Classical Music News of the Week, September 9, 201

Not Just the Messiah

Nicholas McGegan, the "Master Interpreter of Oratorio"

Handel: Joshua 
Philharmonia Baroque Orchestra
"Under McGegan's inspired direction, the performance emerged as one of the period instrument ensemble's finest offerings in recent memory…McGegan conducted with consummate flair and unflagging rhythmic verve, and the orchestra responded with a forceful, fully committed performance." --The Mercury News

Handel: Athalia
Philharmonia Baroque Orchestra
"Led a vivid, emotionally cogent performance, pacing the music smartly but patiently and drawing unusually fine playing from the orchestra." --San Francisco Chronicle

Handel: Israel in Egypt
Royal Northern Sinfonia
"Extracted every ounce of drama from the score, while maintaining a driving momentum to the narrative." --The Northern Echo

Upcoming Oratorio Performances:
Beamish: The Judas Passion
Philharmonia Baroque Orchestra
October 4, 6, 7, 8  (U.S. Premiere)

Haydn: The Creation
Nashville Symphony Orchestra
November 3, 4

Handel: Joseph and his Brethren
Philharmonia Baroque Orchestra
December 14, 15, 16, 17

For more information, visit

--Schwalbe and Partners

Salisbury Symphony Announces Arts Partnership with East Spencer
The Salisbury Symphony (Salisbury, NC) is delighted to announce that it will be the Town of East Spencer's first Arts Partner.  The partnership will focus on music engagement with the East Spencer community beginning with a 12-week pilot program of learning how to play the violin. This program will be made available to the entire East Spencer community, from ages eight and above, and will take place at 1909 East, East Spencer's newly acquired facility (the former Salisbury Education Administrative building), once a week starting week commencing September 25th. Dr. Lynn Bowes, the Symphony's Education Director, will oversee the program.

Music education is a key component of the Salisbury Symphony's mission and as such the organization will be expanding their music education program to reach out to communities and individuals who might not otherwise be exposed to orchestral music. Music programs like this provide a supportive environment that promote acceptance and creativity, and involvement in music education programs provide positive personal, social, and motivational effects in anyone's life.

For more information or to sign-up for the program, email or visit the Web site at

--James D. Harvey, Executive Director

Announcing the Winner of the 2018 Azrieli Commission for Jewish Music
The Azrieli Foundation is proud to announce that composer Kelly-Marie Murphy is the winner of the 2018 Azrieli Commission for Jewish Music. This is the second time that the Foundation has awarded the $50,000 CAD prize – the largest of its kind in Canada – which is granted to a Canadian composer based on a proposal for a new work which expresses an aspect of the Jewish experience with the utmost creativity, artistry and musical excellence.

Established by the Azrieli Foundation in 2015, the biennial Azrieli Music Prizes (AMP) also include a $50,000 international prize, granted to the composer of the best new major work of Jewish Music written in the last ten years. For 2018, the Azrieli Music Prizes highlight new works for chamber orchestra, and will culminate with the Azrieli Music Prizes Gala Concert with the McGill Chamber Orchestra (MCO) and Guest Conductor Yoav Talmi on October 15, 2018 at Maison symphonique de Montreal.

The 2018 Azrieli Prize for Jewish Music call for submissions remains open until November 5, 2017. Submissions are being accepted, without entry fee, from composers of all nationalities, faiths, backgrounds, affiliations and experience levels. For submission details, please visit

--Shira Gilbert PR

"Women in Conversation" at the Green Music Center
Wednesday, September 27, 2017
Green Music Center at Sonoma State University, Rohnert Park, CA

3:30 – 6:30 p.m. "The Experience" (More than an Expo!)
Mingle, nosh and drink. Engage with numerous women-related businesses and services.

6:30 – 9 p.m. "Women in Conversation"
Three dynamic and inspirational speakers:
Judy Sakaki
President Sonoma State University
Judy K. Sakaki became Sonoma State's seventh president in 2016 and was named 2017 "President of the Year."

Geena Davis
Academy Award winner Geena Davis is one of Hollywood's most respected actors, appearing in several roles that became cultural landmarks.

Shiza Shahid
Women's Rights Advocate
Shiza is focused on supporting startups, innovators and entrepreneurs, who are creating positive global impact.

For ticket information, visit

--Green Music Center

American Bach Soloists Annual Gala Auction, Concert, & Dinner
Saturday September 23 2017 at 5:00 p.m.

Many of us have stories about Venice. Have you visited and experienced its varied history, especially, perhaps viscerally, recalling her music and food??

For the American Bach Soloists 2017 gala, "Sparkle 2017: Celebrating Venice," we're focusing on Venice and the music of Vivaldi as we gather to celebrate a magical evening to raise money for the American Bach Soloists Academy.

On Saturday September 23, 2017, join the musicians, board of directors, and staff in an enchanted evening as we celebrate Venice. The evening begins with a concert by American Bach Soloists titled "Viva Vivaldi's Venice" led by Artistic/Music Director Jeffrey Thomas in works featuring violinists Jude Ziliak, Carla Moore, and Cynthia Black, alongside Sandra Miller (flute), Gretchen Claassen (violoncello), Steven Lehning (contrabass), and Corey Jamason (harpsichord).

For more information on the event and/or auction items and to purchase your tickets, please visit

--American Bach Soloists

Film Movement Presents "The Paris Opera"
This fall, Film Movement takes viewers behind the scenes of a drama-filled season at on e of the world's greatest cultural institutions with "The Paris Opera."

