Classical Music News of the Week, November 8, 2015

P.D.Q. Bach: The Golden Anniversary Concert at Town Hall, 12/28

At NYC's Town Hall on Monday, December 28, 2015 Professor Peter Schickele and friends celebrate the 50th anniversary of the first public P.D.Q. Bach concert - "P.D.Q. Bach: The Golden Anniversary Concert"

Prolific composer and consummate musician and entertainer Schickele returns to Town Hall for the first Christmas holiday week concert in ten years (after a forty-year unbroken run) with a full evening of iconic P.D.Q. Bach works with full orchestra.

Composer, musician, author, radio host, musicologist, and satirist Peter Schickele has been delighting audiences with his unique spin on classical music for the past 50 years. The Minneapolis Star Tribune has called him the "music world's chief laugh-meister," and the Daily Record proclaimed, "What Spike Jones did for big bands and what Weird Al Yankovic does for pop, Schickele does for classical music."

Inspired by the musical comedy of Spike Jones and a British humorist named Gerald Hoffnung, Peter Schickele (under the alias "Professor Schickele") began presenting satirical concerts in the 1950's at the Juilliard School of Music in New York City and the Aspen Music Festival in Colorado. This eventually led to the first public P.D.Q. Bach concert at New York's Town Hall in 1965. These concerts became an annual event at Carnegie Hall and Avery Fisher Hall in New York City continuing uninterrupted for 40 years.

On December 28, 2015, Professor Schickele returns to the site where it all began with a Golden Anniversary performance at Town Hall. The concert celebrates not only 50 years of exuberant and irreverent musical fun, but also Schickele's first holiday season concert in NYC in 10 years. The performance is being funded via a 30-days-long Kickstarter campaign, a first for Schickele and P.D.Q. Bach.

Tickets will go on sale to the general public on November 15. Ticket prices will be $75, $60 and $40 and will be available through the Town Hall box office and via Ticketmaster.

For more information, visit and

--Amanda Sweet, BuckleSweet Media

Adam Fischer Is New Principal Conductor of Düsseldorf Symphony Orchestra
Adam Fischer, a celebrated conductor who has appeared on stages worldwide -- from Bayreuth to Scala and the Met -- has been announced as the new principal conductor for Düsseldorf Symphony Orchestra. Fischer's most recent successes were concerts of Gustav Mahler's works with the Vienna Symphony Orchestra in Vienna, which earned him rave reviews, and his devotion for Mahler's music will be at the core of his artistic time in Düsseldorf, now until 2020. The inaugural concert on November 20th will feature Gustav Mahler's great Symphony No. 7 and Symphony No. 88 by Joseph Haydn.

The location of the inaugural concert in Düsseldorf is the home of Düsseldorf's Symphony Orchestra, the Tonhalle, right by the Rhine River and one of the city's premiere performance spaces. The round building used to be the world's largest planetarium when it was built in 1926. It was converted into a concert hall in 1970s, and offers superior sound and architectural experience.

In addition to the inaugural concert on Friday, November 20 (8:00 pm), the same program will be performed at concerts on Sunday, November 22 (11:00 am), and Monday, November 23 (8:00 pm).

Tickets start at Euro 15. To purchase tickets and for more information, please visit

--Rainer Perry, Dusseldorf Tourism

ABS Holiday Concerts: Handel's Messiah and Bach's Christmas Oratorio
American Bach Soloists present two holiday concert events.

Handel's Messiah
Hélène Brunet soprano - Agnes Vojtko alto
Kyle Stegall tenor - Jesse Blumberg baritone
American Bach Soloists ~ American Bach Choir
Jeffrey Thomas conductor

Wednesday December 16, 2015, 7:30 pm - Grace Cathedral, San Francisco, CA
Thursday December 17, 2015, 7:30 pm - Grace Cathedral, San Francisco, CA
Friday December 18, 2015, 7:30 pm - Grace Cathedral, San Francisco, CA

Bach's Christmas Oratorio
Hélène Brunet soprano - Agnes Vojtko alto
Kyle Stegall tenor - Jesse Blumberg baritone
American Bach Soloists ~ American Bach Choir
Jeffrey Thomas conductor
"unsurpassable as a Bach interpreter" SFCV

