Classical Music News of the Week, July 20, 2019

American Bach Soloists Present Bach's Mass in B Minor

Sunday August 4 & 11 2019 4:00 p.m.
San Francisco Conservatory of Music, 50 Oak Street, San Francisco, CA.

The 2019 Festival & Academy brings the 10th annual collaboration of the Academy Orchestra & Soloists with the American Bach Choir in Johann Sebastian Bach's consummate masterwork, the Mass in B Minor. These performances bring eye-opening revelations of Bach's score that draws upon 35 years of his compositions.

Sunday August 4, 2019 4:00 p.m.
Sunday August 11, 2019 4:00 p.m.

For more information on this and other Summer Fesitival & Academy events, visit

For tickets to the Mass in B Minor, visit

--American Bach Soloists

Death of Classical Announces Fall Performances of the Crypt Sessions
Death of Classical is excited to announce the Fall performances for the fourth season of The Crypt Sessions, its acclaimed concert series featuring chamber music at the Crypt Chapel under the Church of the Intercession in Harlem, NY.

The season will continue on September 18 with cellist Joshua Roman and pianist Conor Hanick performing a program entitled "The Instant and The Eternal," featuring the music of Arvo Pärt and Alfred Schnittke. The acclaimed JACK Quartet will make their crypt debut on October 21, giving the New York premiere of John Luther Adams' "Lines Made By Walking." On November 19, pianist Matan Porat will perform a mixed program entitled "Lux" that centers around times of day, and features music that ranges from Gregorian chants to Beethoven to contemporary works by Thomas Adès, Matthias Pintscher, and more.

The season will close on December 4, with a "Salon Séance," in which an ensemble of musicians plus an actor, led by violinist Mari Lee, channel the spirit of Benjamin Britten on the 49th anniversary of his death. The program interweaves musical excerpts with spoken text from Britten's letters and reflections, tracing his relationship to poet W.H. Auden as they strive to find an answer to the question: 'How can we live in a broken world?'

Death of Classical's other concert series, The Angel's Share, will also continue its second season in September and October with performances by pianists Adam Tendler and Jenny Lin, as well as the String Orchestra of Brooklyn.

For complete information, visit

--Andrew Ousley, Unison Media

New This Summer! - Bach Explorations
Tuesday & Wednesday, August 6 & 7 2019 7:00 p.m.

For centuries, Bach's timeless music has influenced and enlightened listeners and performers alike. Utilizing it as a source of harmonic and melodic content, musicians from all genres have adapted and drawn inspiration from Bach's artistry.

Bach to Bluegrass & Beyond
Tuesday August 6, 2019 at 7:00 p.m.

The first half of the program will explore the common ground found between Bach melodies and traditional Bluegrass fiddle styles. We highly encourage toe tapping as we experience Bach in a different way. Our selection of arrangements will include material from Bach's Cello Suite No. 2 in D Minor, Violin Partita in E Major, Violin Concerto in A Minor, the "Hunt Cantata," and the majestic "Brandenburgs" compiled with traditional fiddle repertoire such as Shady Grove, Foreign Lander, and Saint Anne's Reel.

A renowned improviser himself, Bach's music has been a fertile source of inspiration for jazz composers. In this half of the program, we will explore the relationship between Bach's masterworks and jazz featuring arrangements by Django Reinhardt, Stephane Grappelli, Jacques Loussier, and others. We will also feature our own arrangements of well-known Bach compositions, such as Salsa treatments of the "Goldberg Variations," the Well-Tempered Clavier meets "Take 5," and a swinging double violin concerto!

Bach Re-Imagined
Wednesday August 7, 2019 at 7:00 p.m.

"Bach Re-imagined" explores the sonorities of instruments outside the realm of the Baroque, drawing upon the richness of Bach transcriptions and the new repertoire they provide for performers.

Tickets and information at

--American Bach Soloists

Maestro Dudamel Conducts The Vienna Philharmonic on "Great Performances"
"Great Performances: Vienna Philharmonic Summer Night Concert 2019" premieres nationwide on Friday, August 9 at 9 p.m. on PBS (check local listings),, and the PBS Video app.

Under the baton of famed conductor and music and artistic director of the Los Angeles Philharmonic Gustavo Dudamel, the program is dedicated to the musical connection between continents: the old world of Europe and the new world of America.

Renowned pianist Yuja Wang joins the orchestra for George Gershwin's "Rhapsody in Blue," and performs Chopin's Waltz in C Sharp Minor, op. 64 #2 for an encore.

Watch the promo video here:

--Elizabeth Boone, WNET

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Meet the Staff

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

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

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

For more than 20 years I was the editor 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

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"Their Master's Voice" by Michael Sowa

"Their Master's Voice" by Michael Sowa