Classical Music News of the Week, December 29, 2018

The Crypt Sessions Presents The Quartet for the End of Time, February 5

Unison Media's acclaimed concert series The Crypt Sessions (in the Crypt under the Church of the Intercession in Harlem, NY) will kick off its fourth season on February 5, 2019, with a performance of Olivier Messiaen's Quartet for the End of Time, performed by a luxury-cast ensemble of Stefan Jackiw (violin), Jay Campbell (cello), Yoonah Kim (clarinet), and Orion Weiss (piano).

Tickets for the performance will go on sale January 3, 2019, alongside an exciting announcement about The Crypt Sessions, and Unison's other series, The Angel's Share (which takes place in the Catacombs of The Green-Wood Cemetery in Brooklyn, NY).

For more information, visit

--Andrew Ousley, Unison Media

A Baroque New Year's Eve
A Baroque New Year's Eve at the Opera
December 31 2018, featuring soprano Mary Wilson and countertenor Aryeh Nussbaum Cohen.
American Bach Soloists • Jeffrey Thomas conductor.

One performance only: Monday December 31 2018 4:00 p.m., Herbst Theater, San Francisco, CA.

This special event, presented in San Francisco's beautiful Herbst Theatre--a cornerstone and jewel among the city's most prestigious venues--will feature one of the opera world's exciting new vocal talents, countertenor Aryeh Nussbaum Cohen. The 2017 Metropolitan Opera National Young Artists Award Winner, former Merola Opera Program participant, 2018 San Francisco Opera Adler Fellow, and ABS Academy alumnus has been capturing the hearts of opera lovers around the world. Aryeh Nussbaum Cohen will be featured in arias by Handel and Gluck.

The New York Times wrote that the young breakout artist "possesses a remarkable gift for intimate communication in a vast hall, combined with a voice of velvety gentleness--surprisingly penetrating given the tenderness of its texture — and a taste for adventure.… Expressive yet dignified, his phrasing confident and his ornamentation stylishly discreet, he brought tears to my eyes."

Joined by the incomparable soprano Mary Wilson, and along with a delightful program of instrumental music from opera and concert, this early night on the town will joyfully ring in the New Year in elegant style.

Concert length: approximately 1 hour and 40 minutes.

Tickets for this event are available only through CITY BOX OFFICE
Charge-By-Phone / Information: (415) 392-4400
In Person at City Box Office, 180 Redwood Street, San Francisco.
Order Online:

--American Bach Soloists

Happy New Year from Experiential Orchestra
Dear Friends of EXO,
We want to wish you all a very happy holiday season and a joyous New Year!

This has been another great year for the orchestra, with performances at Lincoln Center, the Bohemian National Hall, and in Washington, D.C. at the Phillips Collection and American University. We have also completed a successful Kickstarter campaign, with your help, to help fund our world-premiere commercial recording of Dame Ethel Smyth's The Prison, scheduled for 2019.

We can't do any of this without your help. If you have been waiting to donate until the end of the year, it is now officially the end of the year! Please help support our future programming by clicking donate, or by writing a check as below. All donations are fully tax-deductible.

To donate on-line, visit

To donate by check, make payable to:
Experiential Orchestra
c/o James E. Moskin, Treasurer
205 East 95th Street
New York, NY 10128

With thanks for your role in making all of this happen–with EXO, you are truly inside the orchestra, and you are all an essential part of what we do.

For more information, visit

--James and the EXO team

New Year Wishes and Musical Magic in 2019 from PBO
With unforgetable performances of Mozart, Vivaldi, and Bach now behind us, we enter 2019 anticipating more incredible music with violinist Rachel Barton Pine in Feburary, mezzo-soprano Anne Sofie von Otter in March, and Aryeh Nussbaum Cohen in Handel's Saul in April. We couldn't do it without you--our friends and supporters!

From the Philharmonia Baroque Orchestra and Chorale's family to yours, we wish you a very Happy New Year and look forward to sharing more music together in 2019.

For more information, visit

--Your friends at PBO

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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