Classical Music News of the Week, September 22, 2018

American Bach Soloists Gala: Sparkle 2018 "Versailles"

Artistic Director Jeffrey Thomas, Executive Director Don Scott Carpenter, and the Musicians, Board, and Staff of American Bach Soloists invite you to join them for an illuminating San Francisco evening: The 16th Annual Gala Auction, Concert, & Dinner.

Celebrating the Court of Louis XIV and the Music of France and Honoring the First Three Decades of Jeffrey Thomas's Artistic Leadership.

Saturday, September 29, 2018, 5:00pm
James Leary Flood Mansion, San Francisco, CA

Enjoy an exclusive and superlative performance in the Flood Mansion's Chapel (rarely accessible to the public). Bid on exciting auction items while enjoying superb cuisine and excellent wines and cocktails. All proceeds will benefit the ABS Academy.

Auction highlights:
A trip to Versailles, ABS exclusive events in private homes, concert tickets, wine, art, jewelry, and much more.

Order of events:
5:00 p.m., arrival and check-in
Cocktails, Baroque dancing by San Francisco Renaissance Dancers & Dance Through Time

5:30 p.m.
Concert by American Bach Soloists, featuring Elizabeth Blumenstock, Sandra Miller, Nola Richardson, Steven Lehning, and Corey Jamason; Jeffrey Thomas, conductor.

Musical program:
Jacques Aubert le Vieux (1689-1753)
Concert de Simphonies
Suite No. 2 in D Major, Op. 9

François Couperin (1668-1733)
Deuxième Concert Royaux in D Major

Jean-Philippe Rameau (1683-1764)

Jean-Féry Rebel (1666–1747)
Les Caractères de la Danse

6:30 p.m.
Silent Auction with Cocktails & Hors d'oeuvres served
Optional Baroque Dancing lessons

7:30 p.m.
Dinner and live auction

For complete information, visit

For tickets, call 800-595-4849 or visit

--American Bach Soloists

PBO 2018/19 Season Opener: "Mozart Magnified"
With the full force of the Philharmonia Baroque Chorale, and the Orchestra's vibrant range on period instruments, PBO's authenticity shines brightest in simple and dramatic moments of Mozart's most glorious vocal works. Join PBO with exquisite Puerto Rican soprano Camille Ortiz and a star-studded cast as we celebrate Mozart--an ordinary man with extraordinary talents.

Mozart: Litaniae Lauretanae, BMV in D Major, K. 195
Mozart: Exsultate, jubilate, K. 165
Mozart: Mass No. 15 in C major, "Coronation"

Performance schedule:
Wednesday, October 3 @ 7:30 pm: Bing Concert Hall, Stanford, CA
Friday, October 5 @ 8 pm: Herbst Theatre, San Francisco, CA
Saturday, October 6 @ 8 pm: First Congregational Church, Berkeley, CA
Sunday, October 7 @ 4 pm: First Congregational Church, Berkeley, CA

For complete information, visit

--Philharmonia Baroque Orchestra and Chorale

Don't miss the YPC Big Sing This Saturday
Saturday, September 22 at 3:00 p.m.
Peter Norton Symphony Space
2537 Broadway, New York, NY 10025

Join Young People's Chorus of New York City's Artistic Director Francisco J. Núñez, Associate Artistic Director Elizabeth Núñez, and special guests Rollo Dilworth, Mark Shapiro, and Sesame Street's Bob McGrath, in the first-ever YPC Big Sing!

For more information, visit

--Young People's Chorus of New York City

Noteworthy News from Festival Mozaic
Music Director Scott Yoo just wrapped a week of recording in Glasgow with the Royal Scottish National Orchestra. Joining them was cello soloist Bion Tsang. (Hot tip: you can see Bion in San Luis Obispo in February.)

Yoo's next stop? Italy, then England, filming episode four of "Now Hear This," Scott's television program which is slated to hit the airwaves on PBS as part of Great Performances in Spring 2019. Then he's back to Mexico to conduct the Mexico City Philharmonic, where he is Artistic Director and Chief Conductor. We'll look forward to welcoming him back to California in October for our first WinterMezzo weekend!

