Classical Music News of the Week, December 15, 2013

Pianist Richard Goode Returns to Cal Performances in a Program of Schubert, Debussy, and Janacek, Sunday, January 19, at 3:00 p.m. in Zellerbach Hall, Berkeley, CA

Hailed by critics and audiences as a musician of profound insight and intellect, pianist Richard Goode returns to Zellerbach Hall on Sunday, January 19 at 3:00 p.m. Goode brings his “selfless artistry” (The Times, UK) to selections from An Overgrown Path by Leoš Janácek, the Sonata in A major, D. 95, by Franz Schubert, and Préludes, Book 1, by Claude Debussy. The immensely popular Goode will take the audience on a journey to the heart of every work, highlighting the music's expressive power with a sensitivity that brings a new and enlightening perspective to even the most familiar masterworks.

A pre-performance talk will be held on Sunday, January 19 at 2:00 p.m. in Zellerbach Hall, Berkeley, CA. Talks are free to ticketholders. Further details to be announced.

New York native Richard Goode immersed himself in the study of the piano at an early age. At Mannes College of Music, he studied with Elvira Szigeti, Claude Frank, and Nadia Reisenberg, and at the Curtis Institute with Mieczyslaw Horszowski and Rudolf Serkin, who invited him to participate in the Marlboro Music Festival in Vermont. Early in his career, Goode earned numerous accolades, including the Young Concert Artists International Auditions (1961) and First Prize in the Clara Haskill Competition (1973). Goode won a 1983 Grammy for Best Chamber Music Performance for his collaboration with clarinetist Richard Stoltzman on their recording of the Brahms clarinet sonatas. He was the first American-born pianist to record the complete Beethoven sonatas, which garnered a Grammy Award nomination and brought Goode to the attention of a wider audience. His other awards include the Avery Fisher Prize (1980) and the first-ever Jean Gimbel Lane Prize in Piano Performance (2006). In addition, Goode teaches at Mannes College and serves as Artistic Director at the Marlboro Music School and Festival alongside Mitsuko Uchida, who performs in Berkeley on March 25. Goode’s latest recording of the Beethoven concerti with Iván Fischer and the Budapest Festival Orchestra was released in 2009 and hailed as “landmark recording of the Beethoven concertos” (Financial Times).

Ticket information:
Ticket prices for Richard Goode on Sunday, January 19 at 3:00 p.m. in Zellerbach Hall range from $30.00 to $75.00. Tickets are available through the Cal Performances Ticket Office at Zellerbach Hall; at (510) 642-9988; at; and at the door. Half-price tickets are available for purchase by UC Berkeley students. For more information about discounts, go to

--Rusty Barnes, Cal Performances

Violinist Nurit Bar-Josef to Perform Mozart’s Violin Concerto No. 5 with National Philharmonic at Strathmore
Violinist Nurit Bar-Josef will perform  Mozart’s Violin Concerto No. 5 with the National Philharmonic, under the direction of Music Director and Conductor Piotr Gajewski, on Saturday, January 4, 2012 at 8 p.m. and on Sunday, January 5 at 3 p.m. at the Music Center at Strathmore, 5301 Tuckerman Lane, North Bethesda, MD  20852. The concert will also feature Mozart’s Symphony No. 29 and Dvorák’s Serenade for Strings.

Performed by Ms. Bar-Josef, concertmaster of the National Symphony Orchestra, Mozart’s Violin Concerto No. 5, often referred to by the nickname Turkish, is full of energetic and lively melodies.  Mozart wrote this concerto and four others between April and December 1775. The concerto begins with a short Allegro movement that is followed by a slow Adagio second movement. The third and final movement is a rondo whose frenzied contrasting section gives the concerto its nickname.

One of Mozart’s early symphonies, Symphony No. 29 is a very personal work that combines the intimacy of chamber music with a turbulent and impetuous style. Written in April 1774, it adheres to the typical fast-slow-fast musical structure of the Classical period. The leading British musicologist Stanley Sadie characterized it as "a landmark ... personal in tone, indeed perhaps more individual in its combination of an intimate, chamber music style with a still fiery and impulsive manner."

The Serenade for Strings in E Major, Op. 22 by Antonin Dvorák, the great Czech nationalist composer, is laden with rich sonorities and hauntingly beautiful melodies suffused with the spirit of Czech folk music. The Serenade, composed in just two weeks in May 1875, remains one of the composer's more popular orchestral works to this day. It was written during a happy period of the Dvorák’s life. He was married with a newborn baby and for the first time in his life, was being recognized as a composer.

