Classical Music News of the Week, November 23, 2019

Holiday Programming from Concerts at St. Ignatius

"A Chanticleer Christmas"
Friday, December 6, 2019 at 8 p.m.
Sunday, December 8, 2019 at 4 p.m.
Church of St. Ignatius Loyola, Main Sanctuary, NYC
Tickets: $48-$88
More information:

The joy of Christmas comes once again to Chanticleer, as we celebrate this age-old narrative with what we hope are fresh eyes and ears, hearts and voices. Gregorian chant and Biebl are never far away, but this year we turn also to carols in a half dozen languages, American hymns, Spanish villancicos that ask us to dance, and "I Wonder as I Wander," which calls us to pray. This is a tradition we cherish, and we can't wait to celebrate the holidays with you again.

"Star of Wonder"
Combined Choirs & Orchestra of St. Ignatius Loyola
K. Scott Warren, conductor
Sunday, December 15, 2019 at 3 p.m.
Sunday, December 22, 2019 at 3 p.m.
Church of St. Ignatius Loyola, Main Sanctuary, NYC
Tickets: $30-$88
More information:

In our most popular concert year after year, raise your voice with the Choirs and Orchestra in traditional carols and a thundering "Hallelujah Chorus" sing-along. Over 100 musicians deliver the heart-warming melodies of Christmas.

Bonus Concert - "Yale Schola Cantorum: Christ Is Born"
Saturday, January 25, 2020 at 2 p.m.
Church of St. Ignatius Loyola, Main Sanctuary, NYC
Free Admission
More information:

The astonishing Yale Schola Cantorum returns to the Church of St. Ignatius Loyola with a program to celebrate Epiphany.

--Caroline Heaney, Bucklesweet

The Piano Professor
Ralph Carroll Hedges, B.Ed., B.M., M.M., is a piano teacher of some renown. In 1990 he founded the Chopin International Piano Competition of the Pacific, which had its first competition at the newly renovated Hawaii Theater in downtown Honolulu. In 2015 he was chosen as a judge in the Enkor Piano and Violin Competition, based in Dusseldorf, Germany. He has written many books on music theory and has a complete analysis of much of the work of Chopin, Bach, Beethoven, and Debussy.  He believes that the so-called 'popular' song is the better and more enjoyable way to learn the language of music, aka music theory.

Now, Mr. Hedges has opened up his teaching to include the Internet, preparing short weekly posts to cover special subjects. The first week's post covers the subject of modulation, because, as he says, modulation seems to be somewhat of a mystery to many piano students. So he hopes this post will help.

Here's a link to the Piano Professor's blog:

--Director, Chopin Piano Academy

Video Greetings from ABS's Hélène Brunet and Steven Brennfleck
The Messiah soloists are eager to return to American Bach Soloists audiences and look forward to Messiah in Grace Cathedral. They are Hélène Brunet, soprano; Rebecca Powers, mezzo-soprano; Steven Brennfleck, tenor; Hadleigh Adams, baritone; with the American Bach Soloists, the American Bach Choir, and Jeffrey Thomas, conductor.

Hear their comments here:

Three performances: Wed 12/11/2019 at 7:30 PM; Thu 12/12/2019 at 7:30 PM; and Fri 12/13/2019
at 7:30 PM. Grace Cathedral, San Francisco, CA.

For complete information, visit

--Amercian Bach Soloists

The Crypt Sessions Presents a Salon Séance for Benjamin Britten
On December 4, 2019, The Crypt Sessions closes out their fourth season with a Salon Séance in honor of the 43rd anniversary of Benjamin Britten's death. This carefully crafted program meshes the music of Benjamin Britten with an actor channeling the late British composer. The performance will explore Britten's experience of leaving England and experiencing the "American Way of Life," before returning home to find Europe descending into war. The show also builds drama with Britten's brief, but potent, relationship with poet W.H. Auden, who criticizes Britten's values and his way of life as an artist in a written letter.

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

Miller Theatre's Early Music Series Continues with the Tallis Scholars
For twenty years, the venerable Tallis Scholars have made a much-anticipated annual appearance in New York City to perform on Miller Theatre's Early Music series, Columbia University. This year's program explores the ways in which composers from different eras and backgrounds reacted to the same seminal texts; it includes multiple settings of "Ave Maria," "Salve Regina," "Magnificat," and "O sacrum convivium," alongside Allegri's exquisite "Miserere."

The Tallis Scholars just released a new album on Gimell Records, which features Josquin's Missa Mater Patris and Bauldeweyn's Missa Da pacem. This is the eighth of nine albums in the Tallis Scholars' project to record all of Josquin's masses.

For more information, visit

--Aleba Gartner, Aleba & Co.

Vocal Sensation Emanne Beasha Signs with Decca Records U.S.
Emanne Beasha, the 11-year-old opera singing phenomenon who captured the hearts of millions on season 14 of "America's Got Talent" has signed to Decca Records, US. The vocal prodigy will release her first ever set of holiday songs, "A Christmas Wish," just in time for the holiday season, on November 22.

Beasha made her national debut on "America's Got Talent" in June of 2019 with a showstopping rendition of Puccini's classic aria "Nessun Dorma." Catapulting into the national consciousness she went on to receive the Golden Buzzer from Jay Leno for her operatic version of "Caruso." Quickly becoming a fan-favorite, additional performances included an amazing crossover of Bryan Adams' "Everything I Do" and "Quello Che Faro" and her finale showstopper, "La Mamma Morta." On the "Finale Results" show the vocal powerhouse performed "Con Te Partiro" with the world-renowned pianist Lang Lang.

