners, the organiser of the event said “Cricket is a passion for so many orchestral musicians, and it is therefore fitting that this competition has started in order to raise money for two fantastic causes. We hope this becomes and annual event so we can continue our fundraising efforts in the years to come.”

All donations are welcome and can be made online by visiting the orchestra super 8 website at www.orchestrasuper8.com and clicking donate. All donations made through the website are split equally and go directly to the charities. You can also follow the team on twitter @orchestrasuper8 and like them on facebook.

--Ruth Green, CBSO 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.

Readers with impolite, discourteous, bitchy, whining, complaining, nasty, mean-spirited, unhelpful letters may send them to pucciojj@recycle.bin.

"Their Master's Voice" by Michael Sowa

"Their Master's Voice" by Michael Sowa