Classical Music News of the Week, October 20, 2018

New Century Presents Anthony Marwood

New Century Chamber Orchestra opens its 2018-2019 season November 1-4 with debut performances by British violinist Anthony Marwood.

A renowned interpreter of contemporary music, Marwood leads New Century as guest concertmaster for the U.S. Premiere of Seavaigers for Violin, Accordion and Strings by British composer Sally Beamish, featuring Scottish accordion pioneer James Crabb in his Bay Area debut. Marwood also takes to the stage as soloist in Concerto for Violin and Strings, 'Distant Light' by Latvian composer Peteris Vasks with Dvorák's classic Serenade for Strings in E Major, Op. 22 rounding off the program.

The program will be performed on four different occasions throughout the SF Bay Area:
Thursday, November 1 at 7:30 p.m., First Congregational Church, Berkeley, CA
Friday, November 2 at 7:30 p.m., First United Methodist Church, Palo Alto, CA
Saturday, November 3 at 7:30 p.m., San Francisco Conservatory of Music, San Francisco, CA
Sunday, November 4 at 3 p.m., Osher Marin Jewish Community Center, San Rafael, CA

This season, New Century will offer free admission to its popular Open Rehearsal at 10 AM on Wednesday, October 31 at Trinity & St. Peter's Church, San Francisco.

For more information on New Century, please visit

--Brenden Guy PR

Third Coast Percussion to Premiere Brand-New Work by Philip Glass
Third Coast Percussion, GRAMMY winners for their 2016 album "Third Coast Percussion | Steve Reich," turn to Philip Glass, another composer known for music with repetitive structures, for their latest recording. The centerpiece of the album is a brand-new work by Glass, "Perpetulum," which also gives the disc its title. "Perpetulum" is Glass's first-ever work for percussion ensemble and was commissioned by Third Coast Percussion and a consortium of partners (see below); it will receive its world premiere on November 9, 2018 in Third Coast's home base of Chicago, presented by the Chicago Humanities Festival. Third Coast Percussion will take "Perpetulum" out on tour in the spring of 2019, and the album release is set for March 29, 2019 on Glass's label Orange Mountain Music.

For more information, visit

--Caroline Heaney, Bucklesweet

Orpheus Chamber Orchestra Presents "Stars Aligned" at Carnegie Hall
On Saturday, November 10, 2018 at 7:00pm, Orpheus Chamber Orchestra presents "Stars Aligned," an exploration of classical works by composers who revolutionized America's collective imagination and cultural heritage through film scoring, at Stern Auditorium / Perelman Stage at Carnegie Hall. Stars Aligned features works by composers with deep cinematic roots — Nino Rota, Miklós Rózsa, and Franz Waxman.

The unique duo of Israeli mandolinist Avi Avital and Latvian accordionist Ksenija Sidorova joins Orpheus in the premiere performances of Golden Globe, Grammy, and Emmy nominated composer Benjamin Wallfisch's Monomachía (Concerto for Mandolin and Accordion) commissioned by Orpheus as part of its American Notes initiative, and a novel rendition of Bach's Concerto for Violin and Oboe in C Minor, BWV 1060R. The premiere will be paired with Waxman's Sinfonietta for Strings and Timpani; Rota's Canzona (1935); and Rózsa's Hungarian Serenade, Op. 25 (1945).

Single tickets for the November 10 performance, priced from $12.50 to $75, are available for purchase at the Carnegie Hall box office at 57th and 7th, NYC, can be charged to major credit cards by calling CarnegieCharge at 212-247-7800, or by visiting the Carnegie Hall Web site at

The program will also be performed on Saturday, November 3, 2018 at 7:30pm at the Weis Center at Bucknell University in Lewisburg, PA:

Tuesday, November 6, 2018 at 7:00pm at DePaul University in Chicago, IL:

Wednesday, November 7, 2018 at 7:00pm at the Kaufman Center for the Performing Arts in Kansas City, MO:

Friday, November 9, 2018 at 8:00pm at the Staller Center for the Performing Arts in Stony Brook, NY:

--Katy Salomon, Morahan Arts and Media

Miller Theatre Debut of the Dutch Vocal Ensemble Cappella Pratensis
Miller Theatre at Columbia University School of the Arts continues its 2018–2019 Early Music series with Cappella Pratensis: "The Josquin Imitation Game."

Josquin des Prez paid homage to his predecessors through the use of imitation. By the same token, subsequent composers played this game as a deliberate tribute, utilizing the same texts, melodies, and other characteristics of his music. The acclaimed Cappella Pratensis, known for their period interpretations, makes their Miller debut with a program anchored by Josquin masterpieces and exploring some of the great polyphonic works of the period by composers who inspired Josquin and those who were later inspired by him.

Saturday, November 10, 2018, 8:00 p.m.
Church of St. Mary the Virgin
(145 West 46th Street between 6th & 7th Avenues, NYC)

Tickets $30–$45; Students with valid ID: $7–$27

For more information, visit and

--Aleba Gartner, Aleba & Co.

Juilliard Grads Face Off with Former Instructors in "Vivaldi the Teacher"
Vivaldi composed his most exceptional concerti to spotlight his most talented students. How apropos to showcase three recent graduates of The Juilliard School's esteemed Historical Performance program, alongside three PBO orchestra musicians--their Juilliard teachers! Watch them "double down" on these Vivaldi double concerti, bookended by sumptuous music by Corelli and Geminiani—including the most famous theme in musical history, La Follia.

Nicholas McGegan, conductor
Elizabeth Blumenstock & Alana Youssefian, violin
Phoebe Carrai & Keiran Campbell, violoncello
Gonzalo X. Ruiz & David Dickey, oboe

Wednesday November 7 @ 7:30 pm: First United Methodist Church, Palo Alto, CA
Friday November 9 @ 8 pm: Herbst Theatre, San Francisco, CA
Saturday November 10 @ 8 pm: First Congregational Church, Berkeley, CA
Sunday November 11 @ 4 pm: First Congregational Church, Berkeley, CA

All concert tickets available at City Box Office: (415) 392-4400 or
For complete information, visit

--Philharmonia Baroque Orchestra

Music Institute and Dance Chicago "Duke It Out" December 8
Classical, jazz and dance combine when the Music Institute of Chicago collaborates with Dance Chicago to present a family concert, "Duke It Out!," Saturday, December 8 at 2 p.m. at Nichols Concert Hall, 1490 Chicago Ave., Evanston, Illinois.

This Nutcracker performance, curated by Dance Chicago, pairs the classical (Tchaikovsky) and jazz (Duke Ellington/Billy Strayhorn) versions of the holiday favorite, performed by Axiom Brass and Music Institute Ensemble-in-Residence Quintet Attacca. Featured ensembles in past years have included Forum Jazz Dance Theatre, Moscow Ballet's children's cast, The Kate Jablonski Statement, Tapman Productions, Visceral Dance Chicago, Wheatland Dance Theater, and other companies and choreographers participating in Dance Chicago. The performance is a family-friendly 60 minutes, followed by a festive holiday reception featuring refreshments and a photo booth with the artists.

