Classical Music News of the Week, November 23, 2014

Sacred Music in a Sacred Space's Inspiring Advent Lessons and Carols Returns on November 30

The acclaimed music series from the Upper East Side's Church of St. Ignatius Loyola begins the Advent-Christmas season with a beloved tradition, reprising its immensely popular "Advent Lessons & Carols" on Sunday, November 30 at 3:00 pm (980 Park Avenue between 83rd and 84th Streets). The concert is open to the public by free will offering. No tickets are required.

Join the Choir of St. Ignatius Loyola for its inaugural musical event of the holiday season—a meditative "Advent Lessons and Carols" service that celebrates the complex role of the Blessed Mother through music and readings. Artistic Director K. Scott Warren has hand-selected inspiring motets to complement a series of Biblical readings and poems and favorite sing-a-long carols in this modern interpretation of the traditional service that peaked in popularity during the 1920s.

This is a service of prayer and song that invites us into the stillness of Advent, a foil to the bustling holiday pace throughout the city. The musical selections, which will be performed by the Church's superlative professional choir conducted by Warren, include Francis Poulenc's Salut, dame sainte from Quatre petites prières de Saint-François d'Assise; Angelus ad virginem by composer Paul Halley (former Music Director at New York's St. John the Divine); Franz Biebl's Ave Maria; Magnificat by Robert Parsons; and Morton Lauridsen's O Magnum Mysterium.

Poetic readings include an excerpt from Eternal Feminine by Pierre Teilhard de Chardin, a Jesuit priest who once lived in the Church of St. Ignatius Loyola parish house; and Denise Levertov's The Annunciation. The service will also include familiar Christmas carols for all to sing, prayers and seasonal biblical readings.

Designed to celebrate Mary's humility and courage from the moment of the Annunciation through the rest of her life, the service announces the beginning of the holiday season not with trumpets (there will be plenty of those later in the month!), but with a quiet space for reflection on the most sacred aspects of Christmas.

The "Advent Lessons and Carols" is the first event of a very musical December at the church. The Grammy-award-winning male chorus Chanticleer performs its beloved "A Chanticleer Christmas" concert on Friday, December 5 at 7:00 pm and Sunday, December 7 at 4:00 pm (tickets $35-$85, assigned seating) and the St. Ignatius Choir and Orchestra join forces with the Parish Community Choir and Children's Choirs for the Church's joyous Christmas celebration, "Heavenly Light," on Sunday, December 14 at 3:00 pm and Wednesday, December 17 at 7:00 pm (tickets $35-$85, assigned seating).

Ticket information:
Advent Lessons and Carols – November 30, 2014: Free will offering (no ticket necessary)
Chanticleer Tickets – December 5 & 7, 2014:  Tickets $35 - $85
Heavenly Light Annual Christmas Concert – December 14 & 17, 2014:  Tickets $35 - $85

Order online:
Phone:  212.288.2520

--Amanda Sweet, BuckleSweet Media

92nd Street Y December Concerts
Wednesday, December 3, 2014, 7:30 PM
The Return of the Violin: Screening and Discussion
with Joshua Bell, Sigmund Rolat and Budd Mishkin
92Y Buttenwieser Hall

Sunday, December 7, 3:00 PM
Alisa Weilerstein & Inon Barnatan
Musicians of the NY Philharmonic
92Y Kaufmann Concert Hall

Saturday, December 13, 8:00 PM
The Kalichstein-Laredo-Robinson Trio
92Y Kaufmann Concert Hall

Sunday, December 14, 11:00 AM
Leon Fleisher in Conversation
92Y Weill Art Gallery

Monday, December 15, 7:30 PM
Schoenberg Before Schoenberg

Wednesday, December 17, 8:15 PM
Can We Be Silent? Artists on Prejudice, Racism and Persecution
92Y Buttenwieser Hall

Tickets are available at or 212-415-5500.

