Classical Music News of the Week, September 28, 2014

Mozart Rarity to Illuminate St. Charles Singers' Concerts October 4 & 5

The St. Charles Singers will launch its 31st season with choral music by Mozart plus three of the composer's short instrumental "Church Sonatas" at concerts at 8 p.m. on Saturday, October 4, in the chapel of the National Shrine of St. Frances Xavier Cabrini, 2520 N. Lakeview Ave., Chicago; and at 4 p.m. on Sunday, October 5, at Baker Memorial United Methodist Church, 307 Cedar Ave., St. Charles, Il.

The "Mozart IX: Journey's Lamp Light" program, conducted by Jeffrey Hunt, will be the ninth and newest installment of the St. Charles Singers' ambitious, multiyear Mozart Journey project during which the choir will present all of the composer's sacred choral music. The program takes its name from the text of one of the pieces on the program, Mozart's rarely heard "Scande coeli limina" (Ascend heaven's thresholds) in C Major, K. 34. A line in the Benedictine poem refers to torch lights illuminating the path to heaven. The short, upbeat work is one of many unfamiliar treasures being heard in the course of the St. Charles Singers' Mozart Journey, says Hunt, the choir's founder and artistic director.

The October concerts will be the first to feature an intimately scaled ensemble of just sixteen of the professional, mixed-voice chamber choir's nearly 40 singers. "We want to vary the aural and visual scenery for concertgoers who've been following us on the Mozart Journey," Hunt says. The concert's compact choral and instrumental forces also are ideal for the acoustics of the 300-seat Cabrini chapel, he says.

Another twist: Hunt is programming for the first time some of Mozart's "Church Sonatas," written for Austria's Salzburg Cathedral. And he's doing so in the manner of Mozart's day. The Church Sonata in C Major, K. 278, for two oboes, two trumpets, two violins, timpani, and organ, will be played between the "Gloria" and "Credo" sections of the tuneful Missa in C Major, "Credo," K. 257. "The Credo Mass abounds with immensely attractive melodies in the spirit of Mozart's memorable opera arias," Hunt says.

Mozart's Church Sonatas in E-flat major, K. 67, and G Major, K. 274, for strings and organ will be performed back to back elsewhere in the program. The concert's choral repertoire will also include Mozart's splendorous, refined "Regina coeli" (Queen of heaven) in C Major, K. 276, and the unaccompanied, Renaissance-style "Quaerite primum regnum Dei" (Seek ye first the kingdom of God) in D Minor, K. 86, from the composer's youth. Hunt says the program will present a diverse sampling of Mozart's choral writing and "a variety of vocal colors and textures," with passages showcasing soloists, quartets, and full choir.

Tickets and information:
Single tickets for the October Mozart Journey concerts are $35 adult general admission, $30 for seniors 65 and older, and $10 for students.

Tickets and general information about the St. Charles Singers are available at www.stcharlessingers.com or by calling (630) 513-5272. Tickets are also available at Townhouse Books, 105 N. Second Ave., St. Charles, Il (checks or cash only at this ticket venue). Tickets may also be purchased at the door on the day of the concert, depending on availability. Group discounts are available.

--Nathan J. Silverman, Cedille

Orpheus Chamber Orchestra Marks Its 42nd Season with Carnegie Hall Concerts, European and U.S. Tours, and Premieres of New Works
Orpheus Chamber Orchestra's 2014-15 season features its annual concert series at Carnegie Hall, three world premieres of Orpheus-commissioned works, a seven-city tour in Europe, a return to California, and the expansion of the Access Orpheus program in New York schools. The world premieres are part of American Notes, Orpheus' new commissioning initiative of works from composers who represent varied perspectives on American music.

The composers chosen for American Notes this season are American-born, Brooklyn-based composer-pianist Timo Andres, British-born, Chicago-based composer Anna Clyne, and Turkish composer-pianist Fazl Say. Mr. Say also performs as piano soloist with Orpheus at Carnegie Hall and on the European tour as part of the roster of guest soloists making their Orpheus debuts this season, which includes violinists Jennifer Koh and Augustin Dumay. Pianist Jonathan Biss returns as guest soloist with Orpheus to open its 42nd season.

The full 2014-15 season schedule and details of concerts at Carnegie and on tour are listed at the Web sites below. Subscriptions to the Carnegie concerts are available through Orpheus at (212) 896-1704 or www.orpheusnyc.org. Single tickets may be purchased from Carnegie Hall through the box office at (212) 247-7800 or www.carnegiehall.org starting today at 11 a.m.

