Classical Music News of the Week, September 1, 2013

Sacred Music in a Sacred Space Announces its 25th Anniversary Season

The Church of St. Ignatius Loyola’s signature series fills the gorgeous sanctuary with the inspiring music of Rachmaninoff, Mozart, Schütz, Bach, Monteverdi and more for its 2013-14 season; A Chanticleer Christmas in New York, performed for the first time at its new home for the holidays in the city, makes December more festive than ever at the beloved Upper East Side church, New York City, NY.

For the 25th season of New York’s premiere sacred music series, the venerable Choir and Orchestra of St. Ignatius Loyola and a line up of renowned vocal soloists explore the transcendent power of music by delving into four distinct spiritual traditions. In his second year at the helm, visionary Artistic Director K. Scott Warren has devised an intriguing full-season arc honoring our universal humanity through majestic masterworks and chamber-sized gems from the Roman Catholic, Russian Orthodox, German Lutheran and Jewish faiths.

Season highlights include one of the most famous a cappella choral works in the canon— Rachmaninoff’s mystical All-Night Vigil (popularly known as Vespers); a slow-burning meditation on the Passion for Lent with music by Schütz, Bach and Mozart; and a program of early Baroque renditions of the Psalms.

Sacred Music in a Sacred Space kicks into high gear for December. In addition to its beloved annual Christmas concerts and a reprise of the enormously popular Advent Lessons and Carols service, SMSS welcomes the Grammy-award winning all-male chorus Chanticleer to its new NYC home for holidays.

The season is rounded out by the N.P. Mander Organ Recital series featuring a quartet of fine organists—Scott Warren, Mary Preston, Andrew Henderson and Nancianne Parrella—who will color the sanctuary with the vast sonic palette of the church’s magnificent instrument.

The Concerts:
Rachmaninoff Vespers
Wednesday, October 16, 2013 at 7pm
The Choir of St. Ignatius Loyola
Tickets: $65 preferred / $50 general / $40 reduced
Part of the 3-concert Choral Subscription

Advent Lessons and Carols
Sunday, December 1 at 4pm
Tickets: Free will offering.

A Chanticleer Christmas in New York
Sunday, December 8 at 4pm
Monday, December 9 at 7pm
Tickets: $75 preferred / $60 general
Preferred sold out for December 8.

A Child Is Born
Sunday, December 15 at 3pm
Wednesday, December 18 at 7pm
Tickets: $75 preferred / $60 general / $50 reduced

Wednesday, April 9, 2014 at 7pm
Tickets: $65 preferred / $50 general / $40 reduced
Part of the 3-concert Choral Subscription

Psalms of David
Wednesday, May 7, 2014 at 7pm
Tickets: $65 preferred / $50 general / $40 reduced
Part of the 3-concert Choral Subscription

Rejoice in the Lord! A Music Ministry Celebration
Sunday, May 18, 2014 at 3 PM
Tickets: Free will offering.

The N.P. Mander Organ Recitals:
K. Scott Warrne
Sunday, September 29, 2013 at 3pm
Tickets: $20

Mary Preston
Sunday, November 17 at 3pm
Tickets: $20

Andrew Henderson
Sunday, February 23 at 3pm
Tickets: $20

Organ Plus!
Sunday, March 16 at 3pm
Tickets: $20

For further information, visit:

Ticket information:
Choral Subscriptions: $175 preferred / $130 general / $100 reduced
Single Tickets: $65 preferred / $50 general / $40 reduced
Organ Concerts: $20 per recital
Chanticleer Tickets: $75 preferred / $60 general
Christmas Concert Tickets: $75 preferred / $60 general / $50 reduced

Order online:
Order by phone: 212.288.2520 24/7 ordering and customer service

--Amanda Sweet, BuckleSweet Media

Lotfi Mansouri, S.F. Opera Director 13 years, Dies
Lotfi Mansouri, the energetic operatic showman whose 13 years as general director brought the San Francisco Opera to new heights of creative innovation, died Friday at his Pacific Heights home at age 84. The cause was pancreatic cancer.

