Classical Music News of the Week, July 29, 2017

Ars Minerva Presents "La Circe" Sept 8, 9 at ODC Theater

Ars Minerva, a San Francisco-based arts nonprofit organization, presents Pietro Andrea Ziani's "La Circe," September 8 and 9 at the ODC Theater. Directed by Founder and Artistic Director of Ars Minerva Céline Ricci, this performance marks the first time the opera has been performed since its creation in 1665.

The "La Circe" manuscript, which resides at the Biblioteca Marciana in Venice, is attributed to Pietro Andrea Ziani (1616-1684) with a libretto by Cristoforo Ivanovich (1620-1689). Ziani was the organist at St. Mark's Basilica in Venice and served the Holy Roman Empress, Eleonor Magdalene of Neuburg, in Vienna later in his life. Ivanovich was the first historian of Venetian opera and was a librettist for several operas performed in Venice, Vienna and Piacenza. He catalogued all opera performances held in Venice from 1637 until 1681 in his treatise Memorie teatrali di Venezia published in 1680 as part of collection Minerva al tavolino.

"La Circe" is inspired by the adventures of Circe, the goddess and magician of Greek mythology made famous in Homer's Odyssey and in Ovid's Metamorphosis. After Ulysses escapes Circe's clutches, the outraged enchantress remains on her island with a number of unlucky captives who fall victim to her resentment and manipulations. Dreadful potions, transformations, dancing Graces, Furies and other colorful agents of evil – alongside carnival-esque comic scenes – bring drama featuring laments, rage arias and drinking tunes.

Sung in Italian with English supertitles, the opera will be semi-staged by Céline Ricci and presented on September 8 and 9 at the ODC Theater in San Francisco. It will feature eight singers, an acrobat and an orchestra led by Derek Tam.

Ars Minerva Presents Pietro Andrea Ziani's "La Circe"
The ODC Theater, 3153 17th Street, San Francisco, California
7:30 p.m. September 8 and 7:30 p.m. September 9
Tickets: $86, $56, or $25 for students

For complete information, visit

--Kristin Cockerham

Pierre-Laurent Aimard Signs to Pentatone
Pentatone is proud to announce that Pierre-Laurent Aimard, one of today's most celebrated musicians and winner of the 2017 Ernst von Siemens Music Prize, has signed with the label.

The French pianist intends to record key works from his repertoire, spanning three centuries and ranging from Bach to Kurtág. His move to Pentatone follows an exclusive association with Deutsche Grammophon that began nearly a decade ago.

This significant new partnership, destined to deliver interpretations of the highest artistic calibre to the Pentatone catalogue, will be launched next March with the release of Messiaen's complete Catalogue d'oiseaux, a first in Aimard's discography.

For more information, visit

--Silvia Pietrosanti, Pentatone

American Classical Orchestra Opens Season at Lincoln Center with Prodigy Adrian Romoff
The American Classical Orchestra opens its 2017-2018 season on Saturday, September 16, 2017 at 8:00 p.m., at Alice Tully Hall at Lincoln Center with a concert of Mendelssohn and Berwald, featuring 12-year old prodigy and Mensa competition winner Adrian Romoff in his Lincoln Center debut, led by Music Director and ACO founder Thomas Crawford.

The program includes Mendelssohn's Piano Concerto in G minor with Romoff on fortepiano; Mendelssohn's Symphony No. 4, "Italian"; and Berwald's Symphony No. 3, "Singulière."

Season subscriptions are currently on-sale until September 13th by visiting or by calling 212-362-2727. Beginning on August XX, single tickets, priced at $35 to $95, can be purchased at, by calling Center Charge (212-721-6500) or by visiting the Alice Tully Hall Box Office. $15 student tickets are available at the Alice Tully Hall Box Office with valid student ID. Please visit for more information.

--Katy Salomon, Morahan Arts and Media

Catherine LeClair New Director of Development of Young People's Chorus of NYC
Francisco J. Núñez, Artistic Director and Founder of the Young People's Chorus of New York City (YPC) is pleased to announce that Catherine LeClair has joined the Young People's Chorus of New York City as its new Director of Development.

In making this announcement, Mr. Núñez said, "We are very excited to welcome Catherine LeClair as our Director of Development. We believe her experience and enthusiasm for the arts and her belief in arts education for all children are going to make this an extremely fruitful partnership for us all.  As we approach our 30th anniversary, we are looking to her leadership to help us prepare for the future."

Ms. LeClair, who said she is "thrilled to have the opportunity to work with Mr. Núñez to help advance the organization's work," comes to YPC most recently from the Garrison Institute in Garrison, NY, where she was Director of Development, and previously, from New York City Ballet, where she was Director of Foundation and Government Relations for the company for nearly eight years.

For more information, visit

--Angela Duryea, Young People's Chorus of NYC

YPC Singers Return From a Triumphant Tour to Spain
Eighty-one YPC choristers recently returned from a spectacular 10-day tour in Spain. It was highlighted by two performances at the world-famous Palau de la Música Catalana and competitions and performances conducted by Francisco Núñez and Elizabeth Núñez at the Festival Internacional de Música de Cantonigròs. The tour culminated with a first-place win in the Children's Choir competition and two second-place awards in the Female Choirs and Folk Song competitions.

At the invitation of famed choral conductor Simon Halsey, the tour began with two performances in the Palau de la Música Catalana, the world famous modernistic concert hall, home to the Orfeó Català and the Orfeó Català's Youth Choir. YPC was able to meet with the resident choir and their conductor Esteve Nabona and share an afternoon of singing Catalonian and American music. The exquisite architecture provided a stunning backdrop to the choristers' performances, which were received by enthusiastic audiences. In addition to rehearsals and performances, the choristers and staff happily found time to take in the sights of the city.

