Classical Music News of the Week, September 7, 2014

Sacred Music in a Sacred Space Begins Its 2014-15 season with the Polydora Ensemble, 9/16

This exciting new chamber ensemble will perform on SMSS's first-ever Caritas Concert, a benefit concert with all proceeds directed toward the Jesuit Volunteer Corps.

Inspired by the elegance and intimacy of the salon concerts of the 19th century, Sacred Music in a Sacred Space introduces its Caritas Concerts. As the name suggests, Caritas Concerts are benefits, with all proceeds directed toward charities that address social justice concerns. The very first Caritas performance will feature the New York-based Polydora Ensemble, specializing in repertoire for vocal quartet and piano. Held in Wallace Hall at the Church of St. Ignatius Loyola, 980 Park Avenue, New York City, the evenings begin and end with light refreshments and a chance to mingle with the performers. This concert will take place on Tuesday, September 16 at 6:30pm; tickets are $50 and all proceeds will be donated to the Jesuit Volunteer Corps.

For this Caritas Concert, the Polydora Ensemble will perform several lesser-known gems of the chamber music repertoire, featuring works by Brahms and Schumann and a newly commissioned work by American composer Scott Wheeler. The pieces on the program, including Brahms's Neue Liebeslieder Walzer Op. 65 and Vier Quartettte Op. 92; Schumann's Spanisches Liederspiel; and Wheeler's New Love Song Waltzes all allow the members of the ensemble to shine as both soloists and collaborative partners. Kate Maroney of the Polydora Ensemble says of this program, "It strikes me that each composer aims for a directness, an immediacy in expressing the 'vivid moments' of being in love. Polydora Ensemble is thrilled to share and explore these pieces as part of the Caritas Concert series at St. Ignatius Loyola—it is an honor to be part of an initiative that will help spread love through a charitable organization."

For more information, visit

--Caroline Heaney, BuckleSweet Media

Berkeley Symphony Opens 2014-2015 Season with World Premiere by Oscar Bettison; Jennifer Koh Featured as Soloist in Sibelius's Violin Concerto; October 2
Berkeley Symphony, recognized for its commitment to presenting major new works for orchestra alongside classic European repertoire, opens the 2014-2015 season on Thursday, October 2, 2014 at 7 p.m. in Zellerbach Hall with the world premiere of Sea Shaped by British composer Oscar Bettison. Commissioned by Berkeley Symphony, Sea Shaped is described by Bettison as a "ritual tableau based on the process of shaping and reshaping – a constant cycle of beginnings."

Berkeley Symphony also welcomes the return of versatile violinist and Bay Area favorite Jennifer Koh. Lauded by Gramophone for her "thoughtful and imaginative" playing, Koh will perform as soloist in the Sibelius Violin Concerto with Elgar's Enigma Variations concluding the evening program. Immediately following the concert, Berkeley Symphony will host an Opening Night Dinner honoring Maestra Joana Carneiro on the Zellerbach mezzanine and featuring special guests Oscar Bettison and Jennifer Koh.

Ticket information:
2014-2015 season subscriptions to the Zellerbach Hall Concert Series (four concerts) range in price from $40  to $268 . Subscribers enjoy a 10% discount on additional single ticket purchases throughout the season. Single ticket prices range from $15 to $74. Orders for 2014-2015 season subscriptions can be placed online at; by phone at (510) 841-2800, ext. 1; by fax to (510) 841-5422; or mailed to 1942 University Avenue, Suite 207, Berkeley, CA 94704. Groups of 6 or more receive a 20% discount off the single ticket price. Berkeley Symphony offers a $7 Student Rush ticket one hour prior to each performance for those with a valid student ID.

--Brenden Guy, Karen Ames Communications

Cal Performances Celebrates Homecoming Weekend with Performances by Art Spiegelman, Afropop Spectacular, and Takacs Quartet, Friday-Sunday, October 10-12
A Takács Quartet pre-performance talk featuring pianist Marc-André Hamelin will be held on Sunday, October 12 at 2:00 p.m. in Hertz Hall.