The fourth of the six directors in the company's 90-year history, the Iranian-born Mr. Mansouri brought an unabashed sense of populism to all of his undertakings. For him, opera was never meant to be arcane or elitist; it was, he insisted, an art form that should be savored and appreciated by everyone.

That philosophy underlay his long career as a stage director, marked by productions that favored directness and accessibility over intricacy. And it informed his San Francisco tenure from 1988 to 2001, during which he constantly sought new ways to expand the company's repertoire and bring its offerings to an ever-wider range of audiences.

--Joshua Kosman, San Francisco Chronicle

David Daniels and Carolyn Sampson Join Philharmonia Baroque for Pergolesi's Stabat Mater,
October 2-6, 2013, Atherton - San Francisco - Berkeley, CA
Music Director Nicholas McGegan leads Philharmonia Baroque Orchestra in a concert of music by Handel, Pergolesi, and Durante. They are joined by David Daniels, whom The New York Times hailed as "perhaps the best [countertenor] ever," and soprano Carolyn Sampson. Four concerts take place at The Center for Performing Arts in Atherton (October 2); at San Francisco's SFJAZZ Center (October 4); and at First Congregational Church in Berkeley (October 5 and 6). Tickets are priced from $25 to $105.

Pergolesi's Stabat Mater is a pinnacle of the Italian Baroque, a melancholic hymn described by one writer as "the most perfect and most touching to have come from the pen of any musician." The composer, who died at the young age of 26, first achieved success in Naples and Rome with his comic operas. Also included in this program is the overture to L'Olimpiade, which opens the concert and overflows with Baroque exuberance.

Carolyn Sampson makes her debut with Philharmonia in the San Francisco Bay Area, having last performed with the ensemble at Carnegie Hall in 2009. Daniels last performed with Philharmonia in 2011 in a concert featuring music by Vivaldi and Handel. Daniels and Sampson sing arias and duets from two Handel operas, Rodelinda and Giulio Cesare. Both date from Handel's years in London where they premiered at the Haymarket Theater in 1724 and 1725, respectively.

Francesco Durante's Concerto Grosso in G Minor is a magnificent late-Baroque work including rousing violin solos and tuttis for the entire orchestra. Durante was a Neapolitan composer known for his sacred music and held by some to be the greatest Italian harmonist of his era. He counted Pergolesi among his pupils.

Philharmonia continues its partnership with KDFC, broadcasting an unreleased live concert recording the second Sunday of every month from 8-9 PM. The September broadcast includes Antonio Vivaldi's striking Stabat Mater from David Daniels's 2011 concert with Philharmonia as well as excerpts from Telemann's Alster overture (September 8, 8 PM).

The October broadcast includes three works by Beethoven, including his Fourth Piano Concerto as performed by Emanuel Ax and the Romance No. 1 in G Major featuring concertmaster Elizabeth Blumenstock as soloist (October 13, 8 PM).

KDFC is the radio home of Philharmonia Baroque Orchestra.

--Ben Casement-Stoll, Philharmonia Baroque

ACME: American Contemporary Music Ensemble Performs The Music of Caroline Shaw, 2013 Pulitzer Prize Winner, Presented by Arts Brookfield & WNYC’s New Sounds Live
Wednesday, October 16, 2013 at 7pm, Brookfield Place (formerly World Financial Center) Winter Garden, 220 Vesey Street, NYC. Admission: Free & open to the public:
ACME: | Caroline Shaw:

ACME, the American Contemporary Music Ensemble performs The Music of Caroline Shaw, 2013 Pulitzer Prize in Music winner, on Wednesday, October 16, 2013 at 7pm in a FREE concert presented by Arts Brookfield and WNYC’s New Sounds Live at Brookfield Place (formerly World Financial Center) Winter Garden, and streamed as a live audio webcast by Q2 Music at A composer, vocalist, violinist and violist, Caroline Shaw is, at 30 years old, the youngest-ever winner of the Pulitzer Prize in Music; she has performed in a number of ACME’s most lauded performances since joining the ensemble in 2011. At the Winter Garden, ACME gives the world premiere of Shaw’s work Ritornello for strings, alongside her chamber pieces Entr’acte for string quartet, Limestone & Felt for cello and viola, and In Manus Tuas for cello. The performance is part of a two-night concert series dedicated to Shaw’s extraordinary work.

