Classical Music News of the Week, September 10, 2016

Cal Performances Announces Yo-Yo Ma, Edgar Meyer, Chris Thile Performing the Music of J.S. Bach

Cal Performances announces today that the trio of cellist Yo-Yo Ma, bassist Edgar Meyer, and mandolin player Chris Thile will perform music by Johann Sebastian Bach set against a breathtaking dusk view of the Bay, at the second annual Gala at the Greek, Sunday, April 30, 2017, at 6pm in the Hearst Greek Theatre on the UC Berkeley campus, Berkeley, CA.

The trio of Ma, Meyer, and Thile--who alongside Stuart Duncan made their first appearance at Cal Performances in 2013 as part of the eclectic Grammy-winning Goat Rodeo Sessions, which blended bluegrass, jazz, and classical music--returns to the Greek Theatre as a new ensemble, re-imagining Bach's chamber works for its inventive instrumental configuration. The concert at the historic Greek Theatre is followed by a gala dinner to benefit Cal Performances' education and community programs.

Ma, Meyer, and Thile have each spent a lifetime with Bach's solo works—in Thile's case, recording and performing the solo violin partitas on mandolin, and in Meyer's case, showcasing the double bass in the unaccompanied suites for cello. Meyer's recordings have set a new standard for double bass solo performance on this repertoire. And the New Yorker praised Thile's solo Bach recording: "His timing is meticulous--no one can play top-flight bluegrass whose timing is uncertain--but his version also has the liveliness that improvising musicians sometimes can bring to written material." Ma last performed Bach's cello suites, a major part of his repertoire throughout his long career, at the Hearst Greek Theatre during Cal Performances' 2015/16 season. Ma continues to be a close collaborator with Cal Performances, and was a creative force behind choreographer Mark Morris's Layla and Majnun, which receives its world premiere in Zellerbach Hall on September 30 – October 2, featuring the Mark Morris Dance Group and the Silk Road Ensemble.

Ticket information:
Concert tickets for Yo-Yo Ma, Edgar Meyer, and Chris Thile on Sunday, April 30, 2017 at 6pm in the Hearst Greek Theatre will go on sale to the general public at noon on November 15. Tickets range between $50–$250 (prices subject to change). Half-price tickets are available for UC Berkeley students. Tickets are available through the Ticket Office at Zellerbach Hall, at 510-642-9988, at calperformances.org, and at the door. For more information about discounts, go to calperformances.org/discounts.

--Louisa Spier, Cal Performances

Opera Responds to Pulse Nightclub Tragedy: One Voice Orlando on Sept 11
For one night only, on Sunday September 11, 2016 at 8 p.m., One Voice Orlando: A Celebration in Song will be performed in the Walt Disney Theater at the Dr. Phillips Center for the Performing Arts, 445 South Magnolia Avenue in downtown Orlando, FL. The benefit concert will feature some of opera's brightest national stars and musicians from throughout Florida. Internationally-renowned David Charles Abell will conduct and legendary baritone Sherrill Milnes will be one of the evening's hosts.

"We'll be almost exactly at three months from the date of the shooting when the concert is held," said Gabriel Preisser, the Executive and Artistic Director of Opera Orlando. "Over this time, we've witnessed a remarkable outpouring of support and generosity for the victims, their families and those directly impacted by this horrific shooting, As I spoke to fellow artists and administrators from around the country it became clear that our art form had to become a part of this effort to respond to the pain, sadness and confusion caused by the death and injury of so many innocent people. Some great individuals and organizations have stepped forward

Opera Orlando and its partners in this benefit concert have selected Central Florida organizations that work to build understanding of our region's diversity and address the interpersonal challenges that many people in their community face every day. These are the Orlando LGBTQ Community Center, Proyecto Somos Orlando, Holocaust Center's "UpStanders: Stand Up To Bullying Initiative," the Interfaith Council of Central Florida and the Zebra Coalition, which helps LGBTQ youth. But it was the Orlando Health's Level One Trauma Center that was the impetus for the benefit concert.

Tickets are $25-$125 and are available now by calling 844-513-2014 or at www.operaorlando.org.

--Liza Prijatel Thors, Rebecca Davis PR

Murray Perahia Signs Landmark Deal with Deutsche Grammophon
Deutsche Grammophon is proud to announce that Murray Perahia, one of the great musicians of our time, has signed to the yellow label. The American pianist intends to record key works from his repertoire, thereby preserving insights gained over the course of a career that began in the mid-1960s and continues to flourish as he approaches his 70th birthday next April. Perahia's artistry has been fêted for its many qualities, not least its poetic eloquence, tonal nuance and spiritual depth. His move to Deutsche Grammophon follows an exclusive association with Sony Classical and its predecessor Columbia Masterworks that began in 1973.

