Classical Music News of the Week, August 11, 2018

Dominique Labelle To Receive Opera Canada's "Ruby" Award

Opera Canada Publications announces 2018 Opera Canada Awards, "The Rubies" recipients to be honoured at October 22nd, 2018 Gala. The three distinguished honourees who will receive the 2018 Opera Canada Awards will be celebrated at a gala award evening at First Canadian Place in downtown Toronto.

The 2018 Opera Canada Award honourees are Dominique Labelle, soprano and vocal pedagogue; Wayne Gooding, opera educator and Editor, Opera Canada (1994-2017); and Alexander Neef, General Director, Canadian Opera Company and Artistic Director, Santa Fe Opera.

In 2000, Opera Canada magazine introduced the Opera Canada Awards, nicknamed 'The Rubies,' in honour of its founding Editor, Ruby Mercer. This gala evening celebrates the talent and accomplishments of Canadians who have made a significant contribution to the opera world as artists, builders, administrators and philanthropists.

For more information, visit

--Schwalbe and Partners

Orion Hosts Benefits Combining Music and Festivity
The Orion Ensemble, winner of the prestigious Chamber Music America/ASCAP Award for
Adventurous Programming, hosts two special events this fall: a post-concert event following its opening performance September 23 in Evanston, Illinois and a benefit performance and party Saturday, October 13 in St. Charles, Illinois. Proceeds will help support Orion's performances and outreach efforts to young musicians.

On Sunday, September 23 at 3 p.m., Orion opens its 26th season, The Journey Continues, with "Vienna, City of My Dreams," at Nichols Concert Hall, 1490 Chicago Ave., Evanston, Illinios. The program, which includes guest violist Stephen Boe, features Mozart's Clarinet Quartet in B-flat Major, after KV317d; Schubert's Adagio and Rondo Concertante in F Major for Piano Quartet, D. 487; and Strauss's Piano Quartet in C minor, Op. 13.

Following the performance, Orion celebrates the season opening at a benefit reception from 5 to 7 p.m. at Vinic Wines, 1509 Chicago Avenue in Evanston, Illinois. Guests enjoy wine, snacks and conversation with Orion artists, board members and concertgoers. Orion is requesting a $50 donation for admission. Space is limited; reservations are available by emailing or calling 630-628-9591.

For more information, visit

--Jill Chukerman, The Orion Ensemble

St. Charles Singers to Open 35th Season with Mozart Festival Weekend Aug. 24-26
Professional chamber choir St. Charles Singers, conducted by Jeffrey Hunt, will open its 35th concert season with a three-day Mozart Festival Weekend August 24-26, 2018, joined by the Metropolis Chamber Orchestra and guest soloist, soprano Michelle Areyzaga.

Each festival day will feature a different concert of music by Wolfgang Amadeus Mozart, including two new installments of the choir's Mozart Journey, its multiyear excursion through Mozart's complete sacred choral music.

All three concerts will take place at Baker Memorial United Methodist Church, 307 Cedar Ave., St. Charles, Illinois.

The Mozart Journey XIII concert at 7:30 p.m. on Friday, August 24, will include Mozart's Missa in C Major, K. 262, notable for its large complement of woodwind and brass instruments; "Grabmusik," K. 42, in which an Angel (soprano) and human soul (bass) sing solos and duets; and sacramental motet "Tantum ergo" in B-flat Major, K. 142. Areyzaga will sing in "Grabmusik" and "Tantum ergo."

The Metropolis Chamber Orchestra, conducted by Hunt, will take center stage at 7:30 p.m. on Saturday, August 25, for an all-instrumental concert of Mozart's orchestral music. The program will include the Overture to Mozart's unfinished opera "Lo sposo deluso" ("The Deluded Bridegroom"), K. 430; the humorous Serenade in D Major, K. 320 ("Post Horn"); and Symphony in C Major, No. 41, K. 551 ("Jupiter"), Mozart's final symphony and one of his greatest creations, bursting with action and musical colors.

