Classical Music News of the Week, April 18, 2020

Andrea Bocelli's Historic Performance of Hope

On an Easter Sunday 2020 like no other, Italian tenor Andrea Bocelli gave the most extraordinary performance of his life. There was no audience present in Milan's iconic Duomo, but across the globe people tuned in to witness his emotional performance, streamed live via YouTube, uniting the world at a time when many are apart, being isolated at home.

This unique performance, offering an uplifting message of love, healing and hope through music, took place at the historic Duomo, the cathedral of Milan, Italy, by invitation of the City and of the cathedral, and thanks to the hospitality of the Archpriest and the Veneranda Fabbrica del Duomo.

Bocelli says of the event: "I will cherish the emotion of this unprecedented and profound experience, of this Holy Easter which this emergency has made painful, but at the same time even more fruitful, one that will stay among my dearest memories of all time. That feeling of being at the same time alone – as we all are in the presence of the Most High – yet of expressing the voice of the prayer of millions of voices, has deeply impressed and moved me. Love is a gift. Making it flow is the primary purpose of life itself. And I find myself once again indebted to life. My gratitude goes to all those who made this possible, the City of Milan and the Duomo, and to all those who accepted the invitation and joined in a planetary embrace, gathering that blessing from Heaven that gives us courage, trust, optimism, in the certainty of our faith."

Accompanied only by the cathedral organist, Emanuele Vianelli, Bocelli sung a carefully chosen selection of pieces, specially arranged for solo voice and organ for the occasion. This historic event reached over 2.8 million peak concurrent viewers, making it one of the biggest musical live stream performances of all-time and the largest simultaneous audience for a classical live stream in YouTube history. The video received more than 28 million views from across the globe in its first 24 hours.

To see and hear the performance, visit https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=huTUOek4LgU&feature=youtu.be

--Julia Casey, Universal Music

Music on the Rebound and ICE Present "The World Wide Tuning Meditation"
April 11, 18, and 25 (newly added!), 2020 at 5pm EDT – Music on the Rebound and the International Contemporary Ensemble (ICE) present "The World Wide Tuning Meditation."

IONE, Claire Chase, and Raquel Acevedo Klein lead a global performance of the late Pauline Oliveros's "The World Wide Tuning Meditation," a sonic gathering with a legacy of bringing communities together through meditative singing. Anyone from anywhere in the world is invited to join in via Zoom to sing together from their personal phone or computer. No music experience is necessary. The last performance on Saturday, April 25 will also be included in Basilica Hudson's 24-HOUR DRONE Sound and Music Festival, moved completely online with web-based programming in place of its previously scheduled weekend.

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

--International Contemporary Ensemble

Conductor Donato Cabrera Announces Two New Online Series
Donato Cabrera, Music Director of the California Symphony and Las Vegas Philharmonic, has launched two new online projects. MusicWise - Conversations about Art and Culture with Donato Cabrera is a weekly series on Facebook Live and The Music Plays On is a daily series on Cabrera's blog, featuring commentary and analysis on his favorite performances and recordings. Both initiatives are part of the continued commitment by Cabrera, California Symphony, and Las Vegas Philharmonic to promote engagement and connection with their audiences.

Cabrera will host MusicWise on Tuesdays at 1pm PT on Facebook Live, featuring interviews with engaging artists and civic leaders who influence and shape the cultural landscape. With each guest, Cabrera will explore their background and upbringing, and how these touchstones influence their projects and initiatives, past and present. Guests will showcase and share their favorite performances and recordings, as well as responding to selected questions from the Facebook Live audience.

Upcoming guests include pianist Maria Radutu on April 14; timpanist David Herbert on April 21; composer Katherine Balch on April 28; violinist Alexi Kenney on May 5; and violist Gerhard Marschner on May 12. More information about each guest is below.

Follow Cabrera on Facebook to be notified when he goes live: www.facebook.com/donatocabrerapage

Daily Blog – The Music Plays On: www.donatocabrera.com

--Maggie Stapleton, Jensen Artists

Orli Shaham's "MidWeek Mozart"
Each Wednesday, Ms. Shaham brings you an exclusive: music from her forthcoming recording of Mozart sonatas.

