Classical Music News of the Week, October 19, 2019
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 https://www.saintthomaschurch.org/music/concerts
--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 http://newyorkpolyphony.com/
--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 https://chelseasymphony.org/
--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: https://soundcloud.com/vivianfung/birdsong-for-violin-and-piano
For more information, visit http://www.gotomidori.com/concerts/
--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
Call 1 888 718 4253 or visit http://www.salonsanctuary.org
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 email@example.com (213) 972-3162.
For more information, visit https://lamasterchorale.org/bruckner-mass.
--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 https://www.deathofclassical.com/cryptsessions/lux
--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 http://www.festivalmozaic.com/
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 https://www.musicalamerica.com/features/index.cfm?fid=345&fyear=2020
--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
Meet the Staff
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.