This significant new partnership, destined to deliver interpretations of the highest artistic calibre to the DG catalogue, will be launched this autumn with the release of Bach's French Suites. Perahia has always felt a great affinity with the music of Bach, having played some of his pieces since childhood and been powerfully influenced by a performance he attended at the age of fifteen of the St Matthew Passion conducted by Pablo Casals. He also found solace in studying the composer on a daily basis during a period in which illness prevented him from playing. He sees the French Suites as "Bach on the highest level," adding, "I don't think Bach wrote one note that didn't have wider meanings and that wasn't to be tackled with all one's heart and soul." His recording revels in the music's diverse moods, from melancholy tenderness to out-and-out joy, and brings out every nuance of its elegant phrasing and expressive dance rhythms.

An artist of Murray Perahia's stature joining Deutsche Grammophon at an advanced stage in his career is not without precedent. During the 1980s, CBS Masterworks lost the two greatest pianists signed to the label at the time, when both Rudolph Serkin and, shortly afterwards, Vladimir Horowitz decided to entrust their mature years as recording artists to the yellow label, with now legendary results.

--Julia Casey, Universal Music

Orion Celebrates 24th Season with Benefit Afternoon Nov. 19
The Orion Ensemble, winner of the prestigious Chamber Music America/ASCAP Award for Adventurous Programming, celebrates its 24th anniversary with a benefit performance and party Saturday, November 19 at 12 noon at Dunham Woods Riding Club in Wayne, Illinois. Proceeds will help support Orion's performances and outreach efforts to young musicians.

The event features a special concert by Orion in the setting of the historic Dunham Woods Riding Club, which is listed in the National Register of Historic Places. After the performance, guests enjoy lunch and have an opportunity to help choose encore performances of works Orion has performed by buying votes for their preferred selections. The musicians mingle and chat with guests in this intimate setting. This event offers Orion fans an extra chance to enjoy the Ensemble's music while supporting its work.

Orion's 2016-17 season, Miniatures and Masterworks, begins with "Collage of Colors" in September, with guest violist Stephen Boe joining Orion for works by Wintle, Zemlinsky and Mozart, and 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. Each concert program takes place at three locations: Geneva, Evanston and downtown Chicago, Il.

The Orion Ensemble's benefit takes place Saturday, November 19 at 12 noon at Dunham Woods Riding Club, 33w333 Army Trail, Dunham, Illinois. The requested donation is $75. For more information, call 630-628-9591 or visit orionensemble.org.

--Jill Chukerman, The Orion Ensemble

Tune in to KDFC Sunday to Hear Susan Graham at PBO's 2016 Gala Concert
If you missed Philharmonia Baroque Orchestra's 30th Anniversary Gala and Baroque Fireworks Concert with Susan Graham last February, here's your chance to hear that concert in the comfort of your home. KDFC is broadcasting the live recording of this incredible concert this Sunday, September 11 at 8pm. Be sure to tune in to one of their three broadcast radio stations or click the live stream button: http://www.kdfc.com/pages/15744854.php

Handel: Overture to the Occasional Oratorio
Handel: "Ariodante": Scherza infida
Handel: "Arianna": Mi lusingha il dolce affetto, and Stà nell'Ircana pietosa tana
Handel: Water Music

For more information, visit https://philharmonia.org/

--Philharmonia Baroque Orchestra

Takacs Quartet Season-Long Residency at Cal Performances
Cal Performances at UC Berkeley welcomes back the Takács Quartet for a momentous series of six concerts, the complete string quartet cycle of Ludwig van Beethoven, performed over three weekends in Hertz Hall, Berkeley, CA, on October 15–16; March 4–5, 2017; and April 8–9, 2017.

The performances coincide with the publication of Taka´cs' first violinist Edward Dusinberre's new book, Beethoven for a Later Age: Living with the String Quartets (University of Chicago Press), which explores both the history of the quartets and the Takacs work, interpreting them as an ensemble. Dusinberre's book is the inspiration behind Cal Performances' extensive residency, which will feature quartet members, scholars, and students, and is a significant part of the 2016/17 season's Berkeley RADICAL Immersion thematic strand of programming offering deep exploration of important composers and genres of artistic expression. Performances are Saturdays, October 15, March 4, and April 8 at 8pm; and Sundays, October 16, March 5, and April 9 at 3pm, with free pre-performance talks preceding each concert.

Tickets for the Taka´cs Quartet on Saturdays, October 15, March 4, and April 8 at 8pm; and Sundays, October 16, March 5, and April 9 at 3pm in Hertz Hall start at $92 (price subject to change). Half- price tickets are available for UC Berkeley students. Tickets are available through the Ticket Office at Zellerbach Hall, at (510) 642-9988, at calperformances.org, and at the door. For more information about discounts, go to calperformances.org/discounts.

--Louisa Spier, Cal Performances

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John J. Puccio

John J. Puccio

About the Author

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.

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.

Contact Information

Readers with polite, courteous, helpful letters may send them to pucciojj@gmail.com.

Readers with impolite, discourteous, bitchy, whining, complaining, nasty, mean-spirited, unhelpful letters may send them to pucciojj@recycle.bin.

"Their Master's Voice" by Michael Sowa

"Their Master's Voice" by Michael Sowa