Classical Music News of the Week, January 26, 2019

Other Minds Presents Shostakovich West Coast Premiere

Other Minds continues its 2018-2019 season on Sunday, February 10, 4:00 p.m. at Taube Atrium Theater in San Francisco, with a double header of two piano arrangements by Shostakovich including the West Coast Premiere of his own Symphony No. 4 and Stravinsky's Symphony of Psalms. The performance features frequent duo collaborators Maki Namekawa and Dennis Russell Davies.

The two piano arrangement of Shostakovich's Symphony No. 4 is still largely unknown today. Written in 1936, the original orchestral version was mired in scandal following Stalin's denouncement of Lady Mcbeth of the Mtsensk District two years prior. The exact details are shrouded in mystery but following its withdrawal, the orchestral score went missing during World War II and remains undiscovered to this day. It was eventually reconstructed from the individual orchestral parts and the composer's two piano arrangement, of which only 300 copies were printed, and finally received its orchestral premiere in 1961. Shostakovich and Boris Tishchenko performed the two piano arrangement one-year prior, marking the first time that it had been heard publicly in over a quarter of a century. It was not until 2000 that the piece was officially published.

Tickets are $40 and can be purchased online through http://www.brownpapertickets. $25 student tickets can be purchased with valid student ID.

For further information on Other Minds, please visit

--Brenden Guy PR

Singer-Songwriter Gabriel Kahane's "8980: Book of Travelers"
Up next on Princeton University Concerts' brand-new Crossroads series: singer-songwriter Gabriel Kahane brings his acclaimed "8980: Book of Travelers" project to Richardson Auditorium, Princeton, NJ on Thursday, February 14 at 7:30PM.

The morning after the 2016 presidential election, Kahane boarded an Amtrak train for an 8,980-mile journey across the United States, leaving his phone and access to internet behind. The resulting song-cycle, premiered at the 2017 BAM Next Wave Festival and drawn from the kaleidoscopic spectrum of his fellow travelers, is an eloquent cry for reconciliation and an attempt to rediscover our collective humanity in the face of all that seeks to separate us. Rolling Stone calls the project "A stunning portrait of a singular moment in America." Tickets, just $30, are available at and at 609-258-9220.

On Wednesday, February 13 at 7PM, Kahane will also participate in a FREE, unticketed public discussion with Princeton University Professor Simon Morrison at the Princeton Public Library.

--Dasha Koltunyuk, Princeton University Concerts

Handel and Haydn Society Presents Two NYC Concerts
In Spring 2019, the internationally renowned, Boston-based, early music champion, the Handel and Haydn Society, returns to New York City for two stunning concerts. These performances, housed in two of New York City's most unique and celebrated concert venues, reflect the Handel and Haydn Society's impeccable consideration for historically-informed concert traditions, immaculate expression of the Renaissance and Baroque philosophies, and characteristic taste and precision of artistry.

Under its esteemed artistic director of a decade, Harry Christophers, the 204-year-old ensemble brings the fiercely emotive early opera Dido and Aeneas by Henry Purcell to the spectacular "Temple of Dendur" setting in the Metropolitan Museum of Art's Sackler Wing, as well as an all-Vivaldi recital including works for soprano, violin, and viola d'amore at the Morgan Library.

For more information, visit and

--Hannah Goldshlack-Wolf, Kirshbaum Associates

PARMA Call For Scores - Winter 2019
PARMA Recordings makes our first Call for Scores of 2019. In addition to being recorded, selected submissions will be considered for live performance. Previously accepted scores have been performed in Russia, Croatia, Austria, the Czech Republic, the United States, and more.

We are currently accepting submissions for:
1. Thomas Mesa: Works for cello and cello with piano. New York NY

2. Sirius Quartet: Works for string quartet. Boston MA

3. Zabreb Festival Orchestra: Works for orchestra. Zagreb Croatia

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 February 4, 2019. There is no fee to submit.

