Classical Music News of the Week, January 6, 2018

American Classical Orchestra Performs Six Baroque Concerti with Violinist Stephanie Chase

On Thursday, February 8, 2018 at 8pm, American Classical Orchestra, "the nation's premier orchestra dedicated to period instrument performance" (Vulture), celebrates the virtuosic violin concerti of great Baroque masters at Alice Tully Hall at Lincoln Center. The program features acclaimed violinist and expert period instrumentalist, Stephanie Chase, in six concerti: Handel's Concerto Grosso in B-flat Major, Opus 6, No. 7; J.S. Bach's Concerto for Violin in A Minor, BWV 1041; Muffat's Concerto Grosso in G Major, 'Perseverantia'; Bach's Concerto for Two Violins in D Minor, BWV 1043 with Orchestra of St. Luke's concertmaster violinist Krista Bennion Feeney; Bach's Brandenburg Concerto No. 3 in G Major, BWV 1048; and Vivaldi's Concerto for Four Violins in B Minor, RV 580 with violinists Krista Bennion Feeney, Theresa Salomon, and Karen Dekker.

This season, American Classical Orchestra has instituted an innovative Concert Preview program that will bring listeners closer to the music. Before conducting the program, Maestro Crawford delivers an introduction, with the full orchestra on-stage performing excerpts from the evening's program. Crawford's engaging narratives, along with the live music, give audiences greater insights into what they're about to hear, resulting in a more enriched musical experience.

The final concert of ACO's 2017-18 season includes a program of works by Brahms, Schubert, and Ries with contralto Avery Amereau and the ACO Men's Chorus on March 24.

Program information:
Thursday, February 8, 2018 at 8:00pm (7:30pm Concert Preview)
Alice Tully Hall, Lincoln Center, 1941 Broadway, New York, NY
American Classical Orchestra

Tickets start at $35. To purchase, please call 212.721.6500 or visit www.lincolncenter.org. Visit www.aconyc.org for more information.

--Katy Salomon, Morahan Arts and Media

American Opera Projects: New Operas for the New Year
With your help, American Opera Projects (AOP) develops up to twenty new operas at a time, taking operas from concept to workshops and into final productions at leading venues and opera companies across 40 cities. In the 2016/17 season alone, AOP had 80 performances for 38,000 people, many of them seeing an opera for the first time. Here's what's coming in the new year:

AOP-developed operas with 5 full productions in 2018:
The Echo Drift by composer Mikael Karlsson and librettists Elle Kunnos de Voss and Kathryn Walat on solitary confinement, at New York City's PROTOTYPE Festival January 10 - 20, 2018.

Six. Twenty. Outrageous. by composer Daniel Davis based on texts by Gertrude Stein at New York City's Symphony Space, February 9-11, 2018 (and ask about our private party February 11).

Ashes & Snow by composer Douglas J. Cuomo at Pittsburgh Opera, February 17 - 25, 2018 and fall 2018 in New York City.

The Summer King on Negro League star, Josh Gibson, by composer Daniel Sonenberg, co-librettist Daniel Nester, and additional lyrics by Mark Campbell. At Michigan Opera Theatre in Detroit from May 12 -19, 2018, following a successful world premiere at Pittsburgh Opera in spring 2017.

As One by composer Laura Kaminsky and librettists Mark Campbell and Kimberly Reed. As One will be at Hawaii Opera Theatre, January 11-16; Lyric Opera Kansas City, January 27-28; and Anchorage Opera February 9-11; and more venues through 2018, making it one of the most performed contemporary operas in the US.

For details, see aopopera.org/events.

AOP's training for emerging artists is growing:
AOP's Composers & the Voice just started a new two-year season to train young composers and librettists - primarily women - in all aspects of operatic writing. AOP also provides and is expanding training programs for college students.

More pop-up operas, now every month:
AOP partners with several community groups  providing 20 free outdoor performances to the general public across New York's five boroughs.

We appreciate your support in the coming year for American Opera Projects and for contemporary opera.

For more information, visit www.aopopera.org

--Charles Jarden, General Director, AOP

Trio Settecento Makes Nichols Hall Debut Feb. 18
The Music Institute of Chicago presents Trio Settecento—comprising Rachel Barton Pine, John Mark Rozendaal, and David Schrader—Sunday, February 18 at 3 p.m. at Nichols Concert Hall, 1490 Chicago Ave., Evanston, Illinois.