Saturday December 12, 2015, 7:30 pm - Saint Ignatius Church, San Francisco, CA

For more information, visit

--Jeff McMillan, American Bach Soloists

Orpheus Chamber Orchestra Premieres New Arrangement of Stravinsky's Divertimento for Violin and Orchestra
Orpheus Chamber Orchestra returns to the West Coast for concerts in Rohnert Park, Santa Barbara, and Davis, CA, that feature a new arrangement for violin and orchestra of the Divertimento from Stravinsky's ballet Le baiser de la fée (The Fairy's Kiss) by Dmitry Sitkovetsky to be performed with German-Italian violinist Augustin Hadelich in his Orpheus debut. The new arrangement by Mr. Sitkovetsky is an Orpheus commission and the piece will receive its world premiere in Weill Hall at Sonoma State University in Rohnert Park, CA.

All three California programs open with Handel's Concerto Grosso, Op. 6, No. 5, followed by Mr. Sitkovetsky's arrangement of Stravinsky's Divertimento from Le baiser de la fée and Tchaikovsky's Valse-Scherzo, Op. 34, which will both feature Mr. Hadelich as soloist. The Rohnert Park concert closes with Schubert's Symphony No. 5 in B-flat major, D. 485, and the Santa Barbara and Davis programs will end with Respighi's Gli Uccelli (The Birds).

The performances take place in Weill Hall at Sonoma State University on Sunday, November 29, at 3:00 p.m.; Santa Barbara's Granada Theatre on Monday, November 30, at 8:00 p.m.; and the Mondavi Center for the Performing Arts at UC Davis on Wednesday, December 2, at 8:00 p.m.

For more information and tickets visit

--Schumann Associate News

Young American aAtists Benjamin Beilman (violin) and Christina and Michelle Naughton (piano duo) Join Warner Classics Artist Roster
Warner Classics is delighted to announce the exclusive signing of the piano duo Christina and Michelle Naughton and of the talented and award-winning violinist Benjamin Beilman, whose "handsome technique, burnished sound and quiet confidence showed why he has come so far so fast" (The New York Times).

Though hailed the natural successors to the Labèque sisters, Christina and Michelle Naughton have a unique bond – onstage and off – imbuing their playing with an extraordinary synergy and intensity. The Philadelphia Inquirer characterizes their performances as "paired to perfection," while the San Francisco Examiner has praised their "stellar musicianship, technical mastery, and awe-inspiring artistry."

The Naughtons' debut Warner Classics recording, entitled Visions, is slated for release on February 26, 2016. The album's wide-ranging programme for piano four hands and two pianos brings together three very different composers - Bach, Messiaen and John Adams – united, say the sisters, by profound spiritual joy expressed in music and rhythm. Above all, the album reflects the Naughton sisters' sheer joy in making music together. "We always have been and still are the biggest source of support for each other in our musical lives," says Michelle.

Born in 1989, the American violinist Benjamin Beilman is one of his generation's most promising stars, having taken First Prize and the People's Choice Award at the International Music Competition of Montreal at the age of 20. He went on to receive an Avery Fischer Career Grant in 2012, and a prestigious Borletti-Buitoni Trust Fellowship in 2014, with the latter supporting his first album for Warner Classics. At 25, Beilman has already performed as soloist at Carnegie Hall, Wigmore Hall, the Auditorium du Louvre and other major venues around the world. "I grew up listening to many of the great violinists associated with Warner Classics like Itzhak Perlman and Maxim Vengerov, and am excited and honoured to now work with a company with such a rich history," said Beilman of the signing.

--Andrew Ousley, Unison Media

Monica Huggett and Bradley Brookshire Perform Works of J.S. Bach
Monica Huggett, violin
Bradley Brookshire, harpsichord
The Salon/Sanctuary Chamber Orchestra, with James Waldo, cello

Suite for solo cello in G Major, BWV 1007
Sonata in A major for Obbligato Harpsichord and Violin in A major, BWV 1015
Chromatic Fantasia and Fugue in D minor, BWV 903
D minor Concerto for Harpsichord, BWV 1052
Violin Concerto in A minor, BWV 1041

Wine and cheese reception to follow.