For more information, visit

--Nat Silverman, Nathan J. Silverman Company PR

Get Your Free Rameau Audio Download from KDFC
Like free music? Sign up for Classical KDFC's eNotes and you'll get access to their free music "downloads of the week." This week, KDFC is offering a free download of Philharmonia Baroque Orchestra's recording of the Overture of Jean-Philippe Rameau's Le Temple de la Gloire.

If you already receive KDFC eNotes, watch for the free Rameau download today. If not, sign up now to get it while it's available. Sign up here to get KDFC weekly eNotes and get the free download:

--Marketing, Philharmonia Baroque Orchestra

Orpheus Chamber Orchestra Performs with Pianist Nobuyuki Tsujii
In its 46th year of innovative concerts, Orpheus Chamber Orchestra kicks off its 2018-19 Carnegie Hall series on Thursday, September 20, 2018 at 8:00 p.m. in Stern Auditorium / Perelman Stage with Gentle Giants, featuring 2009 Van Cliburn International Piano Competition-winning Japanese pianist Nobuyuki Tsujii.

Tchaikovsky, Chopin and Pärt--three of music's gentlest giants--turned inward to discover their groundbreaking, heart-wrenching voices. Now Orpheus expands the reach of their pivotal masterpieces through lucid re-orchestrations. Tsujii, who has been blind since birth, joins Orpheus for Chinese-American composer Shuying Li's new chamber orchestra arrangement of Chopin's Piano Concerto No. 2, Op. 21. The program also includes Arvo Pärt's Fratres and Tchaikovsky's String Quartet No. 1 in D Major, Op. 11 reimagined and arranged for chamber orchestra by Christopher Theofanidis. Both arrangements were commissioned by Orpheus.

The program receives its world premiere on Friday, September 14, 2018 at the Williams Center for the Arts at Lafayette College in Easton, PA and will also be performed on Sunday, September 16, 2018 at The Performing Arts Center at Purchase College in Purchase, NY; and Friday, September 21, 2018 at Troy Savings Bank Music Hall in Troy, NY.

For complete information about Orpheus, please call 212.896.1700 or visit

--Katy Salomon, Morahan Arts and Media

August 12 on PBS: Luisa Miller on "Great Performances at the Met"
There is new video available from "Great Performances at the Met": Luisa Miller, starring Sonya Yoncheva in the title role and Piotr Beczala as Rodolfo, with Plácido Domingo as Luisa's father, Miller, airing Sunday, August 12 at 12:00 p.m. on PBS (check local listings).

Verdi's heart-wrenching opera follows the tragic romance of Luisa and Rodolfo as their love is tested by intrigue, lies and betrayal. Bertrand de Billy conducts. Anthony Roth Costanzo hosts.

For video, visit
Or at YouTube:

--Dorian Rose Pugh, WNET

The Crossing Premieres Ted Hearne Work in Of Arms and the Man
Winner of the 2018 Grammy Award for Best Choral Performance, The Crossing, conducted by Donald Nally, kicks off its 2018-2019 season on Sunday, September 16, 2018 at 8:00 p.m. with Of Arms and the Man, part of the Philadelphia Fringe Festival.

The program, which explores the timeless themes of nationalism and war while navigating personal stories of joy and despair, features a world premiere by 2018 Pulitzer Prize finalist Ted Hearne, the nation's preeminent composer of works of social advocacy, co-commissioned by Park Avenue Armory and The Crossing.

Donald Nally describes, "The concert takes a look at life and war and life during war from a number of angles: national pride, grief, and anger. Ted's new piece is going to fit into this overall theme of how we agree or disagree across nations and continents and what we're actually doing when we act on those alliances or arguments. In Of Arms and the Man, The Crossing continues to ask complex questions for which there may be no easy answers." Three cellos will join the 24-voice ensemble, weaving a tapestry of works that explore what's happening in choral music today.

