Classical Music News of the Week, April 8, 2017

Musica Viva NY Presents An Elegy for All Humanity

Musica Viva NY, led by Artistic Director Dr. Alejandro Hernandez-Valdez, closes its 2016-2017 season on Sunday, May 7 at 5:00 p.m. at All Souls Church, 1157 Lexington Avenue, NYC, with An Elegy for All Humanity, featuring a performance of Brahms' German-language masterpiece, Ein deutsches Requiem (A German Requiem) in a rarely heard chamber ensemble arrangement by Joachim Linckelmann with the Musica Viva NY choir and soloists soprano Devony Smith and bass-baritone Joseph Beutel.

Also on the program is prolific pianist and composer Seymour Bernstein's cantata Song of Nature--inspired by Ralph Waldo Emerson's essay, "Nature"--in a new arrangement by Dr. Hernandez-Valdez, narrated by David Rockefeller, Jr.

Preceding the concert is a screening of Ethan Hawke's acclaimed documentary Seymour: An Introduction, a warm and witty tribute to Seymour Bernstein, as he shares stories from his life, together with insightful reflections on art, creativity, and the search for fulfillment. The screening takes place at 2:30 p.m. in Reidy Friendship Hall at All Souls Church, NYC, followed by a Q&A session with Bernstein.

Founded in 1977, Musica Viva NY--a chamber choir of thirty professionals and highly skilled volunteers--is driven by a desire to share the transcendent power of choral and instrumental music with audiences in New York City and beyond. With a broad repertoire that includes new compositions and classic masterworks, Musica Viva NY emphasizes artistic excellence and transformative interpretations to ennoble the human spirit; its imaginative programming offers joy, solace and renewal in a complex world.

Tickets, priced at $30, which include admission to the documentary screening, are available by visiting http://musicaviva.org/tickets/ or can be purchased at the door.

For complete information, visit http://musicaviva.org/

--Katlyn Morahan, Morahan Arts and Media

Artis-Naples Announces 2017-18 Subscription Season
Artis-Naples, Naples, Florida, will continue to explore the intersections and divergences of the arts in an ambitious subscription season, which CEO and President Kathleen van Bergen announced today. A unique organization, Artis-Naples encompasses both performing and visual arts,including the Naples Philharmonic, The Baker Museum, the Naples International Film Festival and robust educational and community initiatives.

The newly announced subscription series include 10 Masterworks programs, 10 chamber music programs, eight jazz programs, five dance programs including three repertory programs with Miami City Ballet and an increase to five Pops programs. The four-performance Visiting Orchestra series was previously announced.

"I am delighted to celebrate the breadth and depth of artistic expression through concerts, lectures and exhibitions," van Bergen said. "Our season provides a multitude of opportunities across the creative spectrum for cultural enrichment through exceptional artistic offerings."

The season revolves around two themes: "Languages of Art" and "Evolution/Revolution," which will be explored across series and artistic disciplines.

"This season, through performances, visual arts and lectures, we are excited to explore the vocabulary artists use to express their ideas as well as the subtle or dramatic ways art forms change over time," says Sharon and Timothy Ubben Music Director Andrey Boreyko.

Home of the Baker Museum and the Naples Philharmonic, Artis-Naples is unique among cultural institutions nationwide, equally dedicated to both the performing and visual arts featuring artists of global distinction.

For complete information, visit http://artisnaples.org/

--Jonathan Foerster, Artis-Naples

See Nic's 25-Year Dream Come to Life
After three years of planning, Rameau's Le Temple de la Gloire is almost here. While PBO has performed in many fully staged opera productions in the past, we have never initiated one of our own. Until now.

This project has been a dream of Nicholas McGegan's since he first learned of the existence of the original manuscript score and libretto (by Voltaire) for Le Temple de la Gloire at UC Berkeley's Jean Gray Hargrove Music Library. It is the only existing copy of the 1745 version of this Rameau opera.

"Being able, finally, to be part of a fully staged production of Le Temple de la Gloire is the fulfilment of a dream for me. Nearly 25 years ago, Philharmonia recorded some of the dance music from this magnificent score and now we are at last able to mount this major production," says McGegan.

If you don't have tickets to see Rameau's Le Temple de la Gloire this April 28-30 at Zellerbach Hall, Berkeley, CA, learn more and get tickets here: https://calperformances.org/performances/2016-17/world-premieres/philharmonia-baroque-orchestra-rameau-le-temple-de-la-gloire.php

--Dianne Provenzano, Philharmonia Baroque Orchestra

The Crypt Sessions Presents Cellist Joshua Roman, May 3
The Crypt Sessions Season 2 continues on May 3, 2017 with American cellist Joshua Roman performing a solo recital which begins in darkness with Bach's spare, haunting Suite No. 2 in D Minor, before moving through sonatas by György Ligeti and George Crumb - both written during the period of lovestruck adolescence, with music that alternates between shaded meditation and stormy intensity - and finishing with a composition of his of his own, the transcendently radiant "Riding Light."