--Schuman Associates

Ludovic Morlot Launches Fourth Season as Seattle Symphony Music Director
On the heels of a notable 2013–2014 season that included an appearance at Carnegie Hall, a Pulitzer Prize–winning commission and a launch of an in-house record label, Music Director Ludovic Morlot and the Seattle Symphony embark upon their fourth season together. In the coming season the Symphony will venture deeper into cross-genre concert presentations, further its commitment to supporting composers of our time, continue its prolific track record in the recording studio, dive into major symphonic repertoire and, above all, invest in the Puget Sound community with a wide spectrum of community and education initiatives.

Commissions and World Premiere:
The Seattle Symphony champions musical voices of our time, this season presenting a total of nine commissions or co-commissions. The Symphony's commission Become Ocean by John Luther Adams won a Pulitzer Prize in Music earlier in 2014. During the 2014–2015 season, Mason Bates's new Cello Concerto will receive its world-premiere performance on December 11 at the Seattle Symphony, one of three co-commissioners for the piece. On April 23, echoing a worldwide commemoration of WWI, Sebastian Currier's "Divisions" will be performed for the first time by the Seattle Symphony, also a co-commissioner along with the Boston Symphony and National Orchestra of Belgium. Then on June 11, a new violin concerto by Julian Anderson, former classmate of Morlot at the Royal Academy of Music in London, will receive its U.S. premiere in Seattle. Co-commissioners for this composition are the Seattle Symphony, London Philharmonic Orchestra and Deutsches Symphonie-Orchester Berlin. Other commissions and co-commissions on this season's programs include works by Colin Matthews, Yugo Kanno, Yann Robin, Angelique Poteat, Trimpin and Mike McCready.

For more information, visit http://www.seattlesymphony.org/symphony/

--Katharine Boone, Kirshbaum Demler & Associates

Cameron Carpenter kicks off US tour with the International Touring Organ at NYC's Town Hall October 23
Cameron will undoubtedly perform selections from his new Sony release If You Could Read My Mind as well as introduce NY audiences to new material.

After a dazzling debut at Lincoln Center on March 9 in which its sound was described by The New York Times as "quite terrific," Cameron Carpenter's revolutionary International Touring Organ returns to New York City on October 23 at 8:00pm at The Town Hall NYC (123 W. 43rd Street). This performance marks the beginning of Carpenter's U.S. tour celebrating the release of his debut album for Sony Classical, If You Could Read My Mind, which showcases the full range of Carpenter's – and the ITO's – abilities. Ticket prices range from $45-$100; call 800.982.2787 or click here to purchase. $100 tickets include access to a post-concert reception with Carpenter.

For more information, visit http://thetownhall.org/event/557-cameron-carpenter

--Amanda Sweet, BuckleSweet Media

Orion Weiss and Salzburg Marionette Theater North American Tour Fall 2014
Pianist Orion Weiss and Salzburg Marionette Theater Embark on 11-City North American Tour October and November 2014.

Performances of Debussy's charming La Boîte aux Jouxjoux (The Toy Box) and Schumann's Papillons at the Met Museum, Kennedy Center, and in Portland, Calgary, Toronto, Ottawa and Castleton celebrates the Salzburg Marionette Theater's centenary.

Orion Weiss's Scarlatti Sonatas also slated for release on Naxos on October 28, 2014.

"When you're named after one of the biggest constellations in the night sky, the pressure is on to display a little star power — and the young pianist Orion Weiss did exactly that." --The Washington Post

This fall, Pianist Orion Weiss together with the Salzburg Marionette Theater will appear in eleven cities throughout North America to perform a story-driven recital program including Debussy's theatrical and musical work La Boîte à Joujoux (The Toy Box) and Robert Schumann's Papillons. Additionally, Naxos will release a disc of Domenico Scarlatti's piano sonatas, selected and performed by Orion Weiss, on October 28.

From Friday, October 24th, to November 16th, 2014, Orion Weiss will perform in recital on an 11-city tour of the U.S. and Canada, including stops at the Metropolitan Museum of Art in New York, Washington DC's Kennedy Center and in Portland and Toronto.

The story-driven program opens with solo pieces by Robert Schumann including Papillons, a series of short dances depicting a parade of characters at a masked ball, here brought to life by four puppeteers of The Salzburg Marionette Theater which this year celebrates its 100th anniversary. The first half closes with the composer's Blumenstück (Flower Song) and Novelette. For the second half of the recital, The Salzburg Marionette Theater will join Orion onstage for a performance of Claude Debussy's La Boîte à Joujoux (The Toy Box), a fanciful and rarely heard piece the composer wrote for his daughter in 1913.