You can follow Emanne Beasha on Instagram, Twitter, YouTube, and FaceBook.

--Carlos Vega, Universal Music Group

"Carthage Conquer'd: Dreams of Tunis" in the Baroque Imagination
Thursday, December 12th, 8:00pm
The Players Club
16 Gramercy Park South, NYC

The capital of present-day Tunisia was once the legendary city of Carthage. Immortalized by Virgil in The Aeneid, the Carthaginian queen Dido was loved and abandoned by the Trojan war hero Aeneas, a casualty in his mission to found Rome. Her story inspired countless musical masterworks from the baroque era to Berlioz, her name internationally shape-shifting from Didone to Dido to Didon as her story captured the imagination of composers from Venice to London to Paris and beyond.

Selections from perhaps the best known of Dido settings, Purcell's Dido and Aeneas, open and close the concert. Cavalli's treatment of the Dido story differs from Purcell's, however. Busenello replaces Virgil's tragic destiny with a happy ending, as Dido's suitor, Iarbas, ultimately marries her after Aeneas abandons her. The vocal works are punctuated by short pieces for solo lute by Girolamo Kapsberger, a composer and lute virtuoso of noble birth and German heritage who may have been born in Venice. --Jessica Gould

For more information, visit

--Publius Vergilius Maro, Salon Sanctuary Concerts

The Crossing @ Christmas Features World Premiere of Edie Hill's Spectral Spirits
Grammy-winning new-music choir The Crossing reprises its annual holiday program, The Crossing @ Christmas, at Church of the Holy Trinity, Rittenhouse Square in Philadelphia on Friday, December 20, 2019 at 7:30pm presented by the Annenberg Center; at The Met Cloisters in New York City on Saturday, December 21, 2019 at 12:30pm and 3:30pm; and back in Philadelphia at The Presbyterian Church of Chestnut Hill on Sunday, December 22, 2019 at 5:00pm.

The Crossing @ Christmas also features the world premiere performances of Spectral Spirits, a major commission from Edie Hill based on poems of Holly Hughes. The new 30-minute work explores the extraordinary beauty and diversity of the natural world found in birds; and it views those birds through a lens of loss and nostalgia. All of the birds in the work once numbered in millions and are now gone. The program includes David Lang's Pulitzer-winning the little match girl passion (2008), a work championed by The Crossing and one of the few works they return to repeatedly.

For complete information, visit

 --Katy Salomon, Morahan Arts and Media

Share the Magic of the Holidays
Share the magic of the holidays with the Young People's Chorus of New York City.

Founder and Artistic Director Francisco J. Núñez and Associate Artistic Director Elizabeth Núñez lead the chorus in a program that blends traditional holiday favorites with contemporary works, joined by Metropolitan Opera star Nadine Sierra and dramatic baritone Lester Lynch.

Sunday, December 8, 2019 at 4:00 p.m.
David Geffen Hall, Lincoln Center, NYC

Learn more & buy tickets:

--Young People's Chorus of New York City

2020 Season Announcement and Give Miami Day
 Please help support the Miami Classical Music Festival's thrilling 2020 summer season by making your donation on Give Miami Day this Thursday. All donations on Thursday, November 21st from $25-$10,000 will receive a bonus match from the Miami Foundation!

Your donation will go to help support our festival and educate over 300 of the world's future classical music stars who come from over 25 countries each year. We have just begun our application period and are preparing to listen to over 1500 wonderful musicians over the next 4 months.

For more information, visit

--Miami Music Festival

Support Festival Mozaic
What's your favorite part of Festival Mozaic? The concerts? The venues? Getting to know the musicians? All of this is possible because of your support.

Every ticket you buy, every donation you make, every word you spread of our performances has been critical to our success. Thank you! As the year draws to a close and you reflect on your charitable giving, we invite you to renew your support today! Your gift will foster our year-round programming, including the weekends of chamber music during our February and April WinterMezzo Series.
Our Board of Directors is committed to moving forward and growing support. Please stand with us as we look ahead to celebrating our 50th anniversary in 2020.

For more information, visit

--Lloyd Tanner, Festival Mozaic

New Century Presents "Christmas with Anne Sofie von Otter"
New Century Chamber Orchestra celebrates the holidays December 18-20 with debut appearances by internationally renowned mezzo-soprano Anne Sofie von Otter. In celebration of the Christmas season, Anne Sofie von Otter will join New Century for a selection of arias including "Bereite dich, Zion" from J.S. Bach's Christmas Oratorio, BWV 248 and "Vedro con mio diletto" from Vivaldi's Giustino, as well as traditional songs, such as "White Christmas," "O Tannenbaum" and "A Child is Born." Music Director Daniel Hope will take the stage as soloist in "Winter" from Vivaldi's The Four Seasons and leads the orchestra for Handel's Concerto Grosso in D minor, Op. 6 No. 10, HWV 328 and Corelli's Concerto Grosso in G minor, Op. 6. No. 8 "Christmas Concerto."

"Christmas with Anne Sofie von Otter" will be given on three evenings in locations around the Bay Area: Wednesday, December 18 at 7:30 p.m., First United Methodist Church, Palo Alto, Thursday, December 19 at 7:30 p.m., St. Mark's Lutheran Church, San Francisco, and Friday, December 20 at 7:30 p.m., First Congregational Church, Berkeley.

--Brenden Guy 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 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

Contact Information

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"Their Master's Voice" by Michael Sowa

"Their Master's Voice" by Michael Sowa