For more information, visit

--Katy Salomon, Morahan Arts and Media

PIAS Launches Contemporary Music Label Sancho Panza
Artist manager and agent Steve Abbott of Harmonic Artists has partnered with [PIAS] for his new record label, Sancho Panza, which will specialise in contemporary music. Sancho Panza exists solely to release new music; music being made in and representing the times we live in. Classical music will be a core focus for the label, which will also feature jazz and electronic releases.

Sancho Panza's first signing is a London based string group, the 12 ensemble, with their debut album 'Resurrection'. The ensemble are set to appear at The Good Life Experience in North Wales on 15th September, showcasing their versatility with a performance of Schubert's epic 'Death and the Maiden' quartet (arr. Mahler) followed by a stunning arrangement of Icelandic post-rockers Sigur Rós's song 'Fljotavik' by ensemble member Guy Button. The ensemble then embarks on their 'Reborn' tour, performing Tansy Davies 'Residuum', Woolrich 'Ulysses Awakes', Britten 'Lachrymae' and Schubert 'Death and the Maiden' with dates in London, Manchester and Bristol throughout September.

For more information, visit

--Sarah Folger, PIAS

The Angel's Share presents the JACK Quartet, September 24
The Angel's Share, a new concert series by Unison Media and The Green-Wood Historic Fund which features opera and chamber music concerts in Green-Wood's remarkable Catacombs, will continue September 24 with a one-night-only performance by acclaimed new music ensemble the JACK Quartet.

The quartet will perform their remarkable Modern Medieval program, which traces the threads across centuries, weaving together contemporary works with arrangements of Medieval plainchant from JACK violinist Christopher Otto. The program escalates in intensity, beginning with Marcos Balter's Chambers, then moving to Chaya Czernowin's String Quartet, before culminating in John Zorn's hypnotic, necromantic fantasy, The Alchemist.

The JACK Quartet: Modern Medieval
Green-Wood Cemetery
500 25th Street, Brooklyn, NY
Monday, September 24: 6:30 p.m. – 9:00 p.m.

For complete information, visit

--Andrew Ousley, Unison Media

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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 Jon 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 of The $ensible Sound magazine 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 simpleminded, 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 Arcam CDS50 CSD/SACD CD player, Goldpoint SA4 Passive Preamp, Legacy Audio PowerBloc2 amplifier, and a pair of Legacy Audio Focus SE loudspeakers. 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 cell phone. 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.

William (Bill) Heck, Contributing Reviewer

Among my early childhood memories are those of listening to my mother playing records (some even 78 rpm ones!) of both classical music and jazz tunes. I suppose that her love of music was transmitted genetically, and my interest was sustained by years of playing in rock bands – until I realized that this was no way to make a living. The interest in classical music was rekindled in grad school when the university FM station serving as background music for studying happened to play the Brahms First Symphony. As the work came to an end, it struck me forcibly that this was the most beautiful thing I had ever heard, and from that point on, I never looked back. This revelation was to the detriment of my studies, as I subsequently spent way too much time simply listening, but music has remained a significant part of my life. These days, although I still can tell a trumpet from a bassoon and a quarter note from a treble clef, I have to admit that I remain a nonexpert. But I do love music in general and classical music in particular, and I enjoy sharing both information and opinions about it.

The audiophile bug bit about the same time that I returned to that classical music. I’ve gone through plenty of equipment, brands from Audio Research to Yamaha, and the best of it has opened new audio insights. Along the way, I reviewed components, and occasionally recordings, for The $ensible Sound magazine. Recently I’ve rebuilt--I prefer to say reinvigorated--my audio system, with a Sangean FM HD tuner and (for the moment) an ancient Toshiba multi-format disk player serving as a transport, both feeding a NAD C 658 streaming preamp/DAC, which in turn connects to a Legacy Powerbloc2 amplifier driving my trusty Waveform Mach Solo speakers, supplemented by a Hsu Research ULS 15 Mk II subwoofer.

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