For more information and submissions form, visit

--PARMA Recordings

Competitors for the 2019 CMIM Violin Edition Revealed
Twenty-four of the world's most promising young violinists--15 women and 9 men between the ages of 16 and 28, from 13 nations--have been selected to participate in the CMIM (Concours musical international de Montréal) running from May 29 to June 5, 2019. The United States leads the selection with seven violinists, followed by Japan and South Korea with 5 violinists each. Germany is represented by two competitors and the following nations are each represented by one competitor: Austria, China, Czech Republic, France, Latvia, Russia, Spain, Taiwan and Ukraine. The 24 competitors will vie for over $150,000 in prizes, awards, and grants, including a First Prize worth more than $100,000. Here is the list of the Violin 2019 competitors:

Zachary Brandon, United States
Elina Buksha, Latvia
Stella Chen, United States
Elli Choi, United States
Maria Dueñas, Spain
Leonard Fu, Germany
Stephen Kim, United States
Gyehee Kim, South Korea
William Lee, Taiwan
Youjin Lee, South Korea
Anna Lee, United States / South Korea
Lun Li, China
Hyun Jae Lim, South Korea
Michiru Matsuyama, Japan
Fumika Mohri, Japan / Germany
Daichi Nakamura, Japan / Austria
Yukari Ohno, Japan
Fedor Rudin, France / Russia
Olga Šroubková, Czech Republic
Hannah Tarley, United States
Coco Tomita, Japan
Jinyoung Yoon, South Korea
Vasyl Zatsikha, Ukraine
Hao Zhou, United States

The First round (May 29 and 30) and Semi-final round (June 1 and 2) will be held at Montreal Museum of Fine Arts' Bourgie Hall with morning (11 am), afternoon (3 pm) and evening (7:30 pm) sessions.

The Final round will take place on June 4 and 5, both at 7:30 pm, at Maison symphonique, where violinists will be accompanied by the Orchestre symphonique de Montréal led by guest conductor Alexander Shelley.

For complete details, visit

--France Gaignard, CMIM

Festival Mozaic Partners with Steinway for WinterMezzo Weekend
For decades, Steinway & Sons has cultivated special relationships with pianists from every genre, including historic local celebrity Ignacy Jan Paderewski. Pianist Anna Polonsky, one of the more than 1,600 Steinway artists, will be playing in San Luis Obispo at Festival Mozaic's WinterMezzo weekend, February 21-24. Festival Mozaic is excited to announce a new partnership with Steinway & Sons, which results in the loan of a concert grand piano for Polonsky to use for the Festival's upcoming WinterMezzo weekend.

About being a Steinway artist, Polonsky states, "In my performing experience, no piano but Steinway has been better at answering my musical and technical needs."

Festival Mozaic's WinterMezzo Series runs February 21-24, 2018 with four 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, through the rest of the year with its WinterMezzo series.

For more information, visit

--David George, Festival Mozaic

Be Honest: Can Art Really Make a Difference?
It is easy to be discouraged. It is easy to feel powerless. With all that is happening, it is worth asking whether we can make a difference. Can anything make a difference? And with so much else failing, can a work of art make a difference? Or are we kidding ourselves?

We believe it can.
We have seen it happen in ourselves.

When American Opera Projects commissioned and premiered As One four years ago, it opened our own way of thinking, our way of talking, our way of empathizing. But maybe that was just us, predisposed, as theatre producers, to the ideas and the feelings we hoped As One would communicate. But since then, with the help of many of our fellow producers and an incredible roster of artists, we have seen it also happen in hundreds of audience members across the country, many of whom didn't really know much about "transgender" beyond the headlines.

 But we felt our work wasn't done. So this year, AOP will enact a plan to bring As One to as many people as we can, with a new production, a new nationwide tour, and a new CD.

Yes, we believe - we truly believe - a work of art can make a difference.

For complete information, visit

--American Opera Projects

ACO Presents "Joyous Bach" at Lincoln Center
American Classical Orchestra's (ACO) 34th season continues on Thursday, March 7, 2019 at 8:00pm with "Joyous Bach," a celebration of Johann Sebastian Bach, led by Artistic Director and Founder Thomas Crawford, at Alice Tully Hall at Lincoln Center, NYC.

