Classical Music News of the Week, January 27, 2018

Bearthoven Gives Four NY Premieres by Wollschleger, Washington, Wolfe, & Roberts

On Wednesday, February 28, 2018 at 8pm at Roulette in Brooklyn, Bearthoven (Karl Larson, piano; Pat Swoboda, bass; and Matt Evans, percussion) performs the New York premieres of four new, diverse works, written specifically for their 2017-2018 season. The program features Shelley Washington's Silk (2017), Kristina Wolfe's Near Sky (2017), Adam Roberts's Happy/Angry Music (2017), and Scott Wollschleger's American Dream (2017). These works received their world premieres in September 2017 at the Short North Stage in Columbus, OH.

Scott Wollschleger's American Dream is a major addition to Bearthoven's repertoire, a substantial work in the composer's already impressive catalogue, and the focal point of this  program. The thirty-minute piece is an intricate quilt of delicate textures and sound objects composed for piano, double bass, and percussion.

Shelley Washington's Silk is a dynamically subdued yet rhythmically complex work for piano, double bass, drum set, and vibraphone composed for Bearthoven during their spring 2017 NYU residency.

Kristina Wolfe's Near Sky is a deeply meditative, graphically notated work for piano, double bass, percussion, and electronics (MaxMSP).

Adam Roberts's Happy/Angry Music is a multifaceted work for piano, double bass, and percussion commissioned for Bearthoven by the Johnstone Fund for New Music.

For more information, visit www.bearthoven.com

--Katy Salomon, Morahan Arts and Media

Free Master Classes & Pre-Concert Insights
Dig into historically informed performance practice: American Bach Soloists will present three Master Classes at the San Francisco Conservatory of Music. Come early to enjoy the Conservatory's Café Crème, and during the half hour prior to each Master Class, enjoy a complimentary glass of wine (21+) on us.

Meet the master artists and catch up with friends in the music community during receptions that start at 7:00 p.m.. Then, at 7:30 p.m., witness the artistic transformations that make Master Classes so tremendously exciting, as performers and ABS musicians share their knowledge and insights. These events are free and open to the public.

Jeffrey Thomas, conductor
Monday February 12th, 7:30 pm

William Skeen, violoncello
Monday April 2nd, 7:30 pm

Debra Nagy, oboe
Monday May 7th, 7:30 pm

San Francisco Conservatory of Music, Osher Salon
50 Oak Street, San Francisco, CA 94102

Also, ABS perform Bach's Saint John Passion, February 23-26 2018 in Belvedere, Berkeley, San Francisco, and Davis, CA.

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

--American Bach Soloists

ICE Announces Appointment of New Co-Artistic Director Rebekah Heller
The pioneering International Contemporary Ensemble (ICE) announces the appointment of its newest co-Artistic Director, bassoonist Rebekah Heller. Heller replaces clarinetist Joshua Rubin, who has served as artistic director since 2014, and joins percussionist Ross Karre who has served in this capacity since 2016. This change is part of ICE's innovative leadership model, in which artistic directors rotate every few years to ensure the opportunity for artistic variety and exceptional functionality within the collective. Similar to an artistic residency, this fluid model allows the members of ICE the opportunity to accept curatorial responsibilities while simultaneously engaging in the multifaceted performance opportunities for which ICE is known.

Executive Director William McDaniel says, "It's thrilling to play a part in the leadership of an organization that holds the idea of being 'artist-led' as a central tenet of our own working methods—from how programming decisions are made to how artists are incorporated into the staff itself. "

--Katy Salomon, Morahan Arts and Media

Lise de la Salle Tours the US with "Bach Unlimited"
French pianist Lise de la Salle performs repertoire from her latest Naïve Classiques release on tour in New York, Chicago, Cleveland, Detroit, New Orleans, Montréal, and Virginia.