Opening in New York on October 18 at the Film Society of Lincoln Center and Quad Cinema, Jean-Stéphane Bron's feature-length film will also play 20+ additional U.S. markets, including Los Angeles (10/20), Boston (10/27), Washington D.C. (10/27), San Francisco, (10/27) and Philadelphia (11/17).

In turns ironic, light-hearted and cruel, encompassing both music and ballet, "The Paris Opera" puts the spotlight on great artistic passions and tells the story of life backstage at this iconic and indispensable performing arts institution.

"The Paris Opera" (2016)
 Directed by Jean-Stéphane Bron
Featuring Benjamin Millepied, Stéphane Lissner, Philippe Jordan, Bryn Terfel, Olga Peretyatko-Mariotti, and Gerald Finley
Run time 110 minutes

For complete information, visit

--Melanne Mueller, Music Company International

Premieres of Two Gordon Getty Operas and Broadcast of Peter Rosen Documentary
The New York premieres and world premiere production of Gordon Getty's "Scare Pair,"a double-bill by the San Francisco-based composer, pairs his two one act-operas --Usher House and The Canterville Ghost-- together for the first time on October 19 and 21 (7:30pm) at The Sylvia and Danny Kaye Playhouse at Hunter College (located at East 68th Street, between Lexington and Park Avenues, NYC).Both works, with the libretto and music by Mr. Getty, will be sung in English and have a running time of 60 minutes each.

Usher House, derived from Edgar Allan Poe's "The Fall of the House of Usher," has Poe taking the stage himself as the narrator and main character. The Canterville Ghost is based on Oscar Wilde's witty tale from 1887. It provides a comic twist to the evening.

In addition, on October 21, "Gordon Getty: There Will Be Music" will air on WNET at 1 p.m. The new one-hour documentary, produced and directed by award-winning filmmaker Peter Rosen, follows the now-83-year-old composer in various locations around the world.

"Scare Pair" takes place on Thursday, October 19 and Saturday, October 21 at 7:30pm at The Sylvia and Danny Kaye Playhouse at Hunter College (located on East 68th Street between Lexington and Park Avenues). Tickets are priced at $35, $25. Senior/Student Tickets are $30 and must be purchased in person with valid ID. For ticket information contact or by phone at 212 772 4448.

For information on the documentary, visit for the trailer or for the full PBS version.

--Nancy Shear Arts Services

Alehouse Sessions Bring Bjarte Eike & Barokksolistene to the U.S.
Baroque violinist Bjarte Eike and his ensemble Barokksolistene will bring their latest "irresistible" (Times) project - The Alehouse Sessions - to the United States from October 5-12.

The Alehouse Sessions is an ever-evolving look into the music of the English 17th Century tavern that has been something of an insider's tip until now. But with growing critical and audience recognition, including raves of "fizzing with energy" (BBC Radio 3) and "fabulously unrestrained" (Guardian), the Norwegian Eike and his Barokksolistene have taken the stage by storm in Europe and with a live recording released in June on the new indie label Rubicon.

For more information, visit

--Rebecca Davis PR

Award Winning Backtrack Vocals Touring U.S. and Canada
Congratulations to the Backtrack Vocals, winners of multiple national a cappella awards and accolades. This international touring group has been selected as a finalist for the International A Cappella Open Competition to be held at Carnegie Hall, September 23, 2017.

Their arrangement of "Over the Rainbow" received a Special Award for Outstanding Arrangement.

For more information, visit

--Jean Schreiber, Classics Alive

Longleash Trio in Concert at Le Poisson Rouge
On Sunday, October 1, 2017 at 5:00pm, Longleash (Pala Garcia, violin; John Popham, cello; and Renate Rohlfing, piano) perform a concert celebrating the September 22 release of their debut album, Passage, on New Focus Recordings.

The evening will feature selections from the album, including Francesco Filidei's "Corde Vuote," Clara Iannotta's "Il colore dell'ombra" (Movt. 1), and Christopher Trapani's "Passing Through, Staying Put," as well as solos and duos by Suzanne Farrin and Anthony Cheung. Longleash will be joined by guest pianist/composer Nils Vigeland.

For complete information, visit

--Katy Salomon, Morahan Arts and Media

This Fall: Your "First Chance" to See These New Operas
For almost 30 years American Opera Projects has been the home of contemporary opera development providing valuable resources to emerging and established artists.

AOP's "First Chance" program allows you to preview the latest operas, meet the creators, and go behind the scenes of the fascinating process of building new opera. AOP audiences were the first to hear the enormously successful As One (commissioned and premiered by AOP in 2014, now with over twenty new productions) and this past spring's world premieres The Summer King, Independence Eve, and Three Way.

Join us this Fall for AOP "First Chance" featuring five wildly different new operas:

Six. Twenty. Outrageous
Three Gertrude Stein Plays in Search of an Opera
Monday, September 18 | 6:00 PM
Brooklyn, NY

The Echo Drift
Thursday, October 5 | 7:00 PM
Scandinavia House, NYC

Gulliver's Travels
Friday, October 6 | 8:00 PM
Brooklyn, NY

A Thousand Splendid Suns
Saturday, November 18 | 1:00 PM, 4:00 PM
Hudson Area Library, Hudson, NY

November 29 & 30 | 7:30 PM
The Kimmel Center, Philadelphia, PA

For complete information, visit

--Matt Gray, American Opera Projects

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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