Stepping in front of the orchestra, ACO's renowned principal flutist Sandra Miller, Historic Performance Professor of Flute at The Juilliard School, will play Bach's Orchestral Suite No. 2, BWV 1067 for flute and strings. The acclaimed ACO Chorus will join the orchestra for beloved cantatas "Herz und Mund und Tat und Leben," BWV 147 and "Gottes Zeit ist die allerbeste Zeit," BWV 106. Nola Richardson (soprano), Sara Couden (contralto), and Joseph Beutel (bass-baritone) will be among the step-out soloists. Thomas Crawford says of the program, "This program reveals Bach's unequalled capacity to reach the range of human emotions."

Later the same week, on March 8 and 9, 2019, ACO will kick off its newest initiative, The Sfzp Project, with fortepiano masterclasses, recitals and chamber music concerts, as well as the first Sfzp International Fortepiano Competition, co-sponsored by American Classical Orchestra and the Academy of Fortepiano Performance in Hunter, New York.

For more information, visit

--Katy Salomon, Morahan Arts and Media

The Crypt Sessions presents Lucas Meachem Singing Mahler's Kindertotenlieder
The Crypt Sessions will continue its fourth season on March 7, 2019, with baritone Lucas Meachem singing Mahler's Kindertotenlieder ("Songs on the Death of Children"), accompanied by his wife Irina Meachem. In an ironic twist of fate, Irina will be six months pregnant with their first child at the time of the performance...pretty dark, even for us...

In addition to the Mahler, Lucas will sing a selection of opera arias (including "Figaro's Aria" from John Corigliano's Ghosts of Versailles, for which Meachem won a Grammy in 2017) and several of Copland's Old American Songs.

Tickets for the performance will go on sale February 6, 2019.

For more information, visit

--Andrew Ousley, Unison Media

Schubert's Octet for Winds & Strings, Up Close
Princeton University Concerts, continuing its 125th anniversary season, invites audience members to sit onstage with the Brentano String Quartet and principal guests from the New York Philharmonic, Philadelphia Orchestra, and Metropolitan Opera Orchestra in a single-work program of Schubert's Octet for Winds & Strings in F Major, D. 803.

The program will be repeated twice on Tuesday, February 19, 2019: at 6PM and 9PM. The 6PM concert is sold out; tickets are still available for the 9PM performance. The concert design, including special lighting, is conceived by Broadway actor Michael Dean Morgan and lighting designer Wesley Cornwell. Any returned tickets will also be released for purchase an hour prior to each performance at Richardson Auditorium, Alexander Hall, Princeton University.

For further information, visit

--Dasha Koltunyuk, Princeton University Concerts

ICE and Yarn/Wire Perform Wang Lu Composer Portrait
On Thursday, February 21, 2019 at 8:00pm, the International Contemporary Ensemble (ICE) joins Yarn/Wire for a Miller Theatre Composer Portrait of composer and pianist Wang Lu.

Brought up in a musical family with strong Chinese opera and folk music traditions, Wang Lu's works reflect a natural identification with those influences, through the prism of contemporary instrumental techniques and new sonic possibilities. Musicians of ICE and Yarn/Wire, both long-standing champions of Wang Lu, perform the world premiere of Lu's A-PPA-Aratus, co-commissioned by Miller Theatre the Koussevitsky Music Foundation, as well as her Childhood Amnesia (2017), Rates of Extinction (2016), Urban Inventory (2015), and Siren Song (2008).

On Thursday, January 31, 2019 at 6:00pm at The New York Public Library for the Performing Arts's Bruno Walter Auditorium, ICE presents a free interactive concert of Wang Lu's works and will collect audience responses.

For further information, visit

--Katy Salomon, Morahan Arts and Media

New York Festival of Song Presents "Hyphenated-Americans"
New York Festival of Song--the "engaging, ever-curious series" (The New York Times)--presents a new program entitled "Hyphenated-Americans" on Wednesday, February 20, a co-presentation with Merkin Hall at Kaufman Music Center, NYC. This concert honors composers from abroad who now call the United States home, along with first-generation American composers whose close links to their parents' homelands can be heard through their compositions. The program features works by Bright Sheng (Chinese-American), Daniel Sabzghabaei (Persian-American), Roberto Sierra (Puerto Rican-American), and Clarice Assad (Brazilian-American).