For the program "Five at Twenty," Trio Settecento celebrates 20 years of making music with an evening of sonatas drawn from Arcangelo Corelli's Opus V of 1700, one of the most beloved publications in the history of music. This set of violin solos, comprising six "church sonatas" (containing fugues) and six "chamber sonatas" (mostly dances), offered compelling new conceptions of what both the violin and the sonata could achieve, a feat that has impacted the practice of instrumental music to the present day.

Trio Settecento—Rachel Barton Pine, baroque violin, viola d'amore, as well as a Music Institute alumna and Life Trustee; John Mark Rozendaal, viola da gamba, baroque cello; and David Schrader, harpsichord, positiv organ—formed in 1996 to perform 17th and 18th century chamber music from Italy, Germany, France, and England, using antique instruments of rare beauty and expressive power.

Trio Settecento performs Sunday, February 18 at 3 p.m. at Nichols Concert Hall, 1490 Chicago Avenue in Evanston, IL. Tickets are $30 for adults, $20 for seniors, and $10 for students, available at musicinst.org/faculty-guest-artist-series or 847.905.1500 ext. 108.

For more information, visit musicinst.org.

--Jill Chukerman, Music Institute of Chicago

Grammy Nominee Steven Isserlis Plays with PBO
Grammy-nominated cellist Steven Isserlis joins the Philharmonia Baroque Orchestra for February Concerts in San Francisco, Berkeley, and Palo Alto, CA.

Philharmonia Baroque Orchestra & Chorale's planets have aligned to bring star violoncellist Steven Isserlis back to perform Haydn's Concerto for Violoncello No. 2 in D major, fresh off his 2018 Grammy-nominated album, in a program featuring Haydn, Mozart and composer-come-astronomer Sir William Herschel called "Harmonic Convergence."

In addition to a 2017 Grammy nomination for his recording of cello concertos by Haydn and CPE Bach with Deutsche Kammerphilharmonie Bremen, Isserlis's recording was named "Limelight" Magazine's Orchestral Recording of the Year for 2017.

In an interview with Australia's "Limelight" Magazine, Isserlis says, "The D Major is much more operatic. When I checked it out I was not surprised that it was from the year he [Haydn] wrote his last opera. It's very much about melodies, but it's also a dramatic thing. It's so like a love song."

Considered one of the most important cellists of his generation, Isserlis brings extraordinary verve and a deep complexity to his playing. This marks Isserlis' fourth appearance with Philharmonia. In addition to the Orchestra's subscription concerts, Isserlis will also appear with Nicholas McGegan, scholar Francesco Spagnolo and the orchestra in "Jewish Songlines" as part of PBO SESSIONS, the organization's alternative concert series. This program will take place at the Contemporary Jewish Museum on February 8 at 8 pm.

PBO SESSIONS tickets are $25 and available only through PBO Patron Services which can be reached at 415-295-1900 or philharmonia.org/pbo-sessions.

When and where:
Wednesday February 7, 7:30 pm
First United Methodist Church, Palo Alto, CA

Friday February 9, 8 pm
Herbst Theatre, San Francisco, CA

Saturday February 10, 8 pm
First Congregational Church, Berkeley, CA

Sunday February 11, 4 pm
First Congregational Church, Berkeley, CA

Tickets range from $28 to $125. For more information about these and other Philharmonia Baroque Orchestra & Chorale concerts, visit philharmonia.org. For tickets, call 415-392-4400 or visit cityboxoffice.com.

--Dianne Provenzano, PBO

Nashville Symphony Bringing Violins of Hope to Nashville in 2018
The Nashville Symphony is leading a landmark community-wide partnership to bring the Violins of Hope to Nashville in one of the most wide-ranging and comprehensive collections of events ever compiled around this rare collection of restored instruments played by Jewish musicians during The Holocaust.

