Classical Music News of the Week, June 1, 2019

Midsummer's Music 2019

Midsummer's Music of Door County, Wisconsin, announces its 2019 concert season with Mendelssohn, Mozart and More! Presenting concerts hailed as "exciting, pulse-pounding and riveting," Midsummer's Music provides unique and diverse cultural, historical and scenic musical experiences. The 2019 season, running June 14 through September 2, features 41 concerts performed by world-class musicians. The inspiring concerts, many of which sell out, attract a growing dedicated following every year, plus thousands more via Wisconsin Public Radio broadcasts, and on Live from Chicago's WFMT Radio.

Midsummer's Music offers chamber music for strings, piano and winds performed in  distinctive settings throughout Door County, including art galleries, museums, historic venues and private homes.

Programs feature works by Mozart, Schubert and Dvorák, gems from lesser-known composers and world premieres by Midsummer's own award-winning Composer-in-Residence Jacob Beranek. This season will celebrate the premiere of Beranek's Quintet for Winds on July 11. A complete 2019 summer brochure can be found at www.midsummersmusic.com.

--Genevieve Spielberg, GS Artists

Le Grand Chœur du Centre-Sud: Free concert By and For the Community
On June 7, Voies culturelles des faubourgs will present the very first edition of a great citizen concert, Le Grand Choeur du Centre-Sud. This unifying event will begin outside at Espace Pierre-Bourgault (corner of Plessis and Ontario) and will end with a grand concert at Sacré-Coeur Church.

This great collective work, directed by André Pappathomas, composer, musician and winner of the 2017 artist award in the community, will bring together a hundred choristers from the Centre-Sud community. The choir will be accompanied by soloists, musicians and the great organ of the Sacré-Coeur Church.

Le Grand Choeur du Centre-Sud is more than just a choir concert, it's a community and artistic project that aims to break isolation and put the community back at the heart of our lives. "Through this inclusive event, we want to promote social cohesion and generate pride and joy in taking part in a common project," says Claudine Khelil, general coordinator of Voies culturelles des faubourgs.

The goal of the project is to create links between citizens from all horizons and to develop, through musical expression, an unsuspected creative potential. "It is the result of a collective work of creation that will be presented in the form of a big happening to the entire community," says Pappathomas.

When: June 7, 2019, from 5:30 pm
Where: Espace Pierre-Bourgault (park on Plessis Street, south of Ontario street) and Sacré-Coeur Church (Ontario at the corner of Plessis, Montreal)
Information: 514-526-2787; communications@voiesculturelles.qc.ca or voiesculturelles.qc.ca

--France Gaignard PR

2019 Concours Musical International de Montréal : Semifinalists Announced
On May 29 and 30 was held the First round of the 2019 Violin Edition of the Concours musical international de Montréal. The jury selected twelve semifinalists, from 6 countries. The semifinal will take place on June 1 and 2 at Bourgie Hall.

Presided by Zarin Mehta, le 2019 international jury includes Pierre Amoyal (France), Kim Kashkashian (United States), Boris Kuschnir (Austria), Cho-Liang Lin (United States), Mihaela Martin (Romania), Barry Shiffman (Canada), Dmitry Sitkovetsky (United Kingdom/United States) and Pavel Vernikov (Israel - Switzerland).

2019 CMIM Final
Following the Semifinal round, 6 violinists will proceed to the Final round, which will take place at the Maison Symphonique. Competitors perform a concerto with the Orchestre symphonique de Montréal, conducted by Alexander Shelley, on June 4 and 5 at 7:30 p.m. The jury deliberation and the competition results will be made after the Final round on June 5. $150 000 in prizes and awards will be given during the award ceremony.

For more information, visit www.concoursmontreal.ca

--France Gaignard PR

Schwalbe Artists in June
June 2:
Sherezade Panthaki
Bach Virtuosi Festival
Portland, ME

June 3:
Michael Schade
Teatro de la Zarzuela
Madrid, Spain

June 3 & 4:
Matthew Halls
Bremer Philharmoniker
Bremen, Germany

June 4:
Sherezade Panthaki
Spoleto Festival USA
Charleston, SC

June 4, 5, 7 & 8:
Marc Molomot
The Angel's Share
Brooklyn, NY

June 4:
Hadleigh Adams
San Francisco Symphony Orchestra
San Francisco, CA

June 6, 8,13:
Michael Schade
Staatsoper Hamburg
Hamburg, Germany

June 6 & 9:
Sherezade Panthaki
Bach Virtuosi Festival
Portland, ME

June 8, 10:
Douglas Williams
Les Talens Lyriques
Dortmund and Halle, Germany

June 9, 12, 14, 16:
Stephen Stubbs
Boston Early Music Festival Centerpiece Opera
Boston, MA

June 10:
Michael Schade
Stift Melk
Melk, Austria

June 12:
Thomas Cooley
St. Michaelis Musik
Hamburg, Germany

June 21 & 23:
Nicholas McGegan, Thomas Cooley, Sherezade Panthaki, William Berger, Douglas Williams
NDR Radiophilharmonie
Hanover, Germany

June 23:
Stephen Stubbs
Boston Early Music Festival
Caramoor, NY

June 25:
Eric Jurenas
Komische Oper Berlin
Berlin, Germany

June 26:
Matthew Halls
Trasimeno Music Festival
Umbria, Italy

June 27 & 29:
Hadleigh Adams
Cincinnati Opera
Cincinnati, OH

June 29:
Laura Strickling
Berkshire Choral International
Sheffield, MA

For complete information, visit https://schwalbeandpartners.com/artists/

--Schwalbe and Partners

JACK Quartet Announces 2019 Summer Season
The JACK Quartet is excited to announce their 2019 summer season, which kicks off with a return to Ojai Music Festival June 3–9 where they will perform a variety of works, including Schoenberg's Second String Quartet with Music Director Barbara Hannigan as soloist.

JACK then goes to New Music On The Point June 10–18 and The Banff Centre for Arts and Creativity July 14–30 to work with young performers and composers. In August and September, JACK will go to Tippet Rise Art Center to perform works by John Luther Adams.

For complete information, visit http://jackquartet.com/

--Andrew Ousley, Unison Media

Princeton University Concerts: 2019-20 Season
Subscriptions are on sale and going quickly for Princeton University Concerts's 2019-20 season! The 126th season includes a brand new "Icons of Song" series featuring vocal superstars alongside luminary pianists: Ian Bostridge with Brad Mehldau; Joyce DiDonato, with Yannick Nézet-Séguin, and Matthias Goerne with Jan Lisiecki.

Additional highlights include a special event with the Georgian state vocal Ensemble Basiani, and a new improvisatory spin on the intimate, audience-on-stage Up Close series with the genre-defying Vision String Quartet, pianist and improviser Gabriela Montero, and a groundbreaking collaboration between pianist/composer Conrad Tao and tap dancer Caleb Teicher.

The heralded Concert Classics Series includes performances of two premieres co-commissioned by PUC, a number of highly anticipated debuts including a collaboration between legendary pianist Mitsuko Uchida and the Mahler Chamber Orchestra, as well as the return of violinist Stefan Jackiw, the Calidore String Quartet, and more….
 
With the lowest ticket prices in the region, subscription packages start at just $16 per concert. Single tickets will go on sale, online only, at noon on July 22.

For complete information, visit http://www.princetonuniversityconcerts.org/

--Dasha Koltunyuk, Princeton University Concerts

Virtual Singing Virtues
Ground-breaking scientific study shows how singing in virtual choirs is good for mental health. Results show that singing in a Virtual Choir boosts participants' self-esteem, reduces feelings of social isolation and promotes better mental health. Members of Eric Whitacre's Virtual Choir and multiple 'live' choirs supply huge data set for compelling comparative research project.

Since ancient times, philosophers have sought to cultivate happiness and well-being. Their intuitions about the benefits of shared creative experiences have now been confirmed by pioneering scientific research conducted by University College London (UCL) in partnership with Eric Whitacre and Music Productions. The detailed study, led by UCL Senior Research Fellow and BBC Radio 3 New Generation Thinker Dr. Daisy Fancourt, shows how singing in a virtual choir delivers significant psychological benefits.

Dr. Fancourt devised an online questionnaire to gather data from global participants in Virtual Choir 5.0. The results were compared with those from diverse 'live' choirs, which were collated and submitted online to the BBC Arts Great British Creativity Test. The two cohorts, comprising 2,316 singers, generated a data set that was used for statistical matching and comparative analysis. Daisy Fancourt and her colleagues used the data to focus on the under-explored area of the psychological impact of virtual creative experiences.

Virtual and 'live' choral singers answered questions about social presence, the connections made by individuals through face-to-face or online communication, and how they used singing to help regulate their emotions. Having compared emotion regulation in both a live or 'virtual' choir, the responses are stronger in live choirs, but still present and applicable in those virtual. Both groups reported experiencing improved self-esteem, greater individual confidence and a strong sense of personal agency.

Their responses also suggested that the virtual choir experience can help combat feelings of social isolation and promote a sense of connection to others. The message is clear: choral singing, whether of the traditional or virtual variety, is good for mental health.