For more information, visit

--Jill Chukerman, Music Institute of Chicago

Announcing Gustavo Dudamel Residency Public Events
Princeton University Concerts is thrilled to announce a comprehensive schedule of public events for Gustavo Dudamel's upcoming residency. Maestro Dudamel will come to campus in three separate visits throughout the 2018-19 season for series of events showcasing his dedication to music's unique capacity to unite people and disciplines, and to serve as a catalyst for social change.

The unprecedented scope of the residency includes concerts curated and led by Maestro Dudamel, numerous community and educational events, and a series of themed talks, discussions and interdisciplinary exhibits exploring relationship between music and the world around us.

The residency concludes with Maestro Dudamel conducting two performances with the Princeton University Orchestra and Glee Club, including a newly-announced FREE concert April 27 in Trenton, NJ, and an April 28 "seminario" with hundreds of students from El Sistema-inspired programs across New Jersey and the mid-Atlantic region.

For complete information, visit

--Dasha Koltunyuk, Princeton University Concerts

Buy One, Get One Free for PBO Sessions: H.I.P. Revolution Nov. 8
From HIP's rebellious beginnings to today, come hear three recent Juilliard grads and their teachers (Philharmonia Baroque Orchestra members) in this dynamic evening of discussion, history, and music. Audiences will learn about the history of Historically Informed Performance (HIP) from Nicholas McGegan, Ben Sosland, and Bruce Lamott and experience it for themselves as the musicians perform works by Vivaldi, Handel, Corelli and Geminiani.

Now, you can buy one $25 ticket and get one free! Use discount code: HIP18 at checkout.

Nicholas McGegan, PBO Music Director
Ben Sosland, Director of Juilliard Historical Performance
Bruce Lamott, PBO Chorale Director

For more information, visit

--Philharmonia Baroque Orchestra

JACK Quartet named Musical America's 2019 Ensemble of the Year
JACK Quartet is proud to announce that it has been named Musical America's 2019 Ensemble of the Year. In his tribute article, Allan Kozinn said of the quartet: "This group's fresh, energetic, and stylistically omnivorous approach to the contemporary repertoire makes it a worthy heir to the tradition of new-music quartets that goes back to the Composers Quartet in the 1960s and rivals the Kronos and Arditti Quartets of today...If JACK thought a piece was worth programming, you wanted to be there to hear why."

The announcement precedes the December publication of the 2019 Musical America International Directory of the Performing Arts, which, in addition to its comprehensive industry listings, pays homage to each of these artists in its editorial pages. The annual Musical America Awards will be presented in a special ceremony at Carnegie Hall.

For more information, visit and

--Andrew Ousley, Unison Media

Fifth Graders to Perform Songs They Wrote Themselves
"Be Brave!" and "Just Say Yes!" are two of the rules of collaboration fifth grade students follow when they take part in the Los Angeles Master Chorale's "Voices Within" program. The Fall series of "Voices Within" concerts featuring students performing songs they have written will take place on Wednesday, November 14 at Carlos Santana Arts Academy and Friday, November 16 at Hooper Avenue Elementary School.

The concerts are the culmination of the 12-week Voices Within program that brings three teaching artists--a composer, a lyricist, and a performer--into the schools to introduce the students to music ideas such as pitch, rhythm, and melody, and teaches them how to apply these concepts to songwriting. The students perform their songs for fellow students, teachers, and friends and family. Each school will give two performances.

Carlos Santana Arts Academy
Wednesday, November 14, 9:20 AM & 10:40 AM
9301 Columbus Avenue, North Hills, CA 91343

Hooper Avenue Elementary School
Friday, November 16, 10:00 AM & 11:25 AM
1225 E 52nd St, Los Angeles, CA 90011

For more information, visit

--Jennifer Scott, Los Angeles Master Chorale

The Rubies 2018: Spotlight on Dominique Labelle
Soprano and vocal pedagogue Dominique Labelle feels honoured to receive one of this year's Opera Canada Awards (a 'Ruby'). "It is humbling but heart-warming to be recognised by your country and your peers." Dominique Labelle adds with a wistful grin, "in addition the ruby is my birth stone but I've never possessed one" and laughing adds, "until now that is." Meeting Labelle is like a breath of fresh air. She both reassures and inspires with her uncomplicated but positive approach to life and to her musical vocation. Because in many respects, music is, for her, a vocation.

Montréal-born Labelle comes from a rich musical background. Her ancestor, Louise Labelle, was grandmother of the famous, late 19th-century Québécoise soprano, Emma Albani, and Dominique's major musical influence was her own paternal grandmother, Marie-Flore Labelle. Not only did Marie-Flore sing all the time, but she also collected folk and popular songs. I had the privilege of seeing a beautifully annotated ledger of these songs, supplemented by several cassettes of her grandmother singing them. These treasured possessions are not only souvenirs, but also help explain why music became an integral part of Dominique's life.

For more information, visit

--Schwalbe and Partners

I-Hao Lee Joins Music Institute's Academy Faculty
The Music Institute of Chicago announces the appointment of noteworthy violinist I-Hao Lee, who joins a group of esteemed faculty members at the Academy, a training center for gifted pre-college musicians. Lee also teaches at The Juilliard School's Pre-College Division and DePaul University's School of Music.

"The Music Institute is thrilled to welcome I-Hao Lee to our Academy faculty," said Music Institute President and CEO Mark George. "His achievements as a violin teacher are truly remarkable. I am very impressed with his high energy and gracious collegiality." Lee's active teaching career has culminated in notable achievements by his students, including top prizes at the Queen Elisabeth, Young Concert Artists, Sarasate, Sion-Valais (Tibor Varga), Cooper, and Postacchini International Competitions; an Avery Fisher Career Grant; and performances with major orchestras such as the Boston Symphony, Cleveland Orchestra, Houston Symphony, Detroit Symphony OrchestraO and Mariinsky orchestra. Lee has given master classes throughout the U.S., China, and Taiwan and has taught violin and chamber music at Manhattanville College and the Great Mountains Music Festival and School.

--Jill Chukerman, Music Institute of Chicago

Mozart: Symphonies Nos. 40 and 41 (CD review)

Also, Overture to The Marriage of Figaro. Jane Glover, Royal Philharmonic Orchestra. RPO 204404-201.

About twenty years ago, seeing the need for good, reasonably priced classical recordings--an area the Naxos label had already cultivated--the Royal Philharmonic Orchestra embarked on a project to provide the public with just such low-cost material. With an initial catalogue of over fifty basic repertoire items on the Intersound/Tring label, the RPO enterprise did very well for itself. Today, one can still find most of the material on other labels, like Planet Media and the RPO's own Masterworks.

