Classical Music News of the Week, November 30, 2014

Sacred Music in a Sacred Space Exudes Christmas Warmth and Joy in "Heavenly Light," a Musical Celebration on December 14 & 17

St. Ignatius Loyola's annual Christmas concert, "Heavenly Light," features the exceptional Choir and Orchestra of St. Ignatius Loyola and the church's Parish Community Choir and Children's Choirs. Performances will take place at the Church of St. Ignatius Loyola (980 Park Avenue between 83rd and 84th Streets) on Sunday, December 14 at 3:00pm and Wednesday, December 17 at 7:00pm. Tickets are $35-$85 and can be purchased 24/7 at or 212.288.2520.

Under the banner of the Church's celebrated series Sacred Music in a Sacred Space, director K. Scott Warren will lead the acclaimed professional Choir and Orchestra of St. Ignatius Loyola, plus the parish's community ensembles, in a holiday offering that The New York Times calls "part of the essence of Christmas in New York."

Centering on excerpts from J.S. Bach's Christmas Oratorio, our ever-popular Christmas concerts will offers audiences the inspiring warmth and joy of the season. "Heavenly Light" includes well-known, traditional hymns and carols giving the audience a chance to raise their voices in song to celebrate the hope, love, joy and peace of the season.

The concert is the exuberant crescendo to a musically-rich December at the Church that begins with a reflective "Advent Lessons & Carols" service on Sunday, November 30 at 3pm (FREE) and includes "A Chanticleer Christmas," featuring the Grammy-award-winning male chorus singing Christmas selections dating from the Middle Ages through the 21st century, on Friday, December 5 at 7pm, and Sunday, December 7 at 4pm ($35-$85).

Ticket information:
Advent Lessons & Carols – November 30, 2014: Free will offering (no ticket necessary)
A Chanticleer Christmas – 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

Celebrate the Holidays with Music at the Green Music Center, Sonoma State University
Mary Stallings
Sundays at Schroeder
Sun, Dec 14 at 3pm
Schroeder Hall
From gigs with Ella Fitzgerald to tours with Dizzy Gillespie, jazz vocalist Mary
Stallings has done it all--now, experience this local legend up close and personal as she performs a soulful afternoon of ballads and blues.

New Century Chamber Orchestra
Holiday Concert
MasterCard Performance Series
Fri, Dec 12 at 7:30pm
Weill Hall
This 19-member string ensemble is joined by renowned violinist Nadja Salerno-Sonnenberg and the San Francisco Girls Chorus in a seasonal program featuring the "Winter" sections of Vivaldi's Four Seasons and Corelli's Christmas Concerto.

Na Leo
Holiday Concert
MasterCard Performance Series
Sat, Dec 13 at 7:30pm
Weill Hall
Na Leo is one of the most popular —and most award-winning--female Hawaiian groups in the world. For their Weill Hall debut, the trio presents an island-inspired evening of contemporary hits and holiday classics.

Handel's Messiah, American Bach Soloists
Holiday Concert
MasterCard Performance Series
Sun, Dec 21 at 3pm
Weill Hall
Celebrate the holidays with one of classical music's most beloved traditions. Under the leadership of Music Director Jeffrey Thomas, this breathtaking ensemble brings to life the most brilliant music of the Baroque era.

Dave Koz & Friends
Christmas Tour 2014
MasterCard Performance Series
Mon, Dec 22 at 7:30pm
Weill Hall
Get into the holiday spirit with this uplifting, high-energy show that the whole family will enjoy! With lively arrangements of seasonal favorites and featuring guest artists Jonathan Butler, Christopher Cross and Maysa.

For more information, visit

--Green Music Center

Young People's Chorus of New York City Getting Ready for the Holidays
Saturday, December 6, at 3:30 at 7 p.m. at 92nd Street Y at Lexington Avenue, all divisions of the Young People's Chorus of New York City are excitedly preparing for two performances of one of the most highly anticipated concerts of the season, their annual winter concert at the 92nd Street Y.

Themed "Holidays in Our Home," the concerts, featuring YPC's award-winning choristers in a program of favorite holiday music from the past and present, will be complemented by videos and reminiscences of family stories of their holiday traditions.

The 3:30 matinee performance will open with special guests-the Young People's Chorus of New York City at Washington Heights (YPCWH) -the amazing choristers from YPC's first after-school community program in Washington Heights.

3:30 p.m. - tickets from $20
7:00 p.m. - tickets from $25
Tickets are available at the box office, by phone at 212-415-5500, or online at

Then, Saturday, December 13, at 3:30 p.m. - Fort  George Presbyterian Church, 1525 St. Nicholas Avenue between 186th and 187th Streets:

The Young People's Chorus of New York City at Washington Heights (YPCWH) comes to the Fort George Presbyterian Church on December 13 to sing a free holiday concert for the Washington Heights-Inwood community.  Led by YPC Conducting Fellow Maria Peña, the chorus of nearly 100 voices is looking forward to performing a festive program of holiday fare for music lovers of all ages.