For much more on the subject, visit https://www.frontiersin.org/articles/10.3389/fpsyg.2019.00778/full and https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=vGngoGvOSuY#t=280

--Izzy Herschmann Music Productions

Miami Classical Music Festival Summer Program Lineup
Miami Classical Music Festival presents its 2019 season, with all new performance spaces across the Miami Beach area.

Miami Classical Music Festival, an intensive training program for the next generation of classical musicians, announces the lineup for the 2019 season from June 4 through July 28, 2019 with over 50 performances this summer.

Browse the new season and purchase your tickets: https://miamimusicfestival.com/

--Miami Music Festival

Music Institute Gala Honors Marsalis
The Music Institute of Chicago, one of the nation's most distinguished and respected community music schools, welcomed 300 guests to its 2019 Anniversary Gala on Monday, May 20 at the Four Seasons Hotel Chicago. The event raised more than $850,000 from a combination of table sponsorships, ticket sales, and outright contributions.

The evening included a cocktail reception, followed by an elegant dinner and awards presentation. Musical performances took place throughout the evening, representing every area of the Music Institute. Highlights included a New Orleans brass band procession; young musicians from the Community Music School; award-winning students from the Music Institute's renowned Academy, a training center for gifted pre-college musicians; young string students from Third Coast Suzuki Strings, a violin program on Chicago's Northwest Side in collaboration with the YMCA of Metro Chicago; and a surprise finale performance by 2019 Dushkin Award recipient Wynton Marsalis alongside Music Institute students.

The prestigious Dushkin Award, established more than 30 years ago and named for the Music Institute's visionary founders, Dorothy and David Dushkin, recognizes international luminaries in the world of music for their contributions to the art form, as well as to the education of youth. This year's recipient, Wynton Marsalis, is an internationally acclaimed musician, composer, bandleader, educator, and leading advocate of American culture. He has created and performed an expansive range of music for groups ranging from quartets to big bands, from chamber music ensembles to symphony orchestras, and from tap dance to ballet, expanding the vocabulary for jazz and classical music with a vital body of work that places him among the world's finest musicians and composers.

For information, visit musicinst.org

--Jill Chukerman, JAC Communications

Berlioz: Symphonie fantastique (CD review)

Also, Lelio excerpts. Michael Tilson Thomas, San Francisco Symphony and Chorus. RCA 09026-68930-2.

Rule of thumb: Never trust an album that features the conductor's face on the cover. Not to imply such here, but too often it signals a vanity piece. Michael Tilson Thomas has his picture on the cover, on the back of the booklet, on the back of the jewel box, and again in the booklet itself. Not only that, his name is twice as big as the name of the work he is conducting. Enough said.

The performance has to be good to justify that kind of promotion and to compete in a standard repertoire item like French composer Hector Berlioz's Symphonie fantastique that already has a multitudinous assortment of discs at its service. With old favorites from Sir Colin Davis (in three different recordings), Sir Thomas Beecham (EMI/Warner), Leonard Bernstein (EMI/Warner), Roger Norrington (EMI/Virgin/Erato), John Eliot Gardiner (Philips/Decca), and a host of others well established, MTT's interpretation would have to be awfully good. It is good. But it is not awfully good.

Michael Tilson Thomas
The second movement waltz is particularly noteworthy, having a wonderful lilt that is quite infectious, and the third movement, which I have always found more than a little tedious, actually kept my attention. The real sonic showcases, however, "The March to the Scaffold" and "The Witches' Sabbath," come off as rather routine, despite MTT's sometimes quirky phrasing and ultrawide dynamics. Refer to Beecham and Bernstein for color and character.

On the other hand, the accompanying twenty minutes of excerpts from Lelio (or "The Return to Life"), Berlioz's follow-up to the Symphonie fantastique, are a major plus. Shorn of its bizarre narration, as it is here, Lelio better holds one's attention; it is both entertaining and engaging.

And the orchestra gets good support from the San Francisco Chorus, if not from the sound engineer in charge of enhancing the Chorus's dynamic range. Speaking of which, RCA's sound is clean, deep, and smooth, though somewhat lacking in ultimate definition and imaging. The whole affair gets a B- rating from me, among aforementioned recordings that merit A's. You be the judge. 

JJP

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


Tchaikovsky Treasures (SACD review)

Violin Concerto. Also, Serenade melancolique; Valse Scherzo; ballet and opera excerpts. Guy Braunstein, violin; Kirill Karabits, BBC Symphony Orchestra. Pentatone PTC 5186 747.

We probably didn't need yet another recording of Tchaikovsky's Violin Concerto. Practically every concert violinist in the world has already done it, and the catalogue is brimming with excellent choices. However, it's the couplings on this disc that are intriguing: the "Pas de deux" from Swan Lake; Lensky's aria and the "Letter Scene" from Eugene Onegin; Serenade melancolique; and Valse Scherzo. More important, violinist Guy Braunstein gives us his own arrangements of several items. The back cover says, "Inspired by greats such as Sarasate, Heifetz, Kreisler and Joachim, violinist Guy Braunstein reanimates a tradition of violin and orchestra rhapsodies with new arrangements of famous excerpts from Swan Lake and Eugene Onegin." Whatever, it makes what might have been just another album of Tchaikovsky music into something a little more special.

If you remember, Braunstein (b. 1971) was the concertmaster of the Berlin Philharmonic for over a dozen years, leaving that position to pursue a solo career in 2013. Several years ago I reviewed his recording of the Bruch Violin Concerto and Scottish Fantasy and found them both quite charming, so it was with a good degree of optimistic anticipation that I came to the present Tchaikovsky disc. I cannot say I was disappointed.

First up on the program is the aforementioned Violin Concerto in D major, Op. 35, which Peter Tchaikovsky (1840-1893) wrote in 1878 during the time he was trying to recover from a bout of depression. Critics of the day found the concerto wanting, one of them even saying that it sounded "long and pretentious" and that it "brought us face to face with the revolting thought that music can exist which stinks to the ear." Thank goodness for the passage of time and the eventual validation of the work as a classic of the repertoire.

Guy Braunstein
As with most concertos, Tchaikovsky's begins with an Allegro, in this case taken at a moderate tempo, followed by a slow Andante and then, without a break, a spirited Allegro vivacissimo. Braunstein does as well with the piece as anybody, which should come as no surprise. You don't become the concertmaster of one of the world's leading orchestras unless you have a ton of talent, and you don't quit the post to become a soloist unless you have a ton of confidence. Braunstein has both--talent and confidence--and they pay off in the Tchaikovsky.

Braunstein takes the solo part in fine, virtuosic fashion, without overdoing or exaggerating what by now is familiar territory. The temptation was there, I'm sure, for Braunstein to try to make his interpretation notably different from all others, but he resists, relying instead on a fairly conventional reading. Yet it is not without its requisite Russian excitement and pathos; but maybe that's built into the score. It's a good, traditional reading of the music, as I say, even if I didn't hear as much sense of melancholy as I'd liked.

The couplings, cited above, are delightful, although I'm not sure prospective buyers will on their own be prompted to buy the disc just for the items accompanying the concerto. So it's a good thing the main attraction is as popular as it is and that  Braunstein handles it as well as he does. In any case, as I say, the couplings are appealing, and Braunstein's transcriptions of the ballet and opera excerpts are particularly worth the price of the disc. They're inventive enough to make old tunes new again.

Maestro Kirill Karabits and the BBC Symphony Orchestra provide excellent support for Mr. Braunstein, the orchestra sounding rich and resonant (thanks, in part, to the excellence of the recording); and the conductor keeping a fine balance between the orchestral and solo parts. Neither partner seems ever to upstage the other but complement one another admirably.

Producers Renaud Loranger and Justus Beyer and engineers Jean-Marie Geijsen and Andreas Wolf recorded the music at Walthamstow Assembly Hall, London in June 2018. They made it to play back in hybrid SACD multichannel or two-channel stereo or regular two-channel stereo if you haven't got an SACD player. I listened to the SACD two-channel layer using a Sony SACD machine.

Most noticeably good about the sound is its wide dynamic range. I know, some people don't like this because it means sometimes fiddling with the volume control while listening because of the contrasts between loud and soft passages. However, that's the way of live music; it can go from barely a whisper to very, very loud. So, if you're after the most natural sound possible, you welcome the wide dynamics. Next, you'll notice the impact is pretty good, too; solid, swift, and well delineated. After that, you'll probably salute the warm, detailed sonics and the pleasant bloom of the concert hall. The solo violin sounds lovely, too, and while it is well out in front of the orchestra, it is not so close as to be uncomfortably unrealistic. This is good, lifelike sound, making the music even better.

JJP

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


Classical Music News of the Week, May 25, 2019

Three Works by Gordon Getty To Be Performed at Festival Napa Valley, July

Three works by American composer Gordon Getty will be performed in July 2019 at Festival Napa Valley, an annual 10-day event in California's Napa region attracting more than 12,000 guests.

The performances are as follows:
July 11, time and place to be announced - Kathy, a trio based on themes from Gordon Getty's new opera, Goodbye Mr. Chips, will be performed as part of the Festival Live! chamber music series. Kathy is a short, three-movement piece written in a classical style for piano, violin and cello, named for a character in the opera who plays the cello.  The second movement was taken directly from Goodbye Mr. Chips; the first and third were written to accompany it. The trio was given its premiere on March 12, 2019 by members of the Chamber Orchestra of Havana at the Fábrica de Arte Cubano in Havana, Cuba.