Certainly, there was no question about the RPO organization's credentials, the orchestra founded in 1932 by conductor Sir Thomas Beecham. At the time of the project's inception, 1998, it's patron was Her Majesty Queen Elizabeth; the President was Lord Menuhin; the Music Director was Vladimir Ashkenazy; the Principal Conductor was Yuri Temirkanov; the Associate Conductors were Sir Charles Mackerras, Vernon Handley, and Gennadi Rozdestvensky; and the Composer in Residence was Sir Peter Maxwell Davies. Whew! That's quite an assemblage. The RPO's various recordings selected for initial release were conducted by the aforementioned people, plus by Paavo Jarvi, Mark Ermler, Barry Wordsworth, James Lockhart, Raymond Leppard, Yuri Simonov, Jean-Claude Casadesus, Jane Glover, and others. So you knew going in that this whole venture was of the highest order.

Jane Glover
I sampled half a dozen of the RPO organization's first releases in the then-new series, recorded between 1993-1996, with five different conductors. Of the six recordings, the one I was most fond of and can recommend without hesitation is Jane Glover's disc of Mozart's last two symphonies, Nos. 40 and 41, and the Overture to The Marriage of Figaro. Leading an RPO trimmed down from its normal complement of ninety-odd players to an ensemble of about half that size, Ms. Glover provides fleet, unmannered interpretations of all three Mozart works. Her tempos are brisk but never breathless; she indulges in very little rubato; and she keeps her dynamic contrasts at a minimum. She sticks closely to the printed page, offering performances more in accord with the practices of period instruments groups than of large, twentieth-century orchestras.

You will find here none of the grand Romanticism or personal idiosyncrasies of a Karajan, Klemperer, Jochum, Bernstein, or Bohm. The readings are more on the order of Daniel Barenboim's old recordings with the English Chamber Orchestra for EMI in the late Sixties. The emotion is derived from the clean, unforced energy Ms. Glover delivers throughout.

The sound, recorded at All Saints Church, Petersham, Surrey in 1993, is likewise clear and straightforward, with good definition and respectable stereo imaging. There is not a lot of weight in the bass, but that may be a boon for audiophiles who often don't want much bass overhang to interfere with the transparency of the midrange, anyway. Besides, this music does not cry out for mass so much as it does for lithe power, which is what the sonics deliver.

The other discs I auditioned in the series included Rimsky-Korsakov's Scheherazade, with Barry  Wordsworth, which I thought a notably tidy recording. Bizet's Carmen Suites, with Mark Ermler, was energetic and flavorful, and comes coupled with Grieg's Peer Gynt Suites. Berlioz's Symphonie fantastique, with Sir Charles Mackerras, seemed rather pedestrian by Mackerras's standards; its sound is lifelike if a little thin. Tchaikovsky's Romeo and Juliet and 1812 Overtures, with Yuri Simonov, built up a good head of steam in several of the pieces but offered little that I hadn't heard before. And Beethoven's Symphony No. 6, with Mark Ermler, I found a little too slack for my taste, especially when combined with its somewhat thick, muffled sonics.

Overall, though, this was fine line of CDs, one that can provide the occasional gems it would be a shame for one to miss.


To listen to a brief excerpt from this album, click below:

Songs for Strings (CD review)

Arranged and conducted by Donald Fraser, English Symphony Orchestra, English Chamber Orchestra. Avie AV2391.

These days in particular, it's important for any new classical release to offer something unique, something that hasn't been done (much) before. Hardly any record company wants to do another Beethoven symphony; the catalogue is too filled already with great recordings of the basic repertoire. Thus, a new release has to feature a hot, new star; or it has to feature some unusual instrument or instruments; or it has to feature new arrangements of other things, as we have here.

Donald Fraser is an English composer, arranger, conductor, and record producer whose album Songs for Strings features fifteen selections, some old, some new, some well known, others not so well known, rearranged for string orchestra, either the English Symphony or the English Chamber Orchestra. Fraser conducts both ensembles and produces some decidedly winning and entertaining results.

Here's a run-down on the program:
  1. Edward Elgar (1857-1934): The Queen's Hall
  2. John Dowland (1563-1626): And Time Stands Still
  3. Henry Purcell (1659-1695): Ground in C
  4. Antonio Lotti (1667-1740): Crucifixus
  5. Nicola Antonio Porpora (1686-1768): Fugue in G
  6. Antonio Vivaldi (1678-1741): Largo from Concerto for Two Cellos
  7. David Fraser: Lord Lovat's Lament
  8. Franz Liszt (1811-1886): Nuage Gris (Grey Clouds)
  9. Alexander Scriabin (1872-1915): 9. Canon
10. Maurice Ravel (1875-1937): Valse (in the manner of Borodin)
11. Edward Elgar (1857-1934): Pleading
12. Edward Elgar: A Child Asleep
13. Edward Elgar: Queen Mary's Lute Song
14. Donald Fraser: Epilogue for Strings
15. Marin Marais (1656-1728): Sonnerie

All of the tracks are attractive: lush yet transparent and beautifully presented. If there's any drawback, it's that the pieces are rather brief, three or four minutes each at best. The program doesn't attempt to present a unified whole, so it's more like a pop album with a lot of varied material. Not that that's bad; just different for a classical album. Call it a crossover album if you will. Whatever, it makes for sweet, easy listening.

Favorites? Of course. "The Queen's Hall" sets the tone for the program: rich, plush, flowing, and thoroughly delightful. Everything else follows suit. Purcell's "Ground in C minor" has a Pachelbel quality to it, which Fraser alludes to in a booklet note. Lotti's choral hymn "Cruxifixus" translates well to strings.

Donald Fraser
Vivaldi's Largo from the Concerto for 2 Cellos sounds lovely, but we have come to hear so much of Vivaldi's music expanded for larger string forces that it doesn't carry quite the distinctiveness of many of the album's other pieces.

"Lord Lovat's Lament" is an arrangement of a Scottish tune originally written by an ancestor of the present David Fraser. It has an attractive folk-song lilt to it and sounds quite charming in its present incarnation. I kind of missed a bagpipe, though. That arrangement sounds positively ancient compared to the work that follows it, a very modern-sounding, impressionistic "Grey Clouds" by Franz Liszt. While it's probably the second most-unusual track on the program, it's also among the most interesting.

Alexander Scriabin wrote his "Canon" when he was twelve years old. Remarkable, and Fraser's transcription for strings holds up well, perhaps giving it new life. Again, as a contrast, we get Ravel's little "Valse" (in the style of Borodin), an engaging moment that flies by only too fast. Then there are four vocal works--three by Elgar and one by Fraser himself--that sound pastoral and entrancing in their new string attire.

Fraser ends the program with the only non-orchestral track, Marin Marais's "Sonnerie" ("The Bells of St. Genevieve"), a remix for violin and electronics and inspired by the imitation of bells. It was a hit for Fraser back in the late 90's, and it's without question the most singular work he offers, sounding a bit more like Wendy Carlos or Tomita than the other works on the program. Still, it's an attractive piece and holds its own fascinating if disparate pleasures.

