Classical Music News of the Week, October 19, 2019

Concerts at Saint Thomas Celebrates the 100th Anniversary of Saint Thomas Choir School

The Saint Thomas Choir of Men and Boys marks the 100th anniversary of Saint Thomas Choir School with a performance with Orchestra of St. Luke's on November 7, 2019 at 7:30 pm at Saint Thomas Church Fifth Avenue (on West 53rd Street, NYC).

The concert will include a repertoire of Rachmaninov's Rhapsody on a Theme of Paganini, Op. 43, a concerto for piano and orchestra, which will mark the 85th anniversary of the piece's premiere in Baltimore by the Philadelphia Orchestra and Leopold Stokowski on November 7, 1934. The performance will feature Saint Thomas's newly appointed Organist and Director of Music Jeremy Filsell at the keyboard.

The concert will continue with an homage to T. Tertius Noble, who founded the choir school in 1919, with extracts of his cantata Gloria Domini, which has not been performed in New York since 1916. The choir will close the performance with American composer Stephen Paulus's cantata Prayers and Remembrances, which was commissioned for the tenth anniversary of September 11, in commemoration of the week of Veterans Day.

For more information, visit

--Andrew Ousley, Unison Media

Miller Theatre's Early Music series continues with New York Polyphony, Nov. 9
The illustrious male vocal quartet New York Polyphony returns for a program that begins at the dawn of the Renaissance, with selections of the very earliest works that can be found in England. Rescued from the Reformation as recycled book-bindings, these Medieval gems show the mastery of the English style that would influence the next three centuries of composition, such as works by England's first great composer, John Dunstable. The program culminates with music from the Golden Age of the Renaissance in Spain.

November 9, 2019, 8:00 p.m.
Church of St. Mary the Virgin
145 West 46th Street (between 6th & 7th Avenues), NYC

For more information, visit

--Aleba Gartner, Aleba & Co.

Chelsea Symphony Concert Features Jessie Montgomery's Starburst, Oct. 25-26
The second concert, Made of Stars, on The Chelsea Symphony's 2019/2020 season, "RISE UP: Music that Inspires and Uplifts," on October 25 and 26 is a chamber orchestra concert featuring Jessie Montgomery's Starburst, a work for string orchestra that plays on the imagery of rapidly changing musical colors by using exploding gestures juxtaposed with gentle fleeting melodies to create a multidimensional soundscape.

Starburst was commissioned by the Sphinx Organization and premiered in 2012. Packing a big punch in just three and a half minutes, it "reflects today's fashionable motoric, pop-oriented, post-minimalist style, albeit with memorable melodies, structural discipline, and not one cliché in the book" (Classics Today).

Also on the concert is Mozart's Symphony No. 41, "Jupiter" and "Twilight Song," a World Premiere by TCS resident composer and founding member, Aaron Dai.

Offering seven concert series from September 2019 through June 2020, The Chelsea Symphony's 2019/20 season RISE UP features orchestral works that inspire and uplift.

Friday, October 25 at 8pm
Saturday, October 26 at 8pm
Conductors Reuben Blundell and Mark Seto
St. Paul's Church (315 West 22nd Street), NYC
$25 reserved premium general seating on sale at Eventbrite
$20 suggested donation seating available at the door

For more information, visit

--Elizabeth Holub, Chelsea Symphony

Robert Trevino Signs to Ondine for Multi-Year Recording Deal
Robert Trevino, one of today's most in-demand American conductors of the younger generation, has signed with Ondine for a major, ongoing recording relationship. Trevino is chief conductor of the Basque National Orchestra and of the Malmo Symphony Orchestra, both of which will feature in the first releases - a complete Beethoven symphonies cycle drawn from this season's Beethoven Festival in Malmo and, with the Basques, a survey of American repertoire to include neglected works by Howard Hanson - as well as digital releases of core repertoire works.

Ondine, part of the Naxos group, is one of the most prestigious independent recording labels in the world and has regularly recorded other important conductors such as Christoph Eschenbach, Vladimir Ashkenazy, Esa-Pekka Salonen and Hannu Lintu. "Ondine chooses the artists with whom it works very carefully," says the label's founding director Reijo Kiilunen, "We try to find the special few; great artists who perform visionary and imaginative interpretations of standard repertoire and who also have an adventurous mind in presenting the public with fascinating lesser-known musical discoveries. Robert Trevino is a perfect match for these qualities."