To learn more about Orion Weiss, please visit: http://www.orionweiss.com/. For more on the Salzburg Marionette Theater, visit: http://www.marionetten.at/index.php.

--Rebecca Davis, Universal Music

Venue Change for Orion's Sept. 28 Geneva Concert
We're excited to present our first program of the season starting today, Sunday, Sept. 28 in Geneva, Il. Please note that we've had a location change for the Geneva concert; it will be held at the WEST campus of First Baptist Church of Geneva, rather than our usual east campus location.

The west campus is just 1.5 miles west of the east campus, at Peck and Keslinger: 3435 Keslinger Rd., Geneva, Il. From the front of the east church, take Keslinger Rd. 1.5 miles west, and you will arrive at the west campus.

Our first concert captures our season theme to a tee (A Taste of Chicago, A World of Romance), as we "step out" and present several jazz works by a Chicago composer, alongside a beloved jewel of the chamber repertoire.

Sunday, September 28, 7:00 pm
VENUE CHANGE:
First Baptist Church of Geneva - West Campus
3435 Keslinger Rd., Geneva, Il

Wednesday, October 1, 7:30 pm
Recital Hall at Sherwood
Community Music School
Columbia College Chicago
1312 South Michigan Ave., Chicago, Il

Sunday, October 5, 7:30 pm
Music Institute of Chicago
Nichols Concert Hall
1490 Chicago Ave., Evanston, Il

--Orion Ensemble

Conductor, Pedagogue, Pianist and Composer Robert Spano Official Statement
I am a proud Atlantan. I have made my home here since 2001 and have loved the vitality and aspiration of my adopted city. I have also had the privilege and honor of being at the helm of one of the great musical institutions of our country.

The excellence that defines the Atlanta Symphony Orchestra is rich with tradition: the profound legacy of Robert Shaw, a celebrated recording history -- including 27 Grammy Awards -- an historical and ongoing commitment to new and American music, path-breaking theatrical presentations, The Atlanta Symphony Youth Orchestra and Talent Development Program, whose alumni are testament to their importance, and standard setting performances of the choral-orchestral repertoire with the legendary Atlanta Symphony Orchestra Chorus. If this dynamic cultural institution is lost, it will be a blow to the musical life of our country and to music lovers everywhere.  More importantly, for Atlantans, it will be a tragic loss for our city.

In the life of any great city beats the heart of a vibrant culture. The ASO has been a cornerstone of Atlanta for decades.  Now we need no longer only imagine our city without the ASO. Concerts are currently canceled, and the brilliant and talented musicians who are the lifeblood of our orchestra are locked out. Many have dispersed to seek employment elsewhere.

As Atlantans, we must rise to the challenge of supporting and sustaining this treasure at the level of excellence we have known and are deservedly proud. The erosion of cultural life is a sure sign of the decay of civilization. But crisis can lead to opportunity, and ours is now.  We can be the "shining city on a hill."

--Kirshbaum Demler & Associates

Unforgettable Songstress Storm Large Brings Her Delectable New Album Le Bonheur to New York City, Thursday, October 23 - Saturday, October 25 at Joe's Pub
On Le Bonheur, classic songs get a twist of what The New York Times called the "personality plus" of irrepressible vocalist Storm Large, whose singular career has traversed the West Coast club scene, reality television, symphony engagements and international concert halls with beloved retro-chic band Pink Martini. Storm will perform from this one-of-a-kind album at Joe's Pub (425 Lafayette Street) in New York City on October 23 at 10:00pm, and October 24-25 at 9:30pm. Tickets are $27 in advance and $32 at the door. Purchase tickets on-line or call 212-967-7555 for the box office.

On this first release for Storm on Heinz Records, American songbook classics like Cole Porter's "I've Got You Under My Skin" and Richard Rodgers' "The Lady is a Tramp" shimmy up next to Black Sabbath's "N.I.B." and Lou Reed's "Satellite of Love," each reimagined in sparkling Technicolor arrangements. She shifts seamlessly between French and English during Jacques Brel's famous heartbreaker "Ne me quitte pas" and adds honeyed harmonies while digging into the emotional core of "Unchained Melody," then unleashes a brassy rendition of Cole Porter's "It's All Right With Me," in which Weimar meets fiddle funk. Two original tunes penned by Storm—"A Woman's Heart" and "Stand up for Me"—suspend her smoky tones in expansive gospel choruses.

--Amanda Sweet, BuckleSweet Media

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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.

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"Their Master's Voice" by Michael Sowa

"Their Master's Voice" by Michael Sowa