A profound and elegant tribute to the timeless genius, "Bach Unlimited" presents works from across three centuries by Bach, Liszt, Busoni, Roussel, Poulenc and Thomas Enhco. "De la Salle has developed in her 20s into a musical thinker of impressive weight, with charm, imagination and a dazzling technique." --Stephen Brookes, Washington Post

For more information, visit lisedelasalle.com

--Rebecca Davis Public Relations

Grammy nominees Steven Isserlis and PBO Perform Haydn
Witness a Big Bang of Grammy-worthy excellence as two Haydn forces align to bring you the stuff that brought them their gold stars. Nominated for their interpretations of Haydn symphonies and concertos, musical masterminds conductor Nicholas McGegan and cellist Steven Isserlis bring you exactly that in a "Harmonic Convergence" February 7-11.

PBO conductor Nicholas McGegan is critically acclaimed for his adept interpretations of Haydn and in 2012, Nic and the Orchestra were nominated for a Grammy Award for their recording of Haydn Symphonies Nos. 57, 67 & 68 in the category of Best Orchestral Performance. Additionally, star cellist and February guest artist Steven Isserlis was also nominated for a 2018 Grammy in the category of Best Classical Instrumental Solo for his recording of the Haydn Cello Concertos with conductor Florian Donderer and The Deutsch Kammerphilharmonie Bremen.

Dates & Tickets:
Wednesday February 7 @ 7:30 PM
First United Methodist Church, Palo Alto, CA

Friday February 9 @ 8:00 PM
Herbst Theatre, San Francisco, CA

Saturday February 10 @ 8:00 PM
First Congregational Church, Berkeley, CA

Sunday February 11 @ 4:00 PM
First Congregational Church, Berkeley, CA

For more information, visit https://philharmonia.org/2017-2018-season/harmonic/

--Philharmonia Baroque Orchestra

Tenor Piotr Beczala Signs to PENTATONE
PENTATONE is delighted to announce that Polish tenor Piotr Beczala, one of the most celebrated vocalists of our time, has signed an exclusive, multi-album contract with the label. His first solo recording on PENTATONE will focus on the works of Puccini and his contemporaries, and include some of the repertoire's most beloved arias. Further details will be announced at a later date.

Piotr Beczala sang his first Don José in Bizet's Carmen to wide acclaim earlier this year at the Wiener Staatsoper. "Piotr Beczala has the kind of voice you want to hang medals on." --Opera News, 2015

For more information, visit https://www.pentatonemusic.com/news/tenor-piotr-beczala-signs-to-pentatone

--Silvia Pietrosanti, PENTATONE

Concerts at Saint Thomas Presents Its March Performances
Concerts at Saint Thomas opens their Spring 2018 concerts with a March 22 performance of the intimate two-piano arrangement of Brahms' towering A German Requiem. The performance features the Saint Thomas Choir of Men and Boys alongside soloists Hyesang Park (soprano) and John Brancy (baritone), and pianists Michal Biel and Katelan Terrell, all of whom are up-and-coming Juilliard graduates. The rarely heard two-piano version allows for a degree of precision and contrapuntal clarity not always found in the orchestral version.

Brahms: A German Requiem
Version for choir and two pianos
March 22, 2018, Thursday at 7:30 pm
Saint Thomas Church Fifth Avenue at West 53rd Street, NYC
Tickets required

The intensity of the Brahms work leads into Holy Week, which will be observed with a pair of musical meditations on the organ, with Associate Organist Benjamin Sheen on March 26 and Organist and Director of Music Daniel Hyde on March 27. Each performance surveys the spiritual and theological influences of the music of J.S. Bach on three of the nineteenth century's greatest composers—Mendelssohn, Brahms and Schumann.

Holy Week Organ Meditations
March 26, Monday at 7:00 pm amd March 27, Tuesday at 7:00 pm
Saint Thomas Church Fifth Avenue at West 53rd Street, NYC
No tickets required, donation requested

For more information and tickets, visit http://www.saintthomaschurch.org/

--Andrew Ousley, Unison Media

American Brass Quintet Celebrate Thirty Years as Juilliard's Ensemble-in-Residence
This season marks the 30th anniversary of the American Brass Quintet as Ensemble-in-Residence at The Juilliard School.