Date: Saturday, 11/28/15
Time: 8:00pm
Location: The Abigail Adams Smith Auditorium, 417 East 61st Street between First and York Avenues, NYC
Tickets: $25 seniors, students / $35 general / $50 / $100 front row series supporter (tax deductible)
To purchase tickets: Call 1 888 718 4253 or visit http://www.salonsanctuary

--Salon/Sanctuary Concerts

Patrick Dupre Quigley and Seraphic Fire Northeast Tour
Patrick Dupre Quigley, Artitist Director and The Sebastians Period Orchestra, two-time Grammy nominated choral-orchestral ensemble will play

Purcell: King Arthur, Act 3
Handel: Overture from The Occasional Oratorio, HWV62
Charpentier: Te Deum
Handel: Coronation Anthems

Tour Dates:
Washington, DC
St. Paul's Episcopal-K Street
November 10, 2015, 7:30pm

New York City
Trinity Wall Street
November 11, 2015, 7:30pm

Philadelphia, PA
St. Clement's Episcopal
November 12, 2015, 7:30pm

For more information, visit!performances/cnnz

--Schwalbe and Partners

Big Year for Biegel
2015 has been quite a year for pianist Jeffrey Biegel. One of the most sought-after and versatile pianists in the world, he maintains a concert schedule that brings him all over the world performing some of the most innovative and eclectic programming one could imagine. Biegel is a champion of the classical repertoire as well as a favorite among contemporary classical composers to debut their work. Not content with merely performing, and despite his full break-neck schedule, Mr. Biegel has managed to find time to record three new classical CDs in 2015 (and a fourth is in the can awaiting release).

In spite of a recent uptick in classical sales, the classical recording industry has been shrinking and contracting. This make it particularly exciting to see an artist who has managed to find a way to continually bring forth interesting material that the public might otherwise never be exposed to.

So, it's especially gratifying to hear that Biegel has three recordings on the ballot for potential Grammy nominations in the Classical genre in this year's 58th Grammy Awards. The actual nominations will be announced on December 15th and voting members have a deadline of November 4th to make their choices for all the categories.

And as we have come to expect from Mr. Biegel, the three discs are an extremely diverse bunch, ranging from Mozart, to the jazz-influenced compositions of Claude Bolling, to a new concerto written by Lucas Richman.

"Mozart: The Complete Sonatas for Piano," Volume 2 (featuring Biegel's own Mozartean embellishments added to the repeat sections for the sonatas. The impetus to doing this comes from several movements fully written out by Mozart whereas he applies variants and embellishments of his own in the repeated sections). The disc is released on the eOne label.

--Peter Danish,

Philharmonia Baroque Brightens Season with Handel's Ode for St. Cecilia's Day
In early December, Philharmonia Baroque Orchestra will light up the holiday season with festive performances of Handel's "Ode for St. Ceilia's Day" and Purcell's "Te Deum and Jubilate in D Suite from Distressed Innocence." Guest singers Sherezade Panthaki and Isaiah Bell join the Philharmonia Chorale for these "twin peaks" of English chorale music.

British-born music director Nicholas McGegan is excited to present these celebratory works that honor St. Cecilia - the patron saint of music. The pealing trumpets and chorale splendor make for a festive program ideal for the holidays.

Philharmonia Baroque Orchestra will perform Handel's "Ode for St. Cecilia's Day Tra amplessi innocenti" from "Cecilia, volgi un sguardo" and Purcell's "Te Deum and Jubilate in D Suite from Distressed Innocence" throughout the San Francisco Bay Area starting December 2 at First United Methodist Church in Palo Alto, CA, December 4 at Herbst Theatre in San Francisco followed by performances on December 5 and 6 at First Congregational Church in Berkeley, CA.

Tickets start at $25. For more information about this and other 2015-16 Philharmonia Baroque Orchestra concerts, visit For tickets, call 415-392-4400 or visit

--Philharmonia Baroque Orchestra

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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