Roman performed in the Crypt with Gregg Kallor in last season's finale concert of "The Tell-Tale Heart," and his playing was praised by Berkshire Fine Arts, saying: "Roman is a musician who can afford to expose his talent in long drawn out single tones..often miraculously drawn from his instrument."

For more information, visit http://deathofclassical.com/

--Andrew Ousley, Unison Media

Emerson String Quartet Celebrates 40th Anniversary at Carnegie Hall
The world-renowned Emerson String Quartet returns to Carnegie Hall's Stern Auditorium on May 7 at 3 PM for a performance of Ravel and Berg Quartets and the Brahms Quintet with internationally acclaimed pianist Yefim Bronfman.  Presented by Carnegie Hall, this marks the final celebration of Emerson String Quartet's 40th Anniversary -- a major milestone for this ground-breaking ensemble, named "America's greatest quartet" by TIME Magazine. The Emerson Quartet continues to perform with the same benchmark integrity, energy and commitment that it has demonstrated since it was formed in 1976, and its 40th-Anniversary season reflects all aspects of the Quartet's venerable artistry with high-profile projects and collaborations, commissions and recordings.

On April 21 the Quartet releases its latest album, Chaconnes and Fantasias: Music of Britten and Purcell , the first release on Universal Music Classics' new US classical record label, Decca Gold. Eugene Drucker says of this album "it's hard to believe that the music on this CD spans almost three centuries, ranging from Purcell's surprisingly pungent harmonies to Britten's distinctive voice: pitched outside the mainstream of European modernism, experimental yet deeply rooted in his extensive knowledge of older music, drawing inspiration from and breathing new life into old forms."

On June 17 at the Great Lakes Chamber Music Festival, the Emerson Quartet joins hands and minds with acclaimed theatrical writer-director James Glossman to present the world premiere of the opera "Shostakovich and the Black Monk: A Russian Fantasy." Accompanied by an ensemble of seven actors, this ambitious production combines Anton Chekhov's mystical story "The Black Monk" and Dmitri Shostakovich's 14th and 15th String Quartets to weave a tale of art, love, madness and freedom. Subsequent performances take place at Tanglewood and Princeton University.

Sunday, May 7, 2017 at 3:00 PM
Stern Auditorium, Carnegie Hall, New York, NY

For more information, visit http://www.emersonquartet.com/

--Xi Wang, Kirshbaum Associates

Orion Concludes Season with "Wit and Passion" in May
The Orion Ensemble, winner of the prestigious Chamber Music America/ASCAP Award for Adventurous Programming, welcomes back guest violist Stephen Boe for a program of "Wit and Passion" to conclude its 24th season. Performances take place May 21 at First Baptist Church of Geneva; May 24 at the PianoForte Studios in downtown Chicago--joined by a quintet from the Chicago Youth Symphony Orchestras; and May 28 at the Music Institute of Chicago's Nichols Concert Hall in Evanston, Illinois.

The Orion Ensemble's concert program "Wit and Passion" takes place Sunday, May 21 at 7 p.m. at First Baptist Church of Geneva, 2300 South Street in Geneva; Wednesday, May 24, with CYSO quintet Zephyrus, at 7:30 p.m. at the PianoForte Studios, 1335 S. Michigan Avenue in Chicago; and Sunday, May 28 at 7:30 p.m. at Music Institute of Chicago's Nichols Concert Hall, 1490 Chicago Avenue in Evanston. Single tickets are $26, $23 for seniors and $10 for students; admission is free for children 12 and younger. For tickets or more information, call 630-628-9591 or visit orionensemble.org.

--Jill Chukerman, The Orion Ensemble

Five Boroughs Music Festival Presents Quicksilver on May 12 and 13
Five Boroughs Music Festival (5BMF) concludes its tenth anniversary season with two performances by virtuosic chamber ensemble Quicksilver on Friday, May 12 at 7:00 p.m. at King Manor Museum in Jamaica, Queens, NY and on Saturday, May 13 at 7:30 p.m. at Lafayette Avenue Presbyterian Church in Fort Greene, Brooklyn, NY.

The program, entitled "Off the Beaten Track": Chamber Works from Moravia, the Netherlands, Sweden, Poland and beyond, explores the music of the seventeenth century at the nexus of folk music and early modern chamber music from countries beyond central Europe, including rarely heard works by van Wichel, Mielczewski, Schmelzer, Kempis, and Fux.