The second leg of YPC's journey took them to the Festival Internacional de Música de Cantonigròs in Vic, where the YPC travelers stayed in a beautiful historic seminary, performed for live and television audiences, and was the only choir from America invited among 25 other extraordinary groups from all over the world. The YPC singers returned to New York exhausted but inspired, with new knowledge of the world around them, and ready to take on their next summer challenge: their Mostly Mozart Festival debut.

For more information, visit

--Young People's Chorus of NYC

Orpheus & Bach - Two Musical Inspirations
The American Bach Soloists Academy--the educational component of the ABS Festival--features one of the most distinguished faculty of Early Music performers to be found anywhere. This Festival program, "Orpheus in Britannia" on Saturday August 5th, designed specifically to spotlight their gifts as powerful and dramatic performers, takes its name from the legendary ancient Greek hero who was endowed with superhuman musical skills that could move all living things, charm wild beasts, and even coax rocks and trees into movement. Selections by the greatest composers of the English Baroque—including Dowland, Gibbons, and Handel, among others—will present the unique artistry of the Academy Faculty in an enthralling showcase.

The 2017 Festival, running August 4-13, features Concerts that extol the Masterful Achievements of London's most Celebrated Baroque Composers. Annual performances of Bach's towering Mass in B Minor and a special program titled "Bach & Sons" complete the lineup of performances.

St. Mark's Lutheran Church • 1111 O'Farrell Street, San Francisco, CA
San Francisco Conservatory of Music • 50 Oak Street, San Francisco, CA

For full schedule and tickets, visit

--American Bach Soloists

Mirror Visions Ensemble Announces 2017-2018 Season
Mirror Visions Ensemble (MVE) announces its 2017-2018 season, which brings the group to Hudson, Quebec; Jamaica Plain and Salem, Massachusetts; Philadelphia, Pennsylvania; Fullerton, California; Morristown, New Jersey; and New York City. Now in its 26th season, MVE was founded from a desire to explore the relationship between music and text, initially through the creation of "mirror visions" — settings of the same text to music by different composers. Featuring soprano, tenor, baritone and piano, often joined by other instrumentalists, Mirror Visions Ensemble artists include soprano Vira Slywotzky, tenor Scott Murphree, baritones Jesse Blumberg, and Mischa Bouvier, and pianists Grant Wenaus, and Margaret Kampmeier. Guest artists this season include sopranos Mireille Asselin and Justine Aronson, and mezzo-soprano Abigail Levis.

Monday, August 7, 2017 at 7:00pm
"Journeys" at Hudson Music Festival (Hudson, Quebec)

Friday, September 15, 2017 at 8:00pm
"Journeys" at JP Concerts (Jamaica Plain, MA)

Thursday, September 28, 2017 at 8:00pm
"Flights of Fantasy" at Media Performing Arts Series (Media, PA)

October 5 - 10, 2017
"Residency" at California State University Fullerton (Fullerton, CA)

Saturday, November 18, 2017 at 7:30pm
"Journeys" at Abendmusik (Morristown, NJ)

Friday, December 8, 2017 at 7:30pm
"When Icicles Hang by the Wall" at Salem Classical (Salem, MA)

Saturday, February 3, 2018 at 2:30pm
Of Beasts and Brutes at the New York Public Library for the Performing Arts' Bruno Walter Auditorium (NYC)

Thursday, March 15, 2018 at 8:00pm
"Of Beasts and Brutes" at the Sheen Center (NYC)

For more information, visit

--Katy Salomon, Morahan Arts and Media

Only 20% of Seats Still Available for Bach's Mass in B Minor
ABS Academy Festival Orchestra & American Bach Choir
Jeffrey Thomas, conductor

A cherished tradition, the annual performances of this pinnacle work of the repertory feature instrumental and vocal soloists from the American Bach Soloists Academy.

Sunday August 6 2017 at 7:00 p.m.
St. Mark's Lutheran Church
1111 O'Farrell Street between Gough & Franklin, San Francisco

Sunday August 13 2017 at 2:00 p.m.
(This performance is nearly sold out)
San Francisco Conservatory of Music
50 Oak Street between Van Ness & Franklin, San Francisco

For more information, visit

--American Bach Soloists

Verdi's La Traviata Comes to "Great Performances at the Met"
Sonya Yoncheva reprises her widely praised interpretation of the heroine Violetta Valéry in Verdi's La Traviata, on "Great Performances at the Met" Friday, August 25 at 9 p.m. on PBS (check local listings). Michael Fabiano is her lover, Alfredo, Thomas Hampson, in one of his most acclaimed Met roles, returns as Alfredo's protective father, Giorgio Germont. San Francisco Opera Music Director Nicola Luisotti conducts.

Visit "Great Performances" online at for additional information on this and other Great Performances programs.

--Harry Forbes, WNET

Yo-Yo Ma Joins Philadelphia Orchestra for a PlayIN at Saratoga Performing Arts Center, August 9th
Cellists of all ages and abilities are invited to participate in a rare musical event that will allow them to play alongside cellist Yo-Yo Ma as well as cellists from The Philadelphia Orchestra for a one-hour PlayIN event, taking place on August 9th at 1:30 p.m. at Saratoga Performing Arts Center's amphitheatre stage.

PlayINs are signature events for The Philadelphia Orchestra and this will be the first to be held at SPAC. They are part of the HEAR initiative, a portfolio of programs promoting the role of music in Health, Education, Access and Research. PlayINs have taken place regularly in Philadelphia since 2012 and are part of a full array of programs designed to promote access for people of all ages to experience orchestral music either as listeners or performers.

For more information on the PlayIN as well as a schedule of The Philadelphia Orchestra's SPAC programming, August 2 – 19, visit

--Rebecca Davis Public Relations

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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