Classical Music News of the Week, September 1, 2018

Concerts at Saint Thomas Presents a Pair of October 2018 Performances

The 2018-19 season at Concerts at Saint Thomas will begin with a major dedicatory event centered around the inauguration of the church's new Miller-Scott Organ. After over ten years of planning, this magnificent organ will be debuted by Saint Thomas's current Organist and Director of Music, Daniel Hyde, in a special solo recital on October 5th officially dedicating the instrument to the church's former music director, John Scott. A virtuosic program has been planned with the intent of showcasing the instrument's full sonic capabilities ranging from soft string voices to the iconic "blazing Saint Thomas sound."

On October 18th, Benjamin Sheen plays the organ for its first concert with the Saint Thomas Choir of Men and Boys, and its orchestral debut with the Orchestra of St. Luke's.

October 5, 2018: Friday at 7:00 PM
The Irene D. and William R. Miller Chancel Organ in Memory of John Scott Dedication Recital
Grand Organ Series I, Daniel Hyde, organ
Saint Thomas Church, Fifth Avenue at West 53rd Street, NYC
(Tickets required)

October 18, 2018: Thursday at 7:30 PM
Parry, Janacek, Bernstein, Poulenc and Barber
The Saint Thomas Choir of Men and Boys and Orchestra of St. Luke's
Benjamin Sheen, organ; Sara Cutler, harp; Hyesang Park, soprano; Daniel Hyde, conductor
Saint Thomas Church, Fifth Avenue at West 53rd Street, NYC
(Tickets required)

Tickets may be purchased at, by calling the Concerts Office at (212) 664-9360, by email at, or in person at the Concerts Office at One West 53rd Street at Fifth Avenue (enter through the Parish House).

Video of the The Miller-Scott Organ, Saint Thomas Church:

--Andrew Ousley, Unison Media

International Contemporary Ensemble Announces Fall 2018 Concerts
The International Contemporary Ensemble (ICE) announces their fall 2018 season and the appointment of Executive Director Rebecca Sigel.

Engagements this autumn include residencies at Depauw University, University of North Texas, Cornell University, and University of Michigan; a concert at the 2018 Resonant Bodies Festival at Roulette Intermedium; performances of Nathan Davis and Phyllis Chen's In Plain Air at Christ Church Neighborhood House in Philadelphia, part of the Philly Fringe Festival; the New York premiere performances of Missy Mazzoli's opera Proving Up at Miller Theatre; the politically themed program, the national anthems, with The Crossing at Peak Performances; a performance with Hidejiro Honjo at the Japan Society; a concert at the Rubin Institute for Music Criticism at the San Francisco Conservatory of Music; 100 for 100: Musical Decades of Freedom with the Polskie Wydawnictwo Muzyczne and Polish Cultural Institute New York at Roulette; a Miller Theatre Composer Portrait of Du Yun; and a return to Constellation in Chicago.

For more specific information about the upcoming season, visit

--Katy Salomon, Morahan Arts and Media

Czech Star Violinist Pavel Sporcl Receives "Torch-Bearer Award" in NYC
The award is given to people who outstandingly serve their cities, communities, and countries; Sporcl is a rare musician recipient for a prize that often focuses on sports rather than arts.

Superstar Czech violinist Pavel Sporcl is in New York to receive a special prize for his work bringing society together through music. The prize, called the "Torch-Bearer Award," was presented outside the United Nations building this past weekend by the Sri Chimnoy Oneness-Home Peace Run, a nonprofit institute whose other activities include an international run in which a torch is passed from person to person to encourage people to express their hopes and dreams for a better world. The award "honours those people whose who have inspired and served their nations, their cities and their communities." It was presented in front of fellow luminaries and UN national delegates.

Previous winners of the award include Olympian athlete Carl Lewis, European Council President Herman van Rompuy, tennis legend Billie Jean King and Archibishop Desmond Tutu amongst many others.