Kicking off February 9-11, 2018, with Nashville Ballet's performances of Light: The Holocaust and Humanity Project, two dozen organizations – including the Nashville Symphony, Jewish Federation of Nashville and Middle Tennessee, Nashville Public Library, the Frist Center for the Visual Arts, Vanderbilt University's Blair School of Music, the Tennessee Holocaust Commission and multiple houses of worship – will take part in this collaborative effort by presenting performances, lectures, exhibits and other events, highlighted by a free public exhibition at the Nashville Public Library running March 26-May 27, 2018. The sound, presence and stories of these instruments will drive the creation of public conversation, interfaith dialogue and educational activities throughout Middle Tennessee.

"Each of these instruments has a remarkable story to tell about resilience of the human spirit in the face of unimaginable difficulty," says Alan D. Valentine, Nashville Symphony President and CEO. "This singular collection will serve as a springboard for many of Nashville's cultural organizations to explore the vital role that music, the arts and creativity play in all of our lives."

More information, including a complete schedule of events and photos and histories of the violins, is available at ViolinsofHopeNashville.org.

--Rebecca Davis Public Relations

Lucas Meachem Announces His 2017-2018 Season
Following his Grammy win for "Best Opera Recording" as Figaro in Los Angeles Opera's production of The Ghosts of Versailles, baritone Lucas Meachem hits the ground running in 2018, performing lead roles at top opera houses around the world.

Meachem opened his 2017-2018 season with a return to the Metropolitan Opera for one of his signature roles as Marcello in Franco Zeffirelli's acclaimed production of La bohème. Meachem's talent for making audiences laugh will be featured in his most iconic role of Figaro in The Barber of Seville, as he brings his bel canto expertise to the Houston Grand Opera for a much anticipated house debut.

Following that, he returns to the Metropolitan Opera for a second run of La bohème, which will be simulcast in movie theaters across the globe for the Metropolitan Opera's Live in HD broadcasts. Meachem then turns his attention to tackling his 50th operatic role as Athanaël in Thaïs with the Minnesota Opera.

From pious monk to the world's most iconic womanizer, Meachem will return to the Dresden Semperoper to reprise the title role in Andreas Kriegenburg's production of Mozart's Don Giovanni. He will then finish out his season with a series of concerts in Prague, Montréal, Napa Valley, Salzburg, and Grafenegg.

For full 2017-2018 season information, visit http://lucasmeachem.com/schedule/

--Andrew Ousley, Unison Media

Aspect Foundation Presents Taneyev & Arensky
The ASPECT Foundation for Music & Arts presents "Taneyev and Arensky: In Tchaikovsky's Shadow" on Wednesday, February 7, 2018 at 7:30 p.m. at Bohemian National Hall, part of the foundation's second New York City season of illuminating performances featuring many of the most prominent performers and musical scholars of today.

"Taneyev and Arensky: In Tchaikovsky's Shadow," conceived by violinist Philippe Quint, shines a spotlight on Sergei Taneyev's Piano Quintet in G minor, Op. 30 and Anton Arensky's String Quartet No. 2 in A minor, performed by Quint together with violinist Ji in Yang, pianist Alexander Kobrin, violist Milena Pajaro van de Stadt, and cellists Zlatomir Fung and Brook Speltz.

Journalist Damian Fowler will interview Quint in an illustrated talk interspersed throughout the program, bringing to life the music of these two composers who lived under the shadow of Tchaikovsky's greatness through historical artifacts, scores, paintings, and photographs. Anton Arensky's Quartet was composed in memory of Tchaikovsky for an ensemble of single violin, viola and two cellos, and Tchaikovsky's pupil Sergei Taneyev is often called the "Russian Brahms."

Additional concerts in ASPECT Foundations' 2017-18 season include "The Art of Fugue" on Thursday, April 12, 2018, featuring the Fretwork Ensemble and an illustrated talk by Richard Boothby; "Weimar: The Cradle of Musical Talent" on Thursday, April 19 featuring pianist Vsevolod Dvorkin and cellist Sergey Antonov, with an illustrated talk by Stephen Johnson; and "Fête Galante: The Anatomy of Melancholy" on Thursday, May 17 featuring the Four Nations Ensemble and soprano Sherezade Panthaki, with an illustrated talk by Tav Holmes.

For more information, visit http://www.aspectfoundation.net/

--Katy Salomon, Morahan Arts and Media

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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