Classical Music News of the Week, January 11, 2015

Misatango, a Tango Mass from Argentina, Jan 18 at Carnegie Hall

Distinguished Concerts International New York proudly presents Misatango, a tango Mass from Argentina, Sunday, January 18 at 2:00 pm in Stern Auditorium, Carnegie Hall, NYC.

Distinguished Concerts International New York presents Misatango, an afternoon combining the thrilling rhythm and melodic design of tango, with the ancient beauty of the Latin choral mass. Martin Palmeri's Misa a Buenos Aires (Tango Mass from Argentina), a work that was premiered by the Orquesta Sinfonica nacional de Cuba, will be conducted by Pablo Christian Di Mario, who leads a chorus of singers from France, Brazil, Germany, Switzerland, Denmark and Argentina, as well as mezzo-soprano soloist, Krysty Swann. Sharing the program on Sunday, January 18 at 2:00pm at Carnegie Hall, is the vibrant wind ensemble Flutopia and the Tierra Adentro de Nuevo Mexico Dance Ensemble.

Since its premiere in 1996, Misatango has been performed in Argentina, Brazil, Colombia, Ecuador, Chile, the United States, Israel and in many European countries. Says composer Martin Palmeri: "From two important musical experiences in my personal musical history – arranging tango music and directing choirs – the idea emerged to write a work that integrated these two experiences, while maintaining the essence of the tango genre." Of his decision to use the Latin text, Palmieri says, "the Latin language gives the work a reserved, esoteric quality which, from my point of view, has much to do with tango." Directing the performance is Pablo Christian Di Mario.

Making a special appearance to further enliven the concert's Latin flavor is the Tierra Adentro De Nuevo Mexico Dance Ensemble, directed by Veronica Torres. This youthful troupe hails from Tierra Adentro: The New Mexico School for Academics, Art and Artesanía. This unique program was founded in 2010 by Joaquin Encinias, one of the most highly sought-after flamenco artists and instructors in the nation.

An additional special guest is Flutopia, an ensemble comprised of high school wind players in and around Washington, DC and Northern, VA. The group is led by is well-known flutist and pedagogue Jennifer Lapple, who has appeared as a soloist with the Pan American Symphony Orchestra in Washington D.C., the Fairfax  Symphony Orchestra, as well as performing in Italy with the Rome Festival Orchestra, and in Luxembourg with the Echternach Festival Orchestra and the École de Musique de Differdange Flute Choir.

Composer, pianist, choirmaster and orchestra conductor Martín Palmeri studied composition with Daniel Montes, Marcelo Chevalier, Rodolfo Mederos, Virtú Maragno and Edgar Grana (New York), choral direction with Antonio Russo and Néstor Zadoff, and orchestral conducting with Mario Benzecry. His numerous works include Tango del Bicentenario (Bicentenary Tango), first performed by the Qatar Symphony Orchestra; Canto de la lejanía (Song of Distance), premiered in 2010 by the Buenos Aires choral society; Oratorio de Navidad (Christmas Oratorio); Mateo, an opera which opened in the Teatro Roma in Buenos Aires and recorded by the State Radio of Bratislava, Slovakia; and Fantasía tanguera (Tango fantasy), premiered in Saint Petersburg, Russia in 2000; among many others. He has been invited to direct and perform as pianist in performances of his Misatango all over the world.

Pablo Christian Di Mario graduated from the Carlos Lopez Buchardo National Conservatory Master degree in Piano and Orchestral-Choral Conducting, obtaining his Doctor of Musical Arts degree in Conducting at Metz University, France, in 2003. The winner of several conducting awards, Di Mario works as Professor of Choral Conducting in Universidad del Valle (Colombia) and IUNA University (Bs.As); is Musical Director of SR Lyric Company in Cali, Colombia and Lugano, Switzerland; and General Director of Sociedad Coral Alemana Villa Ballester, Coro Nagmén, Coro and orchestra Juan José Castro, and So what?, a jazz vocal ensemble.

Tickets: $20 - $100. Available at, by calling 212-247-7800, or at the Carnegie Hall Box Office (57th Street & 7th Avenue).