Producer Donald Fraser and engineer Simon Kiln recorded the music at Studio No. 1, Abbey Road, London in  July 2013 (ECO) and Studio No. 2, Abbey Road in April 2018 (ESO). They recorded the final track on the album at The Barn Studio, Shirland, Illinois in May 2018. Like so many recordings before it made at the Abbey Road studios, this one sounds lifelike and detailed, never dull or veiled. The solid bass line stands out without overpowering the midrange; the highs glisten; and the mids are about as transparent as one could want. It's a bit close, yet a mild studio bloom enhances the overall effect of realism. Although from Avie, it actually sounds like a vintage EMI-London Symphony analogue recording from the 1970's, for me, anyway, a golden age of fine recording. So, yeah, I liked it a lot.


To listen to a brief excerpt from this album, click below:

Classical Music News of the Week, October 13, 2018

Nigel North at the House of the Redeemer Opens Tenth Salon/Sanctuary Season

Salon/Sanctuary opens its tenth season with two concerts in the exquisite 17th-century library of the House of the Redeemer. We look forward to seeing you at these paired events, which celebrate Francesco da Milano and Giulio Caccini, (called Il Romano), one composer who concluded the Renaissance and another who ignited the baroque.

A Decoration of Silence
The lute music of "il Divino" Francesco Canova da Milano (1497 – 1543)
Set in the 17th-century library of the House of the Redeemer, this recital by one of the world's leading lutenists transports the 21st century listener into a historical world of sensual delight.

Monday, November 5th, 8:00pm
The Library of the House of the Redeemer
7 East 95th Street, New York City

Tickets and information:

Giulio Il Romano
A Concert for Caccini (1551 – 1618)
Riccardo Pisani, tenor, with Ensemble Ricercare Antico

Thursday, November 9th, 8:00pm
The Library of the House of the Redeemer
7 East 95th Street, New York City

Tickets and information:

--Salon/Sanctuary Concerts

St. Charles Singers to Ignite "Candlelight Carols" Nov. 30 and Dec. 1 & 2
The St. Charles Singers have announced details of their 35th annual Candlelight Carols program, the holiday tradition which launched the choir's career in 1984.

The 2018 Christmas program, to be presented in St. Charles, Il., and Chicago, will feature world premieres of two seasonal songs written for the St. Charles Singers by Illinois composers, along with  "engaging arrangements of Christmas classics, some of them new to our repertoire," says Jeffrey Hunt, founder and music director of the professional chamber choir.
The mixed-voice choir of 30-plus singers will present "Candlelight Carols" at 7:30 p.m. on Friday, November 30, at Baker Memorial United Methodist Church, 307 Cedar Ave., St. Charles; 7:30 p.m. on Saturday, December 1, at Fourth Presbyterian Church, 126 E. Chestnut St., Chicago; and 3 p.m. on Sunday, December 2, at Baker Church in St. Charles.

For complete information, visit

--Nathan J. Silverman Co. PR

Join the H.I.P. Revolution at PBO Sessions November 8
You Say You Want a Revolution?

Sixty years ago a revolution began when a group of musicians rebelled against "mainstream" classical music and sparked the historically-informed performance (HIP) movement. They wanted to play on original instruments, in the performance style the composers intended, and give their audience an authentic experience. These rebels put Baroque music on the map and today more students than ever are choosing HIP.

From HIP's rebellious beginnings to today, come hear three recent Juilliard grads and their teachers (Philharmonia Baroque Orchestra members) in this dynamic evening of discussion, history, and music. Audiences will hear these musicians "double down" on Vivaldi double concerti and experience music by Handel, Corelli and Geminiani—including the the most famous theme in musical history, La Follia.

For more information, visit

--Philharmonia Baroque Orchestra & Chorale

Five Boroughs Music Festival Presents Corónica: "An Empire of Silver and Gold"
Five Boroughs Music Festival (5BMF) and GEMAS (Gotham Early Music Scene / Americas Society) present Corónica, a collective of musicians from Canada, Colombia, Cuba, Argentina and the US, in "An Empire of Silver and Gold" on Monday, November 5, 2018 at 7:00pm at St. Ignatius of Antioch Episcopal Church.

Curated and led by Daniel Zuluaga, the program explores 18th-century vocal and instrumental pieces from Latin American manuscript sources, including works by Juan de Araujo, Andrés Flores, Joseph de Torres, & Juan Franzés Yribarren, and others. Zuluaga reconstructs musical archives from cathedrals in Bolivia, Colombia, Guatemala, Mexico, and Peru, woven together to provide an overview of music in Colonial Latin America.

Additional 5BMF performances in the 2018-19 season include 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 complete information, visit

--Will Albach, Morahan Arts and Media

Bach's Magnificat & Reena Esmail's This Love Between Us Performed Nov. 18
When Los Angeles composer Reena Esmail created This Love Between Us: Prayers for Unity, she envisioned it as a contemporary counterpoint to Bach's Magnificat, using the same Baroque instrumentation, but seeking new textures to convey a specific message. The two works will be performed by the Los Angeles Master Chorale and Grant Gershon, Kiki & David Gindler Artistic Director, on Sunday, November 18 at 7 PM in Walt Disney Concert Hall. The concert will feature 62 singers, orchestra, and soloists.

This Love Between Us: Prayers for Unity for chorus, orchestra, sitar, and tabla was premiered by Yale Schola Cantorum and Juilliard415 at the Lincoln Center's Alice Tully Hall in New York City in March 2017 and called a "powerful piece of music" by Opera News magazine. The work juxtaposes words from the seven major religion traditions of India — Buddhism, Sikhism, Christianity, Zoroastrianism, Hinduism, Jainism, and Islam — to explore how they each approach the topics of unity and harmony. The title comes from the 15th-century Indian mystic saint-poet Kabir, who wrote, "This love between us cannot be annihilated," a phrase Esmail says she felt encapsulated the nature of unity, namely, love and friendship between people.

Sunday, November 18, 7 PM
6PM: ListenUp! Pre-concert talk with Grant Gershon, Reena Esmail, & KUSC's Alan Chapman in BP Hall.
Walt Disney Concert Hall, 111 S. Grand Ave., Los Angeles, CA

Tickets are available now, starting from $39, by phone at 213-972-7282 or online at

--Jennifer Scott, Los Angeles Master Chorale

"Off to the Hunt" Oct. 19-22
American Bach Soloists will present Bach's wonderfully fun "Hunting Cantata." If you wonder why he wrote it, you might wonder if Bach himself was a fan of the hunt. We know that he frequently accompanied Prince Leopold (when Bach was working at the court of Cöthen) on all kinds of outdoor excursions. But the "Hunting Cantata" was written a decade earlier.

