Classical Music News of the Week, August 24, 2019

Gregory Taboloff Performs his Piano Concerto No. 1 in San Francisco

San Francisco Bay Area composer-pianist Gregory Taboloff makes his San Francisco debut orchestral appearance as soloist with the Taboloff Philharmonic performing his Piano Concerto No. 1 "The Mystic" alongside Beethoven's Piano Concerto No. 3 in C minor, Op. 37 on Sunday, September 8, 3:00 p.m. at Herbst Theatre. Conductor David Ramadanoff will lead an orchestra of professional musicians from across the Bay Area in a program that also features the Overture to Mozart's The Magic Flute.

Evoking the spirit of the works of great Russian romantics, Taboloff's Piano Concerto No. 1 "The Mystic" draws inspiration from Walt Whitman's poem "The Mystic Trumpeter" and a painting by his wife, Ann Marie Taboloff, also entitled "The Mystic." Originally given the title of "The Russian," the concerto received its world premiere at the Lesher Center for the Arts in Walnut Creek in 2000 to great success with the East Bay Times praising it as "a powerful, moving work." Over the subsequent years, the work was revised and evolved to depict Whitman's text with the newly revised version "The Mystic" premiering in 2017 at the Lesher Center for the Arts under the baton of David Ramadanoff. Both conductor and pianist return together to give the first performance of this work in San Francisco.

Composer Gregory Taboloff performs his piano concerto "The Mystic"
Sunday, September 8, 2019, 3:00 p.m.
Herbst Theatre, San Francisco, CA

For more information, visit

--Brenden Guy PR

Say Amen, Somebody Opens at Lincoln Center September 6th
One of the most acclaimed music documentaries of all time, Say Amen, Somebody, (1982) is George T. Nierenberg's exuberant, funny, and deeply moving celebration of 20th-century American gospel music and African American history. With unrivaled access to the movement's luminaries, Thomas Dorsey, and Mother Willie Mae Ford Smith, Nierenberg masterfully records their fascinating stories alongside earth-shaking, show-stopping performances by the Barrett Sisters, the O'Neal Twins, and others. The film also features cinematography by the legendary Edward Lachman and Don Lenzer.

As much a fascinating time capsule as it is a peerless concert movie, Say Amen, Somebody, returns to Film at Lincoln Center in a gorgeous 4K restoration by Milestone Films, with support from the National Museum of African American History and Culture and The Academy Film Archive.

George T. Nierenberg's acclaimed music doc, Say Amen, Somebody
New 4K restoration in glorious 5.1 sound
Opens at Film at Lincoln Center September 6th, with a nationwide rollout to follow.

--Dennis Doros, Milestone Films

Musica Camerata Montréal's 50th Season
To celebrate their 50th anniversary, the chamber music ensemble Musica Camerata Montréal will offer four memorable evenings between September 2019 and May 2020. These exceptional events will take place at 6 PM at La Chapelle Historique du Bon Pasteur, located at 100 Sherbrooke East in Montreal.

To open the season the well renowned group - hailed as one of Canada's foremost chamber music ensembles in the country – will present on September 7th a program featuring the clarinet as the principal figure. For the occasion the guest will be the Montreal born young clarinetist Eric Abramovitz, principal clarinet of the Toronto Symphony Orchestra.  His partners for the occasion will be Berta Rosenohl (piano), Luis Grinhauz and Van Armenian (violins), Sofia Gentile (viola) and Sylvain Murray (cello).

The price for a subscription to 4 concerts is $130 for adults and $85 for seniors and students. Individual tickets are $40.- for adults and $30 for seniors and students.

For complete information, visit

--France Gaignard

Miller Theatre Opens Its 20th Composer Portraits Season
Miller Theatre at Columbia University School of the Arts opens the 20th season of its signature series "Composer Portraits" with a deep dive into the music of Anthony Braxton, featuring
Either/Or and the JACK Quartet.