ACME players for October 16 are Caroline Shaw, violin; Caleb Burhans, violin; Isabel Hagen, viola; and Clarice Jensen, cello and ACME artistic director. Shaw’s Ritornello includes elements of American hymnody, Baroque music, and her own contemporary sonic sensibility. It will be accompanied by a film, also created by Shaw, inspired by architecture, the concepts of return and memory, and the tale of Rip Van Winkle. Of Ritornello, with its shots of New York bridges and a stop-action sequence of paper folding and unfolding, Shaw says, “[it] evokes the notion of time folding in on itself, repeating and forgetting and unfolding again.”

The world premiere of Caroline Shaw’s version of Ritornello for voices will be given by Roomful of Teeth the preceding evening, October 15 at 7pm, at the Winter Garden. Both concerts are part of New Sounds Live, curated by John Schaefer, host and producer of WNYC Radio’s popular radio shows New Sounds and Soundcheck.

ACME will give a repeat performance of selections from Caroline Shaw’s Ritornello on Saturday, November 2 at 7pm at The Metropolitan Museum of Art in The Grace Rainey Rogers Auditorium, paired with Schoenberg’s landmark work from 1913, Pierrot Lunaire. The performance is part of the Museum’s series 1913: The World Implodes, which seeks to put that striking year in historical context while finding parallels with today’s world. For more information, visit

About ACME: Led by artistic director and cellist Clarice Jensen, American Contemporary Music Ensemble (ACME) is dedicated to the outstanding performance of masterworks from the 20th and 21st centuries. The ensemble presents cutting-edge literature by living composers alongside the “classics” of the contemporary. ACME’s dedication to new music extends across genres, and has earned them a reputation among both classical and rock crowds. Time Out New York calls them “one of New York’s brightest new music indie-bands.” ACME has performed at Le Poisson Rouge, Carnegie Hall, BAM, The Kitchen, Whitney Museum, Guggenheim, Columbia’s Miller Theatre, All Tomorrow’s Parties in the UK, and Stanford Lively Arts, among others. ACME's instrumentation is flexible and includes some of New York's most sought after, engaging musicians. Since its first concert season in 2004, the ensemble has performed works by John Adams, Louis Andriessen, Gavin Bryars, Caleb Burhans, John Cage, Elliott Carter, George Crumb, Jacob Druckman, Jefferson Friedman, Philip Glass, Charles Ives, Olivier Messiaen, Nico Muhly, Michael Nyman, Steve Reich, Terry Riley, Frederic Rzewski, Arnold Schoenberg, Kevin Volans, Charles Wuorinen, Iannis Xenakis, and more.

ACME adds a third album to its discography during the 2013-2014 season – Jefferson Friedman’s song cycle On In Love with rock vocalist Craig Wedren. In 2013, ACME released the first commercial recording of the music of American composer Joseph Byrd – a rediscovered contemporary of La Monte Young and Morton Feldman and a player in the Fluxus art movement – on New World Records. ACME’s recording of William Brittelle’s retro-futuristic chamber music cycle called Loving the Chambered Nautilus was released on New Amsterdam Records in 2012.

ACME was founded in 2004 by cellist Clarice Jensen, conductor Donato Cabrera, and publicist Christina Jensen, and has received support from The Aaron Copland Fund for Music, the Cary New Music Performance Fund, and the Greenwall Foundation.

About Caroline Shaw: Caroline Shaw, originally from North Carolina, is a musician appearing in many guises. She won the 2013 Pulitzer Prize in Music, and performs primarily as violinist with the American Contemporary Music Ensemble (ACME) and as vocalist with Roomful of Teeth. She has also worked with the Trinity Wall Street Choir, Alarm Will Sound, Wordless Music, Ensemble Signal, AXIOM, The Yehudim, Victoire, Opera Cabal, the Mark Morris Dance Group Ensemble, Hotel Elefant, the Oracle Hysterical, Red Light New Music, the Yale Baroque Ensemble, and in collaboration with tUnE-yArDs, Glasser, A Winged Victory for the Sullen, John Cale, Max Richter, and Steve Reich. Shaw’s original music has been described as “a tour de force of vocal mischief-making” (John Schaefer, eMusic) and “vaguely sexual” (Pitchfork). Her works have been performed by Roomful of Teeth, So Percussion, ACME, and the Brentano Quartet. Shaw has been a Yale Baroque Ensemble fellow and a Rice University Goliard fellow (fiddling in Sweden), and she was a recipient of the Thomas J. Watson fellowship, to study historical formal gardens and live out of a backpack. She lives in New York.