Friday October 19 2018 8:00 p.m.
St. Stephen's Church, Belvedere, CA

Saturday October 20 2018 8:00 p.m.
First Congregational Church, Berkeley, CA

Sunday October 21 2018 4:00 p.m.
St. Mark's Lutheran Church, San Francisco, CA

Monday October 22 2018 7:00 p.m.
Davis Community Church, Davis, CA

For complete information, visit

--American Bach Soloists

WinterMezzo Is Just Around the Corner
The opening weekend of the 2018-2019 WinterMezzo Chamber Music Series is just around the corner! Don't delay - tickets are on sale now! Buy tickets online at or by calling our office at (805) 781-3009.

Festival Mozaic's internationally-renowned artists present chamber music concerts in spectacular venues on the California Central Coast in the fall and winter. This season, Music Director Scott Yoo and friends present two weekends of great works of chamber music and offers three sequential ways to connect to the music and the musicians. We encourage you to attend all events in each weekend, and experience the special connections to the composers, the musicians, and this beautiful place.

For complete information on the 2018-19 WinterMezzo Chamber Music Series, visit

--Festival Mosaic

Trio con Brio's 20th Anniversary Continues
The much-admired Trio con Brio Copenhagen continue their twentieth anniversary celebrations from October 7th with the launch of their latest North America tour, to include performances in Texas, Minneapolis, Utah, Oregon, Iowa and Vermont. This coincides with the release, on Orchid Classics, of volume two of the Trio's complete recorded cycle of the complete Beethoven trios. This follows volume one, released earlier this year to fabulous reviews including five stars in Diapason ("A delight.").

The Trio, in demand around the world, will follow this American tour with another in February 2019, after a tour of South Korea in December. This continues the success of last season's U.S. tour, which included an appearance at Lincoln Centre's 'Great Performances' series. The November tour will take in Brookings (OR), San Antonio (TX), Cedar Falls (IA), St Cloud (MN), Minneapolis/St Paul, Salt Lake City (UT) and Burlington (VT).

For more information, visit

--James Inverne Music Consultancy

Quartet 212 Replaces Simón Bolívar Quartet, Dec 2 at Princeton University Concerts
Due to an unfortunate combination of injury and recently escalated geopolitical circumstance, the Simón Bolívar String Quartet, (scheduled to perform at Princeton University Concerts on Sunday, December 2, 2018 at 2PM in Richardson Auditorium, Alexander Hall), is unable to perform as part of the Gustavo Dudamel: Artist-in-Residence series. Maestro Dudamel--making his Metropolitan Opera debut this season--has invited Quartet 212, an ensemble featuring principal members of the MET Orchestra, to replace them.

--Dasha Koltunyuk, Princeton University Concerts

Robert Trevino Named New Artist of the Month by Musical America
Shortly after his announcement as incoming Music Director of the Malmo Symphony Orchestra, the fast-rising American conductor Robert Trevino has been named Musical America's new artist of the month.

Trevino, who is also Chief Conductor of the Basque National Orchestra, has enjoyed a string of dramatic successes deputising with major institutions, from a Don Carlo at the Bolshoi (that one reviewer called the most exciting American debut in Russia "since Van Cliburn") to, recently, Mahler's Fifth Symphony with the Zurich Tonhalle Orchestra (standing in for an ailing Donald Runnicles) and Mahler's Third Symphony with the London Symphony Orchestra (where he deputised at short notice for Daniel Harding).

Read the Musical America new artist of the month article here:

--James Inverne Music Consultancy

Beijing Meets Banjo: Abigail Washburn & Wu Fei in New Concert Series
Princeton University Concerts is thrilled to launch a brand new concert series, "Crossroads," with banjo virtuoso Abigail Washburn and Chinese guzheng rockstar Wu Fei in a program titled "Beijing Meets Banjo."

The duo will launch their visit with a free Public Talk at the Princeton Public Library, moderated by Princeton University Professor Dan Trueman, on Wednesday, November 7, 2018 at 7PM. The following afternoon, they will participate in PUC's second Live Music Meditation of the season at 12:30PM, an event that is also free and unticketed. The visit culminates at 7:30PM with a concert of musical storytelling that crosses continents to find commonalities.

For complete information, visit

--Dasha Koltunyuk, Princeton University Concerts

Wine, Dinner, Conversation and an Interactive Concert with Mosaic Festival Artists
Join us for the first WinterMezzo Notable Encounter Dinner of the season at the historic Park Ballroom in Paso Robles. You'll mingle with friends new and old, including the Festival's visiting musicians, as you sip wines from SummerWood Winery and enjoy delectable bites by Chef Jeffery Scott. Then you'll be seated for a gourmet three-course meal inspired by the fall season, complete with wine pairings. View the full dinner menu by clicking here.

As you are enjoying your dessert and coffee, Scott Yoo and the artists will take you on a one-tour behind two selections from this weekend's repertoire: Rossini's playful duet for cello and bass and Dvorak's second string quintet. The artists will share insights into the composer's life, the historical context of the works, and what to listen for, giving you a richer understanding of the music.

Thursday, October 25 | 5:30 PM
Park Ballroom, Paso Robles, CA
Information and tickets:

--Marketing, Festival Mosaic

Savage Winter Is Coming
In this fiercely contemporary re-imagining of Wilhelm Müller's poetry cycle Die Winterreise, composer Douglas J. Cuomo and director Jonathan Moore transform Müller's lovelorn winter wanderer into a demon-haunted everyman. The "radiant, communicative tenor" (Opera News) Tony Boutté assumes the existential mantle, giving a searing, intense performance as a man desperate for atonement, while electric guitar (Cuomo), trumpet (Frank London), keyboards (conductor Alan Johnson), and electronics—infused with acid jazz and a punk energy--narrate his delirious fever dream.

October 19
Midtown Arts & Theater Center Houston
Houston, TX

AOP and Pittsburgh Opera present
New York Premiere
November 7 - 10
BAM Next Wave Festival
Brooklyn Academy of Music, Brooklyn, NY

--American Opera Projects

Cannabich: Symphonies Nos. 59, 63, 64, 67, and 68 (CD review)

Viktor Lukas, Lukas Consort. Naxos 8.553960.

The folks at Naxos seem determined to provide us with every symphony ever composed in the 1700s in their "18th Century Symphony" series, and at a modest price who could not resist wanting them all.
Like other releases I've heard in the line, this one released in 1998 is technically and artistically first-rate. German violinist, composer, and Kapellmeister Christian Cannabich (1731-1798) was yet another contemporary of Mozart who was popular in his day but whose light quickly faded into history. Mozart was apparently fond of Cannabich's composing, and especially of his conducting; he was among the few musicians Mozart praised. Perhaps it's no wonder; Cannabich's music sounds more like Mozart's than some of Mozart's own early works. 

Viktor Lukas
Whatever, the present disc contains five short symphonies, each in three movements and about a quarter hour long. Why Naxos present them in the order they are in is anybody's guess, but they appear on the disc as Nos. 63, 67, 64, 59, and 68. Why not chronological? Who would really care one way or the other?