--Ely Moskowitz, Kirshbaum Demler & Associates

Distinguished Concerts International New York Names Eph Ehly Recipient of DCINY's Educator Laureate Award
Distinguished Concerts International New York (DCINY) is pleased to announce that conductor Eph Ehly will be the recipient of the DCINY Educator Laureate Award. Celebrated as a conductor and educator worldwide, Ehly will receive the award on Sunday, November 30th, at the start of DCINY's performance of Messiah … Refreshed! at Avery Fisher Hall, Lincoln Center. Co-founded by Iris Derke (General Director) and Jonathan Griffith (Artistic Director and Principal Conductor), DCINY's 8th season will begin in January 2015.

Named "one of the most sought-after choral conductors/clinicians" by the American Choral Directors Journal, Eph Ehly is renowned as a conductor, author, and lecturer. Ehly has appeared in 48 states, as well as Canada, Brazil, Japan, Mexico, and several countries throughout Europe, and presented on more than 100 college and university campuses. DCINY's Maestro Jonathan Griffith--the recent winner of the 2014  American Prize in Conducting--comments: "Dr. Eph Ehly has been a major influence in my life, not only musically but also personally.  Much of who I am today as a conductor goes back to the early days of my doctoral studies at the Conservatory of Music at the University of Missouri-Kansas City, and specifically with my daily contact with Dr. Ehly. It is a sincere privilege to honor this wonderful and giving musician and human being."

After 27 years of service--and conducting over 80 All-State Choirs, and over 600 festival ensembles--Dr. Ehly retired from the Conservatory of Music, University of Missouri-Kansas City. He also served an Interim Professorship at the University of Oklahoma in 2006-07. More than 90 Doctorate and 100 Masters Degree students have graduated under his supervision. He imparts a lifetime of wisdom and expertise in his popular memoir, "Hogey's Journey," published by Heritage Press, and Hal Leonard Publishing Company released a series of video master classes which feature Dr. Ehly's philosophies in conducting and rehearsal techniques. He has received numerous important teaching awards and fellowships.

Distinguished Concerts International New York is driven by passion, innovative vision, a total belief in its artists, and unwavering commitment to bringing forth unforgettable audience experiences. Having presented numerous sold out concerts and world and US premieres, DCINY also created a mentorship program for young conductors and the DCINY Premiere Project which commissions new works.

For more information on upcoming concerts and events, visit

--Shira Gilbert PR

Mediaeval Baebes Kick Off the Holiday Season with a Free Performance at Rough Trade, New York City on November 30 at 2pm
The Baebes, whose angelic voices and an eclectic mix of ancient instruments wend their way through Christmases past, all the way back to that sacred night in Bethlehem, will perform selections from their newest album Of Kings and Angels followed by a post-performance signing.

Fans of Christmas tunes and early music aficionados alike will be enchanted by the Mediaeval Baebes' sophisticated takes on 17 carols including "Good King Wenceslas," "Ding Dong Merrily on High," "We Three Kings," "Away in a Manger," "God Rest Ye Merry, Gentlemen," "Silent Night," "The Holly and the Ivy," and many more. The vocal quintet known for their angelic voices, innovative arrangements and poetic beauty re-imagines classic carols as they may have been heard on a snowy Christmas in 13th century England or on the balmy Middle Eastern night of Jesus's birth. Earthly roots stretch up to the heavens, where it all began, offering a graceful antidote to the commercial frenzy of the modern holiday season.

Join the Baebes at Rough Trade NYC (64 North 9th Street, Brooklyn) on November 30 at 2pm for a free, non-ticketed in-store performance of selections from Of Kings and Angels and post-performance signing. For more information on store location or event, please call 718-388-4111.

--Amanda Sweet, BuckleSweet Media

American Bach Soloists Present Messiah in San Francisco's Grace Cathedral
Beloved holiday tradition and perennially sold-out event features outstanding soloists and period instruments.

Premium seating is already sold out ~ Reserve now for best seating options.