--Christina Jensen PR

“Dyad Plays Puccini”: Upcoming Appearances + New CD
“Dyad Plays Puccini” features Lou Caimano, alto saxophone, and Eric Olsen, piano.

It is often said that no musical instrument more perfectly replicates the human voice than the saxophone.  On that note, when operatic soprano Pamela Olsen confided to her husband, pianist Eric Olsen that alto saxophonist Lou Caimano’s playing reminded her of an opera singer, a beautiful concept was born. And a new adventure began for Dyad, Lou and Eric’s remarkable duo...“Dyad Plays Puccini.”

While the idea of re-imagining Puccini in the form of contemporary jazz arrangements might initially seem unlikely, the question quickly arises “Why isn’t Puccini as rich a source for jazz as Billy Strayhorn?”  After all, Puccini’s arias are some of the most beautiful and familiar songs in musical history, and certainly as ideal a territory for exploration as standards like Stray’s “Lush Life,” Monk’s “‘Round Midnight,” or Matt Dennis’s “Angel Eyes.” As with those gorgeous melodies, Puccini’s music has been known to induce heart-wrenching emotions and streaming tears simply by the sequence of tones, without any consideration of the narrative content of the operas in which they’re contained. In “Dyad Plays Puccini,” Caimano’s beautiful tone and Olsen’s rich, lush lyricism evoke those same responses and a full array of other emotions from introspective melancholy to uplifting jubilation.

Upcoming Dates:
Sunday, September 1, 2013
Scanfest 2013
Dyad Plays Puccini - 11:30 AM and 2:30 PM
Vasa Park at Wolfe Road, Budd Lake, NJ 07840 USA
Price: Adults $14; Seniors $13, Children 12 and under free

Friday, September 13, 2013
Rutherford Congregational Church
Dyad Plays Puccini - 7:30 PM
251 Union Avenue, Rutherford, NJ 07070
Price: $20 Adults/$10 16 and younger

Thursday, October 3, 2013
The Bitter End
Dyad Plays Puccini CD Release Party - 7:30 PM
147 Bleecker Street, New York, NY 10012
(212) 673-7030
Price: $7 Cover; two drink minimum at a table, 1 drink at the bar
Come to our NYC CD Release Party at the Bitter End! 
This will be the kickoff show for the season!

Friday, October 18, 2013
Montclair State University
Chapin Hall, Jed Leschowitz Recital Hall
Dyad Plays Puccini - 8 PM
1 Normal Avenue, Montclair, NJ 07043
Price: Free

Sunday, March 9, 2014
Luna Stage
Dyad Plays Puccini - 7 PM
555 Valley Road, West Orange, NJ 07052
973 395-5551
Price: $18 in advance, $20 at the door

For more information about Dyad and musical excerpts from “Dyad Plays Puccini,” click here:

--Jim Eigo, Jazz Promo Services

National Philharmonic Kicks Off 2012-2013 Season with All-Beethoven Program, Featuring Violinist Soovin Kim
The National Philharmonic, led by Music Director and Conductor Piotr Gajewski, will kick off its 2013-2014 season with a program entitled Beethoven’s Eternal Masterworks on Saturday, September 28, 2013 at 8 pm and on Sunday, September 29, 2013 at 3 pm at the Music Center at Strathmore. The concert will showcase the award-winning violinist Soovin Kim, who will join the Philharmonic in a performance of Beethoven’s only violin concerto. The evening will also feature Beethoven’s  awe-inspiring Symphony No. 5.