--Shira Gilbert PR

Acclaimed Young Pianist Conrad Tao Performs Solo Recital
Virginia G. Piper Concert Series presents Conrad Tao in recital.
Sunday, January 25, 2015, 7:30 p.m.
Scottsdale Center for the Performing Arts
Scottsdale, Arizona

The program will include Mussorgsky's celebrated 10-movement suite Pictures at an Exhibition, as well as works by Bach, Rachmaninoff, and the American composers Elliott Carter, David Lang and Julia Wolfe.

Only 20 years old, Conrad Tao has appeared worldwide as a pianist and composer, performing with symphonies and in solo recitals. He has been dubbed a musician of "probing intellect and open-hearted vision" by The New York Times, a "thoughtful and mature composer" by NPR and "ferociously talented" by Time Out New York.

Tao has been widely recognized for his musical accomplishments and was the only classical musician on Forbes' 2011 "30 Under 30" list of people changing the world. Among his many honors, he has been named a Presidential Scholar in the Arts and received the Gilmore Young Artist Award and an Avery Fisher Career Grant.

Born in Urbana, Ill., in 1994, Tao currently attends the Columbia University/Juilliard School joint degree program, studying piano and composition.

Tickets start at $29 and are available through or 480-499-TKTS (8587).

--Bill Thompson, SCCARTS

Melissa Errico and Kathleen Chalfant star in More Between Heaven and Earth
More Between Heaven and Earth, Salon/Sanctuary's original site-specific music theater piece based on the letters of Thomas Jefferson and Maria Cosway, returns to Fraunces Tavern on January 18th. Fraunces Tavern, built in 1719, sets the stage for the production, which features music prepared from the original 18th century manuscripts.

Melissa Errico reprises her role as the trailblazing 18th century Italian singer, composer, and painter Maria Cosway. Obie award-winning actress Kathleen Chalfant returns to the role of Narrator, which she orginated in the premiere production, and Jonathan Cake of the Royal Shakespeare Company assumes the role of Thomas Jefferson.

Sparks flew between the widowed Jefferson and the married Maria when they met in Paris in 1786. Their passionate correspondence of almost 40 years included music Maria and Jefferson heard together in France, as well as works that Maria herself composed for him.

Sunday, January 18th 4:00pm
The Bissel Room of Fraunces Tavern
54 Pearl Street
New York, NY 10004

For tickets:
1 888 718-4253
$25 seniors/students/EMA/FIAF
$35 general admission
$50 prime
$100 series supporter tax-deductible

--Salon/Sanctuary Concerts

Jennifer Koh Concludes Bach & Beyond Series
Jennifer Koh finishes her multi-year exploration of the great Bach Sonatas and Partitas for Solo Violin on Saturday, January 31, 8:00 PM at 92Y, New York City. Her series has created a relationship with brand new contemporary music that responds to Bach's legacy.

In this final installment Bach's rich contrapuntal sonatas are paired with Berio's dramatic Sequenza VIII and the world premiere of For Violin Alone by the American composer John Harbison (The Great Gatsby). As Ms. Koh explains, "This final concert explores the idea of development by highlighting of the fugal form in both Bach's works and in our contemporaries."

For more information, visit

--Ely Moskowitz, Kirshbaum Demler & Associates

American Opera Projects Presents the World Premiere of The Scarlet Ibis
Inspired by the 1960 short story by James Hurst, The Scarlet Ibis is a family opera about brotherhood, illness, and the power of the imagination to soar above physical limitations. This world premiere by composer Stefan Weisman (Darkling) and librettist David Cote (Three Way) fuses singers, puppetry, and multimedia stagecraft to tell the story of a remarkable disabled boy whose older brother pushes him to be "normal." Set in rural North Carolina a century ago, The Scarlet Ibis contrasts notions of physical wholeness versus mystical otherness. Episodic and expressionistic, the narrative draws on elements of Southern Gothic, boy's adventure, and domestic tragedy.