July 17, 6:30 p.m., Castello di Amorosa courtyard - Getty's The Fiddler of Ballykeel, for string orchestra and violin, will be performed by British violinist Charlie Siem with the Blackburn Music Academy Orchestra conducted by Joel Revzen.  This is the first of Getty's Four Traditional Pieces. About this work, Gordon Getty writes: "Fiddler is a strictly diatonic piece throughout. Since the tunes seemed Irish when they occurred to me, I harmonized them mostly in fourths and fifths. Then I needed a title. My own patronymic ancestors appear to have come from a suburb of Belfast called Ballymoney. Since The Fiddler of Ballymoney by Getty might raise unintended nuances, I moved my ancestors a few miles away to Ballykeel."

July 20, 5:30 p.m., Lincoln Theater - Getty's choral work The Old Man in the Night will be performed as part of "Song to the Moon," a concert commemorating, to the day, the 50th Anniversary of the Apollo 11 moon landing. The Festival Orchestra NAPA will be conducted by Joel Revzen. (The program will also include Gustav Holst's The Planets, Antonin Dvorak's aria "Song to the Moon" with Canadian soprano Andriana Chuchman, and the opening of Richard Strauss's Also Sprach Zarathustra.)

Festival ticket information can be found by contacting boxoffice@festivalnapavalley.org, 1-888-337-6272, or by visiting https://festivalnapavalley.org/events-calendar-summer/?categoryid=F4C67ABD-C383-7BEB-8C86980C870D79CB.

--Nancy Shear Arts Services

10th Annual ABS Summer Festival, July 28-August 11
In its 10th season, our Summer Festival & Academy now includes an additional weekend of performances and more free public events to bring you closer to the excitement that surrounds our annual Academy along with stunning programs of absolutely sensational musical works and ventures into new and imaginative territory. New this summer: a "Coffee House Concert" featuring our amazing Academy musicians and "Bach Explorations" including "Bach to Bluegrass & Beyond!"

Of course, the focus on major works from the Baroque is still at the core of our Summer Festival. All-time favorites including Vivaldi's Four Seasons and Bach's Mass in B Minor will be presented with Handel's Utrecht Te Deum & Jubilate and Terpsicore, Lotti's "Mass for Three Choirs," Pergolesi's Stabat Mater (in an important newly researched version), Geminiani's imaginative and picturesque Enchanted Forest, and endearing concertos about frogs and crickets by Telemann.

For the full festival schedule, visit https://americanbach.org/sfbachfestival/schedule.html

--American Bach Soloists

SOLI's Spectacular 25th Anniversary Season Finale
"The Clearing in the Forest": A New Theater of Music about displacement, refuge, and home by American composer Scott Ordway. Sunday, June 2 @ 3:00 PM, Leeper Auditorium, McNay Art Museum, San Antonio, Texas.

Ordway, whose multidisciplinary work has been called "exquisite" by The New York Times and "a marvel" by The Philadelphia Inquirer, will join forces with Boston-based scenic designer Erica Eliot to create a work that blends chamber music, experimental theater, and visual art installation. The 90-minute piece explores themes of displacement, immigration, refuge, and home through the distinctive medium of staged chamber music.

$25 "Suggested Donation" at the Door

For ticket information, visit https://ordway.brownpapertickets.com/
For more information, visit http://www.solichamberensemble.com/#!thhe-clearing-the-forest/

--SOLI Chamber Ensemble

International Contemporary Ensemble Announces New ICEcommons Composer Residency
The International Contemporary Ensemble announces six composers chosen to be the first ICEcommons Artists-in-Residence: Helga Arias, Kate Gentile, Murat Çolak, Ylva Lund Bergner, Fernanda Navarro, and Bergrún Snæbjörnsdóttir. Represented by a diversity of backgrounds and musical styles, the cohort was selected by a panel of ICE musicians and outside experts who, over the course of six weeks, became familiar with more than 700 composers who submitted their creative work for consideration via a new "call for scores" on the ICEcommons web portal.

ICEcommons Artists-in-Residence will receive a paid commission, collaborative workshop opportunities, promotional support, and world premiere and repeat performances, as well as video and audio documentation throughout the entire creative process. The residency will include the support of ensemble musicians, rehearsal time, video and audio documentation, marketing support, and a paid commission all alongside performances of their pieces. Instead of creating a single concert with all six work, instead each work will be integrated into the Esnemble's concert season. The residency program is a continuation of ICE's 2010-2014 ICElab program, which developed new works with exciting emerging composers such as Tyshawn Sorey, Suzanne Farrin, and Anna Thorvaldsdottir, and giving promising talent a platform.

Read more at www.iceorg.org

--Katy Salomon, Morahan Arts and Media

Box Office Is Open for YPC's Spring Concert
Join Young People's Chorus of New York City for the annual Spring Celebration! In this special performance, 425 outstanding singers and a dynamic orchestra featuring a diverse and vibrant repertoire from around the globe is led by Artistic Director and Founder Francisco Núñez along with Associate Artistic Director Elizabeth Núñez, Conductors Sophia Papoulis, Maria Peña, and Sonny Willis, and Choreographer Jacquie Bird. Bring your friends and family for an evening of powerful music and dance that will inspire, ignite, and thrill your mind.

The box office is now open for YPC's spring celebration. June 1, 2019 at the United Palace at 7:30pm
Broadway at 176th Street, NYC.

For more information, visit https://www.unitedpalace.org/product/young-peoples-chorus-of-new-york-city/

--Young People's Chorus of NYC

Music Institute Academy Grads Excel
Seven Chicago-area student musicians enrolled in the Music Institute of Chicago's Academy for gifted pre-college pianists and string players have graduated from high school and are moving on to prestigious institutions to continue their education.

Music Institute of Chicago Academy alumni have gone on to prestigious careers, among them Matthew Lipman, a violist with the Chamber Music Society of Lincoln Center; Hannah Selonick, director of product development at artificial intelligence startup NexLP, who was just named one of Crain's Chicago Business's "20 In Their 20s"; Gabriel Cabezas, a cellist with the yMusic Ensemble, who also recently played backup for Paul Simon; and Leah Ferguson, a violist with the New York Philharmonic.

The Academy of the Music Institute of Chicago is a nationally recognized training center for highly gifted pre-college pianists and string players that provides a comprehensive music education for students who aspire to be professional musicians. Conveniently located just 30 minutes north of Chicago on the beautiful Ravinia Festival grounds, the Academy is a musical community of faculty, staff, and students who come together for an intensive 30-week program, September through May each Saturday. The program focuses on providing a comprehensive musical education that includes private lessons with Academy artist faculty, a rigorous chamber music component, a stimulating chamber orchestra experience, and accelerated music theory classes. Pianists additionally study keyboard history and literature, improvisation, and keyboard skills in an intimate group setting. A hallmark of the Academy is the weekly master class when students perform for and observe acclaimed musicians and educators who share their knowledge. The Academy faculty, members of teaching faculties at some of the most prestigious conservatories and schools of music in the country, are a carefully assembled group with a passion for developing young talent and an established track record of student achievement. Academy students are national prize winners who matriculate to the nation's top conservatories and universities.

For more information, visit musicinst.org

--Jill Chukerman, JAC Communications

An Enchanting Evening in Old Spain!
Celebrating the culture, dance, landscape, and music of Spain and the musicians who were inspired by that beautiful country, the 17th Annual ABS Gala Auction, Concert, and Dinner begins with an exclusive concert featuring soprano Hélène Brunet, hailed by the critics as a "singer of tremendous quality" with "a voice of perfect beauty" and "sincere expression." Hors d'oeuvres and a silent auction—featuring travel, wine, art, concert tickets, and our much sought-after "ABS Exclusives"—are followed by a delicious dinner and live auction that will raise important funds to support American Bach Soloists.

17th Annual Gala Auction, Concert, and Dinner
September 28, 2019, 5 p.m.
James Leary Flood Mansion
2222 Broadway, San Francisco

Concert: 5 p.m.
Telemann: Burlesque de Quixotte
Geminiani: Concerto Grosso in D Minor "La Folia"
Purcell: Incidental songs for The Comical History of Don Quixote

Hors d'oeuvres and Silent Auction: 6 p.m.
Dinner and Live Auction: 7:15 p.m.

For more information, visit americanbach.org

--American Bach Soloists

Fabulous Marches for Orchestra (CD review)

Frederick Fennell, Eastman-Rochester "Pops" Orchestra and the Eastman Wind Ensemble.  Mercury Living Presence 289 434 394-2. 

Ever wonder why record companies keep some things locked away for so long? Saving up fabulous fare for a rainy day, maybe? Well, in California it rained all spring, and these marches are, simply, fabulous.

Frederick Fennell
Originally produced in 1959-60, the recording makes most modern digital issues hang their head in shame. The sound has enormous dynamic range and, more important, dynamic impact. Bass is prodigious, midrange is clean, highs are clear and airy. It is done rather close up, and while depth is somewhat lacking, there is a very wide stereo spread. The only concession to age is some small background noise, most noticeable on the final two items, recorded a year earlier than the others.