--James Inverne Music Consultancy

Five Boroughs Music Festival Presents Violin and Guitar Duo
Five Boroughs Music Festival (5BMF) opens its 2018-19 season with a performance by duo Fire & Grace, featuring guitarist William Coulter and violinist Edwin Huizinga. Fire & Grace's programs explore the connective musical elements of classical, folk, and contemporary traditions from around the world, showcased through the duo's own arrangements. Concerts are held on Thursday, September 27, 2018 at 7:30 p.m. at An Beal Bocht Café in Riverdale in collaboration with ClassicalCafé, with additional performances on Friday, September 28, 2018 at 7:00 p.m. at Rockwood Music Hall, Stage 3 in Manhattan, and on Sunday, September 30, 2018 at 3:00 p.m. at Alice Austen House in Staten Island.

Additional 5BMF performances in the 2018-19 season include An Empire of Silver & Gold: Music of 18th Century Latin America, an exploration of 18th century vocal and instrumental pieces from Latin American manuscript sources on November 5; the return of baroque virtuosi, Les Délices, in a new program entitled "Songs Without Words" on February 23 & 24; the award-winning all female Aizuri Quartet on March 22; a collaboration with pianist Martin Katz and the Brooklyn Art Song Society in "Hugo Wolf: The Complete Mörike-Lieder" on April 28, May 3 and 4; and concludes with two special programs celebrating LGBT composers and librettists in collaboration with the New York Festival of Song and the LGBT Community Center ("The Center") on June 11 and 25.

For more information, visit

--Will Albach, Morahan Arts and Media

Musica Viva NY Presents "Songs of Love" Benefit Concert
Musica Viva NY kicks off its 2018-19 season with "Songs of Love," an evening of lieder by Johannes Brahms, Robert Schumann, and P.D.Q. Bach, on Sunday, September 23 at 5:00 p.m. at All Souls Church. The concert features soprano Devony Smith, mezzo-soprano Michèle Eaton, tenor Nathan Siler, and baritone Brian Mextorf, accompanied by Artistic Director Alejandro Hernandez-Valdez and Trent Johnson.

There will be a pre-concert talk at 4pm at All Souls Church, open to all, given by Professor Peter Schickele. Admission is free, with a suggested donation at the door to support Musica Viva NY's artistic programming.

Founded in 1977, Musica Viva NY shares the transcendent power of choral and instrumental music with audiences in New York City and beyond, through its annual four-concert series. The Musica Viva NY choir of thirty professionals and highly skilled volunteers performs broad repertoire, including new compositions and classic masterworks, emphasizing artistic excellence and transformative interpretations.

Additional concerts in Musica Viva NY's 2018-19 season include End of the War to End All Wars on Sunday, November 11, 2018 at All Souls Church, commemorating the end of World War I; Musica Viva NY Presents the Aeolus Quartet on Sunday, January 27, 2019 at Bohemian National Hall; "Bernstein at 100" on Sunday, March 10, 2019 celebrating Bernstein's centennial; and Homage on Sunday, May 19, 2019 spotlighting composers paying tribute to the past masters who inspired them.

For more information, visit

--Will Albach, Morahan Arts and Media

Wang Piano Duo To Conclude 30th Chicago Duo Piano Festival
The Music Institute of Chicago's Chicago Duo Piano Festival (CDPF) concludes its 30th anniversary season with the celebrated Susan and Sarah Wang Piano Duo in concert Friday, October 26 at 7:30 p.m. at Nichols Concert Hall, 1490 Chicago Avenue, Evanston.

The concert program includes Mozart's Sonata for Two Pianos in D Major, K448; Stravinsky's Concerto per Due Pianoforti Soli; Mendelssohn's Andante and Allegro Brillant, Op. 92; Sven Daigger's "su" for two pianos (2009); and Ravel's La Valse.

In addition, the duo will give a master class, free and open to the public, Saturday, October 27 from 10 a.m. to 1 p.m. at Nichols Concert Hall.

Susan and Sarah Wang Piano Duo performs Friday, October 26 at 7:30 p.m. at Nichols Concert Hall, 1490 Chicago Avenue in Evanston, Illinois.

Admission is $50 for VIP seating, $40 for adults, $25 for senior citizens, and $15 for students. Tickets are available or by calling 847.448.8328 or 800.838-3006 ext. 108. The master class is free. All programming is subject to change.

For more information, visit

--Jill Chukerman, Music Institute of Chicago

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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