The evening opens with violinist Soovin Kim performing one of the most popular works ever written: Beethoven’s (1770-1827) only violin concerto, a virtuosic masterpiece both lyrical and serene. The work, which was premiered on December 23, 1806 in Vienna’s Theater an der Wien, was not received well and was performed little in the following decades.

The work was revived in 1844, however, with performances by the young violinist Joseph Joachim.  Since then, it has been considered one of the most important works of the violin concerto repertoire and is frequently performed and recorded today.

When Beethoven’s Symphony No. 5 in C minor was premiered, the press commented that it “projects its force upon all people of all ages, just like the great natural phenomena, which leave us in awe every time they appear. This symphony alike, will still resound centuries to come, for as long as there will be man and music.” First performed in Vienna's Theater an der Wien in 1808, the 5th Symphony is considered one of the most popular classical music works and one of the most frequently played. The symphony and its four-note opening motif are known worldwide, with the motif frequently heard in popular music and in such films as The Breakfast Club and Howards End.

American violinist Soovin Kim is an exciting young player who has built on the early successes of his prize-winning years to emerge as a mature artist equally gifted in concerto, recital, and chamber music repertoire.  He has given concerto, chamber music, and recital performances in some of the world’s most prominent venues – Carnegie Hall, the Concertgebouw, Queen Elizabeth Hall, Lincoln Center, Royce Hall, Herbst Theatre, and Strathmore Hall among them.

Soovin Kim’s Chausson and Fauré recording with Azica Records was a collaboration with pianist Jeremy Denk and the Jupiter String Quartet. Mr. Kim’s 2006 recording of Niccolò Paganini’s demanding 24 Caprices for solo violin rose to Billboard’s Classical Chart, and was named Classic FM magazine’s Instrumental Disc of the Month. Mr. Kim also recorded Schubert’s cello quintet with Janos Starker and Arensky’s cello quartet with Lynn Harrell, both released by Delos International, and duo works by Schubert, Bartok, and Strauss with Jeremy Denk for Koch/Discover.

Soovin Kim won first prize at the Paganini International Competition when he was only 20 years old. He was later named the recipient of the Henryk Szeryng Career Award, an Avery Fisher Career Grant, and a Borletti-Buitoni Trust Award. Subsequently he went on to perform with the Philadelphia Orchestra, San Francisco Symphony, Indianapolis Symphony, Orchestra of St. Luke’s, Stuttgart Radio Symphony, Salzburg Mozarteum Orchestra, and the Accademia di Santa Cecilia Orchestra. He has given solo recitals at Weill Hall in New York, Terrace Theater in Washington D.C., Ravinia, Tokyo’s Casals Hall, and the Seoul Arts Center. Mr. Kim devotes a considerable amount of time to teaching at Stony Brook University and is also on the faculty of Bard College. He is a graduate of the Curtis Institute of Music where he studied with Jaime Laredo and Victor Danchenko, and he also studied with David Cerone and Donald Weilerstein at the Cleveland Institute of Music. Mr. Kim maintains a close relationship with the Marlboro Festival and regularly spends summers there. Soovin Kim plays on the 1709 “ex-Kempner” Stradivarius which is on loan to him.

Piotr Gajewski is widely credited with building the National Philharmonic to its present status as one of the most respected ensembles of its kind in the region. In addition to his appearances with the National Philharmonic, Maestro Gajewski is much in demand as a guest conductor. In recent years, he has appeared with most of the major orchestras in his native Poland, as well as the Royal Liverpool Philharmonic in England, the Karlovy Vary Symphony in the Czech Republic, the Okanagan Symphony in Canada and numerous orchestras in the United States.

Gajewski attended Carleton College and the University of Cincinnati, College-Conservatory of Music, where he earned a B.M. and M.M. in Orchestral Conducting. Upon completing his formal education, he continued refining his conducting skills at the 1983 Tanglewood Music Festival in Massachusetts, where he was awarded a Leonard Bernstein Conducting Fellowship. His teachers there included Leonard Bernstein, Seiji Ozawa, Andre Previn, Gunther Schuller, Gustav Meier and Maurice Abravanel. Gajewski is also a winner of many prizes and awards, among them a prize at New York's prestigious Leopold Stokowski Conducting Competition and, in 2006, Montgomery County's Comcast Excellence in the Arts and Humanities Achievement Award.