--James Inverne Music Consultancy

Violinist Midori Tours Vivian Fung's Birdsong to DC, NYC, and London
Internationally acclaimed violinist Midori will tour JUNO Award-winning Canadian composer Vivian Fung's Birdsong to DC, NYC, and London from November 2-8, 2019. Commissioned by the Delaware Chamber Music Festival through the DeRosa Family Fund, Fung's 10-minute long Birdsong was premiered in June, 2012 in Wilmington, Delaware by violinist Kristin Lee and pianist Conor Hanick. Birdsong was written in memoriam of Julian Rodescu and showcases the virtuosity of both piano and violin, with quick runs, intense rhythmic passages, and exploration of improvisational moments. The title refers to the birdcalls of the opening and closing, as well as the general rhapsodic nature of the violin in this piece.

On Saturday, November 2, 2019 at 8:00pm, The Library of Congress in DC presents Midori and pianist Ieva Jokubaviciute in a program of works by pieces by prominent living female composers, including Fung's Birdsong.

The program is repeated in New York City on Monday, November 4, 2019 at 8:00pm presented by Le Poisson Rouge. The performance marks the New York premiere of Tamar Diesendruck's new work. Midori and Ieva Jokubaviciute travel to the United Kingdom to perform the program at London's Kings Place on Friday, November 8, 2019 at 7:30pm. The performance marks the UK premieres of both Tamar Diesendruck's new work and Vivian Fung's Birdsong.

Listen to Birdsong on Soundcloud:

For more information, visit

--Katy Salomon, Morahan Arts and Media

Salon/Sanctuary Concerts Opens Its 11th Season
Thriving for centuries before and surviving four centuries after, persisting in a hostile foreign land long after the first ship bearing human cargo arrived in 1619, the chants and dances of Western Africa pre-date by centuries any music that we currently refer to as "early."

Come hear some of the oldest music known to us today – music that survived a harrowing ocean journey, flickering in the shadows of the Land of the Free, pulsing with enduring power through the amplified soundscape of modern American popular song.

Acclaimed Liberian soprano Dawn Padmore and kora master Yacouba Sissoko join Afro Roots Artistic Director, percussion virtuoso and multi-instrumentalist Kevin Nathaniel and an ensemble of West African virtuosi in a thrilling performance of traditional Western African music from lands now known to us as Ghana, Liberia, Ivory Coast, Senegal and Sierra Leone. Our New York season opens with music from the beginning.

In the Beginning: Early Music of Western Africa
Tuesday, November 12, 7:30pm
The Bernie Wohl Center
647 Columbus Avenue, New York City

Tickets: $20/35/50/100
Call 1 888 718 4253 or visit

--Salon/Sanctuary Concerts

Los Angeles Master Chorale Opens 2019-20 Season
The Los Angeles Master Chorale will open its new season on Saturday, October 19 at 2:00 PM and Sunday, October 20 at 7:00 PM with two works new to the ensemble, conducted by Grant Gershon, Kiki & David Gindler Artistic Director. Bruckner's majestic Mass in F Minor reflects the composer's devout spiritualism and Romantic-era passion, intensity, and color. Golijov's Oceana, which gets its Los Angeles premiere at these concerts, marries music with poetry by Pablo Neruda to depict, in the composer's words, "water and longing, light and hope, the immensity of South America's nature and pain."

Soloists from the ranks of the Master Chorale will join the chorus and orchestra for the Bruckner Mass, and jazz singer Luciana Souza will be the guest soloist in the Golijov's Oceana. "We are thrilled to begin our 2019-20 season at Walt Disney Concert Hall," says Jean Davidson, President and CEO of the Master Chorale. "This pairing of Bruckner's Great Mass No. 3 in F Minor and Osvaldo Golijov's transcendent Oceana together create a feeling of connection, the synthesis of many human voices harmonizing together to remind us that dissonance always leads to resolution, that we are all in this together, that we are not alone."

An opening night benefit celebration will take place after the Sunday evening concert, with live music, cocktails and a buffet inspired by Golijov's Oceana. Tickets to the celebration are $400 for the Opening Night Celebration and a concert ticket, and $250 for the post-concert celebration. Tickets can be purchased by contacting Brian Tillis, Events Manager at (213) 972-3162.