As a special celebration, Juilliard has commissioned Philip Lasser, professor of Compositional Studies, for a piece dedicated to the Quintet, Common Heroes, Uncommon Land. A visionary composer with ties to both traditions, Lasser is known for his unique style of blending the colorful harmonies of French Impressionist sonorities with the dynamic rhythms and characteristics of American music.

The new piece will be premiered on February 14, 2018 at Juilliard's Paul Hall. Additional works to be performed include selections arranged by the Quintet's members Louis Hanzlik and Kevin Cobb, and Copperwave by Joan Tower.

For complete information, visit https://www.juilliard.edu/event/131136/faculty-recital-american-brass-quintet

--Xi Wang, Kirshbaum Associates

Orchestra and Astrophysicist Explore the Art and Science of Sunrises Through Music
February 3rd, 2018: Immersive concert event continues the Park Avenue Chamber Symphony's Innovative Series of "InsideOut Experiences for Audiences," which will feature noted Astrophysicist Dr. Jackie Faherty, Senior Scientist in the Department of Astrophysics at the American Museum of Natural History.

Already breaking new ground with InsideOut Experiences that seat audiences interspersed between the musicians of the orchestra, Park Avenue Chamber Symphony Music Director David Bernard is going one step further — taking the experience interstellar. "Music has an almost infinite ability to capture audience's imagination, transporting them across time and space," says Maestro Bernard. "There is no better example of this phenomenon than the vivid depiction of a sunrise in Ravel's Daphnis and Chloe that starts our February 3rd InsideOut event." The orchestra will conclude the program with a performance of Brahms Symphony No. 2.

Saturday, February 3, 2018, 2 p.m. (Family Experience) and 5 p.m. (Full Experience): Good Shepherd-Faith Presbyterian Church, 152 West 66th Street, New York, N.Y.

For more information, visit https://www.smarttix.com/EventSearch/?SearchWord=good%20morning

--James Inverne Music Consultancy

Violinist Xi Wang Returns to Carnegie Hall
Violinist Xi Wang returns to the Carnegie Hall with the Karwendel Artists on Wednesday, January 31, 2018 at 7:30 pm. Praised by the Bavarian Radio Klassik as "the inspiration of the Alpine town", the Karwendel Artists, consisting of faculty and outstanding alumni of the Karwendel Music Festival, perform a program perfectly reflecting their spirits: flashy, bold and passionate.

On the bill: Carmen Fantasy by Franz Waxman and Concert Fantasy on themes from Gershwin's Porgy and Bess by Frolov; the New York premiere of Chinese Folk Tunes for Two Violins, arranged by Xi Wang; and one of the summits of the piano trio repertoire – Tchaikovsky's Piano Trio in A minor, op. 50.

For complete information, visit https://www.carnegiehall.org/Calendar/2018/01/31/KARWENDEL-ARTISTS-GALA-CONCERT-0730PM

--Sida Tang, W&T Arts Promotion

Wu Man and Huayin Shadow Puppet Band to Embark on Twelve-City U.S. Tour
An ambassador for China's vibrant cultural heritage, pipa virtuoso Wu Man embarks on a twelve-city U.S. tour March 1-25 with the Huayin Shadow Puppet Band, whose traditional shadow puppetry and music she discovered in rural China while unearthing ancient art forms to preserve and bring to international attention.

This group, formerly known as the Zhang Family Band, continues a centuries-old tradition of blending music, drama, and classic Chinese shadow puppetry, but was little known outside the mountains of northeastern China until Wu Man brought them to Carnegie Hall in 2009 and now to the wider U.S. The concert program features Wu Man performing both solo and with the Huayin Shadow Puppet Band.

For complete information, visit http://www.wumanpipa.org/

--Shuman Associates

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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