The marches include mainly classical ones: Walton's "Orb and Sceptre," Beethoven's "Turkish March," Sibelius's "Alla Marcia," Borodin's March from Prince Igor, Schubert's "Marche Militaire," Grieg's "Homage March," and Wagner's "Tannhauser March," Rienzi Overture, and "Good Friday Music."  The latter two marches are done by Maestro Frederick Fennell and the Eastman Wind Ensemble and really need the weight of a full symphony orchestra behind them, but the added clarity of the smaller wind group is a pleasant change.

In the old days, we would have called an album like this "demonstration material." But, of course, we are older and more sophisticated now and don't trot out stuff just to impress friends. Oh, we do? Then this is just the stuff to demo.

JJP


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


Mendelssohn: Piano Concerto No. 2 (CD review)

Also, Symphony No. 1 and The Fair Melusine overture. Kristian Bezuidenhout, piano; Pablo Heras-Casado, Freiburger Barockorchester. Harmonia Mundi HMM 902369.

Most of us are familiar with Mendelssohn's Second Piano Concerto, but I wonder how many of us can say the same of his First Symphony, the companion piece on this disc? While the composer's Third and Fourth Symphonies rightly get the lion's share of performances and recordings and his Fifth sits in the shadows, the poor First hardly gets mentioned at all. Indeed, when I thought about it, I couldn't recall ever having owned a recording of it and, worse, having only heard it maybe once in my lifetime.

Is it fair the First Symphony gets so little respect? Not really. Even though it is a relatively immature work, Mendelssohn having written it when he was only fifteen, that doesn't make it any less interesting than his overture to A Midsummer Night's Dream, written just two years later. In fact, there are already hints of the overture in the earlier symphony. But all that is beside the point, which is that South African-born pianist Kristian Bezuidenhout and conductor Pablo Heras-Casado have chosen to pair the concerto and symphony together on this Harmonia Mundi disc. Moreover, they've chosen to present the music as closely as possible to what the composer might have heard some two hundred years ago: using a fortepiano and a period-instruments band.

First up is the early piece, the Symphony No. 1 in C minor, Op. 11, which Felix Mendelssohn (1809-1847) completed in 1824 and premiered publicly in 1827 with the Leipzig Gewandhaus Orchestra (an orchestra still going strong, by the way). Mendelssohn arranged it in standard symphonic form: Allegro (fast), Andante (moderately slow), Menuetto-Allegro molto (in the tempo of a minuet and then becoming increasingly faster and more lively), and ending with an Allegro con fuoco (with energy and emotion).

As is appropriate to the nature of a relatively immature work, Maestro Heras-Casado takes it at a fairly brisk, almost rambunctious pace. This is especially true of the allegro parts, which are never breakneck but certainly brisk. Tempos appear well chosen and spring to life with graceful gusto, not overwrought exertion. Throughout the score, there are hints, as I say, of A Midsummer Night's Dream and even the Scottish Symphony, something the conductor does nothing to hide or highlight. If you haven't heard it, which I hadn't in years, it's a delightful, if lightweight, piece of old-fashioned music making.

Kristian Bezuidenhout
Moreover, for those listeners worried that this is another period-instruments recording where the string players appear to be fiddling on solid steel wires and performing at such a reckless speed they're in danger of setting their instruments on fire, not to fret. The orchestra sounds smooth and sonorous, and the performance is invigorating but never breathless.

Next up is the better-known of the two works, the Piano Concerto No. 2 in D minor, Op. 40, composed in 1837, a follow-up to several other piano concertos Mendelssohn had written. Although it would never compare in popularity to his Third or Fourth Symphonies or his Midsummer music, the Concerto has its fair share of admirers, too. A long-held criticism of the concerto is that Mendelssohn didn't seem interested in making it a virtuoso affair for the pianist, so it finds itself generally eclipsed these days by the more flamboyant Romantic showpieces of Beethoven, Schumann, Liszt, Grieg, Tchaikovsky, and the rest. Still, it's a fun piece of music, and it's especially intriguing to hear Kristian Bezuidenhout play it on a vintage 1837 fortepiano (the same age as the composition) with Heras-Casado leading the Freiburger Barockorchester, also playing on historical instruments.

Despite the criticisms through the years about Mendelssohn's Second Piano Concerto not being much of a tour de force for pianists, Bezuidenhout certainly makes it seem more formidable than it probably is. His playing is elegant yet forceful, vigorous yet careful, energetic yet polished. And, needless to say, it's virtuosic, whether the composer intended it so or not. It's still a Romantic work, and Bezuidenhout plays it with a felicitously passionate vigor and reflective longing as the moods demand.

The disc ends, oddly, with the tone poem Die Schone Melusine ("The Fair Melusine"). I say oddly because as a short concert overture, one might have expected it to open the program. Nevertheless, it's a fine interpretation of the piece by Maestro Heras-Casado and company and makes a grand statement to end the show.

Artistic Director and editor Martin Sauer and engineer Tobias Lehmann, both of Teldex Studio Berlin, recorded the music at Ensemblehaus Freiburg, Germany in September 2018. The sound spreads widely across the speakers, with a lovely bloom. While it is not so closely miked that detail is all important, it is nicely realistic in a more natural sense. There is a pleasantly rich glow to the acoustic, the instruments coming together in a realistic whole. Depth perception is good; dynamics are lifelike; and the frequency responses is more than adequate.

JJP

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


Classical Music News of the Week, May 18, 2019

The Angel's Share Presents Purcell's Dido & Aeneas, June 4-8

Death of Classical and The Green-Wood Historic Fund will present a fully-staged production of Henry Purcell's Dido & Aeneas in the Catacombs of the Green-Wood Cemetery, with performances June 4, 5, 7 & 8. The run will launch the second season of their acclaimed The Angel's Share series, which continues through October.

Dido & Aeneas will be directed by Alek Shrader, and will incorporate spoken dialogue from Christopher Marlowe's play Dido, Queen of Carthage. The added speeches re-introduce the characters of King Iarbus and Dido's Sister Anna, among others, and serve to restore a sense of agency and purpose to the Queen and her decisions.

Daniela Mack will sing the role of Dido, with Paul La Rosa as Aeneas, Molly Quinn as Belinda, and Vanessa Cariddi as the Sorceress. Additional performers include Marc Molomot (Achates), Brooke Larimer (Anna), Alyssa Martin (Witch Crone), Erin Moll (Witch Maiden), Kannan Vasudevan (Misenus/Ilioneus), and Blake Burroughs (King Iarbas).

The performances will feature a Baroque string ensemble led from the harpsichord by Music Director Elliot Figg, with Jude Ziliak (Violin), Isabelle Seula Lee (Violin), Danika Paskvan (Viola), Anthony Albrecht (Cello), and Arnie Tanimoto (Viola da Gamba).

Each performance will begin with a pre-concert reception with food, drinks, and a whiskey tasting overlooking the Manhattan skyline and the New York Harbor at sunset. At dusk, guests will then follow a candle-lit pathway down to the Catacombs for the performance.

The Catacombs are one of the oldest structures in Green-Wood, a 478-acre National Historic Landmark (500 25th St, Brooklyn, NY). They were built in the 1850s, and are normally closed to the public. The series takes its name--The Angel's Share--from the distiller's term for whiskey that evaporates while maturing in the barrel, thus going to the angels.

For more information, visit https://www.deathofclassical.com/angelshare

--Andrew Ousley, Unison Media

SF Girls Chorus
The San Francisco Girls Chorus's season concludes performances "From East to West" on Saturday, June 8 in San Francisco and Sunday, June 9 in Berkeley.

Exploring texts from Eastern and Western poets and visionaries, SFGC will present two world premiere commissions including "The Love of Thousands" by Reena Esmail and "Three Parables" by Richard Danielpour. Persian vocalist Mahsa Vahdat and harpist Bridget Kibbey make their debuts with the ensemble in a program that also features works by Eric Banks, Sarah Kirkland Snider and Frank Ferko.

San Francisco Girls Chorus presents "From East to West"

Saturday, June 8, 2019, at 7:30 p.m. at Mission Dolores Basilica, San Francisco
Sunday, June 9, 2019, at 4:00 p.m. at First Congregational Church, Berkeley

Valérie Sainte-Agathe, conductor
Mahsa Vahdat, vocalist
Bridget Kibbey, harp

--Brendon Guy PR

American Bach Soloists: Thank You for Our First 30 Years
On behalf of Music Director Jeffrey Thomas and all of our amazing musicians, thank you for an incredible 30th season of performances. From last summer's Festival & Academy to this past weekend's four Brandenburg Concertos, and the multitude of concerts, special events, Messiah in Grace Cathedral, the "Solidarity Concert" with Notre Dame, and two new recordings in between, our 2018-2019 season was one for the record books. We couldn't have done any of this without you, our patrons and our family.

We are quickly refocusing our efforts on our 10th celebratory Festival & Academy, July 28-August 11, featuring works by Boismortier, Couperin, Geminiani, Handel, Lotti, Pergolesi, Telemann, Vivaldi, and of course our annual performances of Bach's Mass in B Minor. Details can be found at americanbach.org/festival. It's going to be an amazing 15 days of programs at San Francisco's Summer Bach Festival; purchase your tickets today.