Handel: Messiah
Mary Wilson soprano ~ Eric Jurenas countertenor
Wesley Rogers tenor ~ Jesse Blumberg baritone
Jeffrey Thomas conductor

Tuesday December 16 2014 7:30 p.m. - Grace Cathedral, San Francisco
Thursday December 18 2014 7:30 p.m. - Grace Cathedral, San Francisco
Friday December 19 2014 7:30 p.m. - Grace Cathedral, San Francisco

For more information, visit

--Jeff McMillan, American Bach Soloists

The Chicago Community Trust Supports Institute for Therapy Through the Arts' Collaboration with Rehabilitation Institute of Chicago
The Music Institute of Chicago's Institute for Therapy through the Arts (ITA) has again received a $50,000 grant from The Chicago Community Trust to continue its long-successful clinical services in creative arts therapy for patients of the Rehabilitation Institute of Chicago (RIC).

For more than 15 years, ITA's licensed and board-certified therapists have provided individual and group creative arts therapy at no cost to RIC patients. Services include inpatient individual and group music therapy, a weekly creative arts therapy group for adults with aphasia, weekly drama therapy groups, and in-service trainings on the benefits of creative arts therapy for RIC staff.

"RIC patients continue to need alternative forms of therapy to successfully recover from an injury or illness," said ITA Executive Director Jennifer Rook. "These patients, staff, and those in the aphasia program have reported creative arts therapy, including drama and music therapies, has had a notable impact on rehabilitation and emotional well-being. Referrals for music therapy in the hospital have dramatically increased throughout the years as more research demonstrates the impact of music on the brain."

Institute for Therapy Through the Arts:
Founded in 1975, the Institute for Therapy through the Arts (ITA) empowers and energizes individuals, families, and communities to grow and heal by engaging in creative arts therapies and is one of the few comprehensive community-based arts therapy programs in the United States to offer all four creative arts treatment modalities: Music Therapy, Drama Therapy, Art Therapy, and Dance/Movement Therapy. ITA has received national recognition and distinguished itself in the use of integrated arts approaches to help children, adults, and families to improve functioning related to psychological, developmental, physical, or cognitive factors.

For more information, visit

--Jill Chukerman, JAC Communications

PARMA Recordings Student Composer Competition
As a part of PARMA's continuing efforts to bring new music to the listening community and to support new performers and composers, every year PARMA's Student Composer Competition holds a call for scores for current students in composition under the age of 30. The top 10 winners from the Competition are included in the "PARMA Anthology of Music" and the Grand Prize Winner is rewarded with an additional prize.

This year, there will be 3 Grand Prize Winners, and they will all receive a reading and archival recording of an orchestral work as part of our PrimaVista program.

With no entry fee and all costs subsidized, the PARMA Student Composer Competition is a great opportunity for student composers from around the world, and we encourage you to submit your music.

2014 Grand Prize Winner Michael Mikulka had his piece To Throw premiered by the Redline Brass Quintet at the 2014 PARMA Music Festival. 2013 Grand Prize Winner Tina Tallon had her piece selective defrosting premiered by the Portsmouth Symphony Orchestra String Quartet at the 2013 PARMA Music Festival. And 2012 Grand Prize Winner Quinn Dizon's small ensemble piece Awakening was recorded by Clayton Hoener, Peter Sulski, Ron Lowry, and Hannah Shields in August 2012 and is featured on Perceptions (Navona Records).

Student Composer Competition Timeline:
December 1, 2014 to January 31, 2015 – Submission period
February/March 2015 – Judging period
April 2015 – Winners announced
Summer 2015 – Reading sessions

Entrants must be 30 years old or younger and currently studying composition either at an institution or through private instruction. There is no entry fee to submit.

Submission Guidelines:
Submitted works should be no greater than ten (10) minutes in duration and orchestrated within a standard orchestral configuration of 2, 2, 2, 2 – 4, 3, 3, 1 – percussion – strings, with optional piano and harp. All costs will be fully subsidized by PARMA.

Ten (10) winners will be selected to have their works published in the 2015 PARMA Anthology of Music, and three (3) Grand Prize Winners will receive readings and archival recordings of their scores by a full symphony orchestra via PARMA's PrimaVista program.

For more information, visit

--Bob Lord, PARMA Recordings

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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