For more information, visit

--Aleba Gartner, Aleba & Co.

Happy Hour Concerts: Heart to Heart
Jeunesses Musicales Canada (JMC) invites music lovers to their Happy Hour Concerts, a golden opportunity to hear the best emerging artists in the classical world in a casual atmosphere, while sipping on a glass of wine after work.

Starting at 6:15 p.m., JMC partner RéZin offers a selection of wines. Then, at 7 p.m., the audience is in for a little over an hour of music, including commentary by the artists, in a intimate venue with impeccable acoustics. Don't miss this unique occasion, taking place at Joseph Rouleau Hall, located at 305, Avenue du Mont-Royal Est, in Montréal, just a few steps from the Mont-Royal metro station.

Next concert:
Heart to Heart, January 30, 2019
Yolanda Bruno,violin
Isabelle David, piano

Upcoming concerts:
Hidden Treasures, March 13, 2019
Michel-Alexandre Broekaert, piano
Nuné Melik, violin

Sounds & Scenery, April 3, 2019
Lara Deutsch, flute
Emily Belvedere, harp

--France Gaignard, JMC

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Meet the Staff

Meet the Staff
John J. Puccio, Editor, Publisher, Reviewer

Understand, I'm just an everyday guy reacting to something I love. And I've been doing it for a very long time, my appreciation for classical music starting with the musical excerpts on the Big Jon and Sparkie radio show in the early Fifties and the purchase of my first recording, The 101 Strings Play the Classics, around 1956. In the late Sixties I began teaching high school English and Film Studies as well as becoming interested in hi-fi, my audio ambitions graduating me from a pair of AR-3 speakers to the Fulton J's recommended by The Stereophile's J. Gordon Holt. In the early Seventies, I began writing for a number of audio magazines, including Audio Excellence, Audio Forum, The Boston Audio Society Speaker, The American Record Guide, and from 1976 until 2008, The $ensible Sound, for which I served as Classical Music Editor.

Today, I'm retired from teaching and use a pair of bi-amped VMPS RM40s loudspeakers for my listening. In addition to writing the Classical Candor blog, I served as the Movie Review Editor for the Web site Movie Metropolis (formerly DVDTown) from 1997-2013. Music and movies. Life couldn't be better.
Karl W. Nehring, Contributing Reviewer

For more than 20 years I was the editor of The $ensible Sound magazine and a regular contributor to its classical review pages. I would not presume to present myself as some sort of expert on music, but I have a deep love for and appreciation of many types of music, "classical" especially, and have listened to thousands of recordings over the years, many of which still line the walls of my listening room (and occasionally spill onto the furniture and floor, much to the chagrin of my long-suffering wife). I have always taken the approach as a reviewer that what I am trying to do is simply to point out to readers that I have come across a recording that I have found of interest, a recording that I think they might appreciate my having pointed out to them. I suppose that sounds a bit simpleminded, but I know I appreciate reading reviews by others that do the same for me -- point out recordings that I think I might enjoy.

For readers who might be wondering about what kind of system I am using to do my listening, I should probably point out that I do a LOT of music listening and employ a variety of means to do so in a variety of environments, as I would imagine many music lovers also do. Starting at the more grandiose end of the scale, the system in which I do my most serious listening comprises an Arcam CDS50 CSD/SACD CD player, Goldpoint SA4 Passive Preamp, Legacy Audio PowerBloc2 amplifier, and a pair of Legacy Audio Focus SE loudspeakers. I also do a lot of listening while driving in my 2016 Acura RDX with its nice-sounding ELS Studio sound system through which I play CDs (the ones I especially like I rip to the Acura's hard drive so that I can listen to them whenever I want) or stream music through the system using my cell phone. For more casual listening at home when I am not in my listening room, I often stream music through the phone into a Vizio soundbar system that has remarkably nice sound for such a diminutive physical presence. And finally, at the least grandiose end of the scale, I have an Ultimate Ears Wonderboom Bluetooth speaker for those occasions where I am somewhere by myself without a sound system but in desperate need of a musical fix. I just can't imagine life without music and I am humbly grateful for the technology that enables us to enjoy it in so many wonderful ways.
Bryan Geyer, Technical Analyst