--American Bach Soloists

Los Angeles Master Chorale to Open the 2019 Salzburg Festival
The prestigious honor of performing the opening concerts of the 2019 Salzburg Festival in Austria on July 20 and 21 will be one highlight of the Los Angeles Master Chorale's Spring/Summer tour of its acclaimed production of Orlando di Lasso's Lagrime di San Pietro directed by Peter Sellars. The tour will feature 21 Master Chorale singers conducted by Grant Gershon, Kiki & David Gindler Artistic Director.

The 2019 Salzburg Festival, the internationally-renowned performing arts festival known for presenting daring and historically important classical music and opera productions, runs July 20 through August 31. The Los Angeles Master Chorale's performances of Lagrime di San Pietro (Tears of St. Peter) will mark the choir and Gershon's debut at the Festival. Peter Sellars--who made his debut in 1992 with Messiaen's Saint François d'Assise--will also direct a new production of Mozart's Indomeneo at this year's Festival.

"An American choir being invited to perform the opening concerts at the Salzburg Festival is a capital-letter Big Deal," says Grant Gershon. "It is extremely gratifying to see that this production, created with such heart by Peter Sellars with our amazing singers, is being recognized worldwide as offering audiences something truly special. We continue to be honored and humbled by the places Orlando di Lasso's music is taking us."

For more information, visit https://lamasterchorale.org/los-angeles-master-chorale.php

--Jennifer Scott, LA Master Chorale

Vocal Resolutions: "Balancing Bubbles"
YPC's third annual Vocal Resolutions concert is highlighted by the world premiere of  "So Much on My Soul," a YPC commission from 2019 Pulitzer Prize-winning composer Ellen Reid. The concert, in partnership with Newfoundland's Shallaway Youth Choir on the theme of "balance," features guest artist Mantra Percussion.

Tickets on sale now at TicketCentral.com $15- $25

For more information, visit www.ypc.org

--Young People's Chorus of New York City

Moab Music Festival - The Ultimate Chamber Music Experience
It's almost here... the magnificent, magical, musical Moab Music Festival -- from August 26th through September 12 -- invites you to experience the ultimate chamber music festival nestled in the embrace of "nature's concert hall" in Moab, UT.

Season At-A-Glance

Westwater Musical Raft trip
Monday, August 26-Wednesday, August 28
Colorado River
Music from Argentina & Venezuela

Grotto Concert I
Thursday, August 29, Noon
Colorado River Wilderness Grotto
Johannes Brahms: Zwei Gesänge , Op.91
Robert Schumann: Märchenbilder , Op. 113
J.S Bach: Brandenburg Concerto No. 6, B-flat major, BWV 1051
Kenji Bunch: Mindoka
Clarice & Sergio Assad: TBD

Home from War
Friday, August 30, pre-concert 6pm (Entry included with ticket)
Concert: 7pm
Star Hall
Charles Ives: Tom Sails Away
Ivor Novelo: Keep The Home Fires Burning
Gustav Mahler: Des Knaben Wunderhorn
Claude Debussy: Noël des enfants , L 139
Francis Poulenc: Priez pour paix , FP 95
Sergei Rachmaninov: Spring Waters
York Bowen: Fantasia for 4 violas, Op. 41, No. 1
Gustav Holst: Jupiter
Marc Blitzstein: The Cradle Will Rock
Kurt Weill: Schickelgruber
Leonard Bernstein: So Pretty
Dmitri Shostakovich: Piano Quintet in G minor, Op. 57
Pete Seeger: Where Have All The Flowers Gone

Music Hike I: Classical Strings
Saturday, August 31, 8am
Wilderness Area
Kaija Saariaho: Nocturne for solo violin
Kenji Bunch: Apocryphal Dances (string quartet) 
J.S Bach: Sonata No. 1 in G minor, BWV 1001
Zoltán Kodály: Duo for Violin and Cello, Op. 7                 

Naturalist guides from Canyonlands Field Institute will guide the hike.

Tango Meets Joropo (Pedro Giraudo Tango Quartet)
Saturday, August 31, 6pm
Red Cliffs Lodge
Program to be announced from the stage.

Music Hike II: I Love the Viola
Sunday, September 1, 8am
Wilderness Area
Gerald Busby: Viola
Jessica Meyer: Only A Beginning
Daniel Sabzghabaei: TBD
Johannes Brahms: String Quintet Op.111     
Naturalist guides from Canyonlands Field Institute will guide the hike.

Viva Brazil
Sunday, September 1, 6pm
Red Cliffs Lodge
Program to be announced from the stage.

Rocky Mountain Power Family Concert
Monday, September 2, 2pm
Old City Park
FREE
Pedro Giraudo Tango Quartet
Kim Hawkey & The Elvanelle Band
Kara Dugan, mezzo-soprano; Peter Dugan, piano
Charles Yang, violin; Clancy Newman, cello; Michael Thurber, bass;
Marco Granados, flute; Leo Granados, vocals, percussion;
Carlos Capacho, cuatro
Program to be announced from the stage.
Sponsor: Rocky Mountain Power

Ranch Benefit Concert
Married with Music
Tuesday, September 3, 5:30pm
Program to be announced from the stage.

House Benefit Concert
Wednesday, September 4, 5:30pm
Private Residence

Grotto Concert II: All Bach Concert
Thursday, September 5, 12pm
Colorado River Wilderness Grotto
J.S. Bach:
Brandenburg Concerto No. 2 in F major , BWV 1047
Inventions (arr. Thurber)
Cantata BWV 140: Wachet auf, ruft uns die Stimme
Cantata BWV 56: Ich will den Kreuzstab gerne tragen
Fantasia in C Major, Wq. 59/6
Rondo in C minor, Wq. 59/4     

Hotel Cabaret: Kim Hawkey & the Elvanelle Band
Thursday, September 6, 8pm
HooDoo Moab

A Paris Revue
Friday, September 6 , 7pm
Star Hall
Erik Satie: Sports et divertissements
Francis Poulenc: Flute Sonata, FP164
Jean Francaix: String Trio
Darius Milhaud: Scaramouche for Two Pianos
Bohuslav Martinu: La revue de cuisine , H.161

Music Hike III: Music for Wind Instruments
Saturday, September 7, 8am
Wilderness Area
Claude Debussy: Syrinx
Villa-Lobos: Duo for oboe and bassoon, W535
John Rojak: Rock
Bohuslav Martinu: Madrigals for oboe, clarinet and bassoon, H. 266
Toru Takemitsu: Paths
Giovanni Gabrieli: Canzona no. 4
Giovanni Palestrina: Ricercar del primo tuono
Andrea Gabrieli: Ricercar del duodecimo tuono
Giovanni Gabrieli: Canzona no. 1 La Spiritata 

Naturalist guides from Canyonlands Field Institute will guide the hike.

Open Rehearsal
Saturday, September 7, 1pm
Star Hall
Brahms:
String Sextet No.2, Op. 36, in G Major
Clarinet Quintet, Op. 115 

Bix and Friends: A Celebration of Jazz-Age Genius
Saturday, September 7, 6pm
Sorrel River Ranch Resort & Spa

Music Hike IV: Brahms in the Desert
Sunday, September 8, 8am
Wilderness Area
Brahms:
String Sextet No.2, Op. 36, in G Major
Clarinet Quintet, Op. 115

Naturalist guides from Canyonlands Field Institute will guide the hike.

A Soldier's Tale
Sunday, September 8, 7pm
Grand County High School
           
Grotto Concert III
Monday, September 9, 12pm
Colorado River Wilderness Grotto
W.A Mozart: Sonata for piano 4-hands in C major, KV 521
Franz Schubert: Violin Sonatina in A minor, No. 2, D. 385
Clancy Newman: Trance Music
Gustav Mahler: Rückert Lieder                         

Cataract Canyon Musical Raft Trip
Monday, September 9-Thursday, September 12
Colorado River
Each day's unique, intimate concerts may include beautiful classical chamber music as well as exuberant traditional and Celtic music and original compositions.

For complete information, visit http://www.moabmusicfest.org/

--Dworkin & Company

Other Minds Concludes Festival 24
Other Minds concludes Festival 24 with two June performances at Yerba Buena Center for the Arts Theater in San Francisco.

On Saturday, June 15, 2019 at 8:00 p.m., a large-scale commissioned work by Oakland-based composer Brian Baumbusch, entitled "The Pressure," will receive its world premiere featuring the composer's own Lightbulb Ensemble, San Francisco-based Friction Quartet, two organists, four singers, and narrator.

On Sunday, June 16, 2019 at 7:00 p.m., Other Minds will present its second showcase of music by Franco-Russian microtonal composer Ivan Wyschnegradsky. A program of the composer's selected piano works will be highlighted by three U.S. premieres including Cosmos, op. 28 for four pianos and two solo piano works, Three Pieces for Piano, op. 3 and Étude sur le carré magique sonore, op. 40.

Tickets range in price from $28 to $55 and can be purchased online at http://www.ybca.org or by calling 415.978.2700. $30 student tickets are available with a valid student ID.

For further information on Other Minds, please visit www.otherminds.org.

--Brenden Guy PR

NYFOS Revives Its Hit Program "Manning the Canon: Songs of Gay Life"
New York Festival of Song--the group that "charms audiences with programs that combine meticulous research with an infectious strain of vocal hedonism" (The New York Times)--joins forces with Five Boroughs Music Festival to present "Manning the Canon: Songs of Gay Life" at The LGBT Community Center (The Center), NYC, on Tuesday, June 25 at 7:30 p.m. A preview performances takes place Saturday, June 22 at 8:00 p.m. in Orient, NY.