Orli Shaham's "MidWeek Mozart" gives you exclusive access to a different movement of a Mozart piano sonata, available for a whole week, FREE! Get your weekly dose of Mozart each Wednesday, and enjoy it until the following Wednesday when it will be replaced by the next installment, at OrliShahamMozart.com.

Coming Wednesday, April 22: Sonata No. 3, K. 281, first movement.

Last summer pianist Orli Shaham recorded 12 of Mozart's pianos sonatas at historic Mechanics Hall in Worcester, MA. Volume 1, the first of a five-CD series of the complete Mozart piano sonatas, will be released later this year on Canary Classics.

For more information about Orli Shaham, visit https://www.orlishaham.com/

--Gail Wein, Classical Communications

Minnesota Orchestra Restructures Rest of 2019-20 Concert Season
The Minnesota Orchestra announced today the restructuring of its 2019-2020 concert season, due to the COVID-19 pandemic. Designed to delay all concerts until August 2020, the revised concert calendar reschedules numerous performances and cancels all others through June 15, 2020; postpones all Summer at Orchestra Hall 2020 concerts and activities until summer 2021; and includes five newly-added weeks of August and early September 2020 performances at Orchestra Hall to accommodate the rescheduled concerts, played during the period that is typically the break time between Minnesota Orchestra seasons.

Featuring the full Minnesota Orchestra and four Orchestra musicians as soloists, the August and early September performances will be led by Music Director Osmo Vänskä and Associate Conductor Akiko Fujimoto. The Orchestra had previously announced concert cancellations through April 28. All ticketholders are being notified directly of these changes and offered a variety of options around their tickets.

Visit www.minnesotarorchestra.org for further information and updates.

For a curated collection of musician at-home performances, Spotify playlists, educational resources and more, visit https://www.minnesotaorchestra.org/community-education/lifelong-learning/minnesota-orchestra-at-home

--Lisa Jaehnig, Shuman Associates

Minnesota Orchestra Announces 2020-21 Season Programming
Music Director Osmo Vänskä and the Grammy Award-winning Minnesota Orchestra today announced plans for the ensemble's 2020-21 season, which runs from September 2020 to June 2021, and includes Classical, Holiday, Live at Orchestra Hall, Chamber Music, Music and Mindfulness, Young People's Concerts, and Sensory-Friendly and Relaxed Family Concerts.

"As we look to the 2020-21 season, it is music that gives us hope and that will bring us together to reflect, heal and celebrate," said Music Director Osmo Vänskä. "The communal concert experience has always been sacred to me, but in the season ahead it will have an extraordinary new meaning for us all."

For a chronological listing of all Minnesota Orchestra events for the 2020-21 season, see the Season Calendar here: https://minnesotaorchestra.org/images/pr/pdf/2020_21_Minnesota_Orchestra_Season_Calendar.pdf

Or view the Classical Season-At-A-Glance here: https://www.minnesotaorchestra.org/images/pr/pdf/2020_21_Minnesota_Orchestra_Season_At_a_Glance.pdf

--Lisa Jaehnig, Shuman Associates

Finding Missing Elements in Music
Music is not a cut-and-dried, II-V-I, perfect authentic, dominant seventh kind of thing, but a marvelous array of chords, functions, identities, and missing roots, etc., etc. The teacher and performer must be willing to change, to grow, and learn what it is to be a musician rather than just a performer of notes on the page.

Look and see for yourself; Issue #10: Missing Elements in Music: https://thepianoprofessor.com/2020/04/16/missing-elements-in-music/

--Ralph Hedges, the Piano Professor, Chopin Piano Academy

Bang on a Can Marathon 2020
Bang on a Can will present an ALL LIVE Bang on a Can Marathon on Sunday, May 3, 2020 from 3pm-9pm ET. The Marathon will be streamed online at marathon2020.bangonacan.org, featuring 26 LIVE performances from musicians' homes in NYC and around the country.