With three performances that showcase the diversity and breadth of its programming, Cal Performances offers something for everyone during UC Berkeley's Homecoming weekend celebration. Grandfather of the graphic novel Art Spiegelman opens the weekend with his multimedia presentation, Wordless! Accompanied live by jazz saxophonist and composer Phillip Johnston and his sextet on Friday, October 10 at 8:00 p.m. in Zellerbach Hall, Spiegelman's appearance is part of the new Berkeley Talks series hosted by UC Berkeley Chancellor Nicholas B. Dirks. In a double bill featuring earthy African blues and hypnotic ancient grooves, virtuoso ngoni player Bassekou Kouyate joins the Ethiopian trio Krar Collective in Afropop Spectacular, Saturday, October 11 at 8:00 p.m. in Zellerbach Hall. Berkeley favorites the Takács Quartet conclude the weekend on Sunday, October 12 at 3:00 p.m. in Hertz Hall with a program of musical contrasts, featuring pianist Marc-André Hamelin. This three day series of events highlights Cal Performances' commitment to making world-class artists across a wide range of interests accessible to the UC Berkeley campus and community.

A Takács Quartet pre-performance talk featuring pianist Marc-André Hamelin will be held at 2:00 p.m. on Sunday, October 12 in Hertz Hall. This event is free and open to ticketholders.

Tickets for Art Spiegelman's Wordless! on Friday, October 10 at 8:00 p.m. in Zellerbach Hall range from $22.00 to $58.00. Tickets for Afropop Spectacular on Saturday, October 11 at 8:00 p.m. in Zellerbach Hall range from $18.00 to $48.00. Tickets for Takács Quartet with Marc-André Hamelin on Sunday, October 12 at 3:00 p.m. in Hertz Hall are priced at $62.00. All ticket prices are subject to change. Half-price tickets are available for UC Berkeley students. Tickets are available through the Ticket Office at Zellerbach Hall, at (510) 642-9988, at, and at the door. For more information about discounts, go to

--Rusty Barnes, Cal Performances

Cellist Steven Isserlis to perform Boccherini and C.P.E. Bach with Philharmonia, October 8-12, 2014
Music Director Nicholas McGegan leads Philharmonia Baroque Orchestra in a concert featuring two Haydn symphonies and special guest artist Steven Isserlis, who performs two Classical cello concertos. Four performances take place around the Bay Area at the SFJAZZ Center in San Francisco (Wed, 8 October); at Stanford's Bing Concert Hall (Thurs, 9 October); and at First Congregational Church in Berkeley (Sat and Sun, October 11-12). Tickets go on sale on September 1st through City Box Office, ranging in price from $25-$100.

"I'm thrilled to have Steven Isserlis join us once again," said Nicholas McGegan. "He's one of my favorite soloists, a virtuoso cellist, a nonpareil, a prince of cellists." Isserlis will perform Carl Philipp Emanuel Bach's technically demanding Concerto for Violoncello in A major. "This year is the 300th anniversary of the birth of Carl Philipp Emanuel Bach," McGegan continued. "Clearly, the first cellist to play this concerto was a pretty incredible player because this is highly virtuosic, very difficult, very brilliant music."

C.P.E. Bach was the most famous member of the Bach family in his day, counting Joseph Haydn among his admirers. McGegan will lead the Orchestra in two middle-period Haydn symphonies: No. 57, which incorporates a traditional melody describing a dance between a hen and a rooster, and No. 67, which includes special effects in the strings such as col legno (hitting the strings with the back of the bow) and special tuning among the violins. Both symphonies will be recorded for release on Philharmonia's own recording label, Philharmonia Baroque Productions.

Isserlis takes the lead once again in Luigi Boccherini's graceful Concerto for Violoncello No. 7, which McGegan describes as being in "the most elegant and galant of styles." Boccherini was a great admirer of Haydn's music, tying this second concerto back to C.P.E. Bach's Concerto in A major.