Marcie Hawthorne, the creator of Festival Mozaic's 2018 original artwork Music Without Borders, will be opening her show "Gifts of the Muses: Music and Nature" at SLO Provisions on Friday, October 5 as part of Art After Dark. The show will feature all new works by Hawthorne, who is generously splitting the proceeds from any art sales with Festival Mozaic. Please come join us to support art, music, and fine food.

Festival bassist Susan Cahill will present a free master class for local musicians and students, in collaboration with the Cal Poly Music Department and San Luis Obispo Youth Symphony. Join Susan on Tuesday, October 23 at 7:30pm at the Cal Poly Davidson Music Center as she provides instruction, suggestions, and constructive feedback to musicians in our community. All of the Festival master classes are free to attend and for students to participate in.

For more information, visit

--Festival Mosaic

Princeton University Concerts Launches Single-Work "Up Close" Series
Princeton University Concerts has been committed to changing how audiences experience classical music concerts. Its "Performances Up Close" series, created three years ago in anticipation of the 2018-19 125th anniversary season, has been at the forefront of this mission.

On Wednesday, October 17, 2018 at 6PM and 9PM, the first of this three-concert series invites audience members to sit on stage at Richardson Auditorium, "up-close" with the Takács Quartet and cellist David Requiro to experience an hour-long, single-work program featuring one of music's most transcendent pieces: Franz Schubert's Cello Quintet in C Major, D. 956, the last chamber work that the composer ever wrote. By offering this remarkable piece of music a chance to breathe and stand on its own, this forward-thinking series goes straight to the spiritual and communal core of chamber music. Every detail of this concert, from stage lighting to seating configuration, is specially curated to foster as direct an experience of the musical work as possible, including readings by Broadway actor and director Michael Dean Morgan and concert design by Michael Dean Morgan and Wesley Cornwell.

Tickets for both performances are already sold out. Any returned tickets will be released for purchase an hour prior to each performance at Richardson Auditorium, Alexander Hall.

For more information, visit

--Dasha Koltunyuk, Princeton University Concerts

Encompass New Opera Theatre Presents World Premiere of Anna Christie
Encompass New Opera Theatre will present the World Premiere of Anna Christie with music by Edward Thomas, set to a libretto by Joseph Masteroff, with 12 performances beginning on Thursday, October 4, 2018 at 8pm and running through Sunday, October 21, 2018, at the Baruch Performing Arts Center (at 55 Lexington Avenue, entrance on 25th Street, between Lexington and Third Avenues) in Manhattan.

Nancy Rhodes is stage director and Julian Wachner conducts the Ionisation New Music Ensemble. The cast includes Frank Basile (Chris Christopherson, Anna Christie's father), Jonathan Estabrooks (Mat Burke), Melanie Long (Anna Christie), Joy Hermalyn (Marthy Owen), and Mike Pirozzi (Larry the Bartender).

For complete information, visit

--Jeffrey James Arts Consulting

Countertenor Aryeh Nussbaum Cohen Named ABS 2019 Jeffrey Thomas Award Recipient
American countertenor Aryeh Nussbaum Cohen has quickly been identified as one of classical music's most promising rising stars.

A standout among the superb young artists who have attended the ABS Academy, countertenor Aryeh Nussbaum Cohen has received tremendous accolades since he first worked with us. ABS audiences have already had two opportunities to hear his extraordinary singing. Thousands of holiday concertgoers heard his ravishing delivery of "He was despised" and other arias in our 2017 performances of Handel's Messiah in Grace Cathedral, and Aryeh offered an "ABS Exclusive" concert last December, performing works by Bach, Handel, and Vivaldi.

The Jeffrey Thomas Award is granted annually at the Artistic Director's discretion to honor, recognize, and encourage exceptionally gifted emerging professionals in the field of early music who show extraordinary promise and accomplishment. Inaugurated in 2013, the Jeffrey Thomas Award was created by the American Bach Soloists in celebration of their first 25 years of presenting performances in Northern California, across the United States, and around the world, and ABS Artistic & Music Director Jeffrey Thomas's tenure of inspired leadership.

For more information, visit

--American Bach Soloists

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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 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