One is tempted to mix and match the movements to program a new symphony of one's own--a favorite opening Allegro here, a slow Andante there, maybe a zesty Presto from somewhere else. Key changes in the pieces are pretty abrupt, anyway, and there is little or no apparent thematic continuity between movements as they are. (At least not apparent to me.) Nevertheless, the symphonies are all rather enjoyable, played with a lightness of heart by Viktor Lukas and his small Lukas Consort, a group of about fifteen strings and an assortment of solo wind players.

The accompanying booklet note tells us that Cannabich himself led a rather large ensemble as the Director of the Mannheim Orchestra of his day (1774-1798), an orchestra sometimes reaching as many as ninety-five musicians and finally, because of budget restraints, reduced to about fifty-five players. Certainly, the more diminutive size of the Lukas Consort gives them the advantage of clarity, which is enhanced by the general excellence of the Naxos recording.


To listen to a few brief excerpts from this album, click below:

Strauss, R.: Ein Heldenleben (SACD review)

Also, Burleske. Denis Kozhukhin, piano; Marc Albrecht, Netherlands Philharmonic Orchestra. Pentatone PTC 5186 617.

I've said this before many times but it bears repeating: I don't think it's such big leap from the heroic swagger of Franz Liszt's Les Preludes to the heroic swagger of Richard Strauss's Ein Heldenleben. Or from Richard Strauss's Ein Heldenleben to Erich Wolfgang Korngold's The Sea Hawk. Or from The Sea Hawk to John Williams's Star Wars. All composers owe something to those who went before them, and Strauss's Ein Heldenleben ("A Hero's Life") was a natural step in the progression of the tone poem.

Richard Strauss (1864-1949), German composer and conductor, wrote Ein Heldenleben in 1899 as a mock autobiography, a tongue-in-cheek self-portrait. The composer was only thirty-four years old when he wrote it, proving his self-confidence in writing a musical autobiography at so early an age. Mostly, however, he seems to have composed it to defend himself against his critics, whom he silences through the music. In response, many of Strauss's critics continued their attacks on Strauss, saying his music was indulgent and narcissistic.

Whatever, Strauss divided Ein Heldenleben into several parts describing the various stages in the artist's life. The first segment, "The Hero," describes Strauss himself and does so on a big, swashbuckling scale. Maestro Marc Albrecht handles it in fine if slightly perfunctory style. In other words, I would have liked more swash in that buckle. If we see the opening movement as setting the tone for the composer lampooning himself and his critics, it could have benefited from more juice doing it.

Next, the music turns to "The Hero's Adversaries," obviously his critics, where we hear them squabbling among themselves in amusing fashion. Following that is "The Hero's Companion," his wife, defined by the violin. Under Albrecht the adversaries seem somewhat complacent, but the wife seems appropriately temperamental. Throughout these sections, the Netherlands Philharmonic and, I assume, first violinist Vadim Tsibulvsky as the wife, perform admirably, with a polished decorum.

Marc Albrecht
"The Hero's Battlefield" is where Strauss engages in all-out combat with his critics, reminding them of his (musical) accomplishments by throwing in bits from Don Juan and Zarathustra, as well as a few horns from Beethoven's Eroica Symphony. Albrecht seems to be having a good time here, never rushing things and never overemphasizing the obvious. Yet the conducting also appears rather cautious, as though Albrecht didn't want to stick his neck out too far. I wish he had done so because we already have a plethora of conventional Heldenlebens; something a touch more vibrant might have been more interesting.

Albrecht wraps up the piece with the greater certainty that peace and love will prevail in the hero's life. It is here that the conductor's slightly conservative approach pays off best because the music needs such a light and tender touch as he provides.

Coupled with Ein Heldenleben (and preceding it on the program as a kind of warm-up act) is the Burleske in D minor, which Strauss wrote for piano and orchestra in 1885-86 when he was still young, about twenty-one. The work had a rocky beginning. He wrote it for the pianist and conductor Hans van Bulow, who proclaimed it a "complicated piece of nonsense" and refused to play it. The piece, slightly revised, wouldn't see a première until 1890 or a publication until 1894. Even revised, it still seems like a complicated work, full of satire, whimsy, playfulness, and youthful mischief and still a handful for the soloist, especially, to negotiate. Nevertheless, pianist Denis Kozhurkhin does a first-rate job with it, and the whole affair comes off with a splendid flair.

Producers Renaud Loranger and Wolfram Nehis and engineers Erdo Groot and Jean-Marie Geijsen recorded the music in hybrid SACD at the NedPhO-Koepel, Amsterdam in February (Burleske) and December 2017. You can play the disc in multichannel or two-channel SACD from an SACD player or in two-channel stereo from a regular CD player. I listened in the two-channel SACD mode.

It's a good, modern recording, smooth, warm, and wide ranging. Although it probably doesn't have enough completely outstanding qualities to qualify as a stereophile recording, it makes for good, relaxed listening and satisfactorily approaches the sound of a real orchestra in a real acoustic setting. A modest reverberation defines the hall, while stereo depth and spread remain more than acceptable. I would have expected a tad more dynamic range and impact from an SACD recording, yet such minor shortcomings fail to detract much from the disc's overall sense of realism.


To listen to a brief excerpt from this album, click below:

Classical Music News of the Week, October 6, 2018

The Emerson Quartet Celebrates the 80th Birthday of American Composer William Bolcom

The world-renowned Emerson String Quartet celebrates the 80th birthday of American composer and pianist, winner of the National Medal of Arts, Pulitzer Prize and Grammy Award, William Bolcom at Lincoln Center's Alice Tully Hall on Sunday, October 21, 2018 at 5 PM.

Joined by the acclaimed pianist Shai Wosner, the Quartet performs Bolcom's Piano Quintet No. 1.  Composed in commemoration of the 80th birthday of the legendary violinist Isaac Stern, the piece was premiered in 2001 by Stern and members of the Emerson Quartet (Philip Setzer, violin, Lawrence Dutton, viola, David Finckel, cello) along with pianist Jonathan Biss at the Kennedy Center in Washington, D.C.

In addition to Bolcom's Piano Quintet, the upcoming concert features the Mozart Quartet in E-flat major for Piano, Violin, Viola, and Cello, K. 493 and concludes with the vibrant and unabashedly joyful Dvorák Quartet in G major for Strings, Op. 106 of which the slow movement is considered one of the glories of Dvorák's whole catalog.

Emerson String Quartet, with Shai Wosner, piano
Sunday, October 21, 2018 at 5:00 pm
Alice Tully Hall, New York, NY

For more information, visit

--Xi Wang, Kirshbaum Associates

Hurry! Ticket Prices to "Mozart Magnified" Go Up at the Door!
Join PBO with exquisite Puerto Rican soprano Camille Ortiz and a star-studded cast as we celebrate Mozart for our season opener. With the full force of the 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.