Wednesday, September 25, 2019, 8:00 P.M.
Miller Theatre, 2960 Broadway at 116th Street, NYC

Tickets start at $20; students with valid ID start at $7.

For more information, visit

--Aleba Gartner, Aleba & Co.

Alarm Will Sound, Dennehy's "The Hunger"
Alarm Will Sound, "one of the most vital and original ensembles on the American music scene" (The New York Times), tours the concert version of Princeton University Professor Donnacha Dennehy's modern cantata, "The Hunger," to Princeton Sound Kitchen on September 17, 2019 at 8PM in Richardson Auditorium, Alexander Hall, Princeton, NJ.

Rooted in the emotional, political, and socioeconomic devastation of Ireland's Great Famine (1845-52), "The Hunger" features Alarm Will Sound with soprano Katherine Manley, and sean no´s singer, and Princeton University Global Scholar, Iarla O´ Liona´ird.  The cantata will be paired with performances of compositions by Princeton graduate students Pascal Le Boeuf, Jenny Beck, Alyssa Weinberg, Tom Morrison, Connor Way, and Bora Yoon.

Free tickets are required for this concert, available at and at 609-258-9220.

For more information, visit

--Dasha Koltunyuk, Princeton University Concerts

New Century Opens Season with "Fin de siècle"
New Century Chamber Orchestra opens its 2019-2020 season, September 26-29, with a program entitled "Fin de siècle" featuring works written at the turn of the 19th century. Teenage piano sensation Maxim Lando makes his New Century debut performing alongside Daniel Hope for a string orchestra arrangement of Chausson's Concert for Violin, Piano and String Quartet. Greek violinist Simos Papanas, a longtime collaborator of Hope's, also makes his debut leading the ensemble as Guest Concertmaster in a program that includes Edward Elgar's Introduction and Allegro, Op. 47 and Chanson de Matin; Jules Massenet's Méditation from Thaïs; Arnold Schoenberg's Notturno for Strings and Harp; a string orchestra arrangement of Richard Strauss's Morgen; and the second movement from Christian Sinding's Suite im alten Stil, Op. 10.

The program will be performed on three different occasions throughout the Bay Area: Thursday, September 26 at 7:30 p.m., First Congregational Church, Berkeley; Saturday, September 28 at 7:30 p.m., Herbst Theater, San Francisco; and Sunday, September 29 at 3 p.m., Osher Marin Jewish Community Center, San Rafael. This season, New Century will offer free admission to its popular Open Rehearsal at 10 AM on Wednesday, September 25 at Trinity & St. Peter's Church, San Francisco.

For more information, visit

--Brenden Guy PR

Orpheus Chamber Orchestra Opens Season at Carnegie Hall
Now in its 47th year of innovative conductorless concerts in New York and around the world, Orpheus Chamber Orchestra kicks off its 2019-20 season on Thursday, September 26, 2019 at 8:00pm in Stern Auditorium / Perelman Stage at Carnegie Hall with a concert of spirited music inspired by the glittering urbanity of Mendelssohn's "Italian" Symphony, from the brilliant sunshine of Rome to the religious pageantry of Naples. The program features 24-year-old Canadian pianist Jan Lisiecki in Mendelssohn's passionate Piano Concerto No. 2 in D minor, Op. 40  as well as the composer's Symphony No. 4, Op. 90, A Major "Italian."

The evening begins with the world premiere of Orpheus Artistic Partner Jessie Montgomery's Shift, Change, Turn, and Variations, a piece that augments Mendelssohn's musical cityscape by tapping into the rhythms of modern life. Both a composer and violinist, Montgomery is Orpheus's first Artistic Partner, and her post includes taking part in Orpheus educational initiatives throughout the season and having two works premiered by Orpheus in concert: the world premiere of Shift, Change, Turn, and Variations on the season opening concert and a reimagining of Tchaikovsky's The Seasons, Op. 37a, co-arranged with Jannina Norpoth, to be performed in January 2020 with violinist Vadim Gluzman.

For more information, visit

--Katy Salomon, Morahan Arts and Media

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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