This musical portrait of life, love and loss in the world of gay men returns after its celebrated 2010 premiere, which garnered a rave review in The New York Times.

Tuesday, June 25, 2019, 7:30 p.m.
LGBT Community Center
208 West 13th Street between 7th Ave and Greenwich Ave, NYC

Tickets: $15 students / $25 general / $50 preferred seating

For more information, visit http://5bmf.org/nyfos-next-manning-the-canon/

--Aleba Gartner, Aleba & Co.

Nokia Bell Labs Experiments in Art and Technology
The International Contemporary Ensemble (ICE) today announces its selection as the first ever ensemble-in-residence by the Nokia Bell Labs Experiments in Art and Technology (E.A.T) program. As a continuation of the ICE's previous partnership with Nokia Bell Labs, the residency will further the Ensemble's commitment to the exploration and redefinition of how music is made and experienced. The Ensemble's inaugural performance as ensemble-in-residence happens on Sunday, May 19 at 4pm in New York City's Times Square, part of NYCxDESIGN 2019. The free program will feature award-winning Icelandic composer and frequent Ensemble collaborator Anna Thorvaldsdottir's Fields.

In 2018, the International Contemporary Ensemble and Nokia Bell Labs E.A.T. established a collaborative relationship to explore how music enables shared emotions, expressions, and empathic communication. As centuries of musical modes of expression deepen technological thought, new technology inspires parallel innovation in music, and Nokia Bell Labs and the International Contemporary Ensemble form a symbiotic relationship dedicated to exploring the visceral and emotional language of music. Over the course of a year, the Nokia Bell Labs E.A.T. program has explored which aspects of music offer special modes of communicative expression, and how those modes might be integrated in technological user interfaces.

For more information, visit www.bell-labs.com.

--Katy Salomon, Morahan Arts and Media

Le Grand Chœur du Centre-Sud: Free Concert By and For the Community
On June 7, Voies culturelles des faubourgs will present the very first edition of a great citizen concert, Le Grand Choeur du Centre-Sud. This unifying event will begin outside at Espace Pierre-Bourgault (corner of Plessis and Ontario), Monreal, and will end with a grand concert at Sacré-Coeur Church.

This great collective work, directed by André Pappathomas, composer, musician and winner of the 2017 artist award in the community, will bring together a hundred choristers from the Centre-Sud community. The choir will be accompanied by soloists, musicians and the great organ of the Sacré-Coeur Church.

Le Grand Choeur du Centre-Sud is more than just a choir concert, it's a community and artistic project that aims to break isolation and put the community back at the heart of our lives. "Through this inclusive event, we want to promote social cohesion and generate pride and joy in taking part in a common project," says Claudine Khelil, general coordinator of Voies culturelles des faubourgs.

For more information, visit http://www.voiesculturelles.qc.ca/

--France Gaignard PR

Free Memorial Day Screening of "They Shall Not Grow Old" in Beaver Creek
Experience history as you've never see it with a free community Memorial Day screening of 'They Shall Not Grow Old' at Vilar Performing Arts Center, Beaver Creek, Colorado on May 27th

The First World War ended 100 years ago. Today, an extraordinary new documentary tells the story of the Great War — directly from the people who experienced it. Produced and directed by three-time Academy Award-winner Peter Jackson (Lord of the Rings trilogy), "They Shall Not Grow Old" is an incredible feat of storytelling and cinematography. Using state-of-the-art technology, the filmmakers took original footage from WWI and audio interviews with soldiers and transformed the past into the present, resulting in an astonishing, 3D documentary.

The groundbreaking computer restoration technology creates a moving real-to-life depiction of the WWI, in restored, vivid colorizing and retiming of the film frames, in order to honor those who fought and more accurately depict this historical moment in world history.

"Peter Jackson has taken a mass of World War I archival clips from Britain's Imperial War Museum and fashioned it into a brisk, absorbing and moving experience," praised The New York Times.

The Vilar Performing Arts Center will present a free community screening of "They Shall Not Grow Old" for Memorial Day on Monday, May 27 at 4 p.m. Attendees can reserve tickets in advance by calling the VPAC box office at 970-845-8497 or visiting www.vilarpac.org. The VPAC is located under the ice rink in Beaver Creek Village (68 Avondale Lane, Beaver Creek, Colorado).

--Ruthie Hamrick, Vilar Performing Arts Center

The Angel's Share Presents "Epilogues and Epitaphs"
The Angel's Share continues its second season June 24-26, with fast-rising Baroque violinist Augusta McKay Lodge leading her ensemble Voyage Sonique and countertenor Daniel Moody. The group will perform a program entitled "Epilogues and Epitaphs," an extended meditation on death and rememberance that features chamber works and arias by Rebel, Handel, Vivaldi, Corelli, Dowland and more.

Most people wouldn't  equate "historically-informed Baroque chamber music" with "soul-blasting, face-melting hot sauce fire"... at least not until they hear Augusta McKay Lodge. She and her ensemble Voyage Sonique, plus singer Molly Netted, will perform a program of Baroque chamber works and arias, centering around musical monuments and remembrances by Rebel, Handel, Vivaldi, Corelli, Dowland and more.

"Epilogues and Epitaphs"
June 24, 25, & 26
7:30 - 10:30 PM
Green-Wood Cemetery, Brooklyn, NY

For more information, visit https://www.deathofclassical.com/angelshare

--Andrew Ousley, Unison Media

On “Hi-End” AC Line Cords…


By Bryan Geyer

I always wonder if anybody using esoteric “high end” AC power line cords has paused to consider the household wiring on the other side of their own listening room wall. That wire is ordinary AWG 12 Romex if it's for a 20 ampere circuit breaker, or (more likely) AWG 14 Romex if it’s for a 15 ampere circuit breaker. And what about that other ~ 10 miles of power line cable that extends back to the local distribution yard? Hey, can your AC power line purity really be improved by adding that last few feet of costly “audiophile grade” power cord?

The short answer is: Who cares? All of those alternating current pulses, however fine or fuzzy, are going to be converted into a smooth, flat stream of direct current. It's only this strained and purified DC, not any spurious AC, that will operate the ensuing electronic circuits. A modern solid state linear power supply utilizes full wave AC-to-DC rectification with very heavy filtering. Active components are added to enhance DC stability. Zener diodes clamp voltage levels and chop ripple. Precise series regulator stages are implemented where there’s justifiable merit, and high capacity electrolytic filter capacitors are used throughout, to assure good inter-stage isolation and smooth DC reserve. The consequent supply is scrubbed free of extraneous AC artifacts--it’s just plain/pure/smooth/steady direct current, and you can view and verify that flat DC waveform on an oscilloscope.

While every audio component has its own unique DC power supply, every supply draws its AC fuel from the same source, so it’s vital to provide enough AC current to run all the DC engines--refer paper “On Assuring Adequate AC Power.”  The latter addresses cumulative AC line current drain.

AC power line cords serve as pipelines that route the required AC fuel to each DC engine. There’s no benefit served by making the pipe fatter than needed. Every DC engine has a basic design task, and it can’t store or utilize any excess AC fuel. Power line cord delivery capacity is defined by its conductor diameter. The original circuit designer selects a wire diameter gauge (AWG) that’s appropriate for the AC current required. If you have need for a shorter or longer cord, or perhaps one with an angled C13 connector (to reduce rear clearance—see photos), simply let the designer’s original AWG be your guide. Increase the diameter if you have to extend the cord (by some appreciable amount) beyond its original reach. Technically, there’s no harm incurred by moving to the next fatter gauge--I personally favor utilizing AWG 14 for a stereo power amplifier that was shipped with AWG 16 wire—but nothing whatever is gained by moving to grossly oversized cordage like AWG 10 or 12. Such cords serve no benefit, and become awkward handling and routing annoyances that invite problems.

With respect to AC line cord construction and insulation, the heavy-duty commercial standard for prime quality is type SJT, with molded construction. It’s quite excellent, and all that you’ll ever need.

Be aware that you can buy top quality SJT molded AC line cords, in AWG 14, 16, or 18, that’s made to any desired length--refer http://www.stayonline.com/molded-cord-configurator.aspx. The price for such custom cord will be quite low when compared to a high-end “audiophile grade” line cord, but it will be functionally equivalent and of optimum length, with no need to hide coiled excess. Do utilize AC surge protection at the feed socket; it might help if there’s some aberration on the power line.

BG

Lara Downes: Holes in the Sky (CD review)

Lara Downes, piano, and friends. Sony/Tritone Music Portrait 19075920792.

"I want real things--live people to take hold of--to see--and talk to--music that makes holes in the sky--I want to love as hard as I can." --Georga O'Keefe

It's always a pleasure to welcome another album from American pianist Lara Downes. Like her previous discs, her new album, "Holes in the Sky," involves a central theme, this time music by contemporary women artists. And she's assisted in her efforts by an assortment of popular and talented female musicians, including singer/songwriter Judy Collins, violinist Rachel Barton Pine, pianist Simone Dinnerstein, singer/instrumentalist Rhiannon Giddens, cellist Ifetayo Ali-Landing, jazz singer/songwriter Magos Herrera, classical and folk musician Leyla McCalla, singer/songwriter/actress Hila Plitmann, mezzo-soprano Alicia Hall Moran, and the urban youth vocal ensemble Girls of Musicality.