OBIE Award-winning director Mallory Catlett stages the premiere, Tom Lee devises the puppetry, and Steven Osgood conducts the American Modern Ensemble in a nine-member configuration. Performances by Eric S. Brenner, Hai-Ting Chinn, Abigail Fischer, Nicole Mitchell, and Keith Phares. For audiences 12 and up. 100 Minutes.

January 9-10, 13, 14, 16 & 17 at 7:00 PM
January 11 at 2:00 PM
$25 - $75

145 Sixth Avenue (enter on Dominick St. one block south of Spring)
New York, NY

For more information, visit

--Matthew Gray, American Opera Projects

Gloria Cheng in Concert
On February 10, pianist Gloria Cheng releases her much-anticipated album "Montage" featuring works by six major film composers: John Williams (Star Wars), Bruce Broughton (Silverado), Don Davis (The Matrix), Michael Giacchino (Ratatouille), Randy Newman (Toy Story), and Alexandre Desplat (Philomena).

There is a misconception in the classical-music world that composers who spend most of their time writing film music long ago sacrificed whatever individual voices they may once have had. This album conveniently and unequivocally demonstrates otherwise.

Yes, the six contemporary composers represented in "Montage" are among today's most sought-after creators of movie music. (Collectively, they have amassed 72 Oscar nominations and eight wins.) They have, again and again, demonstrated their skill at creating mood and propelling action for a mass audience.

Part of Gloria Cheng's "Montage" project is a documentary film including interviews with the composers, along with footage from the concert premiere and composer-led recording sessions. The film will premiere in various venues beginning February 2015, to coincide with the CD release on harmonia mundi. Watch "Montage" presentation here:

Concert tour:
January 31 - Santa Monica, CA
February 20 - Pasadena, CA
March 14 - Santa Monica, CA
April 25 - Santa Monica, CA
June 11-14 - Ojai, CA
June 19-21 - Berkeley, CA

For further information, visit

--Sarah Folger, Harmonia Mundi

Close Encounters With Music Series Returns for Two Concerts
Scottsdale Center for the Performing Arts welcomes back the "Close Encounters With Music" chamber series for two special concerts in the Virginia G. Piper Theater: Dvorak Serenade on Jan. 28 and Sergei Rachmaninoff: "Russian Orientalia" on Feb. 18.

Tickets start at $19 and are available through or 480-499-TKTS (8587).

"Close Encounters With Music" is an enriching concert experience that brings together sublime chamber music, distinguished performers and insightful commentary. Internationally renowned cellist and "Close Encounters With Music" Artistic Director Yehuda Hanani introduces each program from the stage, putting the composers and their times in perspective, before joining his musical guests in a virtuoso performance.

Showcasing the lyrical and melodious music of the famous Czech composer Antonin Dvorak, Dvorak Serenade features Hanani with violinist Itamar Zorman, winner of the 2011 Tchaikovsky International Violin Competition and recipient of the 2013 Avery Fisher Career Grant, and pianist Roman Rabinovich, winner of the 2008 Arthur Rubinstein International Piano Master Competition. Their program includes one of Dvorak's greatest and most dazzling chamber pieces – the "Dumky" Trio – along with other instrumental works.

Adding a vocal dimension to Dvorak Serenade, acclaimed baritone Mischa Bouvier sings Dvorak's rarely heard Biblical Songs, Gypsy Songs and "Song to the Moon" from his fairy-tale opera Rusalka – among the most beloved of vocal works.

For the second "Close Encounters With Music" concert, "Sergei Rachmaninoff: Russian Orientalia," virtuoso Russian pianist Vassily Primakov joins Hanani in an exploration of the many facets of Rachmaninoff, who was celebrated as a keyboard innovator, powerful genius and the last truly great figure in the Russian Romantic tradition. Their program includes the pianistic tour de force Variations on a Theme of Corelli, the grand Sonata for Piano and Cello, and other works that offer the signature melancholy, mysticism, torrential Romanticism and astounding Rachmaninoff technique.

For more information, visit

--Bill Thompson, SCCARTS

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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 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 simpleminded, 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 Arcam CDS50 CSD/SACD CD player, 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