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

Remaining performances:
Saturday, October 6 @ 8 pm | First Congregational Church, Berkeley, CA
Sunday, October 7 @ 4 pm | First Congregational Church, Berkeley, CA

For more information and tickets, visit

--Philharmonia Baroque Orchestra & Chorale

PARMA Fall 2018 Call For Scores
It's hard to believe that fall is here, and the end of 2018 is right around the corner. PARMA has experienced a fruitful summer, with the successful launch of our China tours, dozens of innovative new releases, and recording sessions in Croatia and the Czech Republic. Now, we are looking forward to an equally exciting fall season - which includes our latest Call for Scores. In addition to being recorded, selected submissions will be considered for live performances. Previously accepted scores have been performed in Poland, Russia, Croatia, Austria, the Czech Republic, the United States, and more.

We are currently accepting submissions for
- Solo Piano or Piano Concerto Works - Prague CZ
- Woodwind Quintet Works - Boston MA
- Orchestral Works with or without soloists - Prague CZ

Please submit PDF scores and corresponding MIDI files or live recordings via our Project Submission form.

Selected scores will be recorded and commercially released by PARMA Recordings. The submitter is responsible for securing funds associated with the production, and retains all ownership of the master and underlying composition.

Works should ideally be between 5 and 15 minutes in length, but pieces outside of that range will still be considered.

Deadline for all submissions is October 19, 2018. There is no fee to submit.

You will receive a confirmation of receipt for submissions. We will work with the performers and our Sessions, Audio, and A&R Teams to select pieces that could fit these open projects. Should your music be selected, we will reach out to you with more information on pricing, scheduling, and other details.

Upload PDF scores and audio files via our Project Submission form:

For more information, visit

--PARMA Recordings

Spooktacular Concert and Haunted Open House
The Music Institute of Chicago's Faculty and Guest Artist Series continues Sunday, October 28 with a 3 p.m. "Spooktacular" Concert and 4 p.m. Haunted Musical Open House at Nichols Concert Hall, 1490 Chicago Avenue, Evanston, Illinois. Using a festive Halloween theme as inspiration, the Music Institute's award-winning faculty perform appropriately "scary" music that showcases the historic 1914 E. M. Skinner pipe organ as well as a variety of instruments and musical styles.

This family-friendly, 60-minute concert is followed by a "Haunted Musical Open House." Guests make their way to the lower-level Community Music School to travel from room to room for spooky music and trick-or-treating. Audience members of all ages are encouraged to wear costumes and show their Halloween spirit.

For more information, visit

--Jill Chukerman, Music Institute of Chicago

Wet Ink Ensemble Collaborates This Fall with Nate Wooley and Darius Jones
The "sublimely exploratory" (The Chicago Reader) Wet Ink Ensemble is pleased to collaborate on two exciting fall projects: Nate Wooley's FOR/WITH Festival at Issue Project Room and For The People, a special event curated by saxophonist/composer Darius Jones, at Roulette.

Wet Ink makes an appearance on FOR, the first evening of the FOR/WITH Festival, organized by trumpeter/composer/writer Nate Wooley, at ISSUE Project Room on Wednesday, October 31, 2018 at 8:00pm. Members of the Wet Ink Large Ensemble will present the U.S. Premiere of Catherine Lamb's Prisma Interius VII. Previously staged in London at Cafe Oto in March 2018, Lamb's work is the most recent development of a series of pieces constructed around the Secondary Rainbow Synthesizer, an instrument—in development with Bryan Eubanks—that spectrally filters a live sound input of the outer atmosphere to the listening space within which the the performance piece is situated. In this iteration, the piece is staged with violin, clarinet, guitar, cello, and the Secondary Rainbow Synthesizer.

On Monday, November 5, 2018 at 8:00pm, Wet Ink joins saxophonist/composer Darius Jones at Roulette as part of "For the People," a community-based event and concert organized by Jones on the eve of the November Congressional Election. The evening is centered around a collection of compositions by Jones, in collaboration with The Wet Ink Large Ensemble that upholds the belief that artists have the duty and power to inform, inspire, and empower their surrounding community. The evening includes the world premiere of Jones's Being Caged in ICE, followed by the second performance ever of America The Joke (written for Wet Ink in 2018), and concludes with the return of LawNOrder (pronounced "law no order"), a 45-minute game piece dealing with social justice and American history. Each player represents a separate character (unknown to the other players) and is handed a law to follow at the beginning of the piece.

For complete information, visit

--Katy Salomon, Morahan Arts and Media

Festival Mozaic Brings Chamber Music to San Luis Obispo County, CA
Festival Mozaic's WinterMezzo Series runs October 25-27, 2018 with three days of music, food, wine and education. Well-known for its popular summer music festival, Festival Mozaic brings world-class chamber music performances to scenic San Luis Obispo County, California, throughout the year with its WinterMezzo series.

Scott Yoo, the Festival's Music Director, curates the WinterMezzo series, which showcases exceptional artists performing in intimate venues. Yoo will perform as violinist in these programs along with featured artists. Yoo is in residence in San Luis Obispo six weeks annually; he serves as Artistic Director and Chief Conductor of the Mexico City Philharmonic and he recently conducted the London Symphony Orchestra and the Royal Scottish National Orchestra in two recording projects. Yoo is also the host and co-executive producer of "Now Hear This," a music and travel television program slated to air as part of Great Performances on PBS in Spring 2019.

For complete information, visit

--David George, Festival Mosaic

October 2018 Newsletter from the Foundation to Assist Young Musicians
The 2018/2019 school year is off to a great start. Students in our beginning violin class have been busy practicing with a wooden practice bow and finally after 6 classes it was time to trade in their practice bow for a real violin to take home and practice. On September 17 it was my privilege to assist in the distribution of violins to Ms. Chung's beginning class at the East Las Vegas Community Center. Mr. Tim Thomas assisted Ms. Johnson distribute violins to her beginning students at the Pearson Center on the same day. Students knew the day for violin distribution was that day and as they entered the classroom the air was filled with anticipation from students and parents.

You can see from some of the photos that the students were elated to finally hold a violin in their hands. Parents were busy taking pictures of their child receiving their violin and I am sure they were anticipating the day that their child would soon appear on stage and perform for an audience.

Our first recital for the year is scheduled for October 20. The beginning classes will not perform for that recital but they will definitely have a song or two to play on the next recital scheduled for December 8.

We now have a beginning orchestra, advanced orchestra, chamber orchestra, beginning mariachi, beginning guitar/guitarrón/and vihuela, advanced mariachi, beginning cello, second-year cello, and classes for levels 1-4 violin. Our program is growing and we strongly believe it is making a difference in the lives of our FAYMsters. Many thanks to all the generous contributors to FAYM. It is your support that makes all this possible. If you like what we are doing, please share our website with friends and businesses that may also join in supporting what we do. Hal Weller, the FAYM Board, and I do our best to assure that all donations are used to provide services, scholarships, and materials for our students.

