Classical Music News of the Week, July 16, 2016

American Bach Soloists Festival 2016

Schedule of Events
Friday, August 5, 8pm:
St. Mark's Lutheran Church 1111 O'Farrell at Franklin
Carmelite Vespers & Vivaldi's Gloria
Mary Wilson & Clara Rottsolk, sopranos ~ Judith Malafronte, alto
Kyle Stegall, tenor ~ William Sharp, baritone
American Bach Soloists & American Bach Choir
Jeffrey Thomas, conductor

Saturday, August 6, 8pm
St. Mark's Lutheran Church 1111 O'Farrell at Franklin
"Postcards from The Grand Tour"
Works by Albinoni, Bassano, Caldera, Castello,
Frescobaldi, Geminiani, Marini, & Vivaldi
American Bach Soloists

Sunday, August 7, 7pm
St. Mark's Lutheran Church 1111 O'Farrell at Franklin
and Sunday, August 14, 2pm
San Francisco Conservatory of Music:
Bach's Mass in B Minor
ABS Academy Festival Orchestra & American Bach Choir
Soloists from the ABS Academy, Jeffrey Thomas, conductor

Thursday, August 11, 8pm and Friday August 12, 8pm
San Francisco Conservatory of Music 50 Oak Street:
Handel's Parnasso in festa
American Premiere Performances
ABS Academy Festival Orchestra & American Bach Choir
Soloists from the ABS Academy, Jeffrey Thomas, conductor

Saturday, August 13, 8pm
San Francisco Conservatory of Music:
Virtuosi of Venice & Rome
Concertos by Vivaldi, Corelli, & Geminiani
American Bach Soloists & ABS Academy Festival Orchestra
Jeffrey Thomas, conductor

For more information, visit

--Jeff McMillan, American Bach Soloists

American Brass Quintet Returns to Aspen with Two World Premieres
Hailed by Newsweek as "the high priests of brass," the American Brass Quintet is internationally recognized as one of the premier chamber music ensembles of our time, celebrated for peerless leadership in the brass world. This summer, the Quintet returns as Ensemble-in-Residence of the Aspen Music Festival and School for their 46th consecutive year, and performs a recital at Harris Concert Hall on Wednesday, July 27 at 8:30PM. Their program spans several centuries and features two World Premieres written specifically for them: Kenneth Fuchs's Brass Quintet No. 2, "American" and Eric Nathan's Missing Words II.

"Missing Words II" (2016) is the second in an ongoing series of compositions written in homage to Ben Schott's book Schottenfreude (Blue Rider Press/Penguin Group), a collection of newly-created German words for contemporary life. Commissioned by the Aspen festival, "Missing Words II" playfully explores three new words: Leertretung (defined as "stepping down heavily on a stair that isn't there"), Kraftfahrzeugsinnenausstattungsneugeruchsgenuss ("New Car Smell") and Brillenbrillanz ("the sudden, innervating clarity afforded by new glasses").

According to Kenneth Fuchs, his ABQ-commissioned Brass Quintet No. 2, "American" is "cast in a single continuous movement of several variations on a theme." Fuchs was a student at The Juilliard School during the beginning of the American Brass Quintet's tenure as Ensemble-in-Residence, and is a faculty colleague of the Quintet's trumpetist Louis Hanzlik at the University of Connecticut. Clint Needham's Brass Quintet No. 1, "Circus," has made numerous appearances on the ABQ's concert programs, in addition to the ensemble's 2007 album Jewels. In Needham's words: "I drew inspiration for my brass quintet from not-so-fond memories of a circus I was forced to attend when I was younger."

The July 27th recital closes with a set of Venetian canzoni, during which the Quintet's students will join the ensemble onstage.

For more information, visit

--Katharine Boone, Kirshbaum Associates

This Week at the Green Music Center: Gabriel "Fluffy" Iglesias, Boz Scaggs, & The Robert Cray Band
Electrifying comedian Gabriel Iglesias aka  "Fluffy" brings his personal experiences to life  with unique mix of storytelling, parodies and  characters to create a high-octane show for all  ages. Iglesias's hit DVD's Hot & Fluffy and I'm Not Fat…I'm Fluffy have sold over 1 million  copies, and has helped make him one of today's  most in-demand comedians.