Here's a rundown on the selections:
  1. "Memory Mist" (1949 by Florence Price)
  2. "Albatross," with Judy Collins (1967 by Judy Collins)
  3. "A Tide of Living Water" (2010 by Clarice Assad)
  4. "Dream Variation," with Rhiannon Giddens (1959 by Margaret Bonds/Langston Hughes)
  5. "Ellis Island," with Simone Dinnerstein (1981 by Meredith Monk)
  6. "Don't Explain," with Leyla McCalla (1944 by Billie holiday)
  7. "Willow Weep for Me" (1932 by Ann Ronell)
  8. "Venus Projection" (1990 by Paula Kimper)
  9. "Morning on the Limpopo; Matlou Women" (2005 by Paola Prestini)
10. "Farther from the Heart," with Hila Plitmann (2016 by Eve Beglarian/Jane Bowles)
11. "Favorite Colour" (1965 by Joni Mitchell)
12. "Notes of Gratitude" (2017 by Jennifer Higdon)
13. "Arrorro Mi Nina," with Magos Herrera (traditional, arr. by Lara Downes)
14. "Music Pink and Blue" (2018 by Elena Ruehr)
15. "Idyll" (1946 by Hazel Scott)
16. "Blue Piece," with Rachel Barton Pine (2010 by Libby Larsen)
17. "Bloom" (2018 by Marika Takeuchi)
18. "Just for a Thrill," with Alicia Hall Moran (1936 by Lil Hardin Armstrong)
19. "Aghavni (Doves)" (2009 by Mary Kouyoumdjian)
20. "What Lips My Lips Have Kissed" (2014 by Georgia Scitt)
21. "Rainbow" (by Abbey Lincoln/Melba Liston)
22. "All the Pretty Little Horses," with Ifetayo Ali-Landing & The Girls of Musicality (traditional, arr. by Lara Downes)

Lara Downes
Ms. Downes, as always, shows extreme care in nuance and suggestion, with playing that is at once tender yet strong and moving. The music itself is touching, pensive, contemplative, and inspiring by turns and easily bears repeat listening. It's nice to hear Ms. Collins sounding the same as ever, too, her voice perhaps a touch huskier but no less distinctive and expressive. The other soloists are equally impressive and the whole affair is lovely, with perhaps Jennifer Higdon's work standing out the most for its serious intent and accessible feel. What's more, the album totals sixty-seven minutes of material, far more than a typical popular album might. But, then, this isn't typical popular material, either. Nor is it a "woman's" album, even though the composers are women. It is an album for all seasons, all tastes, all people, all ages, and certainly all genders.

Producers Adam Abeshouse and Alan Silverman and engineers Adam Abeshouse,  Alan Silverman, Ian Schreier, and Bill Maylone recorded the music at various locations, including Yamaha Artist Services, NYC; Power Station Studios, NYC; Music Shed Studios, New Orleans, LA; Manifold Recording, Pittsboro, NC; and WFMT Levin Performance Studio, Chicago, IL, from May to September 2018.

As we should expect, there is some variation in sound reproduction depending on the particular studio used. Most of the sound, though, is typical of pop studio productions: close, detailed, well spread. Other selections, like the songs with Judy Collins and Leyla McCalla and the piece with Rachel Barton Pine sound a bit more natural, with a tad more air around the soloists. Suffice to say, all of it sounds fine and none of it will disappoint.

Addendum: Shortly after I finished this review, my wife heard the album and immediately took proprietary possession of it. It now resides among the music collection in her car. Well, at least I know where to find it the next time I want to listen.

JJP

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


Classical Music News of the Week, May 11, 2019

Sacred Music in a Sacred Space's Choral Classics Series Closes With Early Handel and Late Haydn

The program pairs Handel's Dixit Dominus with Haydn's Harmoniemesse, May 22 at the Church of St. Ignatius Loyola, New York City.

On Wednesday, May 22, 2019 at 8pm, Sacred Music in a Sacred Space presents the final installment in its Choral Classics series at the Church of St. Ignatius Loyola, with a program featuring Handel's Dixit Dominus and Haydn's Harmoniemesse. Soloists include soprano Wendy Baker, mezzo-soprano Kate Maroney, tenor John Tiranno, and baritone Neil Netherly. SMSS Artistic Director K. Scott Warren leads the Choir and Orchestra of St. Ignatius Loyola and the Parish Community Choir. Tickets are $20-$80; purchase by calling 212-288-2520 or visit smssconcerts.org.

The concert program is a study in contrasts, juxtaposing a very early work of Handel's, Dixit Dominus, with Harmoniemesse, Haydn's final work. Handel composed Dixit Dominus when he was just 22 (three decades before Messiah) and living in Rome, steeped in the sounds of the Italian Baroque. The work is scored for five soloists, five-part chorus, and string orchestra, and reflects Handel's youth and passion in its energy and virtuosic writing for all vocalists and violins in particular. The remarkably high vocal writing contributes to the sense of urgency and violence of the text. Handel's flair for the dramatic in Dixit Dominus anticipates his later, longer oratorios and operas.

Haydn's Mass in B-flat major, also known as Harmoniemesse, on the other hand, represents Haydn at the end of a long and illustrious career, at 70 years old. Scored for four soloists, four-part chorus, and a relatively large orchestra for the Classical period.

--Caroline Heaney, Bucklesweet

April Showers Bring...
Between weeks of recording sessions, concerts, and gearing up for a full summer of activity (yes, summer is nearly here), we wanted to take a moment to check in and share what we've been busy with and what is to come. This month, we're sharing stories from the latest country we have connected with for recording sessions, new music from Navona and Ravello Records, composer conversations, and much more.

PARMA and the London Symphony Orchestra:
With a mid-spring mist pervading the air, PARMA Art Director Ryan Harrison exited the tube and stepped out into his first experience of London, where he met up with Bob Lord and composer John A. Carollo. Their mission? To record John's symphony with the world-renowned London Symphony Orchestra.

To read more, visit https://parmarecordings-news.com/establishing-new-roots-sessions-with-the-london-symphony-orchestra/

--Bob Lord, PARMA Recordings

Courtney Bryan's Sanctum and Shostakovich 5
The Chelsea Symphony's (TCS) May 18 &19 concerts, "Rebirth," of their 2018-2019 season "Resolution" which reflects on social action, features the great controversial work, Shostakovich's Symphony No. 5, called by the composer "a Soviet artist's creative response to just criticism."

Dmitri Shostakovich premiered his Symphony No. 5 in 1937 in Leningrad. The work, particularly the fourth movement, utilizes musical material from his own song, Vozrozhdenije, composed just before the symphony, which sets a poem by Alexander Pushkin commonly known as "Rebirth," which is the inspiration for this concert series title. The denunciation of his work by the Soviet government is well documented, however, and what follows the premiere is mired in controversy.

Beginning both concerts is Courtney Bryan's Sanctum, originally written for the American Composers Orchestra in 2015. The work by the New Orleans native is for orchestra and recorded sound and explores the sonic atmospheres of improvisation in Holiness-preaching traditions.

Saturday, May 18 at 8pm amd Sunday, May 19 at 2pm
The Chelsea Symphony, conducted by Reuben Blundell and Nell Flanders
The DiMenna Center for Classical Music (450 West 37th Street, NYC)
$25 reserved premium general seating on sale at Eventbrite.
$20 suggested donation seating available at the door.

For more information, visit www.chelseasymphony.org

--Elizabeth Holub, Chelsea Symphony

New Century Announces 2019-2020 Season
Music Director Daniel Hope and New Century Chamber Orchestra today announced its 2019-2020 season increasing its offerings to five subscription weeks in venues across the San Francisco Bay Area.

American pianist Simone Dinnerstein appears as the ensemble's artist-in-residence, including an evening of Bach Keyboard Concerti highlighted by the Brandenburg No. 5 in D Major BWV 1050, education and outreach activities in the Bay Area community and a two-day event entitled "Beethoven in the Presidio." As part of the world-wide celebrations of Ludwig van Beethoven's 250th birthday, New Century will present a two-day event at the newly-renovated Presidio Theatre, showcasing selected Beethoven orchestral and chamber masterworks in two unique programs. The orchestral program, which will also receive an additional evening performance in Berkeley, highlights Simone Dinnerstein, Daniel Hope and cellist Lynn Harrell in Beethoven's Triple Concerto in C Major, Op. 56 while the chamber music program features all three artists in Beethoven's Piano Trio in E-Flat Major, Op. 1 No. 1.

Further season highlights include a Christmas celebration with internationally renowned mezzo-soprano Anne Sofie von Otter; an orchestral version of Ernest Chausson's Concerto for Violin, Piano and String Quartet featuring Daniel Hope, 16-year-old American pianist Maxim Lando, and Guest Concertmaster Simos Papanas; and a repeat collaboration with the San Francisco Girls Chorus.