I initially embraced classical music in 1954 when I mistuned my car radio and heard the Heifetz recording of Mendelssohn's Violin Concerto. That inspired me to board the new "hi-fi" DIY bandwagon. In 1957 I joined one of the pioneer semiconductor makers and spent the next 32 years marketing transistors and microcircuits to military contractors. Home audio DIY projects remained a personal passion until 1989 when we created our own new photography equipment company. I later (2012) revived my interest in two channel audio when we "downsized" our life and determined that mini-monitors + paired subwoofers were a great way to mate fine music with the space constraints of condo living.

Visitors that view my technical papers on this site may wonder why they appear here, rather than on a site that features audio equipment reviews. My reason is that I tried the latter, and prefer to publish for people who actually want to listen to music; not to equipment. My focus is in describing what's technically beneficial to assure that the sound of the system will accurately replicate the source input signal (i. e. exhibit high accuracy) without inordinate cost and complexity. Conversely, most of the audiophiles of today strive to achieve sound that's euphonic, i.e. be personally satisfying. In essence, audiophiles seek sound that's consistent with their desire; the music is simply a test signal.

William (Bill) Heck, Contributing Reviewer

Among my early childhood memories are those of listening to my mother playing records (some even 78 rpm ones!) of both classical music and jazz tunes. I suppose that her love of music was transmitted genetically, and my interest was sustained by years of playing in rock bands – until I realized that this was no way to make a living. The interest in classical music was rekindled in grad school when the university FM station serving as background music for studying happened to play the Brahms First Symphony. As the work came to an end, it struck me forcibly that this was the most beautiful thing I had ever heard, and from that point on, I never looked back. This revelation was to the detriment of my studies, as I subsequently spent way too much time simply listening, but music has remained a significant part of my life. These days, although I still can tell a trumpet from a bassoon and a quarter note from a treble clef, I have to admit that I remain a nonexpert. But I do love music in general and classical music in particular, and I enjoy sharing both information and opinions about it.

The audiophile bug bit about the same time that I returned to that classical music. I’ve gone through plenty of equipment, brands from Audio Research to Yamaha, and the best of it has opened new audio insights. Along the way, I reviewed components, and occasionally recordings, for The $ensible Sound magazine. Recently I’ve rebuilt--I prefer to say reinvigorated--my audio system, with a Sangean FM HD tuner and (for the moment) an ancient Toshiba multi-format disk player serving as a transport, both feeding a NAD C 658 streaming preamp/DAC, which in turn connects to a Legacy Powerbloc2 amplifier driving my trusty Waveform Mach Solo speakers, supplemented by a Hsu Research ULS 15 Mk II subwoofer.

Mission Statement

It is the goal of Classical Candor to promote the enjoyment of classical music. Other forms of music come and go--minuets, waltzes, ragtime, blues, jazz, bebop, country-western, rock-'n'-roll, heavy metal, rap, and the rest--but classical music has been around for hundreds of years and will continue to be around for hundreds more. It's no accident that every major city in the world has one or more symphony orchestras.

When I was young, I heard it said that only intellectuals could appreciate classical music, that it required dedicated concentration to appreciate. Nonsense. I'm no intellectual, and I've always loved classical music. Anyone who's ever seen and enjoyed Disney's Fantasia or a Looney Tunes cartoon playing Rossini's William Tell Overture or Liszt's Hungarian Rhapsody No. 2 can attest to the power and joy of classical music, and that's just about everybody.

So, if Classical Candor can expand one's awareness of classical music and bring more joy to one's life, more power to it. It's done its job. --John J. Puccio

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"Their Master's Voice" by Michael Sowa

"Their Master's Voice" by Michael Sowa