Admission is free. Bring your family and friends. All are welcome.

And Thursday, December 18, 7:00- p.m. - YPC Returns to St. Patrick's Cathedral, Fifth Avenue and 51st Street:

St. Patrick's Cathedral once again welcomes the Young People's Chorus of New York City conducted by Artistic Director Francisco J. Núñez to sing in its annual "A City Singing at Christmas" celebration of traditional and contemporary Christmas hymns and carols. Also performing are the St. Patrick's Cathedral Choir conducted by Dr. Jennifer Pascual, the cathedral's director of music; the New York City Master Chorale led by Artistic Director Thea Kano, as well as the New York Symphonic Brass and Daniel Brondel on The Cathedral Organ.

Admission is free. Come early for best seats.

For more information, visit

--Katharine Gibson, Young People's Chorus of NYC

Holiday Events at Scottsdale Center for the Performing Arts
Celebrate the Season With Angel Romero and the Aeolus Quartet,
Angel Romero Featuring the Aeolus Quartet
Friday, December 12, 2014, 8 p.m.
Tickets Start at $29

Sister's Christmas Catechism: The Mystery of the Magi's Gold
December 16–21, 2014
Tickets $39

Friday, December 19, 2014, 8 p.m.
Tickets Start at $29

How to reach us:
Scottsdale Center for the Performing Arts
7380 E. Second St.
Scottsdale, AZ 85251
Patron Services Box Office: 480-499-TKTS (8587)
TDD: 480-874-4694

--Bill Thompson, SCCARTS

Music Institute Welcomes Holiday Season
The Music Institute of Chicago presents a series of concerts to welcome the holiday season, as well as a master class as part of the Citizen Musician program. All programs take place at Nichols Concert Hall, 1490 Chicago Avenue, Evanston, Illinois, except where noted.

Community Music School Recitals and Concerts—FREE
The Music Institute offers individual and group instruction for musicians of all ages and abilities at six Chicago area campuses, as well as several opportunities to participate in an ensemble or musical group.

December  7          2 p.m.: Keyboard Department Recital
December 10    7:30 p.m.: Community Symphony Concert
December 13         2 p.m.: Adult Student Recital
December 14    6:30 p.m.: Strings Department Recital
December 18    7:30 p.m.: New Horizons Band Concert

December 6  -  9 a.m.: Open house and Instrument Petting Zoo
                       10 a.m.: "Compose Yourself!" concert
This morning of music for families, which is sponsored by First Bank & Trust, begins with an open house and Instrument Petting Zoo, inviting kids to enjoy playing a variety of instruments. Next, Chicago composer James Stephenson introduces kids to the instruments of the symphony orchestra and then leads the audience through the creation of a new work.

Bring new, unwrapped toys and non-perishable food items for Evanston Holiday Food & Toy Drive

December 6 - 7:30 p.m.: Academy Chamber Music
Academy Concert—FREE
The Music Institute's Academy is an opportunity for gifted pre-college musicians to receive training and education as they consider professional careers.

December 7 -  3 and 6 p.m.: Holiday Concert at Divine Word Chapel
Music Institute of Chicago Chorale with Northbrook Symphony
The Music Institute Chorale is an adult community chorus that performs a wide range of repertoire. For this concert they join the Northbrook Symphony for its holiday concert.

December 13 -  5–6:20 p.m.: Master class
                          6:20–7 p.m.:  Performance, followed by reception
Music Institute's Winnetka Campus, Thoresen Performance Center, 300 Green Bay Rd.
Master Class with Citizen Musician Fellows—FREE
The Music Institute has partnered with Citizen Musician Fellows, an intensive training program guided by Yo-Yo Ma to develop 21st century musicians who are collaborative, innovative and adaptive. At this master class, selected Music Institute chamber groups work with the Fellows, then offer a short performance and reception.
December 14 - 1–5 p.m.: Suzuki Sunday
                         3:15 p.m.: Solo Recital
Music Institute's Winnetka Campus, Thoresen Performance Center, 300 Green Bay Rd.
Suzuki Program Concert—FREE
The Music Institute offers one of the largest and most comprehensive Suzuki programs in the Midwest.

December 17 - 12:15 p.m.: Jazz with Julia Miller, guitar; Victor Garcia, trumpet; Ernie Adams, drums.
Music Institute's Evanston East campus,
Sherman Theater, 1702 Sherman Avenue        

Faculty Lunchtime Concert Series - FREE
Each month members of the Music Institute faculty perform a free lunchtime concert.

For more information, visit

--Jill Chukerman, JAC Communications

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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 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 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