A free pre-concert lecture will be offered at 6:45 pm on Saturday, September 28 and at 1:45 pm on Sunday, September 29 in the Concert Hall at the Music Center at Strathmore. To purchase tickets to the Beethoven’s Eternal Masterworks concert, please visit or call the Strathmore box office at (301) 581-5100. Tickets are $28-$84; kids 7-17 are FREE through the ALL KIDS, ALL FREE, ALL THE TIME program (sponsored by The Gazette). ALL KIDS tickets must be purchased in person or by phone. Parking is complimentary.

--Deborah Birnbaum, National Philharmonic

One World Symphony 2013-2014 Season Opener - Vendetta
Sung Jin Hong, Artistic Director and Conductor
One World Symphony Vocal Artists 

Two Performances:
Sunday, September 15, 2013
Monday, September 16, 2013
8:00 p.m.
Holy Apostles Church
296 Ninth Avenue at West 28th Street

Giuseppe Verdi: from Il Trovatore
Giuseppe Verdi: from Rigoletto
Nicolai Rimsky-Korsakov: from Tsar's Bride
Dmitri Shostakovich: from Symphony No. 10 (1953)

Tickets available at door 20 minutes prior to concert:
$30 Students/Seniors with ID
$40 General

"Revenge should have no bounds." - Hamlet (4.7.143) 

Take a cue from Hamlet, and succumb to the most base of human instincts. Who needs tempered conversation and compromise when we could have sword fights, fire, and death by poison? Join us as we open One World Symphony's 13th season and revel in the bold tones of Verdi's Il Trovatore and Rigoletto, filling your mind with tales of jealousy, love triangles, and curses. Get a taste of Russian retribution in Rimsky-Korsakov's The Tsar's Bride, intended as a reaction against the ideas of Richard Wagner and written in the style of "cantilena par excellence." Identify with Shostakovisch's musical vendetta in his Symphony 10 depiction of Stalin as a brutal dictator, with plenty of brass, timpani, and strings to titillate our fancies. Revenge is a dish best served cold... but hot will do nicely as well.

For more information and artists' biographies, click here:

--One World Symphony

Cal Performances Launches 2013–2014 Season with Fall Free for All
Cal Performances celebrates its 2013–2014 season with the fourth annual Fall Free for All, a full day of free, world-class music, dance, and theater performances on the University of California, Berkeley, campus on Sunday, September 29, from 11:00 a.m. to 6:00 p.m. With more than 10,000 people attending last year’s events and every performance filled to capacity, Cal Performances has put together a lineup that will once again appeal to a broad audience. It is the event San Jose Mercury News calls “the coolest open house on the planet.”

Fall Free for All offers attendees the opportunity to experience a wide variety of performances. More than twenty 45-minute performances will take place across the UC Berkeley campus, with musical ensembles including the return of internationally recognized New Century Chamber Orchestra with Nadja Salerno-Sonnenberg and San Francisco Opera Adler Fellows. Debuting companies include members of the St. Lawrence String Quartet, early music program La Danse du Cleves, folk/rock group He’s My Brother She’s My Sister, and the Pacific Boychoir Academy. Dance and theater offerings include ODC/Dance, La Tania Baile Flamenco, the Venezuelan Music Project with

Jackeline Rago, Theatre of Yugen, which presents Japanese traditional comedic works in English, and the Mexican ensemble Los Cenzontles, a hit at the 2011 Fall Free for All.

Although children are welcome at all concerts, some Fall Free for All events are particularly well suited for the whole family, including Crosspulse Duo with Keith Terry and Evie Ladin, Theatre of Yugen, and the Daniel Barash Shadow Puppet Workshop. The highly popular instrument petting zoo, a family favorite at all past Fall Free for Alls, will be located in Choral Rehearsal Hall in the César Chavez Student Center.

All events at Cal Performances Fall Free for All are free and open to the public—no tickets are necessary. A schedule and map are available online and at the event. For more information visit or call 510.642.9988.

--Christina Kellogg, Cal Performances

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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