For more information, visit

--Lisa Bellamore, LA Master Chorale

The Crypt Sessions Presents Matan Porat
On November 19, 2019, The Crypt Sessions presents pianist Matan Porat, hailed by The New York Times for his "magnificent sound and breath of expression," in his program Lux, a cycle that traces the course of a day from dawn to dusk, journeying through twelve pieces of music composed across twelve centuries. The performance features an eclectic range of composers from Schumann and Beethoven to Adès and Pintscher.

The performance will begin at 8:00 pm, with a food and wine pre-concert reception at 7:00 pm included in the ticket price.

For complete information, visit

--Andrew Ousley, Unison Media

Single Tickets to All WinterMezzo Events Now on Sale
Festival Mozaic's WinterMezzo Chamber Music Series features three weekends of great works of chamber music, offering sequential ways to connect to the music and the artists. We encourage you to attend all three events in each weekend to experience the special intimacy that only happens at Festival Mozaic.

Join Music Director and Violinist Scott Yoo, along with seven visiting artists, for nine chamber music events throughout the year in San Luis Obispo County, California.

WinterMezzo Series I, November 15-17, 2019: music of Beethoven, Dohnanyi, and Dvorak.
WinterMezzo Series II, February 21-23, 2020: Bach Cello Suites paired with dance by the SLO Movement Arts Collective.
WinterMezzo Series III, April 17-19, 2020: music of Nino Rota and Franz Schubert.

For more information, visit

--Festival Mosaic

Hear Chaeyoung Park Performing on WQXR's Young Artist Showcase
Listen to Chaeyoung Park, First Prize winner of the 2019 Hilton Head International Piano Competition, on WQXR's "Young Artist Showcase," hosted by Robert Sherman:

Ms. Park previews selections from her upcoming performance at Weill Recital Hall at Carnegie Hall on Sunday, October 27, 2019, 7:30 p.m., and plays additional works just for her Young Artist Showcase appearance (Ms. Park performs works by Ligeti, Ravel, and Rachmaninoff).

"Young Artists Showcase" is a WQXR weekly radio show that, since 1978, has sought out and displayed the talents of young emerging artists. WQXR's Young Artists Showcase is supported by The Harold W. McGraw, Jr. Family Foundation (produced by WQXR).

--Nancy Shear Arts Services

Danish String Quartet is Musical America's 2020 Ensemble of the Year
Kirshbaum Associates is thrilled to congratulate the Danish String Quartet on winning 2020 Ensemble of the Year by Musical America!

These days there is no shortage of bright, shiny young string quartets nipping at the heels of the masters, but there's plenty about the three Danes and one Norwegian who make up the Danish String Quartet to make them stand out from the pack.

They bonded around a football stuck in a tree. "It was our first challenge as a string quartet," quips DSQ violist Asbjørn Nørgaard. Several years and first prizes later, the foursome faces a different challenge: a complete Beethoven cycle and recordings of the late quartets for ECM.

For more information, visit

--Hannah Goldshlack-Wolf, Kirshbaum Associates

PENTATONE Is Gramophone's Label of the Year 2019
We are proud to announce that PENTATONE has been awarded Label of the Year at the prestigious Gramophone Classical Music Awards 2019. The ceremony was hosted by Editor-in-Chief James Jolly at the De Vere Grand Connaught Rooms, Covent Garden, and was broadcast worldwide by Medici TV on October 16, 2019. The winners of the Recording of the Year, Orchestra of the Year, Artist and Young Artist of the Year and Lifetime Achievement Award were revealed during the ceremony along with the Disc Award's winners this year.

Quote from Martin Cullingford, Gramophone's Editor and Publisher:
"What do we look for in our label of the year? Firstly, a label that embraces a real breadth of repertoire, that's very innovative, creative and courageous in its programming and in the artists that it chooses and then champions. And then one that presents those albums beautifully, in terms both of the recording quality, but also captivating packaging. Pentatone really fulfils on all of that."

--Talita Sakuntala, PENTATONE

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Meet the Staff

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

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

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

Karl W. Nehring, Contributing Reviewer

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

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

Bryan Geyer, Technical Analyst

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

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

William (Bill) Heck, Contributing Reviewer

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

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

Mission Statement

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

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

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

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"Their Master's Voice" by Michael Sowa

"Their Master's Voice" by Michael Sowa