The concert begins with a performance by Meredith Monk at 3pm and concludes with a performance by Bang on a Can All-Star pianist Vicky Chow playing John Adams' China Gates. Additional highlights include Steve Reich's Vermont Counterpoint performed by flutist Claire Chase, performances by Vijay Iyer, Maya Beiser, Shara Nova, Nathalie Joachim, and many more. The 6-hour live Marathon will be hosted by Bang on a Can Co-Founders and Artistic Directors Michael Gordon, David Lang, and Julia Wolfe, who say:

Bang on a Can means a lot of things to us.  It means live performance in front of enthusiastic audiences, which none of us can really have right now.  It means music-curious people rubbing elbows with each other, in packed concert halls, talking to each other about the role that music plays in their lives, which we can't have now either.  But it also means supporting a community of artists, commissioning new work from composers, providing live paid performance opportunities to amazing musicians, and introducing listeners worldwide to music that can change their lives.  Those are things we can do now!  And they are things we need now.

--Maggie Stapeton, Jensen Artists

Classical Streaming This Week: Apr. 21-26
Tuesday, April 21 at 4:00 p.m. PT:
James Conlon at Home podcast continues via LA Opera
Click here: https://soundcloud.com/laopera

Wednesday, April 22 – Tuesday, May 5:
The Gilmore presents Virtually Gilmore streaming series
Click here: https://www.youtube.com/c/GilFest or https://www.thegilmore.org/

Wednesday, April 22 at 2:00 p.m. CT:
Tulsa Opera presents "They Are Waiting Below" from Tobias Picker's Emmeline, sung by mezzo-soprano Margaret Lattimore and soprano Madison Leonard, with pianist Justin Williams
Click here: https://tulsaopera.com/

Thursday, April 23 at 2:00 p.m. ET:
Michael Tilson Thomas and New World Symphony's Archive+
Click here: https://www.facebook.com/NewWorldSymphony/

Thursday, April 23 at 2:00 p.m. ET:
Shai Wosner featured on Live with Carnegie Hall
Click here: https://www.carnegiehall.org/Explore/Watch-and-Listen/Live-with-Carnegie-Hall

Friday, April 24 at 2:00 p.m. CT:
Tulsa Opera presents Maryanne Aria from Tobias Picker's Emmeline, sung by soprano Madison Leonard with pianist Tobias Picker
Click here: https://tulsaopera.com/

Friday, April 24 at 7:00 p.m. ET:
New World Symphony's NWS Fellows: Live from our Living Room
Click here: https://www.facebook.com/NewWorldSymphony/

Saturday, April 25 at 7:00 p.m. ET:
Jennifer Koh continues "Alone Together" series
Click here: https://www.facebook.com/jenniferkohviolin/

Minnesota Orchestra at Home
Click here: https://www.minnesotaorchestra.org/community-education/lifelong-learning/minnesota-orchestra-at-home

--Shuman Associates

Los Angeles Master Chorale Launches Digital Series & Virtual Gala
The Los Angeles Master Chorale has created two new digital series–Sundays at Seven and Offstage–to share the beautiful and inspiring power of choral music with virtual audiences as Angelenos continue to observe stay-at-home orders during the COVID-19 pandemic. Featuring both music and conversation, each of the series offers a welcome opportunity to connect through music during this unprecedented period of self-isolation.

Additionally, the Master Chorale's GALA 2020, originally scheduled to take place at the Hollywood Palladium on April 18th, 2020 and cancelled due to COVID-19, will be held as a virtual event on the same date. As planned, the virtual gala will honor the creative achievements of composer, jazz pianist, and five-time Grammy Award winner Billy Childs and the extraordinary philanthropy of the women of The Blue Ribbon. GALA 2020 will feature a silent auction with one-of-a-kind items and performances by Childs, violinist Anne Akiko Meyers, the Los Angeles Master Chorale, welcome messages from Grant Gershon, Kiki & David Artistic Director, and Jean Davidson, President and CEO, and an inspiring message from Swan Family Artist-in-Residence Eric Whitacre.

GALA 2020
Silent auction
Bidding runs from Wednesday, April 15th to Sunday, April 19th, 2020

Virtual gala program
Saturday, April 18, 12 p.m.
The virtual gala may be accessed April 18 at https://lamasterchorale.org/gala-2020

Sundays at Seven
Weekly series airing at 7 p.m.
Begins Sunday, April 19

For complete information, visit https://lamasterchorale.org/

--Lisa Bellamore, LA Master Chorale

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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

Readers with impolite, discourteous, bitchy, whining, complaining, nasty, mean-spirited, unhelpful letters may send them to classicalcandor@recycle.bin.

"Their Master's Voice" by Michael Sowa

"Their Master's Voice" by Michael Sowa