Classical Music News of the Week, December 15, 2018

Tickets on Sale for Opera Maine's Performance of The Magic Flute

Tickets go on sale today for OperaMaine's 25th Anniversary mainstage production of W.A. Mozart's The Magic Flute presented at Merrill Auditorium, Portland, Maine on Wednesday, July 24 and Friday, July 26, 2019. Ticket prices start at $34. To celebrate the 25th Anniversary, a grant from Wells Fargo will allow the first 300 registrants, age 25 and under, to attend for free.

To celebrate its 25th Anniversary—and the magic of opera--Opera Maine presents its first-ever production of Mozart's The Magic Flute. Magnificent music draws you into a fantasy world, where Prince Tamino and the bird catcher Papageno embark upon a trial-filled journey to rescue the beautiful daughter of the Queen of the Night. The twisting tale of good, evil, enlightenment, and love will captivate young and old alike. The opera will be sung in the original German with English dialogue and with English supertitles. The company's Principal Conductor, Stephen Lord will conduct the Opera Maine Orchestra and Artistic Director, Dona D. Vaughn, will direct the exceptional cast.

Tickets are on sale at PortTIX , the only official box office for Opera Maine. To avoid websites that sell tickets at a markup, tickets may be purchased by calling or visiting the box office, or at The PortTIX box office is located at 20 Myrtle Street in Portland and is open noon to 6 p.m., Monday through Saturday. Call PortTIX office at (207) 842-0800.

For complete information, visit

--Kristen Levesque, APR

Invest in the Future of Historical Performance
As former teacher and pupil, and now colleagues, it was particularly special to play alongside each other in the "Vivaldi the Teacher" concert set and in the SESSIONS "The H.I.P Revolution" last month.

We are grateful that Philharmonia Baroque Orchestra and The Juilliard School's Historical Performance program established a collaboration that would bring students and professional musicians and teachers together. The partnership comes in many forms, including residencies, mentoring, and side-by-side performances. We all believe the future of historically informed performance relies on investing in specialized training for young musicians and nurturing their careers by providing performance opportunities.

We ask for your investment in the next generation of historically-informed musicians. The Economist said this year, "The former rebels are no longer on the fringes, and have inspired a new generation of musicians," and we are proud to be a part of the movement. We greatly appreciate your support.

Please click here to invest in the future:

From one generation to the next, thank you for your passionate support of historical performance.

--Phoebe Carrai, PBO violoncellist and Juilliard faculty member

Orpheus Chamber Orchestra Presents "Homeward Sounds"
On Saturday, January 12, 2019 at 7:00 p.m. at Stern Auditorium / Perelman Stage at Carnegie Hall, NYC, Orpheus Chamber Orchestra presents "Homeward Sounds," a program delving into the sounds of Mozart and Dvorák's rich lives in Salzburg, Vienna, and Prague.

The concert features the New York premiere of Dvorák's Bagatelles, Op. 47 arranged for chamber orchestra by conductor/arranger Dennis Russell Davies, as well as Mozart's Piano Concerto No. 27 with Spanish pianist Javier Perianes, and Mozart's Symphony No. 33 in B-flat Major, K. 319. These works will provide a springboard for New York composer James Matheson's Still Life, which opens this program and reflects contemporary American sensibilities. This piece was made possible by a grant from the Fromm Music Foundation.

The program will also be performed on January 5, 2019 at the Adrienne Arsht Center for the Performing Arts in Miami, FL, marking the world premieres of the works by Davis and Matheson; and on January 6, 2019 at Walter S. Gubelmann Auditorium in Palm Beach, FL; January 9, 2019 at Halton Theater at Central Piedmont Community College in Charlotte, NC; and on January 10, 2019 at Wright Auditorium at East Carolina University in Greenville, NC.

Single tickets for the January 12 performance, priced from $12.50 to $115, are available for purchase at the Carnegie Hall box office at 57th and 7th and can be charged to major credit cards by calling CarnegieCharge at 212-247-7800, or by visiting the Carnegie Hall website at

--Katy Salomon, Morahan Arts and Media

Mary Wilson is Back!
Soprano Mary Wilson, one of American Bach Soloist audiences' most treasured guest artists, is back this week to reprise her legendary performance of Handel's Messiah in Grace Cathedral.