The Green Music Center
Sonoma State University
1801 East Cotati Avenue
Rohnert Park, CA 94928

For more information, visit

--Green Music Center

Merola Opera Artists in Grand Finale, Aug 20 at War Memorial Opera House, SF
The Merola Opera Program's Summer Festival concludes with its 2016 artists performing in the Merola Grand Finale Saturday, August 20 at 7:30 pm at the War Memorial Opera House in San Francisco. Conductor Rory Macdonald will lead the orchestra and 2016 Merola Apprentice Stage Director Aria Umezawa will stage the program, featuring works by Bizet, Bernstein, Donizetti, Offenbach, Mozart, J. Strauss, Puccini, Berlioz, Britten, Humperdinck, Flotow, Glück, and Rossini. The performance is a culmination of the 12-week Merola Opera training program, and all 23 of the 2016 Merola singers will perform, under the coaching and direction of their fellow artists. A special artists' reception follows the Grand Finale (tickets sold separately).

Tickets are $45 for Orchestra Premium and Grand Tier Premium, $35 for Orchestra and Grand Tier, and $25 for Dress Circle. Tickets can be purchased by calling the San Francisco Opera Box Office at (415) 864-3330 or by visiting

--Jean Shirk Media

YPC's First Summer Tour Show
Young People's Chorus of New York City Summer Tour 2016:

Harlem, New York:
Marcus Garvey Park Concert

Festival Napa Valley, California:
Mont La Salle Chapel Concert - July 21
Lincoln Theater Concert - July 23

Austin, Texas:
KUTX Radio Show - July 25
Austin Independent Schools District Workshop - July 25
Paramount Theatre Concert - July 26

Young People's Chorus of New York City
37 West 65th Street, 2nd Floor
New York, NY 10023
T: 212-289-7779

--Katharine Gibson, YPC

West Edge Opera adds a Fourth Performance of Powder Her Face
Due to overwhelming demand, West Edge Opera has added a fourth performance of Thomas Adés's Powder Her Face on Thursday, August 11 at 7:30 pm. The originally announced performances are Sunday, July 31 at 3 pm, Saturday, August 6 at 1 pm and Saturday, August 13 at 8 pm.

With a plot drawn from real life – the 1963 divorce proceedings of the "Dirty Duchess," Margaret Campbell, Duchess of Argyll, this modern masterpiece provokes and challenges. Laura Bohn sings the role of the Duchess and Emma McNairy returns after her stunning performance as last season's Lulu, to sing the Maid. Tenor Jonathan Blalock and baritone Hadleigh Adams round out the cast. Elkhanah Pulitzer, who stunned audiences with last summer's Lulu, is the stage director. A collaboration with the San Francisco contemporary music ensemble EarPlay, Powder Her Face will be conducted by Mary Chun.

The other productions in West Edge Opera's 2016 Festival are Leoš Janácek's The Cunning Little Vixen, conducted by Jonathan Khuner and directed by Patrick Diamond (Saturday, July 30 at 8 pm, Sunday, August 7 at 3 pm and Saturday, August 13 at 1 pm) and Handel's Agrippina, conducted by Jory Vinikour and directed by Mark Streshinsky (Saturday, August 6 at 8 pm.,  Friday, August 12 at 8 pm and Sunday, August 14 at 3 pm).

All Festival performances take place at Oakland, California's abandoned 16th Street Train Station.
For tickets, call (510) 841-1903 or go to

--Marian Kohlstedt, West Edge Opera

Warner Classics Announces Deal with Munich Philharmonic
On September 30th, 2016, the Munich Philharmonic and Music Director, Valery Gergiev, will release the first two albums on its own label: Mahler's Symphony No. 2 and Bruckner's Symphony No. 4 – heartland repertoire for the Orchestra and its conductor.

The releases come one year after the launch of the Munich Philharmonic's ground-breaking digital media production and distribution program. This media strategy has already produced films of numerous live performances in partnership with international broadcasters and online channels, significantly expanding global audiences for its concerts.

The Orchestra will release up to six new recordings per year, with a special focus on the rich German repertoire and composers with which it has been so closely associated since its foundation almost 125 years ago.

Global distribution of the MPHIL recordings will be managed by Warner Classics Label Services, across physical, download and streaming platforms.

--Gloria Rodriguez, Warner Classics

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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