Last seen at 5BMF in the 2010-11 season, Quicksilver--led by Julie Andrijeski (violin) and  Robert Mealy (violin) and featuring Dominic Teresi (dulcian), Avi Stein (harpsichord), and Charles Weaver (theorbo and guitar)--continues to dedicate themselves to discovering and performing music from the early modern period to the High Baroque era.

For more information, visit www.quicksilverbaroque.com.

--Katlyn Morahan, Morahan Arts and Media

New Century Celebrates 25th Anniversary with Inaugural Festival
New Century Chamber Orchestra concludes its 25th anniversary season with an inaugural, week-long festival at Herbst Theatre, San Francisco that celebrates the orchestra's illustrious history in three separate, one-night-only programs. These performances also mark Nadja Salerno-Sonnenberg's final appearances as music director following nine seasons of leadership and artistic innovation.

The festival opens on May 16 with an homage to the orchestra's Featured Composer Program and highlights a selection of works by William Bolcom, Clarice Assad, Mark O'Connor, Ellen Taaffe Zwilich, Lera Auerbach, Michael Daugherty, Derek Bermel and Jennifer Higdon. Salerno-Sonnenberg appears as soloist in a farewell tribute on May 18 performing the entirety of Vivaldi's Four Seasons alongside Piazzolla's Seasons of Buenes Aires. The festival closes on May 20 with an all-Gershwin program that features the rarely-performed, 1926 theater orchestra version of Rhapsody in Blue with pianist Anne-Marie McDermott as soloist. New Century also welcome the return of special guest artists soprano Melody Moore and baritone Efraín Solís for a selection of Gershwin favorites from the Great American Songbook.

Discounted festival passes range from $52 to $155. Call (415) 357-1111, ext. 305, or visit www.ncco.org to purchase. Single tickets range in price from $29 to $61 and are available for purchase through City Box Office: www.cityboxoffice.com and (415) 392-4400. Discounted $15 single tickets are available for students with a valid ID.

For further information on New Century, please visit www.ncco.org.

--Brenden Guy, NCCO

Upcoming Events for International Contemporary Ensemble
The International Contemporary Ensemble (ICE) continues to transform the way music is created and experienced through several upcoming events throughout New York City in April. On Tuesday, April 25 at 8:00 p.m., ICE collaborates with French new-music group Ensemble Itinéraire, exploring the Spectralism movement and its impact on today's composers. The program reflects the musical traditions of both ensembles with works by both French and American composers including the world premiere of Christopher Trapani's PolychROME, commissioned by ICE, Philippe Leroux's De l'Épaisseur, Gerard Grisey's Périodes and Anubis et Nout, and Ashley Fure's Something to Hunt.

Following the concert at Roulette, from Wednesday, April 26 to Sunday, April 30, ICE returns to the Abrons Arts Center for three workshops and four concerts, as part of its free OpenICE initiative. Composer Wojtek Blecharz discusses and demonstrates selections from his new commission for ICE musicians through workshops on Wednesday, April 26 at 10:00 a.m., Thursday, April 27 at 10:00 a.m., and Friday, April 28 at 11:00 a.m.

ICE bassoonist Rebekah Heller is featured in a solo concert with a world premiere by Edgar Guzman on Wednesday, April 26 at 8:00 p.m. The performance also includes a guest appearance by ICE saxophonist Ryan Muncy. ICE reunites with Ensemble Itinéraire on Friday, April 28 at 8:00 p.m. in a "side-by-side" concert of electroacoustic music featuring works by Pauline Oliveros, Francesca Verunelli, Chiyoko Szlavnics, and White/Waves by Sky Macklay, an ICEcommons.org selection.

The following evening, Saturday, April 29 at 8:00 p.m., members of ICE are featured in previous ICELab commissioning program participant He Cuts Snow by Sabrina Shcroeder, a previous ICELab commissioning program participant. Also on the program is Wojtek Blecharz's music for invisible places, and Simon Steen-Andersen's On and Off and To and Fro. April's OpenICE events conclude with a concert featuring soprano Tony Arnold, and ICE pianist Jacob Greenberg on Sunday, April 30 at 3:00 p.m. performing Olivier Messiaen's Poémes Pour Mi, a new work by Amy Williams for soprano and Indian harmonium, and Helmut Lachenmann's Got Lost.

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

--Katlyn Morahan, Morahan Arts and Media

Jeffrey Thomas To Give Free ABS Master Class on Monday April 10th
The third in the 2017 series of American Bach Soloists Free Master Classes will take place next Monday evening on April 10th at 7:30 p.m. in the San Francisco Conservatory of Music, 50 Oak Street at Van Ness, San Francisco, CA.

Three of the San Francisco Conservatory's finest students in their Early Music program will perform for the audience and Maestro Thomas.

Free Admission. Works by Handel, Haydn, & Purcell.

For more information, visit http://americanbach.org/Insights_Master_Classes.html

--American Bach Soloists

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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