For more information, visit

--Arturo Ochoa, Board President

Nicholas McGegan to Retire After 35 Years at Philharmonia Baroque Orchestra & Chorale
Nicholas McGegan, Music Director for the Philharmonia Baroque Orchestra & Chorale (PBO), has announced that he will retire from his leadership post at America's preeminent period performance ensemble after the 2019-20 Season; at that time, he will have guided the organization for 35 years. He will be designated Music Director Laureate in recognition of his many contributions to the Orchestra at the beginning of the 2020-21 season. At the time of this announcement, the organization's Board of Directors, led by President Kay Sprinkel Grace, and institutional leadership will convene to begin the search for a new Music Director to build upon McGegan's legacy of programming and presenting period music at the highest level of artistic integrity.

"Nicholas McGegan has led Philharmonia Baroque Orchestra for 35 years. We have benefitted from the strength of his programmatic vision, energy, and aptitude for making historic performances accessible to broader audiences," said the ensemble's Board of Directors president Kay Sprinkel Grace. "He has embraced and advanced our mission throughout his decades of leadership of Philharmonia, and his passion for everything from early music to new works continues to propel Philharmonia to new heights. We look forward to having him remain an integral part of our future."

"This certainly isn't a farewell," said Music Director Nicholas McGegan. "It has been an enormous honour and privilege but also tremendous fun to work with our terrific musicians for half my life, and I look forward to many more years of performances as Music Director Laureate, with fewer administrative responsibilities. Thanks to the musicians, board, staff, donors and our wonderful audience, I've been able to realise so many of my artistic dreams, creating lots of happy memories along the way."

For more information, visit

--Amanda Sweet, Bucklesweet

Harpsichord Star Mahan Esfahani Opens Miller Theatre's New "Signature Keys" Series
Back by popular demand, the exceptionally gifted Mahan Esfahani returns for two harpsichord recitals featuring J.S. Bach's treasured Well-Tempered Clavier at Columbia University's Miller Theatre, NYC. Over two nights, Esfahani pairs selections from Bach's masterpiece with a world premiere commission by George Lewis, as well as contemporary works from Luciano Berio and Tristan Perich.

Concert I: Wednesday, November 7
J.S. Bach selections from The Well-Tempered Clavier, Book I (1722)
George Lewis new work for harpsichord (2018), world premiere, Miller Theatre commission

Concert II: Thursday, November 8
J.S. Bach selections from The Well-Tempered Clavier, Book II (1742)
Luciano Berio Rounds (1966)
Tristan Perich Dual Synthesis (2009)

For complete information, visit

--Aleba & Co.

Baby Got Bach Family Concert with Orli Shaham & Westerlies Brass
Princeton University Concerts' popular family concert for kids 3-6 and their families, "Baby Got Bach," returns on Saturday, November 3 at 1 PM at Richardson Auditorium. Hosted by pianist Orli Shaham with guest artists the Westerlies Brass Quartet, this year's concert will focus on introducing pre-school-aged kids to the joy of live classical music.

"Baby Got Bach: Bring on the Brass!"
Saturday, November 3, 2018 at 1PM
A family chamber music concert for kids ages 3-6
Princeton University Concerts, Richardson Auditorium in Alexander Hall, Princeton University

Tickets: $5 Kids/$10 Adults. Tickets are available online at, by phone at 609-258-9220, or in person two hours prior to the concert at the Richardson Auditorium Box Office.

For more information, visit

--Dasha Koltunyuk, Princeton University Concerts

Cellist Maksin Joins Orion Ensemble in November
The Orion Ensemble, winner of the prestigious Chamber Music America/ASCAP Award for Adventurous Programming, continues its 26th season with "Russian Passion," welcoming guest cellist Ian Maksin and guest violist Stephen Boe.

Performances take place November 11 at a new venue, First Congregational Church of Glen Ellyn, Il; November 14 at the PianoForte Studios in downtown Chicago; and November 18 at the Music Institute of Chicago's Nichols Concert Hall in Evanston, Il.

For more information, visit

--Jill Chukerman

Beethoven: Symphonies Nos. 5, 6, 7 and 8 (CD review)

Arturo Toscanini, NBC Symphony Orchestra. RCA 74321-55836-2 (2-disc set/mono).

It seemed like only a few years before this late-Nineties release that RCA had issued many of Toscanini's old NBC Symphony Orchestra recordings on CD in what they said were the definitive editions. I thought the sound was an improvement on the noisy, hard, high-pitched, sometimes pseudo-stereo qualities of the vinyl, but for me it was still not pleasant enough for easy listening. Then with these releases, RCA again remastered Toscanini's Beethoven symphonies, among others, on three two-disc sets, and using 20-bit technology the sound appeared further improved. In fact, except for its being in monaural, the sound is darned near close to modern standards. I suspect the new sound is either more faithful to the original source than the first CDs were, or the folks at RCA doctored it to sound better. In either case, the results are welcome. Still, it does make one wonder, doesn't it, I mean without recourse to hearing the master tapes, just how accurate the sonics are that we're getting on a CD.

Anyway, for listeners unfamiliar with Toscanini's later style (these recordings derive from the early Fifties), the great maestro seemed to become toward the end a little less expansive in his overall approach and a bit more rigid in his tempos. He was no less eloquent, but there emerged a marked consistency of beat throughout his conducting. Here it works best, I think, in the Fifth Symphony, which makes "Fate" sound more ominous than ever and the Finale more imposing.

Arturo Toscanini
In the lighter Sixth, Seventh, and Eighth Symphonies, it is the conductor's precision of attack and his clarification of textures that come to the fore, with the brisk, steady rhythms perhaps a minor liability. Toscanini fans will hate my having said that, but I had on hand for comparison his Sixth Symphony with the BBC Symphony Orchestra recorded well over a dozen years before, and I must say I have a marginal preference for that earlier, more relaxed interpretation.

Nevertheless, these are all performances to be reckoned with, and each symphony shows a mastery of technique that makes it stand out as authoritative. Except in the aforementioned comparison, the newer Sixth sounds just right, even as the other three symphonies sound correct in almost every way. The conductor's minutely accurate control of every aspect of his music-making tends to mitigate any arguments against his methods. Interestingly, I began liking the Seventh the more I listened to it, in spite of a note of coldness in Toscanini's manner; yet I liked the Eighth the less as it went along, probably hoping it would eventually lighten up.   

There is no question in my mind about the sonics. This is the best recorded sound we've probably ever heard from Toscanini, for which RCA used UV22 Super CD encoding. No longer do I discern much of the pinched nasality, the closed-in acoustics, or the bright, hard, steely mids and treble of the past. Nor is there any hiss to speak of. Naturally, RCA undoubtedly used some noise reduction, so highs do not exactly sparkle. That is one of its only drawbacks, along with a small degree of bass and dynamic limitation. It is remarkably smooth, room-filling sound.

I have not heard RCA's other two Toscanini Beethoven sets with the NBC Symphony Orchestra, but if are as good as this one, I would have no hesitation in recommending the whole cycle.


To listen to a brief excerpt from this album, click below:

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

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