Tickets are priced $25 to $100 and go on sale on September 1st through City Box Office: or call (415) 392-4400.

Tickets for the performance on October 9 performance at Bing Concert Hall go on sale September 7th through Stanford Live:

--Ben Casement-Stoll, PBO

Sacred Music in a Sacred Space's Music Director and Resident Organist K. Scott Warren Launches 2014-2015 N.P. Mander Organ Recital Series
September 21, 2014 at New York City's Church of St. Ignatius Loyola.

New York City's breathtaking, majestic Church of St. Ignatius Loyola once again comes to life with Sacred Music in a Sacred Space's N.P. Mander Organ Recital Series featuring organist, composer and Music Director K. Scott Warren on Sunday, September 21 at 3:00 pm.  The program features selections from Bach, Stanford, and Vierne, among others, beautifully played on the unrivaled N.P. Mander organ. Call 212-288-2520 or click here for tickets:

--Amanda Sweet, BuckleSweet Media

Sony Celebrates Sir James Galway on His 75th Birthday
Universally regarded as the supreme interpreter of the classical flute repertoire, Sir James Galway is a consummate entertainer who crosses all musical boundaries. Idolized by audiences around the world, "The Man with the Golden Flute" has performed continuously with the world's leading orchestras and conductors, while his recordings have sold over 30 million copies and won numerous awards.

Now, for the first time and in celebration of his 75th birthday (December 8, 2014) all of Sir James' recordings for RCA Red Seal are issued together in a lavish Sony Classical box set of 71 partly remastered CDs, along with 2 DVDs. The CDs all feature the original LP covers – eight of which are available on CD for the first time in this edition. Sixty of the CDs, as well as both DVDs (Concerto for Flute and Harp; James Galway and the Chieftains in Ireland) had been unavailable until now. Featuring a hardcover book with notes and track listings, as well as an exclusive interview with Sir James, James Galway: The Complete RCA Album Collection will be released on September 16, 2014.

This fall, Sir James will be heard in London, Shanghai, Tokyo, Toronto, tour several cities in Brazil, and make a return to Carnegie Hall for a holiday concert. Beloved as a mentor and teacher, Sir James has made his expertise widely available with First Flute, an online interactive series of flute lessons. For more information, visit

--Shira Gilbert PR

Cleveland International Piano Competition Names New Artist Manager
The Cleveland International Piano Competition (CIPC) has retained Joseph Castellano, owner of Castellano Artists, LLC, to represent its prize-winning pianists. He began working on behalf of CIPC's current first prize winner, Stanislav Khristenko, on September 1.

Having worked with both Opus 3 Artists and Barrett Vantage Artists, Mr. Castellano brings a wealth of experience to the position. He has worked with conductors, instrumentalists and composers, overseeing performances and touring with orchestras worldwide.  Castellano Artists, LLC, based in Cleveland, was formed in 2012. The firm represents a roster of conductors and instrumentalists of distinguished talent worldwide.

"We are delighted to welcome Joseph to our team," said CIPC President and CEO Pierre van der Westhuizen. "We are confident that our artists will be working with a true professional in every sense of the word."

Mr. Castellano takes over artist management responsibilities from Della Homenik, who will remain with the CIPC in her long-standing position as Director of Communications.

About the Cleveland International Piano Competition:
Founded in 1975, the Cleveland International Piano Competition is a triennial, twelve-day competition and festival celebrating the piano and those who dedicate their lives to mastering its art.  A member of the World Federation of International Music Competitions, CIPC maintains high standards in fairness of judging, seeks innovative programming choices, and consistently attracts a field of highly qualified applicants from around the globe.  CIPC is regarded as one of the most prestigious piano competitions in the world and strives to promote the careers of its contestants and inspire the classical music community of Northeast Ohio.

For more information, visit

--Katharine Boone, 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 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