A free pre-concert lecture will be offered at 6:45 p.m. on Saturday, January 4 and at 1:45 p.m. on Sunday, January 5 in the Concert Hall at the Music Center at Strathmore. To purchase tickets to the January 4 and 5 concerts, 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.

--Deborah Birnbaum, National Philharmonic

Evanston Celebrates Nelson Mandela
Music Institute of Chicago presents a celebration of singing, music, prayer, and reflection on the extraordinary life of Nelson Mandela. The event is sponsored by the city of Evanston, Evanston Community Foundation, Second Baptist Church of Evanston, and Northwestern University.

Tuesday, December 17, 5:30–6:30 p.m.
Nichols Concert Hall, 1490 Chicago Ave., Evanston, IL

Admission: FREE

Invocation: Reverend Robert H. Oldershaw, Pastor Emeritus, St. Nicholas Church, Evanston
Speakers: Thoughts and reflections on the life and legacy of Nelson Mandela
String Quartet, Op. 74 in E-flat Major by Ludwig van Beethoven
Music Institute of Chicago String Faculty:
Sang Mee Lee and Ellen McSweeney, violins;
Aimee Biasiello, viola; David Cunliffe, cello
Choral Selections
Prayer for Mandela (1988) by Timothy Geller
Chelsea French, trombone

Further information: or 847.905.1500

--Jill Chukerman, JAC Communications

Orion String Quartet Returns to Chamber Music Society of Lincoln Center
Mozart & Haydn: Tuesday, January 21, 2014, 7:30 pm
Schumann: Sunday, April 27, 2014, 5:00 pm

The Orion String Quartet returns to the Chamber Music Society of Lincoln Center Tuesday, January 21, 2014 for a concert highlighting a selection of quartets by Mozart and Haydn.

On Sunday, April 27, the Quartet joins a host of friends of the Chamber Music Society of Lincoln Center to take part in a concert pairing selected works by Robert and Clara Schumann. Featuring Schumann’s Quartet in A minor, Op. 41, No. 1, this concert brings a number of exceptional guest artists including violinist Ani Kavafian, clarinetist Romie de Guise-Langlois and pianist Inon Barnatan.

Over the past 25 seasons the Orion String Quartet has been consistently praised for the fresh perspective and individuality it brings to performances. With over fifty performances each year, the members of the Orion String Quartet—violinists Daniel Phillips and Todd Phillips (brothers who share the first violin chair equally), violist Steven Tenenbom and cellist Timothy Eddy—have worked closely with such legendary figures as Pablo Casals, Rudolf Serkin, Isaac Stern, Pinchas Zukerman, Peter Serkin, members of TASHI and the Beaux Arts Trio, as well as the Budapest, Végh, Galimir and Guarneri String Quartets.

Violinist Daniel Phillips remarks, "As a teenager, my brother and I began performing for our parents' annual New Year's Eve parties where there was always chamber music until the wee hours. We took delight in discovering the constant surprises in the quartets of Haydn and Mozart and the way in which Haydn wrote with a greater sense of humor than the other, more celebrated Classical-era composers. Of course, after Mozart discovered Haydn's quartets, he took it as a personal challenge to come up to the standard. The minuet movement of Haydn's G minor quartet bears a striking resemblance to the minuet of Mozart's G minor viola quintet, written years later. While playing Mozart's remarkably beautiful and effective early C major quartet, I like to picture Mozart in his teens playing this with his father, perhaps at their New Year's Eve party. The masterful F major quartet measures up very nicely, emulating the equal contribution of the four voices, good sense of humor and perfection of composition that Haydn had well established. Due to the efforts of these two composers, the genre of the string quartet was born.”

Tuesday, January 21, 7:30 pm
Alice Tully Hall
Mozart: Quartet in C major, K. 157
Mozart: Quartet in F major, K. 590
Haydn: Quartet in G minor, Op. 20, No. 3
Haydn: Quartet in D major, Op. 76, No. 5
Tickets starting at $30

Sunday, April 27, 5:00 pm
Alice Tully Hall
Schumann: Fantasiestücke, Op. 73
Schumann: Quartet in A minor, Op. 41, No. 1
Schumann: Selections from Fantasiestücke, Op. 12
C. Schumann: Three Romances, Op. 22
Schumann: Sonata No. 1 in A minor, Op. 105
Tickets starting at $37

--Ashlyn Damm, Kirshbaum Demler & Associates

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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 both its equipment and recordings 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 they 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 Marantz CD 6007 and Onkyo CD 7030 CD players, 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