For more information, visit https://www.ncco.org/

--Brenden Guy PR

Grammy-Winning Choir, The Crossing, Premieres Aniara
Grammy-winning new music choir, The Crossing, performs the world premiere of Aniara: fragments of time and space, in five performances – Thursday, June 20, 2019 at 7:30 p.m.; Friday, June 21, 2019 at 7:30 p.m.; Saturday, June 22, 2019 at 3:00 p.m. and 8:00 p.m.; and Sunday, June 23, 2019 at 8:00 p.m. – at Christ Church Neighborhood House in Philadelphia.

Aniara: fragments of time and space is an epic collaboration developed by The Crossing, Klockriketeatern of Helsinki and American composer Robert Maggio over a period of three years, with artistic direction by Dan Henriksson and Donald Nally. The culmination of The Crossing's 2018-2019 season, Aniara is the ensemble's most ambitious theatrical project to date, featuring Beijing Opera-inspired choreography and dance by Antti Silvennoinen of Wusheng Company, costumes by Erika Turunen, scenic and lighting design by Joonas Tikkanen, and sound design by Paul Vasquez.

For further details, visit Aniara.CrossingChoir.org

--Katy Salomon, Morahan Arts and Media

Composer Laura Kaminsky Hosts and Curates an All-Female Premiere
On Tuesday, June 11 at 7:30 p.m., NYFOS NEXT—the moveable modern song salon from the "indefatigable art-song devotees" (The New Yorker) at New York Festival of Song—showcases Laura Kaminsky & Friends at the LGBT Community Center (The Center) in NYC.

This event is co-presented by NYFOS, 5BMF, and The Center in honor of Pride Month and the 50th anniversary of the Stonewall uprising.

Composer Laura Kaminsky curates a salon of songs with an all-women line-up of composers and librettists, featuring the world premiere of the song cycle "After Stonewall," with music by lesbian composers: Kaminsky, Jennifer Higdon, Laura Karpman, Paula Kimper, Nora Kroll-Rosenbaum, and new face on the scene, Kayla Cashetta, set to poems by Elaine Sexton. This work was commissioned by NYFOS and Five Boroughs Music Festival.

For more information, visit http://nyfos.org/nyfos-next/

--Aleba Gartner, Aleba & Co.

Take PRIDE This Month with Six LGBTQ Operas
A Letter to East 11th Street, Paul's Case, Three Way, Before Night Falls.... AOP has long been a home for the creation of fearless and unabashed LGBTQ-themed operas. This month we are filled with pride to bring back two of our most groundbreaking works and four brand new mini-operas celebrating the 50th Anniversary of the Stonewall riots, a massive turning point in LGBTQ civil rights and free expression.

We hope you will attend, speak out, march, and help support our creation of more of these important works.

For complete information, visit http://nyoperafest.com/2019/ or www.aopopera.org.

--American Opera Projects

World Premiere of Phil Kline's Florida Man
On Saturday, June 8 at 8:00 p.m., The String Orchestra of Brooklyn (SOB) returns to Roulette to perform world premieres of newly commissioned works by composers Phil Kline and Gregory Spears alongside a new arrangement of Julius Eastman's classic Gay Guerrilla. SOB's founder Eli Spindel conducts.

Phil Kline's Four Songs from Florida Man is a first-hearing of a song cycle-in-progress that features the otherworldly Grammy-nominated vocalist Theo Bleckmann, while Gregory Spears's Concerto for Two Trumpets and Strings features virtuosic trumpeters Brandon Ridenour and Andy Kozar.

Kline, long praised for his mastery of songwriting and found text, here reunites with one of his favorite collaborators and muses, Theo Bleckmann, for whom he wrote the song cycles Zippo Songs, Rumsfeld Songs, and Out Cold. Bleckmann says "Few composers write for voice so perfectly and set a lyric so movingly."

For more information, visit www.philkline.com

--Aleba Gartner, Aleba & Co.

SF Girls Chorus Presents Two World Premiere Commissions
The San Francisco Girls Chorus (SFGC) concludes its 40th anniversary season with two performances of From East to West on Saturday, June 8, 2019, 7:30 p.m. at Mission Dolores Basilica, San Francisco and Sunday, June 9, 2019, 4:00 p.m. at First Congregational Church, Berkeley.

Exploring texts from Eastern and Western poets and visionaries, the program highlights the ensemble's second and third world premiere performances of the season, including Three Parables by Richard Danielpour, an SFGC commission that features a debut appearance by harpist Bridget Kibbey, and The Love of Thousands by Reena Esmail, commissioned by Classical Movements through the Eric Daniel Helms New Music Program for SFGC. Persian classical and world music vocalist Mahsa Vahdat also makes her debut performing a selection of her own songs based on texts by 13th century poets, Rumi and Hafez, arranged for vocalist and girls chorus by Norwegian composer/arranger Tord Gustavsen. Completing the program are excerpts from Eric Banks's The Syrian Seasons, Frank Ferko's O nobilissima viriditas based on texts by Hildegaard von Bingen, and Stanzas in Meditation by Sarah Kirkland Snider.

Tickets range in price from $28 to $38, and can be purchased through City Box Office online at www.cityboxoffice.com or by calling (415) 392-4400.

--Brenden Guy PR

Salonen: Cello Concerto (CD Review)

Yo-Yo Ma, cello; Esa-Pekka Salonen, Los Angeles Philharmonic. Sony Classical 19075928482.

By Karl W. Nehring

Esa-Pekka Salonen is perhaps best known to American music fans as a conductor. He led the Los Angeles Philharmonic from 1989 through 2009  (their recordings of Debussy and Mahler are highly recommendable productions) and will take over the musical directorship of the San Francisco Symphony Orchestra in 2020. But Salonen is also a composer. In this new Sony Classical release he is featured in both roles, leading the Los Angeles Philharmonic and superstar cellist Yo-Yo Ma, for whom the piece was written, in a performance of his Cello Concerto. This is the world première recording of the work, captured by the Sony engineers from a live concert performance on February 8, 2018.

The cover illustration depicts some sort of space rock surrounded by a cloud of smaller pieces of space debris. This mysterious space object (shades of Weather Report's Mysterious Traveler) is illustrated again from different perspectives on the cover and centerfold of the booklet included with the CD, in which Salonen discusses the origins and conceptual/compositional framework of the piece. The significance of the space rock and its attendant cloud is explained by Salonen as he writes of the first movement: "I imagined the solo cello line as a trajectory of a moving object in space being followed and emulated by other lines/instruments/moving objects. A bit like a comet's tail… Sometimes the imitating cloud flies above the cello, sometimes in the very same register."

One of the fascinating aspects of the concerto is the way Salonen varies the ways by which the three movements begin. The first movement (the three movements are denoted simply as I, II, and III, with no descriptors) opens right in the middle of things, as though the orchestra had already started playing and only then were the microphones switched on. After a couple of minutes of whirling and swirling notes from the orchestra, the cello begins to play, and then after a couple of more minutes, Maestro Ma truly brings the cello part into the musical forefront with some beautifully lyrical passages – mysterious, plaintive, shifting lines that are at times echoed the flute, other times by the oboe, evoking true senses of wonder and affording credibility to Salonen's description of an object in space accompanied by its fellow travelers.

Yo-Yo Ma
In contrast to the twittering opening of the first movement, the second movement begins with an emphatic orchestral chord. The cello part in this movement also contrasts with those of the previous movement, as Ma leans harder into the strings, beginning slowly in the lower registers at first but then shifting upward toward the middle and higher registers and faster speed as the movement progresses and the overall energy of the music increases, at times joined by an alto flute that swirls around the cello melody and contributes to the imagery of celestial travelers.

The third movement begins without a clear break from the second as Ma plays a solo part, again in the lower register to begin. He is then joined by various percussion instruments, bringing a much different texture from what has gone before. In the liner notes, Salonen writes of a section where he "imagined the orchestra as some kind of gigantic lung, expanding and contracting first slowly, but then accelerating to a point of mild hyperventilation which leads back to the dance-like material." (Hmmmm – at any rate, I can see why the folks at Sony decided to go with the comet rather than the giant lung for the cover illustration…) After some final frenzied interaction between hand drums and cello, the movement and of course the concerto as a whole ends with Ma climbing as high as he can reach into the treble notes of the cello, ending with what Salonen describes as "a stratospherically high B-flat, two centimeters to the left of the highest note of the piano."

The effect of this ending is haunting, reinforcing the mental imagery of the comet traveling somewhere in deep space. It is as if we suddenly saw it coming, delighted in watching it and its accompanying cloud of debris as it made its way across our field of vision, only to see it travel out of sight as it continued its seemingly endless cosmic journey.

I do hope I have not made this recording sound in any way forbidding. It is not. If anything, it is highly engaging. Rest assured it is not atonal. No, Salonen is not Tchaikovsky, but he has worked some beautifully lyrical passages into this intriguing composition. In addition, the quality of the recording (captured live in concert) is first-class. The only negative I can see about this CD is its length, which is barely over 35 minutes. I hope that does not dissuade anyone from giving this disc a listen – this is a truly rewarding recording of a truly wonderful piece.

KWN

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


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 ofThe $ensible Soundmagazine 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

Contact Information

Readers with polite, courteous, helpful letters may send them to classicalcandor@gmail.com.

Readers with impolite, discourteous, bitchy, whining, complaining, nasty, mean-spirited, unhelpful letters may send them to classicalcandor@recycle.bin.

"Their Master's Voice" by Michael Sowa

"Their Master's Voice" by Michael Sowa