Classical Music News of the Week, December 28, 2019

5BMF Presents Longleash in "Beethoven Reflections"

Five Boroughs Music Festival (5BMF) presents new music piano trio Longleash in their 5BMF debut, performing Beethoven Reflections on Friday, January 10, 2020 at 7:30pm at Flushing Town Hall in Queens and Sunday, January 12, 2020 at 3:00pm at Madison Avenue Presbyterian Church in Manhattan. The program includes two of Beethoven's celebrated trios – the Piano Trio in C minor, Op. 1 No. 3 and Piano Trio in D Major, Op. 70 No. 1 "Ghost" – paired with two contemporary responses: John Zorn's Ghosts, and the world premiere of Reiko Füting's free – whereof -– wherefore, co-commissioned by 5BMF and Longleash.

Of the program, Longleash explains, "This concert marks the 250th anniversary of Beethoven's birth, offering an opportunity to take stock of our current artistic, cultural, and political moment through a consideration of Beethoven as an evolving cultural symbol. In 1970, celebrations of Beethoven's bicentennial were heavily shaped by the political turmoil, cultural upheaval, and tragic injustices of the time. Commissioned responses from that year by composers such as Mauricio Kagel and Karlheinz Stockhausen illustrated the weight of Beethoven's cultural associations. In this new program, we seek to further explore the question of what it means to celebrate Beethoven in an equally tempestuous moment in time."

For complete information, visit http://5bmf.org/longleash/

--Katy Salomon, Morahan Arts and Media

CBS Sunday Morning Featured YPC
"CBS Sunday Morning," the national Sunday morning news program, presented a special feature on the Young People's Chorus of New York City and Francisco J. Núñez. Tune in Sundays at 9:00 a.m. or visit cbsnews.com for more info.

YPC was thrilled to be featured on yesterday's CBS Sunday Morning, which treated over five million TV viewers to a six-minute news feature covering the breadth of YPC's programming, along with comments and music from YPC singers.  The report demonstrated not only the impact of the program on the singers, but the joy they continue to spread throughout the holidays and beyond. Watch the full video here: https://ypc.org/cbs-sunday-morning/

--Young People Chorus of New York City

À Cour: Ayres de Cour des Grands Maîtres de la Tragédie Lyrique
Works of Lully, Charpentier, Gallot le Vieux, Lambert, and Mouton. and excerpts from the Divertissement de Chambord, Ballet Royal de Flore, Ballet de Versailles

Mired in decadence and shrouded in subtlety, French court culture found no better expression than the intimate, sensual, and seductively nuanced Air de Cour. Yet, at the apex of the Ancien Régime, Bon–Goût tangles with Sprezzatura, as a Mazarin Italian import and Tuscan peasant's son becomes "Surintendant de la Musique du Roi." The monumental Tragédie Lyrique and the Comédie-Ballet of Jean Baptiste Lully, né Giovanni Battista Lulli, gradually eclipse the Air de Cour, as a glittering age hungry for spectacle swiftly hurdles towards its end.

Join us on a midwinter's evening, as the French-Florentine duo of mezzo-soprano Lila Hajosi and lutenist Giovanni Bellini share a program of exquisite jewels from the rise of the Roi Soleil in the elegant and intimate Ridotto of the townhouse of NYU Casa Italiana Zerilli-Marimò.

What:
À Cour: Ayres de Cour des Grands Maîtres de la Tragédie Lyrique

Who:
Lila Hajosi, mezzo-soprano & Giovanni Bellini, lute

When:
Saturday, January 18th
6pm

Where:
NYU Casa Italiana Zerilli-Marimò
24 West 12th Street
New York, NY 10011

Tickets:
Go to http://www.salonsanctuary.org
Or call 1 888 718 4253

Ticket prices:
$25/$35

For more information, visit https://www.salonsanctuary.org/

--Salon/Sanctuary Concerts

New Century Presents "Beethoven in the Presidio"
Music Director Daniel Hope and New Century Chamber Orchestra join the global celebrations of Beethoven's 250th birthday with "Beethoven in the Presidio," a special two-day event at the newly-renovated Presidio Theatre in San Francisco. Recently appointed as the President of the Beethoven-Haus Bonn in Germany, Daniel Hope welcomes Simone Dinnerstein for her second appearance as artist-in-residence and Grammy Award-winning cellist Lynn Harrell for two unique programs.

The first performance, on Friday, January 24 at 7:30 p.m., will highlight all three artists in an intimate evening of chamber masterworks that includes Beethoven's Piano Trio in E-Flat Major, Op. 1, No. 1, Cello Sonata No.5 in D Major, Op.102, No.2 and Violin Sonata No.9 in A Major, Op. 47 "Kreutzer." All three artists will then appear as soloists with the orchestra on Saturday, January 25 at 7:30 p.m. for Beethoven's Triple Concerto in C Major, Op. 56 in a program that also features Beethoven's Symphony No. 1 in C Major, Op. 21. A special preview performance of the orchestral program will be held at Berkeley's First Congregational Church on Thursday, January 23 at 7:30 p.m.

That same weekend, Daniel Hope and New Century will present a concert entitled "Refuge in Music" on Sunday, January 26 at 3:30 p.m. at the Osher Marin Jewish Community Center in San Rafael as part of Music at Kohl Mansion's eight-week residency of "Violins of Hope," a rare collection of restored Holocaust-era string instruments. Performing on a selection of instruments from the collection, New Century will present music by Jewish composers that suffered and perished at the Nazi concentration camp Terezín in a program that also features exclusive footage from Daniel Hope's award-winning 2013 documentary "Refuge in Music: Terezín/Theresienstadt."

Single tickets to "Beethoven in the Presidio" range in price from $30 to $67.50 and are available for purchase through City Box Office: www.cityboxoffice.com, and (415) 392-4400. Ticket purchases to both January 24 and 25 performances are available at a 10% discounted rate. Discounted $15 single tickets are available for students with a valid ID and patrons under 35.

Single tickets to "Refuge in Music" range in price from $30 to $67.50 and are available for purchase through City Box Office: www.cityboxoffice.com and (415) 392-4400. Discounted $15 single tickets are available for students with a valid ID and patrons under 35.

For further information on New Century, please visit www.ncco.org.

--Brenden Guy Media

Celebrate New Year's Eve with American Bach Soloists
Celebrate with ABS on New Year's Eve at 4:00 p.m. in San Francisco's Herbst Theatre.
Tickets start at only $25.

"A Baroque New Year's Eve at the Opera"
Tuesday, December 31, 2019 at 4:00 p.m.
 Herbst Theatre, 401 Van Ness Avenue
San Francisco, California

American Bach Soloists • Jeffrey Thomas, conductor
Sarah Coit, mezzo-soprano • Hadleigh Adams, baritone

These two dynamic singers will perform arias and duets from Handel's Agrippina, Ariodante, Giulio Cesare, Orlando, and Riccardo I, ré d'Inghilterra, from Monteverdi's L'incoronazione di Poppea, from Rameau's Castor & Pollux and Hippolyte et Aricie, and from Vivaldi's Il Bajazet.
The ABS period-instrument specialists will also perform ballet and dance music from Handel's Ariodante and Marais's Sémélé.

Charge-By-Phone / Information: (415) 392-4400
In Person: City Box Office, 180 Redwood Street, San Francisco.
Online: americanbach.org/NYE

For more information, visit americanbach.org

--American Bach Soloists

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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

Readers with polite, courteous, helpful letters may send them to classicalcandor@gmail.com

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"Their Master's Voice" by Michael Sowa

"Their Master's Voice" by Michael Sowa