An annual holiday tradition, these performances meld together Handel's glorious music with the serene beauty of one of San Francisco's greatest architectural treasures.
Wednesday December 12 2018 7:30 p.m.
Thursday December 13, 2018 7:30 p.m.
Friday December 14, 2018 7:30 p.m.
Grace Cathedral, San Francisco, CA

Watch here:

Get more information and tickets here:

Or order by phone for Messiah: 800-595-4TIX (-4849) or for New Year's Eve: 415-392-4400

Information: 415-621-7900

--American Bach Soloists

Vocal Point Signs to Decca Gold
Vocal Point, the YouTube sensation and chart-topping nine-man a cappella group, is gearing up to bring its music to a much bigger stage. With the release of their latest music video, "What Child is This?" Vocal Point has announced that they've signed a recording deal with Decca Gold, Universal Classics, US, part of Universal Music Group (UMG), the world's largest music company in the world.

Graham Parker, President of Universal Music Classics, US, says of the signing, "Vocal Point has been bringing joy and incredible musicality to audiences for many years, and so I am delighted they have joined Universal to take their collective talents to an even wider audience both here in the U.S.A. and around the world."

UMG initially reached out to Vocal Point two years ago and expressed interest in working with the group. Vocal Point's producer and artistic director McKay Crockett says, "I thought it was exciting but way too good to be true — flattering, but it'll never happen."

It did happen. And with the new deal, Universal Classics, US and Decca Gold will be helping Vocal Point with all aspects of their brand, including physical and digital music release and distribution, touring, social media and more.

--Samatha Sklar, Universal Music

World Premiere Performances of Julia Wolfe's Fire in my mouth
Winner of the 2018 Grammy Award for Best Choral Performance, The Crossing makes its New York Philharmonic debut in world premiere performances of Julia Wolfe's Fire in my mouth on Thursday, January 24, 2019 at 7:30 p.m., Friday, January 25, 2019 at 8:00 p.m., and Saturday, January 26, 2019 at 8:00 p.m. at David Geffen Hall at Lincoln Center.

Led by New York Philharmonic Music Director Jaap van Zweden, Julia Wolfe's immersive Fire in my mouth--featuring video, theatrical lighting, and nearly 150 women vocalists--explores the 1911 Triangle Shirtwaist Factory Fire in New York City which killed 146 garment workers, most of them young, female immigrants. The tragic decisions that led to the devastation instigated protests that led to changes in labor laws. Thirty-six women of The Crossing and conductor Donald Nally will be joined by 110 women of the Young People's Chorus of New York City, led by director Francisco J. Núñez. Fire in my mouth features video and scenic design by Jeff Sugg and is directed by Anne Kauffman.

Thursday, January 24, 2019 at 7:30 p.m.
Friday, January 25, 2019 at 8:00 p.m.
Saturday, January 26, 2019 at 8:00 p.m.
David Geffen Hall | 10 Lincoln Center Plaza | New York, NY
Tickets: $33-120 at or by calling (212) 875-5656.

--Katy Salomon, Morahan Arts and Media

Cantata Profana's Intense VISIONS OF SILENCE
The brilliant and audacious stars of New York's Cantata Profana--as comfortable on period instruments as they are on modern ones--juxtapose masterpieces from the medieval era to the 21st century in lovingly curated shows filled with unexpected works and daring theater. On January 18 and 19 they premiere their boldest creation yet: VISIONS OF SILENCE at St. Peter's Church in Chelsea (346 West 20th Street, NYC). The church is perfectly matched to this mystical program, with its slightly dilapidated yet beautiful looks and perfect acoustics (clear as a bell without being swampy). Lighting design and staging combine to intensify the drama.

The program centers around a theatrical presentation of Salvatore Sciarrino's 1998 Infinito Nero, an "Ecstasy in One Act" for voice (the exquisite soprano Alice Teyssier) and 8 instruments, and conducted by Cantata Profana's Artistic Director Jacob Ashworth. Infinito Nero hasn't been done in New York in many years--and very rarely before then.

For more information, visit

--Aleba Gartner, Aleba & Co.

Wishing Peace and Joy from Young People's Chorus of New York City
The holiday season is a time to be with friends, families, and loved ones. Having been a musician since I was a child, I know firsthand the importance of music in bringing people together. When I worked with YPC on my holiday album, I was so moved to see children from all over New York City united by their love of music, singing with one voice.

Please join me this holiday season in supporting an organization unlike any other, where children from all backgrounds lead the way with their example of respect, understanding and beautiful harmony.

Happy Holidays to you and your family,

Joshua Bell, Artistic Ambassador

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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 simple-minded, 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 Onkyo C-7030 CD player, Legacy Audio StreamLine preamplifier, Legacy Audio PowerBloc2 amplifier, and a pair of Legacy Audio Focus SE speakers augmented by a Legacy Point One subwoofer. 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 LG G7 ThinQ cell phone, which features surprisingly sophisticated audio circuitry. 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.

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