Classical Music News of the Week, July 24, 2016

ABS Presents Handel's Parnasso in festa - First Ever Outside Europe

To celebrate the marriage of Princess Anne to Prince William of Orange, Handel composed a new 3-act serenata, Parnasso in festa, and utilized his greatest singers for the work, including the celebrated castrati Giovanni Carestini and Carlo Scalzi, and two of his most illustrious sopranos, Margherita Durastanti and Anna Strada del Pò.

The glorious music of Parnasso in festa was such a popular success at the 1734 Royal Wedding that it was profitably revived during several subsequent opera seasons at London's Covent Garden.

Presented only occasionally in England and Germany since Handel's day, this work of stunning melodies and irresistible charm will receive its long overdue American premiere during the 2016 American Bach Soloists Festival & Academy under the direction of Artistic & Music Director Jeffrey Thomas. Be there for this exciting premiere event! Tickets start at only $30.

Thursday & Friday, August 11 & 12, 2016 at 8:00 pm
San Francisco Conservatory of Music

ABS Academy Festival Orchestra
American Bach Choir
Soloists from the ABS Academy
Jeffrey Thomas, conductor

For tickets and further information, visit

--Jeff McMillan, American Bach Soloists

Subscribe to Win - Exclusive Wine Country Prize Pack
Green Music Center at Sonoma State University, Rohnert Park, CA 2016-17 Season Subscriber Sweepstakes:

Subscribe to a package of five or more performances in the 2016-17 MasterCard Performance Series
by August 2, 2016 and be entered to win one of eight fabulous Wine Country Prize Packs.

Each Winner receives:
Voucher for a dinner for two (2) at Prelude Restaurant
One night stay at the Gables Wine Country Inn
Complimentary wine tasting at Sonoma-Cutrer Vineyards
Exclusive Green Music Center merchandise

For more information, call  1.866.955.6040 or visit

--Green Music Center

"Postcards from The Grand Tour" - Opening Weekend Concert at ABS Festival
The 2016 American Bach Soloists Festival & Academy will feature music from Baroque Italy. The flourishing cities of Florence, Venice, and Rome—the primary destinations of the Grand Tour excursions taken by British nobility and wealthy landed gentry, and the meeting places for the most celebrated composers and performers of the era—offered some of the most glorious art, architecture, and music to be found anywhere during the Baroque era.

The second night of the Festival features a collection of captivating works by Italian composers including Albinoni, Caldara, Frescobaldi, Vivaldi, and others. Each piece, a souvenir from a stop along The Grand Tour of sun-drenched Baroque Italy, will be performed by the ABS Academy Faculty, an outstanding group of artists who are all world-wide leaders of the Early Music movement.

Saturday August 6 2016 at 8:00 pm
St. Mark's Lutheran Church, San Francisco

For more information, visit

--Jeff McMillan, ABS

Study of New World Symphony WALLCAST Concerts Reveals Younger, Ethnically Diverse Audience
The WALLCAST Concert Experience, a yearlong independent study about the New World Symphony's WALLCAST concerts, is now available to the public. The study reveals that audiences for the format are far more diverse than audiences for traditional classical music concerts. This diversity is reflected across multiple indicators—primarily the age, ethnicity, and socioeconomic backgrounds of attendees.

WALLCAST concerts are free outdoor simulcasts of live concerts performed on stage inside the New World Center. Live video from the hall is projected onto the Center's 7,000-square-foot eastern façade and viewed from adjacent SoundScape Park, which was designed as an extension of the Center. Audio from the performance is transmitted through the Park's virtual-acoustic sound system by Meyer Sound of Berkeley, California. Noting that other orchestras and presenting organizations across the country are experimenting with similar formats, the study suggests that they may be interested in breaking down barriers related to "cost and negative perceptions of classical music as intimidating and inaccessible."

The study was commissioned by the Miami-based New World Symphony (NWS), America's Orchestral Academy, to assess the impact and role of its WALLCAST concerts in the community.  Funded in part by The Miami Foundation and led by consulting firm WolfBrown, the study investigates the WALLCAST format's effectiveness in attracting and engaging new audiences for classical music, reflecting not just NWS's commitment to audience development, but its mission to educate the next generation of musicians in these new approaches.

The findings of the report confirm the positive impact of the WALLCAST format in furthering NWS's broader effort to bring in new listeners, while also shedding light on the effectiveness of the simulcast format. "Digital programming has an important role to play in building demand, and WALLCAST raises the bar for digital concert experiences," says Alan Brown, who led the study. "For too many years, arts organizations have looked down upon digital programming because it's not live. The WALLCAST experience—which is live, but digital—is both impactful and deeply valued by audiences."

For more information, visit

--Schumann Associates News

Orion Opens Season in September with Wintle Commission, Mozart, Zemlinsky
To open its 24th season, The Orion Ensemble, winner of the prestigious Chamber Music America/ASCAP Award for Adventurous Programming, presents "Collage of Colors," welcoming guest violist Stephen Boe. Performances take place at First Baptist Church of Geneva September 18; the Music Institute of Chicago's Nichols Concert Hall in Evanston September 25; and the PianoForte Studios in downtown Chicago September 28.

The program:
James Wintle's Pontoon-Bridge Miracle for clarinet, violin and piano, commissioned by Orion in 1996, is a highly programmatic and expertly crafted piece based on a poem about Chicago by American poet Nicholas Vachel Lindsay (1879-1931).

Mozart's Duo in B-flat Major for violin and viola, K. 424 was an act of friendship.

The Quartet in E-flat Major for violin, viola, cello and piano, K. 493 features some of Mozart's finest and most elegant writing for piano and strings.

Alexander von Zemlinsky's Trio in D Minor for clarinet, cello and piano, Op. 3 so impressed Brahms that he immediately brought it to the attention of his publisher.

Orion's 2016-17 season:
Orion's 2016-17 season, Miniatures and Masterworks, continues with "Serenade by Three: Orion Beginnings" in November, spotlighting Orion's original three members with works by Yadzinski, Granados, Khatchaturian, John Williams and Glick; "Connections" in March, welcoming back Stephen Boe for a program of Kritz, Mahler and Rebecca Clarke; and "Wit and Passion" in May, also featuring Boe for works by Jean Francaix and Brahms. Also during the season, Orion hosts a fall benefit November 19 at 12 noon at Dunham Woods Riding Club in Wayne, Illinois and appears on the broadcast series "Live from WFMT" October 3, 2016 and March 20, 2017 at 8 p.m.

 For tickets or more information, call 630-628-9591 or 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